green tree photo

( Intermediate Level )

Can you imagine searching your family tree to discover your branch was broken? Does the trail just stop? You are not connected to anyone? Or are you?

Recently, Ryan’s history teacher assigned the students to illustrate their family tree. “The world is a big soup pot. Let’s see how many families originated in another country, and when or if they emigrated here.”

Try to go back as far as you can. Tell us the colors of eyes and hair in your family. Who looks like who. It will be fun to hear your stories!”

Ryan was very excited. He knew his family tree would be immense since he had such a large family. He wanted to use the largest paper he could find to make his tree.

To impress his teacher, he drew a large tree with roots running deep into the earth, signifying the strength of his family.

Both his parents had four siblings each, who married and had children, and as far as he could count, providing he hadn’t forgotten anyone, he had twenty-seven cousins.

He had a few days to complete this assignment so he took his time. He did as much as he could with the information he knew then asked his mom for help with the rest.

Ryan found his mom cooking dinner for the family. His sister was doing her homework at the table and his brother had finished his. He was in the living room watching television.

Mom, I will need your help filling in areas on our family tree. When you have time, can you help?”

Mary was a bit hesitant in answering. She looked at him then quickly looked away, pretending she had to keep her eyes on what she was doing.

“Yes, of course. Tonight I still have a few things still to do so how about tomorrow, after dinner? After your dad comes home. What I cannot remember he may remember.”

“Sure. It is not due until Friday so I have another two days. Thanks.” He turned and headed into the living room to watch TV with his brother.

Mary was deep in her thoughts that she hadn’t heard Bob come home. She knew this day would come eventually. She and her husband never told Ryan he was adopted.

They felt at the time it would be easier for him to understand what adoption meant when he was older.

When Mary and Bob married and wanted to start a family they had difficulties. The doctors told them that Mary had only one ovary producing eggs so the likelihood of getting pregnant decreased dramatically.

After four years of trying and wanting a family, they adopted Ryan. He brought so much joy to their life. To Mary’s surprise, she did get pregnant two years after the adoption of Ryan and then again after one year.

All the children were treated the same. It never made a difference to either of them that one had been adopted. Ryan was theirs just as much as their biological children.

After the children went to bed, Mary spoke to Bob about the class project. He sat there listening to Mary’s concerns. “Maybe we should have told him earlier,” she told Bob.

“Mary, Ryan is a smart boy. He knows we love him and so does his brother and sister. I think he will be fine. We never showed any favoritism between them. So tomorrow after dinner, we will sit down with him and help him with his class project and explain why we cannot fill in some areas of his tree.”

That night Mary barely slept. She was worried that her son would be crushed. Finding out his family is not really his family. Would he hate her for not telling him sooner?

The children headed to school on the bus. Bob was about to leave and he turned to Mary, “Honey, it will be ok. Promise. I know you didn’t get much sleep last night so try to rest today. I will be home tonight as quickly as I can and we will sit down together to speak with Ryan.”

The day passed quickly and the children were home. “We are going to have an early dinner tonight. Your dad and I will help Ryan with his project. Don’t eat too many snacks and spoil your dinner.”

Dinner was uneventful as the children had other ideas on their minds. Ryan’s mind was on finishing his class project whereas his siblings had finished their homework and could watch television.

Mom cleared the table and put away the leftovers while Ryan went to his room to gather his project. Mary took a deep breath and looked at her husband.

Ryan came running into the kitchen and set his colored pencils and his neatly rolled-up project. He unrolled his masterpiece and held the four ends down with clean coffee mugs.

“Here it is!” showing his work to his parents. ” He looked up at his dad and said, “Dad who in our family has red hair and hazel eyes like me? I remember many names and filled in many areas but no one has my colored hair. I don’t think anyone on Mom’s side has red hair. “

Bob looked up at Mary and saw she was upset so he began,” Well Ryan, you are the only one in our family who has red hair and those beautiful hazel eyes. you are unique in this respect.” He smiled at Ryan as he spoke.

Bob sat down next to Ryan knowing his son was excited to get his project done before its due date tomorrow. He put his arm around Ryan as he began to talk.

“Ryan, Mommy, and I wanted to have children and start our family. For some reason we had trouble. So, we decided after a few years to go to a special place where we found you.”

Ryan was confused at this point. He looked at his mom. “A special place? What does this mean? I do not understand.”

Mary, who had stood quietly while her husband tried to explain now spoke up,” Your dad and I love you very much. You are our son from the first moment we held you. You didn’t come from my belly like your brother or sister but you are our son.”

Ryan remembered a movie he watched and said, “Am I adopted?” Mary looked at her son then to Bob, “Yes.” Those words sent a shudder through Mary. She never thought of Ryan as that. He was her son.

Their son quietly sat there absorbing everything that was said. He looked up and smiled. “I remember my science teacher explaining this before. Grafting he called it. This helps the new tree grow faster and develop more quickly.”

“Many farmers use this trick to have the best quality trees on their farms. I guess this is how I became part of your family. I was grafted onto your family tree.”

Mary sat down next to her son and slid her arm around his shoulders. “Yes, I believe you made our family better Ryan.”

Bob glanced at his wife as he sat down at the table across from the two. Mary looked up and he mouthed the words, “I told you.”

As Ryan looked at his project on the table he wanted to show his branch of the tree as being something special and unique.

He began to split one branch and show how he became part of the family. He knew once he gave his presentation to the class he would have to explain what adoption is.

With the help of his parents, his masterpiece was complete. Including his grafted limb. He took the news of himself being adopted well.

Ryan couldn’t wait to share this newly found information with his classmates. To know how special he was and how grateful he is to be part of this family.

Written by: Angel

If you appreciate what I do:

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Instagram: morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5


illustrate – verb: explain or make (something) clear by using examples, charts, or pictures

originated – verb:  specified beginning

emigrated – verb: leave one’s own country in order to settle permanently in another

immense – adjective: extremely large

signifying – verb: indicating

assignment – noun: a task or piece of work assigned to someone

hesitant – adjective: tentative, unsure, or slow in acting or speaking

pretending – verb: speak and act so as to make it appear that something is true when in fact it is not

deep in her thoughts – adjective: preoccupied by thoughts, thinking very hard

adopted – verb: legally take (another’s child) and bring it up as one’s own

likelihood – noun:  probability

dramatically – adverb: in a way that relates to drama 

biological – adjective: genetically related; related by blood

favoritism – noun: unfair preferential treatment

spoil your dinner – idiom: eating snacks or food before an actual meal

uneventful – adjective: not interesting or exciting

leftovers – noun: something, especially food, remaining after the rest has been used or consumed

unique – adjective: one of a kind

confused – adjective: unable to think clearly or understand

shudder– verb: tremble

absorbing – adjective: intensely interesting; engrossing

grafting – verb: insert (a shoot or twig) as a graft

glanced – verb: take a brief or hurried look

mouthed – verb: saying something in a whisper or no voice

presentation – noun: a speech or talk in which a piece of work is shown and explained to an audience

masterpiece – noun: exceptional art or work

Question ( s ):

Do you know anyone who is adopted?

If so, did they know at an early age?

Do you think it was a good idea to keep the information of adoption from Ryan for so long? Or should his parents have told him?

Rosemary’s Birthday Wish

( Intermediate Level )

Rosemary lives in a small studio apartment in Boca Raton, Florida. She moved here under the coaxing of her neighbors and friends from New Jersey.

“It will be a great place to live, Rosie. Fresh air and sunshine. You won’t need to worry about the cold winters here.” This was two and a half years ago.

Rosie, as her friends called her, never thought she would leave New Jersey. She grew up there and enjoyed every moment. Both her mom and dad emigrated to America from Italy and settled in New Jersey, many years ago after marrying.

Rosemary had a close family. She had three older siblings and she was the baby of the family. Her siblings watched over her until their parents came home.

Both her parents worked in factories. Her mom worked in a garment factory and her dad worked in a steel factory. Growing up was tough at times. They never had extra money but always had a house and hot meals.

Rosie at 69 now, sits alone, in her little apartment reflecting on the days of the past. Her birthday is soon, she will be 70. She’s been alone completely for the last 10 years when her husband passed.

Her parents passed away over 25 years ago. First her father and then her mother. Her siblings were gone too.

She and her husband, Anthony, were high school sweethearts. Shortly after they graduated, he had joined the military promising her he would come back in one piece and marry her.

He did return and they married after six months. They spent 37 years together. They chose not to have children. They were both a little older when they married so they thought it was best.

Their life together was simple. Anthony loved to play cribbage in the evenings with Rosie after dinner. Some nights they would watch the news or sit out on the stoop, talking to their neighbors.

As the years went by, many of their neighbors moved away. Some had abandoned the colder weather for warmer or moved in with their children.

This left Rosie and Anthony alone. Until that tragic day, when Anthony passed away. Now it was Rosie, who was alone. She had a few friends that still lived in the neighborhood who would stop in from time to time for a quick cup of coffee and chit chat.

For several years this routine continued. Her loneliness becomes more evident to her friends. The idea of a fresh start in a new state sounded better and better.

In spring, as the earth came to life, once again, after the harsh winter, Rosie made the leap. She moved to Florida.

It was exciting, at first. The thought of meeting new people and possibly taking up a hobby. She soon realized this was a dream. Instead, she found herself alone again.

The people she met either were snowbirds or they were younger by 20 years and had excursions of their own to enjoy.

Every week each of her friends, from Jersey, would call to check up on her. She in turn told them everything was wonderful.

“I love the fresh air and the warm weather. I practically go out every day with friends to have lunch,” she would tell them. Of course, this was a lie. She didn’t want to have them hear she was actually miserable.

Some mornings, when she had her coffee, she thought maybe things would be different for her now if they decided to have children.

She could be like others and spend time with them and their grandchildren. No sense digressing on what could have been, this is her life now and she wouldn’t change a thing.

To celebrate her birthday, Rosie went to the corner supermarket and bought herself a chocolate cake with fresh cherries on the top. When she saw this cake she smiled.

Anthony always bought this cake for her because it was his favorite. Over the time spent with him, she grew to love it too.

Tomorrow was her birthday. She unboxed the cake and set it on her kitchen counter. She planned on having a piece after lunch tomorrow. What she was to do with the rest she had no idea.

That evening, Rosie decided to write a letter to herself. She wanted to express what she wanted for her birthday.

She knew if she shared her wish with her friends, in New Jersey, they wouldn’t understand. So writing to herself made sense.

With a sturdy hand and determination, she began her letter.

Dear Rosie,”

“I know those who will read this letter will think I was crazy but I am actually quite sane. I will be 70 tomorrow and I want to tell you my birthday wish.”

“I have had a wonderful life. My parents were hard-working people and myself and my siblings always had love shown to us.”

“I know it must have been difficult for my parents to move so far away from their families when they did. They knew, once they had children, they wanted us to have a better opportunity.”

“My darling, Anthony, was my life. He never broke a promise to me. He promised me for the first time he would return to me after the war and he did.”

“Since that very first promise, he never broke any promise. I could count on him for everything. We had 37 wonderful years together before he left this world.”

“When he left, my world stopped. The friends we had watched over me once he was gone, but they too were busy with their lives and I didn’t need them to babysit over me.”

I thought moving to Florida I would look at life differently but I cannot. Without my Anthony, life is just not the same.”

“So now for my birthday wish. I know many will not understand unless you have found true love.”

“Tonight while I sleep, I wish to go be with my only true love, Anthony. I know he will be waiting for me. I have lived and loved and met wonderful people.

I feel it is my time to go. I know one day I will see all of you again. Until then, I will be in the arms of my Anthony.

This is what I truly want for my birthday.”


She got her birthday wish. Rosie passed sometime during the night. Her friends from New Jersey called and called trying to wish her a Happy Birthday. No answer time after time.

Her friends became very worried, so they contacted the local police department to have them go on a welfare check. An officer was dispatched and arrived at her apartment. He had the building manager open the door.

Officer Bryant found Rosie lying on her bed. She hadn’t changed into her pajamas the night before. He thought it was strange she hadn’t changed and hadn’t pulled back the covers to slip into the bed.

Maybe she was too tired the night before to change her clothes or she expected to go somewhere early in the morning.

He walked around the apartment and found the birthday cake uneaten and the note she had placed beside the cake. He read the note she had written to herself.

He laid the letter back on the counter and whispered. “Happy Birthday, Rosemary. Now you are with your one true love.”

Written By: Angel

If you appreciate what I do:

Follow me on:

Instagram: Morningangel847

Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5


coaxing – noun: gentle persuasion

emigrated – verb: leave one’s own country of birth and settle permanently in another

siblings – noun: brother or sister

garment – noun: item of clothing

reflecting – verb: think deeply or carefully

graduated – verb: completion

cribbage – noun: a card game for two to four players, in which the objective is to play so that the value of one’s cards played reaches exactly 15 or 31

stoop – noun: the platform or area on top of the outside stairs that lead to the apartment(s). This word is used regularly in New York or the New England states.

abandoned – adjective: deserted

tragic – adjective: distress or sorrow

chit chat – noun: small talk

harsh – adjective: unpleasant

snowbirds – noun: a northerner who moves to a warmer southern state in the winter for the warmer weather

excursions – noun: a short trip

miserable – adjective: unhappy

digressing – verb: leave the main subject or topic temporarily

sane – adjective: a person of sound mind; not mad or mentally ill

welfare check – noun: In the United States and Canada, a wellness check is an in-person visit from one or more law enforcement officers, especially in response to a request from a friend or family member who is concerned about the person’s mental health

dispatched – verb: to go to a place for a purpose

Question ( s ):

Do you know someone who had lost their spouse and now lives all alone? If so, do you think they are lonely like Rosemary was?

Have you ever become bored by being alone? What did you do to overcome being bored? or lonely?