Tynetta Crawford was born in Cincinnati to an alcoholic and drug-abusing mother.
When she was 5, the family was evicted from its apartment and she and several younger brothers found themselves on the street. Her mother, she said, was “nowhere around.” She didn’t know her father.
Years in foster care followed.
At age 10, Tiny — as she was nicknamed — was adopted by her fourth-grade teacher.
“My life began,” she said. But, “I came with a lot of baggage,” including having endured mental, physical, and sexual abuse.
Crawford stayed with her adoptive family until college. She graduated with a business degree, had two children, and went on to a long career at a Cincinnati hospital.
Now 42, she recently moved from Ohio to Woburn because her husband, Jason Crawford, was promoted to senior manager at FedEx.
All along, Crawford wanted to share her adoption story.
Her children’s book,
“Help Me Carry My Baggage,” has been released by Tate Publishing.
Told through a young character called Tiny, the book provides a child’s perspective on the journey and emotional roller coaster of being adopted.
“I wanted it to be a realistic, honest story of someone in that situation,” Crawford said.
She said the “baggage” in the title has two meanings: the bags of clothes and belongings kids take from one foster home to the next, and the weight of mental and physical issues.
Of her own adoption experience, she said: “I felt scared, but didn’t want to tell anyone. I wanted to be normal and not feel different. I didn’t want to put my life out there for people to judge.”
Crawford said while it is described as a children’s book, “Baggage” is also for middle school students. Being adopted at an older age presents its own challenges, she said.
“I want to say to kids, ‘Talk about how you feel, because you are not the only one who feels this way,’ ” she said.
Crawford said she also wants to help adoptive parents “understand this passage and that it’s normal for children to have these feelings.”
“It wasn’t until I was an adult that I could own it and say, ‘I am adopted.’ And when I said it, I was so relieved.”