Write your own story


Marion Crook
Focus on Adoption magazine

Everyone in the adoption constellation has a story to tell from his or her particular point of view. We weave our sense of self into the story and reveal our personalities. The process of storytelling helps us, the storyteller, clearly see our own motivations and values. It also helps others understand adoption from the inside out.

The value of taking the time to write out our stories instead of simply talking about them is that writing allows us to slow down our thinking and ponder what we want to explore. T

he process is like searching through an overflowing jewellery box full of colourful beads, rings, brooches, and earrings. Some pieces you’ll ignore because you can’t remember where you got them and you never use them anyway. Some are clearly important: an engagement ring, a single pearl your grandmother gave you when you graduated from high school, your university graduation pin that was so hard-won. The events of your adoption story are like those jewels.

You should also be alert to that possibility that writing could stir up a lot of anxiety or other negative feelings you didn’t expect. Most of the time we can rationally consider our past experiences, but occasionally, the emotions are overwhelming. If that happens, it’s a good idea to seek out a counsellor to help you work through your feelings.

Sometimes the writing process may feel like standing on a stage with a bright light exposing your innermost secrets. When that happens, it helps to remember that once your story is written, it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. The story can stay private or you can share it when you’re ready.

If you do choose share, then you create opportunities to learn from others who live with similar joys and sorrows. Exchanging ideas with others can be a road to understanding, acceptance, and enrichment.

Not everyone wants to write a book the way I did to examine the world of adoption and our place in it, but everyone with an adoption connection can benefit from shining a light of inquiry on their actions and reactions. Taking the time to tell your story can help you understand your life, reconcile losses, and contribute to your personal and family solidarity and strength.

Writing tips

Here’s one way to tell your story. Try it out and see if it works for you. If not, maybe it will inspire you to try something else.

  • List the events of the past that you find relevant and number them.
  • Use each event as the header for a separate page or separate file (e.g. “Deciding to adopt”).
  • Write a paragraph, just a short one, about the first event.
  • Go away and reflect on it, or talk to someone about it.
  • Rewrite that event with more detail.
  • Proceed with writing about each event in your story. Reflect on and talk about the event as you write it (the proposal, the adoption classes, the waiting, the arrival of the child, your first year as a family, and so on).
  • Read a book on adoption, go to a seminar, or attend a meeting about adoption. Listen for concepts that you did not consider in your own story, and then incorporate them back into what you wrote.

If you do write your story, please consider sumitting it to Focus on Adoption! Email editor@bcadoption.com and we’ll go from there.

Marion Crook, PhD, is an adoptive parent and the author of over twenty published books, including The Face in the Mirror: Teenagers and Adoption and the forthcoming Thicker Than Blood: Adoptive Parenting in the Modern World.

Want to read more? Subscribe to Focus on Adoption magazine!