If you haven’t yet come in contact with Lori Holden, you’ll be really happy you’re reading this article. As an introduction to Lori, she’s an adoptive mom (has 2 teenagers!), and author and a speaker, advocating for healthy families through adoption.

Lori fell in love with open adoption after her struggle with infertility. In Lori’s words:  “I came to AdoptionLand through the inhospitable region of Infertilistan. Though the journey presented us with Fireswamps, Rodents of Unusual Size, and other harrowing experiences, it was worth it to get to our destination: Parent ‘Hood. I’ve been an adoptive mama now for 15 years.” Lori didn’t have long to wait for her first child, and the experience was filled with learning, growing, and lots of loving. It was such a joyful open adoption that Lori and her child’s birth mother teamed up to share their experience and the things they learned about what real open adoption is and how it can be achieved in the book, The Open Hearted Way to Open Adoption.  Lori is quick to point out that there’s a huge difference between contact and openness.

With a passion to help parents not only become parents, but more importantly, be a family, Lori shares lots of tips on her website, LavenderLuz.com. “What may be the last chapter of the parents’ family-building story is also just an early chapter of the child’s story. All the rest is to come, and is dependent on parents understanding the adopted person’s challenges and what parents can do to help bring about integration and wholeness—and what they might unknowingly do that makes integration and identity-building more difficult for the child,” says Lori.

Admittedly, though, one must first become a parent. In a world where there are way more hopeful adoptive parents than there are birth mothers looking for potential parents, the Adoption Profile is extremely important.  I ran across one of Lori’s blog posts that spells out, very clearly, some great reminders.  This post lists seven common mistakes made when creating a profile, including:

  1. Too perfect
  2. Too much
  3. Too self-indulgent
  4. Too pretentious
  5. Too guarded
  6. Too blah
  7. Too footloose

The Terrible Toos is an article all hopeful adoptive parents should read. Lori tells us:  “Adoption profiles are incredibly important because most of the time, they are your first impression. If your profile shows you in your best light, you are more likely to get a second chance, and then a third, then possibly leading to a real connection. If the profile is lacking somehow, or if it has the opposite of an attracting effect, your first impression may also be your last. There is a certain degree of resonance and intuition a reader engages when she (or he) evaluates a stack of profiles. That’s why more than just photography skills or scrapbooking abilities or writing prowess come into play. The composers of the adoption profile also need to put some feeling into it. They need to authentically show who they are, to open up, to invite the reader into their lives. I suggest that clients think about the profile as an invitation to a dialogue rather than just a simple monologue. I ask them to consider inviting the reader to be part of the ongoing story that starts with the profile—for her sake, of course—but even more so for the child’s benefit.”

Lori’s advice goes way beyond attracting birth parents so you, yourself, may become a parent.  She encourages everyone in the adoption community to reconsider the use of trigger words including “real” when referring to birth parents. In addition to her own experiences and counsel, Lori offers an advice column wherein others may share their opinions, their expertise, and their suggestions.

With all the confusion that slams a newly hopeful adoptive parent, Lori is like a dear friend who pops into our lives. A few minutes on her website feel much like sitting down on a sofa with a cool glass of lemonade and visiting one-on-one with Lori. Treat yourself to a new friendship and get to know Lori. The side benefit is volumes of good adoption advice!