Sunday, November 11, 2012

Young Writers for Adoption

The young writers were recognized for their talent at Passport to Forever.

Early last year, I attended a talk given by one of the fabulous English teachers at my kid's school.  It was called  The Science of Developing Strong Writers, and it caused me to start thinking about what I could do to encourage kids of adoptive families to express themselves through their words. I know that a lot of adopted kids have had some very remarkable and inspiring early histories and I would love to give them an opportunity to share their hopes and dreams. Their pasts, their present and their futures. I wanted to invite and encourage kids of adoptive families to get their thoughts out of their head and hearts and onto paper to share.

With the help of my dear husband, we decided to host a contest for young writers of adoptive families asking youth to participate by sending their written work to a website. We  opened it up to all ages, and all experiences, kids who were adopted themselves and also those who maybe lost their status as an only child or youngest kid, but gained a brother or sister.

The young writers were invited to choose from a couple of questions with the common theme of family and to share their thoughts in less than 500 words... either poetry or prose. We were eager to read what they had to share. A panel of very qualified (and fair minded) teachers carefully read each submission and judged them based on overall quality and emotional impact. I was very happy to pass on the difficult job of choosing the top submissions to this fine group of teachers... judging this contest was not at all an easy task.

 Last weekend, Karl and I were able to meet the writers in person... we were thrilled to have a chance to see the young faces behind the words. The International Adoption Center at Children's Hospital hosted their annual benefit gala, and offered to recognize the contest award winners. It was an honor to meet each one and thank them for participating. Each writer showed a great deal of determination, creativity and above all, courage. Writing about something as personal as adoption is extremely difficult and these writers showed a huge amount of bravery in sharing their story. My hope is that each of these young people feels good about being a part of the project and gained something by sharing their words. I very much hope that they continue to share their gifts as they grow.

Below is a prose excerpt from a young writer who was adopted from a Bulgarian orphanage at the age of 11. He chose to define the word "family."
 "The term family had a different meaning for me when I was growing up in a Bulgarian orphanage. I made friends who I considered to be my “family.” Daniel, Yordan and Veselean were my three closest friends. They were my support system. When food was scarce, my friends and I would leave the orphanage and go into the town to find small jobs to earn enough money for food. One job required us to sweep a large taxi parking lot to earn enough money for a loaf of bread and a container of butter. It wasn’t much but we were satisfied with our efforts. We were trying to take care of each other as a family but we were only seven-year old kids. We didn’t have parents to give us guidance or care for us. There were many pieces missing in my “family.”

 I was searching for the pieces to complete a family while I was in the orphanage. I now realize that the missing pieces were a mom and a dad."

This young writer expresses her feeling for her sisters through poetry... here is an excerpt from the poem that she submitted.

"I tell them it’s not blood that holds a family together
Its love, the glue that lasts forever
So yes, I love them just as much
And I’ll hold each of their little quirks
Their grins, their laughs, their teddy-bear hugs
In the deepest part of my heart
Because nothing can break my family’s bond
We’ve loved each other far too long."

true sisters.

To read all of the winning submissions to
Young Writers for Adoption
please visit our website

No comments:

Post a Comment