Announcing Little Branch Gets Adopted children's Book

When You Write to Publish, Don’t Forget This!

Yesterday, LITTLE BRANCH GETS ADOPTED became available for purchase on!

I am celebrating with my publisher, Marcinson Press, by eating chocolate cake.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be able to make this available to adoptive and foster parents, plus anyone who loves an adoptee. It’s for kids, ages 5-12.

The Story of Little Branch 

The main character, Little Branch, mega loves his first mama named Beautiful Branch, and believes her to be the best mama in the whole garden.

But, after a storm, Beautiful Branch, was unable to provide what Little Branch needed.

Of course, this is a crisis every adoptee and foster child must endure and learn how to deal with. And, for foster children, multiple traumatic times.

Little Branch’s reaction to this loss communicates what most adopted and foster children experience.

Readers can clearly see the pain, the loss, the anger, and joy.

The biggest concern for adoptive and foster parents is, “How can I talk adoption with my child who refuses to talk about adoption?”

Add to that, the incredible complexity of pre-adoption trauma.

These adoptive and foster parents must shake in their boots, wondering how to talk about adoption. Should I mention my child’s trauma, if yes, how can I do it without further wounding, and what about negative history?

Let Little Branch takes you through his journey and the topics you fear will become springboards for discussion with your child.

What the Publishing Process Looked Like for Me

Looking back on the process of writing this book, I sigh, for five years ago, I was writing the words when on vacation in California.

Whenever I write something new, I always create it on a huge art notebook. This gives me the ultimate freedom of expression.

So, for the following five years, I’ve attended many writing conferences, wrote a spanking-clean book proposal that was applauded by publishers but turned down, contacted Marcinson Press and signed a contract, agreed on the illustrator, went through many months of disappointments with the illustrations, agreed with Marcinson to hire fire first illustrator and hire my dream illustrator (Joani Rothenberg of Indianapolis).


If you are writing a book, whether fiction, non-fiction, or children’s, believe in your dream!

Cling to these truths about your dream book:

  • You are the only one with the vision for this book
  • Many doors may close, but keep walking the dream
  • Never give up
  • Your message will be a life raft for many hurting readers
  • You were born for this

And, so, dear friends, I offer LITTLE BRANCH GETS ADOPTED to you!

May his adoption story bless you and your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews. Anyone!

Here’s an acknowledgment: Domenica Labasi, a gifted therapist from Montreal, taught me this story years ago. In her practice, she uses it with resistant adoptive parents.

Here is the link for ordering:



Say What? You're Not Angry?

Why Some Adoptees Are Angry and Others Aren’t

Imagine a five-year old whose parents were wiped out in a car wreck. She’s just attended their funeral and then witnessed their coffins lowered six feet into the ground.

If you were to strike up a conversation with this child as her aunt takes her hand and leads her to the car, what do you believe the child would say?

Would she throw a fit and resist your appearance and voice, or would she compliantly go to the car, with a fake smile?

Just like the little girl, we adoptees either resist those we are placed with, or comply with their expectations in order to avoid further rejection.

Those Who Struggle with Anger/Depression

The majority of adoptees I know struggle with anger/depression issues. I like to use the word “misplaced” because I believe most adoptee anger is misplaced.

It’s primarily against the first mom for going on in life without us, but since she’s not present in at least the parenting role, that anger targets the mom that is nearby, the mom who is parenting.

Those in this category have no trouble acknowledging the anger challenges of being adopted. This includes me, who until the past year couldn’t understand why I emitted anger from my presence, like a leaky car pipe.

Those Who Live A Life of Flashy Denial

But then, there are those adoptees and foster kids and parents who live a life of flashy denial.

Whenever I write about adoptee anger, they come out of the woodwork. They believe it their duty to tell me they’ve never been angry…especially at their moms. After all, their love is flawless.

When they hear about other adoptees getting into deep straits with anger or depression, they thank God Almighty that they’re not like that.

Frankly, I want to erase their messages.

I’ve met many denial freaks like this in the past. As time passes, new tides come in and suddenly adoption is a salient issue.

For those adoptees who admit their neediness, along with me, there is something we can do to move forward toward healing.

I believe the ugly thoughts that come from such brokenness must be validated. This will increase self-awareness and enable us to eventually grow up.

First, consider the adoptee’s or foster child’s relationship with the adoptive mother. These poor moms want nothing more than to be that haven of love for their children who experienced pre-placement trauma, or for some difficult reason, have been removed from their original home.

I think out of every person involved in adoption, the adoptive and foster moms are the individuals I admire the most.

Oh, I know we’re to not have favorites, but I can’t help myself.

They’re in a war they never chose, in a place they don’t belong, and in an ocean that is life-defying.

Suppose her child says, “You’re such a loser, mom. Why should I ever listen to you?”

First, this mom can see through her child’s eyes and understand what her statement really means. “My daughter is trying to tell me that she thinks about herself as a loser. It is really self-hatred.”

Then, she can anchor herself with truth-soaked affirmations:

  • God loves me dearly.
  • He has every day of my life planned, including this one.
  • He is here with me in the messiness of helping my child heal.
  • God has called me to parent this child.

Last, she would be willing to reflect the adoptee thought back, “I hear that you see me as a loser mom. I think being a loser mom entitles me to love you, right?”

So, the adoptee hears and is validated.

Then, I would encourage the mom to say, “And, even though it hurts to be a loser mom, I will always love you.”

Parents, I realize you’ve not been taught to do this, but I believe it is essential for your child’s development, for emotional intelligence.

I wish my mom would have given me this kind of truth.

I love you all and am cheering you on.

When I never kept curfews and kept mom waiting up for hours, I wish she would have told me how exhausted she was.

Tell me your response to this post? What do you agree with, disagree with?










When Junk Becomes A Treasure

What Happened To My Adoptive Mom’s Wedding Ring…and Me

Okay, so i’ve been tearing around the house looking for something I usually would have cared less about.

Was it in coat pockets? Could it be in my bedside table? Did it fall from my skinny fingers without my knowledge?

This lost something remained in my jewelry drawer, and frankly, until lately, I considered it junk–two silver bands, filthy from age, with the main diamond missing.

Oh, God, please help me find it.

I couldn’t believe myself.

Up until then, when and if ever my thoughts turned to mom, I remembered only the shouting matches at lunch hour and her obsessive smoking, like a smoke stack.

I came from a hard place, from desperate beginnings.

My adoptive mom was insecure about who she was as a person, but even more so about her ability to parent me.

I grew up with a mom who was hard to love.

And, she raised a daughter who wouldn’t bond with her, no matter what.

There were no warm memories.

I wonder if she had any warm memories?

So, what was going on inside me?

Why the desperation over old, tarnished pieces of junk?

Let’s back up to a few weeks ago when I spotted those rings buried beneath other jewelry.

Taking them out, something strange started happening deep inside me.

I thought about my late Dad picking them for Mom.

Where did he get them? And, why did he pick this design? And…what was it like for both of them when he asked her to marry him? Did they hug, kiss? Did he get down on one knee?

And, for her?

What was it like when he placed those rings on her hand?

Was she surprised? Was she full of dreams for what their future might hold?

Then, came the thought–get them cleaned and repurposed. A beautiful new diamond for the main ring and tiny diamond chips for the band.

Husband, Bob, loved the idea and was in agreement that it would be a special investment.

These rings could be daily reminders to me of the hard places I’ve come from as well as the new places I’m now experiencing.

Let me emphasize–

Never. Never. Never have I had these kind of thoughts. Thoughts that looked at life from a different perspective. Thoughts that brought those I once knew to life.

And, so you’re probably wondering what caused the shift in perspective? What caused pieces of junk to become treasures?

All I’ll be able to share now is that a major overhaul has been done inside of me.

I’ve been forced by current circumstances into a crisis of forgiveness, which has required deep, heavy recovery work.

Bottom line?

I believe adoptees and their moms can heal from painful beginnings.

And, I continue to be surprised by my new perspective on life and my past, down to the last detail…a junky ring becoming my treasure.


PS–Don’t forget to enter your email in the box on the right hand corner of this site. I will update you whenever there is a new post and won’t overwhelm you with obsessive posting.


What Has MisPlaced Anger Told You?

What Adoptees and Foster Kids Need to Know About Anger

Never did I imagine writing a book about adoptee anger, for it was such an integral part of me, like tea is to water.

As a baby, I certainly wasn’t aware of it, but my adoptive mom (Retha) was.

All she knew was that my stiffened body refused her warm touch and whenever she tried feeding me formula, I arched and cried bloody murder.

Looking back after all these decades, I believe Retha translated my behavior as, “I knew I couldn’t do this. I might have done alright with a normal baby, but a special needs baby? I don’t have what it takes to be her mother.”

In the only way my newborn self could communicate, I was saying, “I’m hurting so incredibly bad. Don’t touch me, or I’ll die. I can’t take any more pain. And, besides, you are a stranger to me. I want my first mom.”

So,Retha thought this was normal and so did I.

Can you see why our relationship was challenging?

Of course you can.

Thus, the confusing, fear-based, loss-based mother/child relationship began.

The Mother/Child Dance Begins

It was like a dance. Retha led with fear and I responded with anger.”

Mom was not in touch with who she really was, her authentic self. Oh, the real her would peek through the clouds once in a while, but for the most part, she was operating out of fear and inadequacy.

How I wish someone would have told her that she was providentially chosen to be my mom and that she’d be given all resources to meet my needs.

However, even if someone would have told her that, she wouldn’t have been able to receive it.

And for my part in the dance, I believed that this raucous anger was a part of me. I never questioned it, but just tried to conquer it with self-help books and prayers.

Neither worked.

Two Kinds of Anger

What I didn’t know is that for the adoptee, there are two kinds of anger—real, God-given anger for when we’re in danger. It’s the proverbial red light on the dashboard, alerting us to the fact that something needs attention.

The other kind of anger is mis-placed anger, which runs rampant in adoptee and foster kid hearts.

It’s based on lies we’ve come to believe and never question…after all, it’s just part of us, right?

No, not right.

Misplaced adoptee anger is our enemy.

But, we don’t know it’s our enemy, nor do we question the beliefs it’s built on. We just accept it with all it’s lies.

It’s not the real us, fellow adoptees.

Misplaced anger stunts growth, cripples with fear, and binds with bone-chilling shame.

For adoptees, it communicates:

    • Your life is a mistake, you know? Don’t tell anyone this.
    • Your birth mother didn’t care squat about you.
    • Your adoptive parents don’t know much and never “get it.”

For Rethas:

    • God never wanted you to be a mother. That’s why you couldn’t have “your own” kids.
    • There’s no way on God’s green earth that you’ve be able to successfully parent this child.
    • Screw it. I’m so hurt that it’s not worth keeping on loving this angry child.

How I wish someone would have taught me about this earlier, for I’m now in my 70s and just learning it.

What a difference it would have made to both mom and me. But, it is what it is.

The Source of Misplaced Anger

This portion is so critical to our understanding of healthy anger and misplaced anger that I’m going to share what I’ve learned about how to be free from it’s effects.

What I’m going to share is the spiritual dimension to all relationships.

Fellow adoptee, on the day you were born, your attending physician and nurse and bio mom weren’t the only ones in the room.

The enemy of your soul was also there and was whispering lies that you wouldn’t be able to recognize as lies.

That enemy was saying this about you. “I’m going to kill her, one way or another. I know the impact she could have on her world and I don’t want her to ever succeed at that.”

It was then that Jesus said, “This child is mine. I will never abandon or forsake her. My blood flows through her veins.”

And so, both moms and kids have a common enemy—the arch enemy…Satan.

If this is off your radar screen, will you please just set this piece of information aside…it’s okay.

And, so Retha and I began the mother/daughter dance on the wrong foot and for subsequent decades, danced to the drum beat of misplaced anger.