Resolutions I’ve Adopted for 2012

Happy New Year!

How are your resolutions coming along? Are you the type of person who makes them? Normally I don’t, but this year I’ve made an exception. Which, I guess you could say, is a resolution of sorts.

There are so many things in my life that I wish I could change. I could be more organized. More punctual. More patient, especially when I pull up to a four-way stop. And yes, I could stand to lose at least 10 pounds. But at this time of the year, who can’t say that?

But that’s not what my resolutions are about. They revolve around this blog. I know where it’s at and where I want it to go. So this year I’ve set four goals for myself on how to get from here to there.

Write more

Since we launched our site two months ago I’ve written about 20 posts. That’s 20 more than I’ve done my entire life. As everyone who’s ever written in his PJs will tell you, I have my good days and my bad ones. Finding the right balance and tone is an ongoing struggle.

After all, if you think adoption is complicated, try writing about it some time. Even the simplest topics can quickly take on a life of their own. It’s a bit like whac-a-mole. Every time you think you’re done with a post, some new angle suddenly pops up and throws you off guard.

Just as open adoption is about setting boundaries, so is writing about it. More than 13 years after our first adoption, I still wrestle with how to draw the line between privacy and secrecy. We’ve all been told that secrecy in adoption is bad. But how much openness is too much?

Although I’d like to think our two adoptions are open, there are still many things I’m not ready to share. And yet those are precisely the kind of things I enjoy reading about in other open adoption blogs. So this year I’m hoping to loosen up a bit–to think less and write more.

Write better

Writing more is easy. It just means doing less of everything else. And if that means watching even more unread books pile up on my night table, so be it.

Writing better, on the other hand, is a tall order. It’s not easy writing a post when you feel like 20 people are looking over your shoulder. Because that’s how it often feels to me. No matter what adoption topic I blog about, I always know there’s someone out there with a completely different take on it.

It reminds me of the time 12 years ago when I presented at an adoption conference. We were a year into our first adoption and I was still enjoying the joys and wonders of being a new parent. Afterward a woman came up to me and, after identifying herself as an adoptee, told me how much she enjoyed my talk. Then she leaned over and explained how one day my child would grow up to hate me.

Adoption is a polarizing issue that triggers strong emotions. Sometimes it feels like there’s no middle ground–either you’re for it or you’re not. My own feeling is that adoption, and especially open adoption, isn’t for everyone. But so far it’s worked for us. And that’s nothing to fight or feel guilty about.

So this year, I’m hoping to become a better writer by taking things a little less personally and reminding myself that writing, just like adoption, is a work in progress. I don’t have all the answers. And I don’t speak for everyone. I only speak for myself. And imperfectly, even at the best of times.

Add value

What’s the point of writing if what you write has no value? It’s not enough to say something. It has to mean something, too. That’s not to say that writing about adoption isn’t therapeutic. But there are faster and easier ways to clear your head.

One thing I’ve learned in the last two months is that adoption is tailor-made for blogging. There are so many things you can say in a post that you could never say publicly–something I keep in mind every time I’m about to click the “Publish” button. This year, I’m hoping to take more chances and write about things that people really care about rather than worrying about someone telling me I’ve got it all wrong. So if there’s a topic you’re interested in or want to know more about, let me know.

Have more guest bloggers

Late last year, as part of an experiment, I invited some hopeful adoptive parents to share their stories on our blog. Not only did their posts get way more comments than mine did. Their stories also reminded me about the connections and sense of community that a blog can create. And about the challenges I faced (and have conveniently forgotten) in the years before adoption, never mind an adoption blog, was nothing more than an idea. So if you’d like to share your take on adoption with our community, here are some tips and guidelines to get you started.

This year I’m hoping to have more voices take over this space, especially those of birth mothers and fathers. Reading their blogs has opened up a whole new world for me. They’ve helped me view my own adoption story through, yes, a completely different lens–one that is as painful as it is important. Reading their stories has reminded me how lucky I am to be a parent. And how lucky I am to write about my experiences here.

Those are my resolutions for the new year. How about you? What plans do you have for 2012? Share you comments in the section below.