Wednesday, April 16, 2014

BSC #33: Claudia and the Great Search

By Ann M. Martin. Published April 1990.

Claud is super excited y’all! She gets to get out if school early! Sweet! But the reason sucks, to her at least. Janine is receiving an award at the high school, and the whole family’s going to watch her receive it. It’s never specified as to what the award is actually for, but we’re supposed to be very impressed. She gets a plaque and $250.

Claudia gets all jealous over everyone fawning over Janine, and that continues that night at dinner. It’s all about Janine and her award. She even gets a cake, albeit with her name misspelled.

After dinner, Claudia goes into the den and looks through photo albums. There are lots of pictures of Janine as a baby, and then pictures of Claudia as a baby with Janine, but none of Claudia alone. Claud proceeds to snoop through her parents’ desk, thinking there might be more pictures there. All she finds is a locked strongbox.

So she does what anyone would do, and jumps to the conclusion that she’s adopted. Claudia. Seriously. This is yet another case where I have to remind myself that these girls are only thirteen, and thirteen-year-olds are ridiculous. She does think that if Mimi were alive, she could go and ask her. But she can’t just go ask her parents? Oh, Claud.

Jumping to someone who actually is adopted, Kristy lets the club in on the info that Emily Michelle’s doctor is a little worried about her. She is language delayed, which is to be expected, but she’s not progressing as quickly as they’d like. She’s also having nightmares, and has some separation anxiety. They took her to get evaluated at a preschool, and she gets rejected, saying she’s not ready yet.

Claudia gets to see the anxiety firsthand when she sits for David Michael and Emily Michelle. It doesn’t really sound that bad to me, though. She is just two. Stacey calls during the job, and Claudia fills her in on her fears about being adopted. Stacey just goes right along with this idea, and says Claudia needs to start a search to find her real parents.

Dawn sits for Emily Michelle and David Michael. She compares Emily Michelle to Marnie and Gabbie, and determines that, yes, she is slow. Gabbie is practically a savant, Dawn, that’s not really fair. Then Kristy brings the Papadakis’ over, and the girls all play Ring Around the Roses. Emily is slower than Sari in catching on to the game. Kristy is worried.

So Claudia is working on her search. First she calls the agency Emily Michelle was adopted through, but they’ve only been in business for five years. She decides there are too many other agencies to try calling them. Then she wants to get into her family’s safety deposit box to see her birth certificate. She gets all the way to the bank, only to be told she needs a key. Then she decides to go talk to her old pediatrician. The doctor is busy, but she talks to the receptionist. She informs Claudia that she wasn’t her doctor until she was two. Claudia is convinced she’s lying, and covering up a secret.

Claudia sits for Emily Michelle and David Thomas again. She makes up a game for Emily Michelle to teach her matching, shapes, and colors. Emily Michelle catches on quickly, and Mrs. Brewer is so impressed she asks Claudia to tutor her a couple of days a week at her house. Claudia is very excited.

Stacey sits for the Perfect Perkins girls, and of course, they do something perfect. Myriah and Gabbie bake green chocolate chip cookies without using a recipe. Of course they do. After they’re in bed, Stacey finds a copy of Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye by Lois Lowry. It’s about an adopted girl and her search for her mother. Stacey rushes to the phone to tell Claudia about it.

Claudia gets lots of ideas from the book. She decides to go look up old birth announcements. Apparently all births automatically go in the paper, and hers isn’t there. Unless she was born under a different name. She writes down the info on the three girls who were born the same week she was. She calls two of the families, and finds out the other girls are indeed real. That just leaves a couple that was from Wyoming, the Hos.

Claudia has another tutoring session with Emily Michele, and she’s doing great. They’re working on counting. After she leaves, Claudia tries calling the Hos. The first two couples definitely aren’t them, and she gets no answer at Mary Ho’s. So she is convinced this must be her mother. She calls Stacey to tell her the news. Stacey finally gets some common sense, and tries to tell Claudia that this isn’t necessarily her, and that she needs to just come out and ask her parents.

And so she does, accusing them of lying to her. Great start, Claud. But they’re not mad, and what do you know? Turns out she’s not adopted! I know, I was shocked, too! There aren’t as many pictures of her simply because she’s the second child, and they were busier. She actually looks exactly like Mimi did at her age. In the locked box, is just money for emergencies. Her birth announcement was actually in a different Stoneybrook paper, which went out of business nine years ago. Claudia apologizes for calling them liars, and feels all sorts of better.

Kristy has good news about Emily Michelle. They took her to get reevaluated at the preschool, and they say she’s improved so much that she can start in the fall. She just has to get potty trained, but they’re sure they can accomplish that. And they’re so impressed with her new skills, they think it’s a good idea for Claudia to continue working with her. So yay, something for Claudia to feel good about herself.

o   The dedication made me laugh. “This book is for Jane, who is my sister (I think)” Maybe I’m easily amused.

o   When comparing Emily Michelle to other two-year-olds, Dawn thinks about how she isn’t toilet trained, and can only scribble with crayons. That sound like a lot of two-year-olds.


  1. I clearly remember going through an "I'm adopted!" phase. I think it started because my parents had an ultrasound picture of my sister, but not of me.

    This could easily be explained away (ultrasound pictures weren't a popular thing when I was born, they lost it, it's just in another box of old pictures and crap), but I was sure that I was adopted.

    1. I never got to have that phase, by the time I was old enough, my brother was born, and we look too much alike. And I knew he wasn't adopted. It also meant I couldn't tell him he was adopted, either. It was a bummer.

  2. Heh. Lack of baby pictures is a universal problem for almost every younger sibling I know. There's always 9,000 pictures of the firstborn. There's just too much to do when you add another one.

    Also gotta love Mrs. Thomas hiring her teenage daughter's friend as a "tutor." If they're that well-off, they can at least spring for a licensed professional in child development.

    1. Right? Good job, Brewers. This really was the shittiest adoption.

  3. Not too mention, hello, Emily Michelle just immigrated from a whole nother country and culture and has just recently started learning another language. All this at the age of two. I think she deserves a little slack for not being a perfect Perkins.

    1. They did say something about that, but just glossed over it saying she wasn't progressing fast enough. I guess because she didn't know the entire score from Annie.

  4. I think Emily Michelle is like a lot of 2 year olds. There are just too many advanced toddlers in Stoneybrook!

    Claudia was crazy for thinking Claudia was adopted. However, I like it when the BSC members make crazy assumptions, it makes them more their age.

    1. And honestly, she seems to actually be on the same level as Marnie. What did she ever do besides the ham face?

      And I agree, it's nice to be reminded how young they actually are.