Our staff recently discovered the children’s book What I Do Know by Lori Schlect. Many of us commented on the beauty found in a story that doesn’t shy away from the loss that is experienced in adoption. Furthermore, the inclusive, transracial, differently-abled families depicted in its illustrations, brought a smile to many of our faces. We asked Lori to share a bit about the book and how it came to be. Here is what she shared:
It was a cozy winter morning in Minnesota. My husband was off to work and my girls were dropped off at school ready for a day of learning. My little dude, Eli, was my sidekick back then. It took a lot of prayer, patience and persistence to bring him from Port au Prince, Haiti that previous summer, so I was thankful for time with him. I savored just our ordinary moments of being mom and son.
We had just unbundled from dropping his sisters off and we cozied in for the day. Eli had already got out all his matchbox cars and was lining them up in front of the warmth of the fireplace still in his jammies and little monkey slippers. I grabbed a basket of laundry, sat near my sweet boy as he played, and began to fold the laundry. We turned on the TV to my favorite channel at the time, TLC. It happened to be an episode of “A Baby Story.” As we watched, side-by-side, I was overcome with emotion. I glanced back and forth from my dear son to the TV, and I ached that I didn’t know his “Baby Story.” I grieved that I couldn’t tell him what his first moments on this earth were like. I didn’t know who was there to welcome him on the day of his birth, when he smiled for the first time, his first food, or his first word. Sadness washed over me as I realized that there were so many things that I couldn’t give him the answers to.
As a parent, we want to be able to give our children the answers they deserve. It is our job to tell them their stories so they hold them neatly tucked away in their heart until they are old enough to share their stories on their own. I sobbed and sobbed that morning to the point where I couldn’t really breathe. Poor Eli had no idea why I was so overcome with emotion. He just crawled up on my lap, looked at me with his beautiful brown eyes, and handed me one of his matchbox cars. I just held him tightly and took time to just grieve and let his unconditional love wash over me. I turned the TV off and grabbed my journal.
It was in a time of prayer and journaling that the idea of the book, What I Do Know, was sparked. As I scribbled in my journal and prayed, a beautiful peace came over me. I was reminded that there will be things that I won’t be able to answer for my son, but to find beauty in the things are that I can tell him. I wasn’t there for the first chapter of his life, but I am blessed to be intertwined with him for the next chapters and privileged to be his mama throughout his story.
The first few pages of the book say,
“I don’t know about the day you were born. But I do know that the day I saw your sweet face and held you in my arms, we belonged to one another.
I don’t know what your first word was. But I do know how it warmed my heart when you first sweetly said, “I love you.”
I don’t know what your first food was. But I do know that as we gather around our kitchen table each night, you’ll always have food and family togetherness to be thankful for.”
Partnering up with the talented artist, D.C. Ice, was such a joy and a gift! She made my words come to life and created diverse, warm, whimsical, unique illustrations to represent a variety of families. Love makes a family and I love how beautifully unique families are created through adoption and step parenting. It is our wish that this book will bless families and be used to create meaningful conversations and deepen the bonds of parent and child as they journey through life together, discovering all of the things that you do know!