Deirdre Klein Ochipinti is the devoted mom of two children, Alec and Kate, who have enriched her life immeasurably. She shares her family’s journey in Super Alec’s Very Super Day: An Adoption Story to support other adoptive families and inspire would-be parents to consider the joyful path of adoption.
What prompted you to write Super Alec’s Very Super Day?
Alec was born ten weeks early and had to be in an enclosed incubator to regulate his body temperature. Some days, his health was so volatile between the temperature and forgetting to breathe, the only thing I could do was read to him. So I read and read. When he came home, I continued to read. He thrived.
When Alec was eighteen months old, I went to the bookstore to find a book to introduce the word “adoption” to him. This was advice from the plethora of physicians Alec had to see—neurologists, pulmonologists, psychiatrists, gastroenterologists, and pediatricians, not to mention his personal social worker specializing in adoption families. “Talk to him about adoption,” they told us. “Let him know the word, let him feel special, let him ask questions. Always be honest and clear.” I didn’t want a book with a uterus or a book of adopted animals! If it was to be clear, it had to be clear … for a toddler.
There were no adoption books with the things a young child loves: balloons, birthdays, babies, moms, dads, a pet, and maybe a superhero. Hence, my next journey—and as I soon realized, huge challenge—began: writing a children’s book.
Which books and writers inspired your storytelling?
Our home library was always filled with the traditional superhero stories. Once I realized my adopted boy had a very special tie to his favorite superhero, I knew I had to write about it.
As a first-time author, what challenges did you face in your writing process, and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me as a small-town mom and unknown author was getting my story in front of an established publisher. The slush pile is real.
Ahead of my work were celebrities and other established, published authors who were agented.
Perseverance got me through. I knew this book was needed. I was not going to stop until it was published for the adoption world, to help other moms and dads communicate with their adopted family.
What advice would you give to other aspiring authors, especially those who dream of creating children’s books?
Keep on keeping on. That is the toughest part—to not lose hope, never give up, and don’t let anyone, anyone, deter you from your important mission.
What has been the most fulfilling part of the writing and publishing process for you?
The look on my son’s face when he realized that he is so important that he has a book written about him. I want other adopted children to feel the same way.
What’s the primary takeaway you hope readers learn from Super Alec?
How cool it is to be adopted.