The Year The Trees Didn’t Die
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The Year The Trees Didn’t Die is the story of how author Mary J. Koral and her husband Ken managed to cope with the challenges of making an interracial adoptive family.
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Equal parts heart-wrenching and uplifting, The Year The Trees Didn’t Die tells of loss on every level imaginable: loss of identity, loss of control, and of a mother who promised to “exchange loss for love…” Unflinching in its honesty and rawness, it is a haunting and remarkable story that is unforgettable.
The Year The Trees Didn’t Die is the story of how author Mary J. Koral and her husband Ken managed to cope with the challenges of an interracial adoptive family.
Strangers ask their children if they speak English, know their birthparents, and realize how lucky they are to live in America. They watch as those children move from happy to confused and angry, rebel, and make terrifying choices. Laughter leaves and fear is a constant companion. How will the family survive? Will the family survive?
EXCERPTS FROM BOOK:
Chapter 19 — What Else There Was
She kept shouting at us. “I’m the most different,” she shouted. “I’m way different. Nothing at all like you guys.” Sometimes we let her shout, convinced that she must trust us or she wouldn’t yell like that, a screaming, shrieking thing waving her fists in the air. Sometimes we shouted back, turned away. Sometimes I wanted to shake her. Could it even matter if I caused brain damage?
And we had two other children. Both of them shell-shocked. They wanted to know where their sister had gone. Minh and Anita had been a tight pair and, for a long time, Minh tried to keep it that way. He never told on her and he got her out of what trouble he could. But, after a while, he plugged his ears and let her shout. Sung kept out of her sight.
Also, Minh and Sung had their own troubles. Anita’s anger seemed to increase Minh’s reserve. He never, ever said, “I’m sad,” or, “I’m scared.” He must have felt both those things with Anita’s problems taking over our lives. But he didn’t say so. He always had, still does, the personality of someone who gets along. He doesn’t rock the boat, not Minh. Which can lead to passive-aggressive behavior.
Chapter 43 — Bad Math Problems
Probably the day I was supposed to buy him basketball shorts, one of the older two had a major crisis.
I didn’t want him to have a major crisis, not any kind of crisis if that was possible. Be okay, Sung. Don’t mess up. And both of us, Ken and I, were extra vigilant, like we had been careless with our money and were counting every nickel and dime. When Sung finished middle school, we chose a no-nonsense private high school. A school with structure, that’s the ticket, we thought.
He was angry; not fair, not fair, he yelled when we told him.
“It’s a prison,” he yelled.