Dunnville, Ontario

Famous for the spectacular Elora Gorge and its 80 foot limestone cliffs descending into the Grand and Irvine Rivers. Adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers regularly flock to Elora, Ontario to enjoy some fun and take in the natural beauty.

Many original stone buildings from the 1800′s still make up the downtown village centre. Over the decades, Elora has maintained its old world charm and the century-old buildings have been transformed into unique galleries, gift shops, artists studios and charming restaurants creating the perfect four-season shopping and dining destination.

Elora is a cultural haven with so much to offer. Rich in live music, visual arts, crafts, up-scale boutiques, natural beauty, architecture, culinary flavours, and diverse in culture; Elora provides an alternative lifestyle not typically found in small, rural communities in this day and age. Discover for yourself what makes Elora so unique and you will fall in love too!

Child of My Heart
by Shelley Norman

Blood is thicker than water. My mother used to say that all the time. She’d say that when I wanted to go play with my friends, but she wanted me to visit an elderly aunt instead. She’d say it when I wanted to join a club after school but she wanted me to work at the family business. She’d say it when a boyfriend wanted me to spend the holidays with him and his family but she wanted me home instead. So I shouldn’t have been surprised that she said it when I announced that my husband and I were looking into adopting a child rather than going through another round of fertility treatments.

“Blood is thicker than water! You will never be able to love a child that isn’t yours the way you could love a child that comes from your flesh and bone!” she stated emphatically slamming the already over-kneaded bread dough down again on the floured board.
“Momma, that just isn’t true. An adopted child would be just as much mine as one I gave birth too. They’d still be a child of my heart,” I tried to reason with her. By her glare I hadn’t succeeded. “Read that in one of your ‘books’,” she said with a sneer in her voice.

Momma didn’t approve of self-help or psychology books. Momma didn’t approve of much that wasn’t her idea first. And I had a feeling she’d never approve of a child that wasn’t half Debois on their birth certificate.
This however wasn’t my mother’s choice to make. But I did know there could be long term consequences to a decision she didn’t approve of. And therefore I knew I had to pose the question, even if I may not like the answer, “Momma, are you saying if Jared and I adopt a child you won’t accept them into the family?”
With the force the bread dough slammed in to the greased pan, I knew I’d hit a nerve.
My mother turned around with anger and hurt written across her face, “is that what you think of me? My own daughter! You think I would turn a child out into the street just because it is not of our bloodlines?”
Tossing my hands up into the air I let out an audible huff, “Momma I don’t know what to expect? But I need to know before I bring a child home, because I don’t want them feeling unwanted. If you won’t be able to accept an adopted child as equal to your other grandchildren I need to know now.”

She turned back towards the counter, leaning, her hands braced against the edge. “Lena, I don’t know what to tell you. Blood is thicker than water.” “Okay, Momma,” I said rising from my chair. “I’ve got to go now. I’ll call you later in the week.” She didn’t turn as I let myself out the kitchen door.

The weeks turned into months and eventually a year passed, as Jared and I went through all the steps necessary to adopt a child. Finally the day came when we were allowed to bring home the four year old boy we hoped would eventually be our son. A trial run the social worker called it. Whatever it was called we were ecstatic.

The following Sunday a family dinner was planned at my mother’s house. I’d be lying if I didn’t say driving up to the old two-story home I grew up in, that I wasn’t a ball of nerves. How would my mother react to Tony. He was a sweet, well-mannered, shy boy. But he wasn’t blood.

Opening the front door we were assaulted by the smells of freshly baked bread and spaghetti sauce, and the racket caused by my brother’s three boys who were playing some kind of space battle game, complete with lightsabres and super hero capes. “Hey Aunt Lena, Uncle Jared!” Matt the oldest said running past us down the hall. “Do you want to play Galaxy Heroes with us? You can be on my team.” Then he noticed Tony holding tight to my hand. “Hey you brought a kid with you!” he exclaimed. His brothers came running.
“Matt, Zack and Pete,” I addressed the boys oldest to youngest, “this is Tony.” The boys muttered shy hellos, Tony hid a bit further behind my legs. “We were just going to go say hi to Gran, but then maybe we can all come play Galaxy Heroes if that’s ok?”
“Sure!” Zack said with enthusiasm. “Tony can be on my team. I’m going to go find him a lightsabre.” The brothers ran off to get more weapons, and I breathed a sigh of relief, at least the kids seemed ok with their new cousin.
“Momma, we’re here,” I said entering the familiar kitchen. She turned from the stove where she was stirring the sauce. “I’d like you to meet Antonio,” I pulled the boy slightly in front of me gently rubbing his shoulders.
Wiping her hands on her apron she walked over and crouched down in front of the boy. “So you’re the Tony, I’ve heard so much about?”
“Yes, ma’am,” the boy shyly replied staring down at his sneakers. “No need for the ma’am, you might as well call me ‘Gran’ like those other rug-rats that are in there jumping on the sofa,” she pointed across the hall at the living room where my brother was watching TV and making no attempt to control his children.
Tears filled my eyes at that gesture of kindness. “Thank you, Momma,” I said through a thick throat.
“Well,” she started straightening up, “ I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I’ve watched everything you and Jared have gone through the past fifteen months; the struggles, the disappointments, the pain and the joys and excitement. Really it is a lot like a mother endures during pregnancy and child birth. Who am I to tell you who is and isn’t a child of your heart.”
“Oh, Momma,” I wrapped her in my arms in a tight hug. read more Shelly Norman “Okay, okay,” she patted my back then stepped back. “Now, let us officially welcome your boy into our family. Call the rug-rats and your brother. It’s time for our whole family to have it’s first dinner together.” Then reaching for Tony’s hand she continued, “and you my newest grandson, can sit by your old Gran and tell me all about yourself.”