Category Archives: Blogging

What I Learned About Openness in Adoption By Writing a Book on Open Adoption

Happy blogoversary to me! Six years ago today I popped my blogging cherry with a short post about my intent to join the Barren Bi+ches Book Brigade. We were soon to discuss Peggy Orenstein’s fabulous Waiting for Daisy, and that book tour turned out to be my entrée into the ALI (Adoption/natal Loss/Infertility) community.

popping a cherryI’ve been the participant and the host on numerous occasions, but on this day of note, I get to be the book club’s author answering reader questions. How perfectly aligned is that?

A few days ago, Mel led a virtual book tour for my book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole. Fourteen bloggers signed on to share their take on the book and answer each others’ questions about it. They also posed two questions to me, which you’ll find here.

Did you learn anything new about open adoption through writing this book? Did anything surprise you? If so, what?

I did. And that’s because, as Heather put it, “this is the adoption book the Internet wrote.” I learned a lot by asking others in the adoption constellation about their experience with adoption. I learned from adoptees how it feels to be asked who your “real” parents are, and not to be able to get your own original birth certificate like others can. I learned alternatives to the dreaded family tree assignment in school. I learned from first mothers what has and hasn’t worked in their moving forward through grief. I learned from other adoptive parents cases for and against pre-birth matching, paying pre-birth expenses, and formalized adoption agreements.

Though it was unfunny at the time, I can now say that it was funny-peculiar that Crystal and I got a chance to practice what we preach. While writing Chapter 4 about establishing boundaries, a situation arose that Crystal and I had to work through. I was quite frustrated at first, mostly at myself, until I realized the incident was a chance for me to figure out something firsthand so that I could then teach what I knew, not just a theoretical concept. Crystal and I have had mostly smooth sailing over the years, and with our cruise control on I had gotten complacent. The situation required me to go off auto-pilot and figure out what was really bothering me by going deep within: breathe, be mindful, dig, gain clarity. Then zoom back out with clear communication with Crystal and a commitment to our relationship — and to Tessa.

It’s clear, in hindsight, that this uncomfortable episode was actually an amazing gift.

The additions from Crystal are a lovely and really informative piece of the book. I’m curious as to how this collaboration took shape. Did you develop the framework of the book together? Did you have an idea of where you thought Crystal’s voice would be most helpful and just ask her for that specific input? Or Did you work to find or create spaces for things she wanted to add to the conversation?

Crystal and I have talked for years about how we might help others develop the kind of relationship we stumbled into with each other. First we had to take a look at what we did and didn’t do and what has made our efforts a openness successful. For years we have taught classes in the Denver area (hi, Denver Laura!) to share not only that such a relationship doesn’t have to be contentious, but that it can also be enjoyable. More than anything we say in these sessions, people seem to get a lot just out of seeing a template for how an open adoption can look.

The framework of the book is mine. Crystal and I had extensive interviews about her thoughts and emotions at various points of our journey, as well as her own deconstruction of how we got to where we are. For a book that is largely about how adoptive parents and birth parents can be on the same “side,” rather than the traditional concept of competition between the two sides, it seemed important for us to work together on this book.

As for which came first, her words or a space for her words, I believe it was mostly the former. We had a few jam sessions in which we put as much on the table as we had in us. I took notes and the book began to take shape. Sometimes the book fit around her words and sometimes her words fit into the book.

I suppose in that sense, the way the book took its form is much the same way Crystal and I have taken our form.

I am deeply grateful to Mel, KathyApril, Luna, Jessica, Geo-Chick, BabySmiling, m, Esperanza, Leah Jane, AnneAndy, Liz, and Alicia for devoting precious time to reading my book, sharing their thoughts, and participating in discussions with each other about it. This has been an amazing experience for me and I thank you.

Image courtesy of ping phuket / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Appellation Trail

As you can see, this space has a new look. And a new URL.

And not for the first time. We’ve seen this episode before, and the re-run is just in time for…

Time Warp Tuesday We’re revisiting posts about change for Time Warp Tuesday, the monthly blog hop offered by Kathy at Bereaved and Blessed. Perhaps you’ve written about change before — why don’t you participate in the blog carnival, too?

Kathy says:

The new year is a time for new beginnings and change. Choose a post from your archives in which you wrote about change. Maybe you wrote about a change that you chose to make or one that happened without warning or intention. Then write a new post about why you chose that post and what has happened in your life since.

When I started documenting our infertility journey in 2005, I did a bit of inner wordplay and sought a name that had the sound “blog” in it. I toyed with the word wobble, which morphed to wobblog. to which I then threw ahead of it the word weebles for the moniker Weebles Wobblog. I liked the alliteration, as well as the image of resilience — something that was able to right itself if it were batted around.

All was well and good for three seasons, and then there were complications (<==this is the TimeWarp part of the post) in the form of a Cease & Desist order.

~~~~~

I wobbled but I didn’t fall down. In November of 2010 I retitled this show WriteMindOpenHeart. I explained:

As for the first facet, I just finished a writing project and am about to release it to its destiny, whatever that may be. As for the second, I will continue to open my heart to being vulnerable, authentic and engaged with those around me. The yin and yang theme — finding balance between the head and the heart, the analytical and the intuitive, between the masculine (doing) and the feminine (being) energies, of walking the path of moderation between extremes — the yin and yang theme continues.

I never really fell in love with that incarnation. Turns out that (1) it was too long, and (2) it was tricky to spell and explain verbally.

The aforementioned writing project is what put a timeline on finding yet another new name and moving my content to new digs. Since that first move, the project found an agent and a publisher and then I actually wrote the book. Two years after that post, this most recent Thanksgiving, I spent several days on my final final edit of the manuscript. I decided at that time that the book needed to have my blog’s forever name in it.

So I chose my Appalachian Trail name . I still got the alliteration. I worked in my favorite color and the word light (in Spanish). Yes, I will still need to explain to people that “lavender” is -er and not -ar, and that “luz” is pronounced with a long u. But I feel more kinship with my new name than I did with the last one.

By the way, did you know that to give birth in Spanish is dar a luz — to give light? I love that.

~~~~~

Click over to Time Warp Tuesday to read more posts about change, and maybe even add your own (even if it’s no longer Tuesday).

Five ٥ 5 cinco 五 fünf ★ cinq V

High five, everyone –it’s my blogoversary!

Year-by-year highlights of my blogging and personal lives:

In 2007 I joined the blogging world via a Peggy Orenstein book and the Barren Bi+ches Book Club. My brother-in-law was near death from Guillain-Barre Syndrome and my children were 6 and 4. I had just taken up yoga .Back then we did memes, gave each other lots of awards and left lots of comments.

By 2008 I had run my Chakra series, and survived Tessa’s first surgery. During my second blogging year I spoke at BlogHer, sharing a panel with Melissa and Pamela. My nephews dealt with the unexpected death of their father.

Year 3, which started in 2009 , brought Roger’s accident. On the blogging front I declared myself a writer and I became active on Twitter and Facebook.

In 2010 I got brave enough to undergo (and document) LASIK. Roger’s mom was diagnosed with cancer. At BlogHer10 I was giddy at being named one of Parenting magazine’s Top 10 Must-Read Moms.

In 2011 my children experienced death up close and personal with the passing of their beloved Grandma Marshmallow. In somewhat related news I began eating ayurvedically. I announced that I was going to give birth to a book on open adoption, having signed a contract with a publishing company.

I have spent most of 2012 writing said book. Diverting my wordstream has left less for this blog, for Twitter and other social media. I’ll speak at BlogHer12 at the workshop, My Blog No Longer Fits Me! with some of my dear bloggy friends.

And today I begin my 6th blogging year by asking for presents.

For my birthday, I ask that you tell me about a connection that blogging has brought you. Peggy Orenstein was a conduit for me into the ALI community and to blogging, and therefore to many of you. Is there a blogger who has introduced you to a person or idea, a meme, bloghop, or way of seeing the world that has changed you in a profound and/or positive way? Do share! No gift wrapping necessary.

Here’s some 5 music to accompany your commenting effort.

Image: arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Time Warp Tuesday: Blogoversaries

I’m participating in Time Warp Tuesday, the monthly bloghop offered by Kathy at Bereaved and Blessed. This week’s theme is Blogoversaries, and our assignment is to:

Choose a blog entry from your archives that you wrote around the time of, one of your Blogoversaries. Then write a new post on your blog about why you chose the post that you did and what has happened in your life since.

I’m going back to May of 2009 when I celebrated my 2nd blogoversary. In this post I chose and explained my Appalachian Trail name, Lori Lavender Luz. And I did something Emily Post would abhor — I begged for presents. I asked visitors to my blog to let me know which of my posts had left an imprint on them and I turned the results into a Page in my navigation bar called Readers’ Choice. Those comments were the best. bloggy gifts. evah.

What has happened since then — what has changed? For one thing I’m less prolific with my blog posts. My first two years I averaged 18 posts a month. In the nearly 3 years that have followed, I’ve averaged 11 (much of my writing energy is going into a book.) My kids are now grade-schoolers with more independence and even bigger personalities (I wouldn’t have believed that possible back in 2009). And since then in my family circle I have experienced a severe accident, illness, life and death.

Click over to Time Warp Tuesday to read more posts about blogging milestones and maybe even add your own.