Reading this book really opened my eyes and deepened my thinking concerning open adoption. Since it had such a profound impact on me, I wanted to share her thoughts with others. I contacted Lori Holden, the author, and she was gracious enough to answer some questions for me.
Lori has been writing and blogging since 2007. She states that she started blogging after reading a book called Waiting for Daisy by Peggy Orenstein. “When I finished reading it, I wanted to learn more about the author so I googled her, and one of the first links that came up was to a blog called Stirrup Queens. Melissa Ford, the blogger, had just launched an online book discussion about Waiting for Daisy, and in the post announcing it she said, “all you need is the book and a blog.” I thought, “Well, I have the book, and I can create a blog.”
When asked what created her passion for open adoption, Lori stated that a lot of it came from reading adoption blogs and boards and listening to people involved in adoption. She said, “I was surprised to learn that adoption was not necessarily wonderful for all involved. I was dismayed to learn that people sometimes break their promises in adoption. I was relieved to find a contingent of people living in open adoption—birth parents, adoptees and adoptive parents— who sought to “do” open adoption honorably and with their child at the center of their consciously-made decisions.”
Now, she is using her personal adoption experience and writing skills to bring what she has learned about openness in parenting adopted children. In her book, Lori teamed up with Crystal Hass, her daughter’s birth mom, to tell their story from both of their viewpoints.
There are many stereotypes and misconceptions about open adoption. It was very interesting to me that Lori believes that one of the biggest misconceptions in open adoption is the belief that “open” equates to contact. Lori suggests an open adoption grid opposed to a spectrum. Openness is much more than just providing contact with the birth parents. Lori states that “openness is an ongoing and internal job of being mindful of one’s own triggers and attuned to the child’s wonderings about adoption as she grows up. Unlike contact, openness doesn’t depend on whether or not the birth parents are in the picture.”
Finally, when asked about what she would tell someone considering open adoption, Lori had very profound advice. She suggests that one should look at themselves before looking at others and wanting to change them. One needs to focus on the self first. “You are likely to be faced with many of your own insecurities and fears that arise as you acknowledge that other people are vitally important to your child in a way you are not—just as you are vital in a way they are not. Be willing to deal with your insecurities mindfully and put as much effort into changing yourself as you do into trying to change others in your adoption relationships.”
About Lori: Lori Holden writes from Denver at LavenderLuz.com. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, written with her daughter’s birth mom, is available in hardcover and e-book through Amazon or your favorite online bookseller.