Sometimes I think I’m going to have to quit making definitive decisions on my writing. I’ve stated that “I’m done” with the adoption thing, discussing it, obsessing over it, etc. (Although, I have left room for a caveat to occasionally return to the topic.) I also made the decision a few weeks ago to end this blog on February, 1, the three year anniversary of its inception. Well, that lasted for all of two days.
It’s a little bit funny, but the last several days have brought three different people in my path to discuss adoption and genealogy issues. These opportunities came totally out of left field and showed me that, while I might feel my story is getting long in the tooth, there are others who are moved by it and want to know more or share their own experience. Is there a lesson to be learned here?
Of course there is.
First thing that comes to mind is the power of the written word. There is something legitimizing about seeing an issue, idea or experience in print. It provides validation. Now, certainly, this argument cannot be used regarding racism or violence. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
The written word offers a certain permanence. Placing an idea or a concept “out there” in written form for the universe to consider rather than holding it in somehow gives a certain issue credibility. If that concept touches a nerve, all the better.
Secondly, these issues of adoption and genealogy are quite popular in America, a nation made up of immigrants. Adoption is no longer swept under the rug as something embarrassing. High-profile celebrity adoptions have helped to erase that stigma.
I’ve found that people are drawn to these two concepts and, when they hear my story, they want to know more. This has become a revelation and was unexpected when I started on this journey. Granted, in the past people were interested in my story. But, I never expected people to continue to express interest, sometimes fascination, two and a half years after the publication of my book. Makes me wonder what the response will be when the follow-up is published?
I have to admit that it is gratifying when, out of the blue, someone contacts me and wants to “talk shop”. Sometimes it involves the experience of living as an expat. Mostly, though, it revolves around the “family values” things of adoption and genealogy. I’ve come across many people who have experienced adoption in some manner and they want to talk about it with someone who understands.
And, when it comes right down to it, there are a million and one different stories to be told. Many people are yearning to be heard, even if it’s only by one person. My story opens their floodgates and allows them to share their experience and address their feelings. Too often, in adoption situations, things never have a chance to be fleshed out. It’s hard to discuss an issue with someone who hasn’t walked the walk.
My humble opinion is that people want someone that can relate. They want a release valve. Somehow my book has given off the impression that I am safe. Somehow, Frasier Crane’s signature “I’m listening” from the TV show Frasier, has been applied to me. Rightly or wrongly, in some ways I’m seen as an “expert”. Perhaps it’s because of the experience I’ve had. Perhaps it’s because of the length of this experience (which has lasted decades). I’ve been told repeatedly that my perspective is unique and pretty much runs the gamut of almost everything that can happen in an adoption situation.
After all, I took my experience to the extreme, searching for decades and traveling clear to the old countries of Italy and Ukraine to get answers. And now that I have my answers and feel sated, I find that the journey hasn’t ended. I had thought it was all about me, but I see that is, apparently, not true. I see now that it involves others. There’s another chapter to be written–and it doesn’t involve a second book.
It’s a chapter that involves an issue that really does touch everyone. Adoption is more prevalent than most people realize, I think. I suppose I shouldn’t shut down my pulpit just because I’ve found what I’m looking for.