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Catholic Adoptive Parenting Columnist Heidi Hess Saxton

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After a week of "vacation" -- visiting relatives with two children and no husband -- I am back, more than ready to settle in and not go ANYWHERE for a millennia or so.

Of course, it's not a real vacation with two small children clutching at one's thigh, unwilling to let go even in their sleep in the offhand chance that Mommy might go somewhere REALLY FAR AWAY (like the bathroom) without them.

Ah, it's an exotic life I lead, folks.

The six year old is especially puzzling. If he is in his room playing, every ten minutes (give or take a minute) he will appear at the top of the stairs and shout: "Mom! Moooooooooooom!"

"Yes, Christopher?"

(pause.) "I love you..."

"Yes, Christopher, I'm still here. Go play."

Every twenty minutes, he will actually bound down the stairs into the kitchen or my bedroom or wherever else I am and say, "Hey! Did you MISS ME?"

Now is not the time for the unvarnished truth. “Oh, yes, Christopher,” I hug him. “Heaps.”

Interestingly, my sister Chris said that it was Sarah who carried on the loudest and longest the time I went to the drug store for twenty minutes unescorted. (THAT was my vacation.) "I don't get it..." she said. "You've had her since she was six months old. In every other respect, she is a confident little girl. What's the screaming about?"

Well, two things, I'm guessing: She has an older brother who is freaking out, and so she thinks she should get in on the action. And second, she never misses an opportunity to exercise those lungs – or her inner drama queen.

We cut out of my sister's house a day early -- my nerves were shot, and the kids' behavior was degenerating more rapidly than a snowman in Hades. I hated that -- my sister is one of my favorite people. But because I'm one of hers, she didn't hold it against me.

Cause that's what family does... They stick together, no matter what. Right? Recommends:

Finding the Right Spot: When Kids Can't Live With Their Parents, by Janice Levy (Magination Press, 2004).

Kids who can't live with their parents -- both those in foster care, and those who live with other relatives -- have big feelings. This book, appropriate for kids 6-12, handles them all with tact and empathy through the figure of "Aunt Dane," the Mary Poppins of foster parents.  Foster parents will relate to the buxom caregiver, and wish we had her unflagging optimism and wisdom. In the meantime, we can learn from her, too.

A special section in the back of the book coaches foster parents on how to help the children in their care to cope with the realities of their lives by following Aunt Dane's favorite truisms: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift."


Heidi Hess Saxton and her husband Craig are adoptive parents of two children Christopher (6) and Sarah (4). is the editor of Canticle magazine, the “voice” of  "Women of Grace". A convert to the faith since 1994, Heidi is also a graduate student of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, and a frequent contributor to  Read more of Heidi’s writing through her website or visit Heidi's blog at

Would you like to receive Heidi's column by email?  Send a message to Heidi.

7/17/06 Recommends:




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Adoption Resources:
These resources have been recommended by our readers.  To suggest a link or book, email [email protected] with your suggestion.

Helpful Links:

*Several readers have recommended local DHS and Catholic Charities for adoption resources. 

Little Flowers Foundation

Catholic Charities USA

National Council for Adoption

Priests for Life Alternatives to Abortion Resource Page

US Department of Health and Human Services

National Adoption

Information Clearinghouse


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