A birthday ritual at her daughter’s preschool gave Cindy Chupack the inspiration to write her first children’s picture book.
When her daughter Olivia was a toddler, Chupack, a veteran TV and film writer and two-time Emmy winner, was invited to read a special picture book to the preschool class to celebrate Olivia’s birthday. As she turned the pages, Chupack quietly struggled with lines like “You were in my tummy” and other references that did not reflect her experience of starting a family through adoption.
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“I remember wanting to have something that would address all the different ways that families are formed,” Chupack told Variety of the spark that led her to write “We Waited for You: Now We’re a Family,” with illustrator Emily Hamilton. “I wanted something that would be validating to parents who have gone through a lot to get their child.”
Chupack drew on her own experience to craft a rhyming story that explains the steps along the way and the anticipation that adoptive parents face. Chupack went through many rounds of fertility treatments on her five-year journey to becoming a mother.
“There’s something that feels almost disloyal to an adopted child to talk about everything you tried first,” Chupack says. “I think it’s important to talk about it. It’s such a celebration to finally have your family.” She also penned “We Waited for You” with an eye toward making it inclusive for many different kinds of families, from those with special needs to same-sex parents to blended families.
Chupack’s many credits include “Sex and the City,” “Modern Family,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Fleishman Is in Trouble” and nonfiction books “The Longest Date: Life as a Wife,” “The Between Boyfriends Book” and “Dispatches From the Dating Front Lines.” Writing a children’s book was “always on my professional bucket list,” Chupack says, but it become a bigger priority when she saw first-hand how Olivia was shaped by the books and media she encountered. “I wanted to give people who aren’t writers a way to talk to their children,” she says.
Chupack has penned comedies of all stripes as well as dramas. With “We Waited for You,” she had permission to turn up the heart.
“Finally, you can wear your heart on your sleeve,” Chupack says. “There’s so much covering up the heart in TV. It’s looked down upon to be too sweet. It was just nice to write something from the heart and say what I wanted to say to my child.”
“We Waited for You: Now We’re a Family” is set for publication in July by Sourcebooks.
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