Authors: Wendy Dunham
HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS
Scripture verses are taken from
The New King James VersionÂ®. Copyright Â© 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
, New Living Translation, copyright Â©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
The ESVÂ® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard VersionÂ®), copyright Â© 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Cover by Writely Designed, Buckley, Washington
Cover photo Â© altanaka / Fotolia
Published in association with William K. Jensen Literary Agency, 119 Bampton Court, Eugene, Oregon 97404.
MY NAME IS RIVER
Copyright Â© 2015 Wendy Dunham
Published by Harvest House Publishers
Eugene, Oregon 97402
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
My name is River / Wendy Dunham.
Summary: River Starling, adopted under mysterious circumstances, has lived most of her eleven years on her grandparents' Pennsylvania farm but after Gram suddenly decides they must move to Birdsong, West Virginia, River finds an unlikely new friend, learns about God's love, and begins to feel at home.
ISBN 978-0-7369-6461-6 (pbk.)
ISBN 978-0-7369-6462-3 (eBook)
[1. Moving, HouseholdâFiction. 2. GrandmothersâFiction. 3. FriendshipâFiction. 4. Christian lifeâFiction. 5. AdoptionâFiction. 6. Missing personsâFiction. 7. West VirginiaâHistoryâ20th centuryâFiction.] I. Title.
All rights reserved.
For Erin and Evan, who are the most loved, adored, and amazing children I could have ever hoped for.
I am so very grateful for you.
Heartfelt thanks to Ruth Samsel, my delightful agent, who believed in River right from the start.
And to Barb Sherrill, Peggy Wright, and everyone else at Harvest House who wrapped their arms around River and me and made us feel like family.
Before Ruth, Barb, and Peggy, there were others who provided inspirationâvarious writing friends, members of Rochester Area Children's Writers & Illustrators (RACWI) and WNY Word Weavers, and most notably my friend Wendy Dunn of Paper Dance Editing.
A big shout-out to Sam Files, a preteen and lover of books who, after reading an early draft, said, “This is the best story ever. I read it three times!” That was the fuel I needed. Thank you, Sam.
And to my parents, family, and friends I've known over the years, I thank you. For without you, I'd be empty and have no stories to share.
on't you worry now, Sugar Pie. Everything's gonna be all right.” Gram must've said that a million times over the last few days, and that's a pretty big promise to make to a grandkid.
But, truthfully, I don't think I've ever doubted her because Gram doesn't lie. She says, “Life ain't worth a hill of beans if you don't speak the truth.” And in Gram's book, even a half-truth measures up to a whole lie. But today, the day we're moving, I'm working hard at believing her.
Gram's in the kitchen double-checking our cupboards. She said the only thing she's leaving behind is mouse poop (not that I'd ever seen any). The cupboard doors bang as she yells up the stairs. “Label them boxes, Sugar Pie, with your name and what you got in 'em.”
Packing's a lot harder than I thought. Not the actual packing, that's easy, but the part about leaving everything behind. This old brick farmhouse is all I've ever known or at least all I can remember.
I push the last box to the middle of my room and write big black letters on the side:
red flannel blanket
ballerina jewelry box
I think about leaving the jewelry box behind but don't because it's from Gram. Plus that's where I keep my heart necklace.
My real name is River, but Gram calls me “Sugar Pie.” I've been alive for four thousand six hundred and twenty days, which means I'll be thirteen on my next birthday, and in all that time, I still haven't figured out why anyone would name their kid River. But that's the name I came withâto my adoptive parents, anyways. I thought babies were supposed to come into the world free of names and everything, but I came fully clothed, wearing a white and yellow checkered dress just the right size for an eighteen-month-old. And I only know that because Gram told me.
Gram said she was blown clear out of the water on the day my parents brought me home. She had no idea they were going to adopt. It was like I'd fallen straight from the sky, and when I asked why I was such a secret, she shook her head and said, “Sugar Pie, I haven't a clue. Your mother never did have the sense God gave a goose.”
Gram keeps a special picture of me on her nightstand. It's the picture she took that day. My mom (who is Gram's daughter) is holding me on her hip, and my dad (Gram's son-in-law) is standing behind with his arms wrapped around the both of us. I was actually cuteâreal chubby with a crooked little smile. Even then I had a ton of hair. It was curly all over the place and shiny brown like a chestnut. Hanging around my neck was a silver necklace with a dangling heart charm. On the front “River” was engraved, and on the back was 9-23-1970. I didn't come with a birth certificate, which Gram said was the most ridiculous thing she'd ever
heard. A lot has changed since then. First of all, I'm not chubby anymore. And second of all, my mom and dad are gone.
As far as my real parents go, I can pretty much guess I came to them the way most any kid doesâplopped into the hands of a doctor, screaming at the top of my lungs, and completely naked. And since they gave me away when I was only one and a half, I can only guess I was unlovable too.