Spiders from Heaven

Spiders from Heaven

A Poetic Journey into Middle-Aged Motherhood

by Ann L. Carter

 

“Here I am starting this journal about possibly adopting and I can’t even put ‘Adoption’ as the file name. What am I afraid of? That someone might look in my computer and think I want a child to love?”

So begins the author’s personal story of adoption and motherhood. A forty-three year old woman living in a small university town in the Midwest, she had more than enough to do with a teaching career, travel, art, house and garden, and a somewhat demanding cat. When a close friend sends her an article about a couple bringing home a little girl from China, she realizes she must rethink the possibility of having children, a dream she thought she’d left behind.

Through journal entries, letters, emails, and poems spanning 15 years, she recounts the ups and downs of her decision making, the adoption process, and single parenting. Told with wit, sensitivity, and compelling honesty, Spiders from Heaven immediately brings the reader into her journey, a journey full of doubts and setbacks, but always with the underlying belief that, in the end, one must follow one’s heart.

REVIEWS

Margaret Holmberg, President for CT Association for Infant Mental Health—Spiders from Heaven reveals those inner thoughts and emotions that all mothers-to-be and mothers have but rarely share or admit. Ann’s story is a reflection from her emails, journal entries, and poetry – a special combination of writings that is original, sensitive, and compelling. With loving honesty and tenderness, Ann shares her turmoil in planning to become a single parent by adopting international children. She goes on to share the perplexing world of motherhood including the worries, the dreams, and her caring and nurturing relationship with her girls. A good read for any mother and those who care about mothers, but especially meaningful for anyone who is anticipating adoption – also important for those who counsel adoptive parents.

Emily—This book spoke to me. Not only could I relate to the author’s anecdotes about parenthood, which were spot on and hilarious, I found it inspiring in a fundamental way. It is, to my mind, a book about a woman who takes chances, lives how she pleases, and reaches for her dreams. In this instance, her dream is to have children. So she figures out how to do it and makes it happen. It isn’t easy or simple; it never is. But she does it anyway and builds a beautiful, loving family. This is probably what I appreciated most about this memoir, the underlying idea that you don’t necessarily need to find a man in order to have children. I could see this being a very powerful message to women who have always wanted to be parents but have waited and waited to find a suitable mate. Don’t wait. Take control of your destiny. The book is comprised of letters, journals, photos, and poems. With each new piece, it builds, advances, and becomes more complex. The author is absolutely candid, unafraid to express her doubts or make jokes at her own expense. She comes off as highly endearing, someone who would be fun to share drinks and swap stories with. Spiders from Heaven is a beautiful, inspiring book that will give comfort to adoptive parents—or anyone who dreams of having children and feels like taking the chance.

TW—If you like Anne Lamott, I think you will like this book as it is written with the same raw honesty, vulnerability and humor that is quintessential Lamott.  This Ann (Carter) is on a similar journey only later in life. She invites you to share the ups and downs and ins and outs of deciding to step out in courage and follow her heart into the biggest lifestyle change she has ever experienced.  Of particular interest to those considering adoption or single parenting, this book is about more than those subjects. It’s about taking risks to realize ones dreams. It’s about courage. We can all benefit from reading more true life stories like this one.  The format, being made up of e-mails, journal entries and the author’s poetry, make for thought provoking but quick reading and the style is delightful.

Doreen—Ann Carter shares her soul in this very touching book. At some point in her life, Ann was no longer content to be a single woman, she wanted to share her love. Ann decided to seek out the path of adoption and she ended up adopting two baby girls from two different cultures. The book ” Spiders From Heaven” describes her journey of love. What courage and determination Ann had! When I finished the book, I wanted to applaud. This is a book worth reading again.

Teprusa—Even though this book is a personal reflection and journey, many people can relate to it. The first part of the book does a wonderful job of exploring the many emotions that come with adoption. As someone who has not adopted, I found the insights very helpful in understanding my friends who have. The second part of the book is about all the ups and downs of being a parent as well as a person. The author combines journal entries, emails, and poetry to create a unique exploration of the topic.

Funny, Honest and Sweet – This is one of the most endearing and uplifting stories I’ve read in quite some time. An adventure of indecision is woven through emails, poems, journal entries and anecdotes while the author starts out with a needy cat and ends up with two beautiful daughters adopted overseas. It’s funny, honest and sweet as the mildly self-deprecating and very brave author figures out parenting through depression, singlehood and menopause and is the book to pick up when you want to feel good. I second another reviewer’s comparison to Ann Lamotte. Excellent read! – RB

Ann Carter pulls the reader in – SPIDERS FROM HEAVEN is one woman’s true story of the uncertain journey toward motherhood. Warmth, love, joy, and fear fill the pages as well as our hearts. Ann Carter pulls the reader in when she says, “I guess mothers are luxuries. Maybe the most important luxury in the world.” It is a gentle weaving of discovery. I cried when Ann realized she had the right to love and be loved by a child of her own. I look forward to the next chapter of her life. This is a “must read.” – S

A life-affirming story – Ann Carter’s book is such an enjoyable and thoughtful read. Relying on her diaries, Ann recounts her experience as a 40-something single woman who adopts a child from overseas, and then another. She writes honestly about how her life changes, the joys as well as the frustrations of single parenthood. But the book is not simply an adoption memoir. Ann”s writing ranges widely, to touch on life values, activities, and the importance of relationships developed with friends and family, at work and in the community. The diary-entry format enables readers to experience her life as it unfolds in the present and changes over the years. She pulls together the threads of her experience, incorporating different forms–prose, poetry and photography. The story gave me a better understanding of Ann’s life choices and the positives that can come from taking a chance rather than waiting for ‘perfect’ circumstances. – MD

Ordinary Miracles – In the spirit of Annie Dillard and Anne Lamott, Ann Carter (what is it about the name Ann?) focuses on the miracles of everyday life: a cat who insists on sleeping under the covers, the beauty of a chaotic flower garden, the blessing of friendship. Into this ordinary, wonderful life come two little girls, one from China and another from Vietnam. Through letters, emails, poems and journal entries, Ann expresses the jumble of emotions that come with being a parent, and particularly an adoptive single parent. Spiders from Heaven does what art is supposed to do: it draws our attention to the beauty that might be overlooked in our day-to-day lives. “Look at this! It’s amazing!” And so is this book. – C

Honest, funny, inspiring – This book has a very small target audience: Single adoptive middle-aged mothers. Only one of these qualifiers applies to me right now; I am a mother to a pair of young daughters. But this book spoke to me. Not only could I relate to the author’s anecdotes about parenthood, which were spot on and hilarious, I found it inspiring in a fundamental way.

It is, to my mind, a book about a woman who takes chances, lives how she pleases, and reaches for her dreams. In this instance, her dream is to have children. So she figures out how to do it and makes it happen. It isn’t easy or simple; it never is. But she does it anyway and builds a beautiful, loving family. This is probably what I appreciated most about this memoir, the underlying idea that you don’t necessarily need to find a man in order to have children. I could see this being a very powerful message to women who have always wanted to be parents but have waited and waited to find a suitable mate. Don’t wait. Take control of your destiny.

The book is comprised of letters, journals, photos, and poems. With each new piece, it builds, advances, and becomes more complex. The author is absolutely candid, unafraid to express her doubts or make jokes at her own expense. She comes off as highly endearing, someone who would be fun to share drinks and swap stories with.

Spiders from Heaven is a beautiful, inspiring book that will give comfort to adoptive parents–or anyone who dreams of having children and feels like taking the chance. – EH

Ann L CarterAnn Carter is a working artist and writer living with her two daughters and a variety of animals on a small acreage located in the Flint Hills of central Kansas. For more information on her art and writing, visit annlcarter.com. Watch a short documentary about her current life, “Building a Nest.”

ISBN: 978-1-939054-10-4 (hardcover); 978-1-939054-09-8 (softcover)

Binding: Dust jacket, cloth (hardcover); Perfect bind (softcover)

Trim Size: 6″ x 9″

Pages: 306

front cover

front cover

back cover

back cover

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Price: $15.00 (softcover)

 

Price: $25.00 (hardcover)

 

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