SUPER MOM. SUPER STORY.
Now, Deirdre KLEIN Ochipinti turns her world upside down on purpose as a show of strength and self determination at her regular workouts. But it wasn’t very long ago that she felt her world was spinning out of control.
After five years of unsuccessful fertility treatments, which left her and husband Joe in deep debt, Deirdre says the financial, mental and emotional strain was overwhelming. “I never imagined adoption would be my path, but we felt called to follow this option and trust that God has a plan.” And there were more challenges to face upon the birth of their son.
“Alec was born at 29 weeks making everything that much harder,” she recalls with emotion. Deirdre had recently resigned from her job and was therefore able to care for him in the hospital eight hours a day for seven weeks. After successfully nursing him to health, the new mom’s next mission was addressing his emotional health. “The advice I got was to talk about being adopted from the start, but when I looked for a light-hearted book to help him learn how special he was, I couldn’t find any. That’s what inspired me to write one myself. I wanted hopeful parents to know that it’s possible to turn heartache into the most magnificent thing that’s ever happened to them. The minute that baby is born, there’s no concern about whether the child is bio or not. There’s just overwhelming love. Adoptive parents also fear their children will mistakenly feel given-away or different. It’s my mission to help them overcome that fear.”
In Alec, Deirdre had the inspiration she needed to write; however, she had no idea how difficult it would be to get her heartwarming message into print. “I was a good writer and earned a degree in business and computer science – how hard could writing a children’s book be?”
Over the next nine years, Deirdre submitted her story to hundreds of publishers. She joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and traveled to conference after conference for workshops, meetings with editors and advice. “One big city editor told me that not only would she not publish my book, but that no one else would ever publish it either. I was totally demoralized. There was frustration, tears, and I even quit trying for about a year. Looking back, I’m mad for letting one person affect me so much, but I picked myself up, determined to succeed.”
Finally, on November 1, 2019, after years of countless rejections, many re-writes and the refusal to quit, “Super Alec’s Very Super Day” was picked up by KiCam Publishing. With Alec now 11 and a big brother to adopted sister Kate, the premise of the story had matured along with the Ochipinti family. “I got the superhero idea from Alec’s fight to survive during his first few weeks of life. I wanted to tie in that Superman was also adopted, but was advised I couldn’t use any direct association for legal reasons.” The book’s final version has Alec heroically setting up his new sister’s nursery with the help of his dog. “So, already I have to think about another book because Kate’s now asking to be the superstar of the next one,” laughs the now fit and confident mother of two.
With the stress of rejections and hurdles, Deirdre credits husband Joe with unwavering support and financial backing. She also credits her trainer, Mike Linstead, for taking her through the home stretch. “Mike teaches that physical health contributes directly to mental health in terms of creativity and perseverance. Getting in shape helped me to avoid burn out and reach the next level to meet my goals. He’s so positive and always has a new way to look at any problem. His passion for helping people is inspiring. He led me through a physical transformation where at 49, I feel better than ever. I want to pass on his example of how physical health and success feed off each other.”
Deirdre says the day her accomplishment really set in was when she and Alec brought 50 published books to his 5th grade class at Mary Queen of Peace. The year before, Alec’s class analyzed the story – then just words printed on white paper – for an English assignment. They identified the main character, the plot, and offered thoughts on what they would change. “I got great feedback from the kids and promised that when, not if, it got published, I’d be back. We brought the bound and illustrated books that I had signed, and I made a little speech. When I finished, they all jumped up and ran to Alec to get his autograph too. That… that was a magical day.”
Her goal now is to expand her outreach to touch as many lives as she can. “November is National Adoption Month and I’m working with a national book retailer to establish a display table for adoption awareness. I want this book and others to help adoptive parents and kids to feel as happy and fulfilled as our family.”
To contact Deirdre Klein Ochipinti, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit deirdrekleinochipinti.com.