My husband and I went out for dinner this week. We wore masks until seated and were delighted to find that our chosen restaurant, Cuba Cuba, had set up tables on its front lawn. We got there early enough to have lots of personal space in the great outdoors.
You’d think I’d go with the restaurant’s signature mojito, being it’s a Cuban drink and we were in a Cuban restaurant. But I can make mojitos at home (mint! I have mint!). Instead, we allowed some geographical mixing-it-up and toasted each other with Brazilian caipirinhas. (Sure, I could make those at home, too, but cachaça is harder to find than rum.)
When I was younger, I looked at older couples and wondered how could anyone be in in love with an old person? I mean, wrinkles and sags and bifocals and gray hairs and less hair where you want it and more where you don’t. All that general decrepitude? Not appealing, my 30-something self declared.
When I’m dissatisfied with someone, I can often trace the feeling to a dissatisfaction with myself.
So, if I could truly love myself, would I more easily love those around me?
What I Get From My Dad
I’m critical. I get that from my dad. He always wants to make things better — a good trait. But here’s what would happen when I showed him a school project or essay. He’d look at it or read it over, tell me it was wonderful, and then come up with 3 ways to improve it.
 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 MileHighMamas.com, excerpted below.
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?