what's up for lori holden

What’s Up? Big Things.

A few things to address what’s up for me lately, both in my personal life and as an adoption educator.

1. In Memory of Dominic DePalma

My sister’s son, Dominic DePalma (say his name), was loved by so many, and respected by teammates and rivals alike.

It had been exactly 77 days — 11 weeks to the minute — since our family’s tragic loss. At 7:13pm on a recent Thursday, Dominic’s high school team and its crosstown rival honored his memory in a way that soothed our hearts.

courtesy 9News.com

It was a beautiful night of loving Dominic, as much as it was a terrible night of missing him. We are living in the BothAnd, as my sister Tami observes in this interview.

It was such a lovely gesture by the teams, the schools, and the parents. Tami and Gino are buoyed by people saying Dominic’s name and noticing that he left a mark during his short time in the world. Please consider leaving a 💚 in a comment below and I will make sure Tami sees.


2. Announcement (something happier)

My co-authors and I made an announcement last week via our YouTube Channel.

Yes, I said co-authors! Sara Easterly, Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard and I have signed a publishing contract with Rowman & Littlefield, the publisher of my first book. Our new book, tentatively titled Three + Sides to Every Adoption, will be published in hardcover in 2023.

The three of us had been talking regularly ever since we collaborated on an article in Severance magazine. Next we busted adoption myths on my podcast, Adoption: The Long View. We continued to serve as sounding boards for each other when adoption-related issues came up. We experienced a certain synergy from looking at thing from all three viewpoints, and Sara eventually said, we should be recording this. A video podcast was born.

We hope to share what we experience together, along with multiple, expanded viewpoints, with our book. We’d like to help people understand the context behind generalizations like: adoptees are so angry! birth parents so unreliable! adoptive parents are so insecure!

When people begin to comprehend the context behind such generalizations, maybe they can be less judgmental and more curious, less hurt and more confident. When they see how their part fits into the bigger puzzle, maybe that will better help folks navigate their own adoption situation , as well as become more circumspect when talking about adoption online.

Tall order, we know. But we have a vision.

Round Table

We invited several friends to our first Round Table, all contributors to the book. Adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, a non-adopter, and an adoption-competent therapist (those last two comprise the +) dialogued over the question: what has been a big a-ha you’ve had about adoption? You’ll see our announcement, followed by a discussion that emphasizes marginalized voices. We seek healing from the wounds of adoption and reforming the practices of adoption — in community.

We are doing it, and we believe others can, too.

Rowman & Littlefield is an academic and trade press. We are thrilled that our book is likely to end up in the hands of not only adoptees, first parents, and adoptive parents, but also in offices of therapists, adoption agencies, and policy-makers. Just like my first book.

Sign up to know when Three + Sides to Every Adoption is available for pre-order. We will keep offering our conversations via YouTube, so subscribe there, as well.


3. Between Roe and Dobbs

In the 49 years between Roe and Dobbs, just how much did society decide to help women in unplanned pregnancies either parent well — or place (for adoption) well?

That’s the question my friend Rebecca Vahle set out to explore in her series for the Family to Family Support Network, Coming Together For Families.

Rebecca interviewed 15 people through the lens of healthcare, child welfare, and church communities. She covered aspects such as:

  • commodification of adoptees
  • informed consent for expectant parents
  • unbiased space to decide between parenting (including access to resources) and placing a child
  • acknowledgement of grief and loss
  • incorporating a bereavement model
  • need for post-placement services
  • implicit bias
  • informed consent for adopting parents
  • baby brokers and predators on the internet
  • “adoption-friendly” and its flip side
  •  the necessity for openness in adoption

The entire series is worth the time.

Here is my interview about how prepared we are — really — for openness in adoption.

lori holden in coming together for families

4. Safe Home Podcast

I got to appear with host Beth Syverson on Safe Home Podcast, a joint effort between her and her young adult son, Joey (who wasn’t with us on this episode).

If you are parenting a teen, especially one who is struggling, I recommend Beth’s Safe Home Families and her special group for adoptive parents, APtitude.


I’ve got something special planned for National Adoption Awareness Month. Stay tuned.

guide to living in open adoption

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.

15 thoughts on “What’s Up? Big Things.”

  1. Losing a loved one who is so young and full of promise, so full of life and joy is a devastating & heartbreaking tragedy. I can see that although Dominic’s life was cut short, in the time he was here, he touched many lives, brought great joy, and left an indelible mark.

  2. 💚
    Thinking of you and your family, that video was beautiful and you could see the love, and the loss. So much 💚.

    Great stuff! I will check out Beth’s and Rebecca’s episodes, they both sound amazing. What great resources.

    CONGRATS on the book and the announcement! Woo hoo, spread that empathy far and wide!

  3. I continue to hold you and yours in my thoughts. I am so glad that the larger community is continuing to bear witness to the loss of Dom… perhaps, it makes the grieving a little less lonely.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful boy. What a tremendous loss.

    (And much congratulations on all your accomplishments, Lori.)

  5. I am anxiously waiting for 2022 to end. It has been filled with loss and heartbreak. But there have also been bright lights that have shown me that while the internet divides so many, it can also connect and help people. Look at all the fabulous work you’ve been doing. And look at how you can share the burden of grief and the blessing of remembrance of your wonderful nephew. I hope your family is holding up, and I hope they see that a bunch of internet strangers also care about the loss of your Dominic. It was way too soon.

  6. Oh, that video is so full of love from everyone. It was beautiful, but heart-breaking too, of course. I hope it was, if not healing, at least comforting to you and Dominic’s family. 💚

    I’m so proud to count you as a friend – the book will be fabulous! Congratulations!

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