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.
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.
Have you experienced something that seemed like a curse at first but turned out to be a blessing?
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.
Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.