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Write Mind Open Heart

I am passionate about de-freakifying open adoption, and support ending discrimination against adoptees by restoring access to original birth records. My book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, comes out in 2013.

Lori is a winner of Top 25 Adoption Blogs by Parents

Why did you decide to adopt?

After a failed fertility cycle (while we were living in the Middle East) and further fertility complications, we eventually realized that being parents was more important to us than being pregnant. It took four years from the original diagnosis to get to that point.

What was the biggest challenge or hurdle you faced in the adoption process?

Infertility shook me at my very core. It was the first situation I'd experienced in which I couldn't study my way out, work my way out, research my way out, or luck my way out. I couldn't believe this was happening to me, and that there was nothing I could do to change the outcome. I'd never felt so stuck.

Clearly, such victim-thinking was not going to make me a parent. Rather than wallow, I redirected my urge to study, work, research and luck my way into parenthood -- this time via open adoption. These efforts were fruitful -- my children are now 8 and 10, both coming to us as newborns. We have fully open adoptions with all four of their birth parents.

Once we shifted our intent from getting pregnant to becoming parents, I must say the rest has flowed easily.

When and how did you (or will you) tell your child they were adopted?

If you have thousands of little talks, you don't need to ever have The Talk.

We started telling our children their birth stories when they were babies, at the suggestion of our agency. When I first did so to my week-old daughter, I thought, "this is ridiculous -- she can't understand." I realized then that the point wasn't for her to understand the story, it was for ME to get fully comfortable with it.

Over the years, as they cognitively grow, our children sense the layers and nuance of their stories. We strive for an open environment where our children are free to wonder aloud and give voice to their innermost thoughts. Our role is not to "fix" any feelings of loss that arise or to smooth everything over for them.

Rather, it's to give our children the space to feel all their feelings, without judgment and with open hearts, and to support them as they work through their emotions, trusting in the process and teaching them to do so, as well.

What's a great present under $30 for an elementary school aged child?

Lori Lavender Luz

For any child (but more appealing to my son than to my daughter), a box of Legos is always a winning gift -- even the $10 size. My son (and other people's daughters, I'm sure) will spend hours and hours and hours during the next year or two building and rebuilding, imagining and creating and designing and envisioning. Those verbs are exACTLY what I want a toy to prompt. Of course, you may have to deal with the possibility that every parent dreads: stepping on a Lego in the dark. Ugh!
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What are your three favorite picture books for children? (please specify the age range)

Lori Lavender Luz

"Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born" by Jamie Lee Curtis (age 3+) "Goodnight Gorilla" by Peggy Rathmann (age 1 - 6 years) "Love You Forever" by Robert Munsch (1 - 6 years)
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