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Meet Molly

Molly McCluskey-Shipman understands children. In fact, a student once told her "You should change your name to 'Dr. Feel Better'; every time I talk to you I feel better."
In addition to Emma’s Dilemma, Molly is the author of Festeva’s Holiday Cheer (2018), The BIST Bunch, and various manuals/articles for nonprofit organizations.  Being able to laugh and feel a sense of belonging is essential! Molly hopes that children can relate, identify, and see themselves within her books.
As an adopted child herself, Molly was motivated to help others!  She is a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker in Kansas/Missouri and is the Social-Emotional Coordinator for Quality Hill Charter School. Molly resides in Kansas City with her daughter and their dog. 

Giving Back
Never underestimate the power of helping others--       Molly
Here are a few of the agencies/programs that Molly supports:
Kansas Children's Service League:
Great Plains SPCA:
Heifer International:
Mission Driven LLC:

The "Why" of Emma's Dilemma

September 17, 2015

Molly McCluskey-Shipman



I don’t remember the exact circumstances or my age when we talked about the fact that I’m adopted. However, I know that I was young enough to be a bit fuzzy about the concept but old enough to know that others had made fun of the fact that I was adopted. 


We were riding in the car when my dad offered, “My last traffic ticket happened when I was driving home to pick up your mom. I was so excited to get her and come pick you up that I was speeding.” 


As you can imagine, I had many questions. “Why were you coming to pick me up? When was this? Was it just you and mom?” My parents patiently answered every question, offering up tidbits of that day. I was about a month old, dressed in pink and being held by the social worker. My older brothers were so excited to meet me. My Grandmother, Louise was with them as well and couldn’t wait to hold me.


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word "adopted" as: “to take a child of other parents legally as your own child.” At face value this is true, but adoption is so much more! From a personal perspective, adoption is giving your heart to a chosen child, while creating a sense of belonging as a family unit. My parents have done a fantastic job of creating this sense of family and belonging. In fact, they have done this so well that there have been times that I’ve actually forgotten that I’m adopted.  


I do recall school assignments that provided reminders of being adopted. It was certainly not the intention of those assigning the project but I experienced discomfort nonetheless. After having my own child I was asked for photographs of myself as a newborn and had to respond, “I’m sorry but I don’t have any.” This response was met with a sense of disbelief from the individuals asking, and provided me pause.  


My personal experience, as well as working within the areas of social work and education has provided many opportunities to see the effects of what happens when children feel like they don’t belong. This lack of belonging has a profound effect on children and the adults working with them. In writing Emma’s Dilemma, my hope is that children and adults can identify with the character, story or some element to ask themselves who has had a significant impact on them? In what ways do they belong? How do they help others belong? It is within our hearts that we can offer belonging to others while we pursue our dreams and gain a sense of significance for ourselves. 


My daughter and I have experienced both significance and belonging as we’ve volunteered for GPSPCA.  During the training, there were many descriptors given of how volunteers impact the dogs; love, comfort, security etc.  What we’ve found during the years that we’ve volunteered as dog walkers is we get back two-fold what we give!  Being able to provide exercise, comfort, and love to our four-legged friends has been a source of joy for my daughter and myself.  Watching the staff and volunteers who are so committed to impacting the lives of GPSPCA pets is an inspiration.  I’m thankful that we get to be a small part of it!


I sincerely hope that you enjoy Emma’s Dilemma!




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