Forever Fingerprints

forever fingerprints.jpg

This is the second post in a four-part series that interviews famous adoption author Sherrie Eldridge.  This post includes a discussion of Sherrie’s children’s book, Forever Fingerprints: An Amazing Discovery For Adopted Children.

CG:  Forever Fingerprints was your first children’s book.  As you learned, writing a book for children is very different from writing for adults.  What were some of the challenges you faced in writing a story for children?

SE: Oh my goodness. There were so many!  I had to study and read books on how to write for children.  I spent eight years working on this book.  My grandchildren were my focus group.  I asked them how they would say things to make sure that I was connecting with children.  

I had tried different story lines, and I couldn’t get a publisher interested in it until I met Carrie Kitze from EMK press.  I pitched it to her and she loved it.  She is actually an adoptive mom with two little girls from China.  She, like a good editor, worked with me to make a strong story out of my existing material.  

Carrie Kitzke was incredible; she helped me develop the theme throughout the story, and then the artist Rob Williams brought it to life.  He is so talented – I love the art in the book more than I ever imagined I could.  It really exceeded my expectations.

CG:  How did you get the idea of using fingerprints as a gift from birth families?

SE:  I read a quote that likened the need of an adopted person to connect with a birth parent to that of a starving man looking for food.  Forever Fingerprints gives the adopted child a way to satisfy that intense need for connection, because we are genetically linked through our fingerprints to our birth parents.  

This is especially important for children adopted internationally or for those of us with missing history.  A little girl from China may not know the identity of her birth mother, but she still has the fingerprints that her birth mother gave to her.  It is a powerful and tangible connection.  

The book is a tool for adoptive parents to talk about the birth family without feeling nervous or threatened.  This is really the book of my heart.  It is my favorite of all the books I have written.

CG:  What age group do you think this book best targets?

SE: I would say children age 5 – 12.  Therapists could also use it in their offices for children a variety of ages. 

The book was published in 2007 and in November, for Adoption Awareness month, there was a public reading of Forever Fingerprints in every state in the US.  It was amazing to reach so many families.

CG: How has Forever Fingerprints contributed to the actual process of adopting a child?

SE: An interesting thing that has come from the Forever Fingerprints project is the Forever Fingerprints Adoption Ceremony
I wrote this ceremony to add some structure to the beautiful act of
adoption.  The sheets for the adoption ceremony are on my website, and
adoptive parents can download them and perform the ceremony when they
adopt the child.

(Download shhets at Forever Fingerprints)

We
had an event in Denver with an organization called Journey To Me, and
we did a reading with children.  Kathleen Farrell, a jeweler in
Colorado, designed a necklace that can be used in the ceremony. 
Adoptive parents can give the necklace to the birth mother when she
gives them the baby.  

The necklace has a hand with a heart cut
out of it, and it has another charm with a footprint.  You can pick
which Swarovski crystal you want to put in the charm for the child’s
birthday.  The adoptive parents can make one necklace for the birth
mother, and one for the child as well.  This necklace tells the
birthmother, ‘this child will always be in your heart.’

(To order a necklace, visit Adoption Story Jewelry)

CG:  Have you met any of the children who have participated in a Forever Fingerprints Adoption Ceremony?  

SE: Rebecca Vahle, the adoption liason at Denver Adventist Hospital, helped put together a Forever Fingerprints party for Adoption Awareness Month.  

I met baby Hannah, who was the second Forever Fingerprints
ceremony at Denver Adventist Hospital, and they laminated her
fingerprints and those of the birth mother for me.  Then her parents
gave Hannah to me to hold, and it was just incredible.  She put her
hands on my face and pressed her tiny nose to mine, and she just held
on to me.  It was such a bond, and it illustrates how much adoptees
need each other.

Sherrie and Hannah.jpg

Sherrie and Hannah

CG:  Would you like to write another children’s book?

SE:
I would love to write a children’s version of my original 20 Things.  I
am also already working on a children’s book that is drawn from a true
story of orphans after WW2.  There is always an exciting project on the
horizon!

CG: If you order Forever Fingerprints from EMK Press, you will get a
special “Forever Fingerprints” stamp pad and memory sheet, plus an
autographed copy by Sherrie Eldridge. 
EMK Press

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