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got hurt

That Time I Got Hurt and it Changed Me

[2016] My book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption, turns 3 this week. It came out originally in hardcover, followed by a paperback version last year, and, per my publisher, will soon be available as an audiobook. My little creation spread its wings and is still flying.

If I trace it back, my book has its roots in being publicly ridiculed. I explained in a recent interview on, excerpted below.

got hurt

Adoption Can Be Contentious

MileHighMamas: The topic of Adoption can be pretty contentious. There are pro-adoption people and anti-adoption people and loaded words and entrenched beliefs. You said in a radio interview that you “got spanked” early on. How did that experience shape your views?

Back when I was new to the online adoption world I had posted something (obnoxious, as it turned out) rooted in the idea that “Adoption is Awesome!” — and an adopted person called me out in her space. She wasn’t talking TO me but ABOUT me.

Her comment section blew up with full force of people who had endured adoption loss, primarily adoptees and birth mothers. Their words stung. Stung badly. I wanted to lash out and meet their hurt with my hurt. Did they know nothing about the pain of infertility? How dare they ridicule me. They didn’t even know me.

For a couple of days I seethed and licked my wounds, staying away from the site — after I printed the post and comments and tucked the pages away. Eventually I was able to read the paper version (visiting the site was too scary) and try to figure out where these people were coming from. It required that I put the hurt aside and just read. Just open up to understanding their experiences with adoption, which were different from mine.

It was transforming. And it completely changed not only the way I view adoption, but also how I navigate conflict online. I am grateful to each person who took part in that skewering for their part in my evolution.

Readers: Have you experienced something that seemed like a curse at first but turned out to be a blessing?

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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13 Responses

  1. Wow! Talk about turning lemons into enough lemonade for everyone! Congratulations not only on your book anniversary (HURRAY!), but on taking a negative situation and creating such a positive outcome. Many, many kudos to you!

  2. What a great post. I feel like if more people took this advice, to meet online consternation with space and a willingness to try to understand other perspectives and NOT responding immediately when it stings the worst…the world would be such a better place.
    I’m having a hard time picking one lemon-into-lemonade thing. I feel like I’ve had a lot of lemons…but that we spike our lemonade with vodka and keep on truckin’ through the crap, trying to make the best of what we have while we wait, and wait, and wait, for the opportunity to build our family to come to us (knowing that now that day is a double edged sword of joy and grief for everyone involved, a bitter lemon in our lemonade but lemonade nonetheless). I always enjoy your perspective.

  3. This is such an important idea. I love the ability to look at things from someone else’s perspective.

    Navigating conflict online is something that really takes work and thought.

  4. Congrats on your book’s birthday! 😉
    I love hearing more about adoption from you. You are such a great example for so many.
    I’m not coming up with any lemons and lemonade, but surely there has to be something.

  5. Lori, you’re already my hero. This story just is another reason why.

    It’s so flipping hard to take a step back when you’re openly being attacked to understand where the other side is coming from. To see a situation from a different point of view when that point of view is aggressive. You demonstrated not only that it is important, but so much good can come from it. And I for one am glad you did.

    How has it been three yrs?!?!? Congratulations on this anniversary!

  6. Ahh, the slavery comparison. I see you weighed in on it a couple of years ago on Laura Dennis’ blog.

    You assume a lot about other people’s first parents. It’s unlikely that your assumptions are correct in all cases.

    1. There’s always something to complain about, apparently.

      Congratulations on another version of your book, Lori!

    2. Your perspective is very strange to me. I’m adopted, back in the 70s, and I am not a slave, nor am I a victim. I am not lesser under the laws here in Australia.

      You say that you speak of a universal experience of all adopted people, I say you do not speak for me.

      You also do not get to decide who my parents are. My mother is the one who raised me. The woman who gave birth to me is not my mother, and she never will be. I was not forced to forsake my family upon adopt, I was put up for adoption by people who didn’t want me and I was given a family when I was adopted. A family I love and treasure.

  7. Congrats on the three year anniversary of your book. It was extremely helpful when we looked into adoption.

    It stinks that we have to go through difficulties in life to grow as people. I wish we didn’t have to but I think it would be hard to grow if we didn’t have a reason too.

  8. There are lots of things that fall into this category for me … RPL, infertility … they brought me this community, and helped me to be more empathetic, a better friend. And initially, both led me to write.

    Congrats on the anniversary. You’re someone many of us would like to be more like … your ability to step back and turn a sour situation into positive is truly amazing.


  9. Clicking over to read the rest, but first wanted to say how much I loved this. You could have shut down but instead you opened up. That says so much about you.

    Happy bookiversary 🙂

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