Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome Laura Christianson!

The other day I received a package in the mail that is my favorite kind to get-- one that contained books! This particular package held in it two books by my friend Laura Christianson. I met Laura at ICRS this past summer, and invited her to visit my blog and talk about two of her favorite subjects-- writing and adoption! If adoption is something you are feeling led to do-- even if it is just a flicker of interest-- then these books are worth checking out! And even if you aren't interested in adoption, you can still glean from Laura's writing advice, as I know many of you who read this blog are writers (whether you freely admit that or not!)

Here is my "interview" with Laura. I hope that you enjoy getting to know her better.

What led you and your husband to adoption as a means of building your family?

After my husband and I had been married five years, we decided it was time to start producing children. Then we discovered we had fertility challenges. During the next four years, as we progressed through the increasingly painful stages of the “infertility workup,” we asked each other, “What’s more important to us: being pregnant or being parents?” We decided that being parents was more critical than experiencing pregnancy.
When several of our close friends adopted, we closely observed them, asked them loads of questions, and got excited about building our own family through adoption. We adopted our two sons when they were newborns (they are now 15 and 11 ½ years old), and we have completely open adoptions with their respective birth families, which is quite a fun adventure!

Why did you begin to write about adoption?
About a year after we adopted our first child, I took a permanent leave of absence from my job teaching high school English and journalism. I’d always dreamed of being a journalist, and the absence of zillions of papers to grade freed me up to write. So naturally, I wrote about the topic that was closest to my heart: adopting our son. My essay about the wacky wonders of the adoption process was printed in a newspaper and I’ve been freelance writing ever since, intentionally building my reputation as an “expert” in adoption issues.

How did you build your platform? How did blogging figure into that?
The three most effective ways I’ve been building my platform is through writing adoption-themed articles for magazines, founding an adoption ministry at my church, and writing the Exploring Adoption blog ( I’ve written news-features about the history of Russian adoption, profiles of singles and couples who have intriguing adoption stories, and inspirational essays about how to support a friend who’s adopting.
When I founded our church’s infertility and adoption ministry, I had no intention of building a “platform”; I was merely responding to God’s call to encourage and support others who were going through what I’d been through.
Starting my Exploring Adoption blog three years ago was my most intentional platform-building venture. A friend who’s a marketing expert recommended I start a blog as a means of branding myself as an expert in adoption-related issues. So, with hardly a clue as to what a blog was, I started one. Six months later, Forbes magazine awarded it a “Best of The Web” rating. I absolutely love blogging; so much, in fact, that a friend and I are preparing to launch a blogging/marketing/writing business called We’ll provide consulting and practical information for non-techies (those with personal, ministry, and business blogs) about how to take their blog from “potential” to “influential.”

How did your early writing efforts lead to being a published author?
Publishers who consider offering a contract to authors always demand to see evidence that you have loyal following who will rush to purchase copies of your book. So having a body of hundreds of published articles, an adoption blog with a well-established readership, and lots of contacts within the adoption industry helped convince my publisher that I was worth the risk.

What has been the most exciting part of having a book published?
For me, the real excitement is in the writing process. As I was writing The Adoption Decision, I had the opportunity to interview and tell the stories of more than 40 people whose lives are touched by adoption. What a privilege it is to share their challenges and joys with a larger audience – to serve as the catalyst for encouraging others who are traveling the adoption journey.
I feel the same way about my other new book, The Adoption Network. I have learned so much about starting an infertility and adoption support system during the 10 years I’ve been coordinating my church’s ministry. I took the things I had learned about what to do—and what not to do—and created a workbook that walks people step-by-step through the process of building and launching a custom-made adoption or orphan care ministry. My prayer is to get this book into as many churches across the world as possible, so people everywhere will feel more comfortable turning to their faith community for the support they need.

How do you find time to write in the midst of a busy family life?
I’ll admit; I spend way more time in front of my computer than I should. Last summer, I spent every spare minute writing my books, which was not healthy for my family. This summer, I intentionally took it easy and made hanging out with my family my first priority. Now that my kids and hubby (who’s a teacher) are back in school, I work like mad during the school day and try to get as much done as possible before they come tromping through the door.

What would you say to parents who are considering adoption right now?
You mean, other than telling them to run out and buy a copy of The Adoption Decision? J My advice: Learn as much as you can about adoption, so that when the unforeseen happens (and it will happen), you’ll be slightly more prepared.
Read as many adoption books as possible, subscribe to magazines such as Adoptive Families and Adoption TODAY, peruse adoption blogs, subscribe to e-mail discussion groups specific to the type(s) of adoption you are considering, request information packets from all the adoption agencies and facilitators in your region, join support groups for adoptive families, and pummel other adoptive parents with questions!

Most of us truly enjoy sharing our experiences – we’ve been where you are and know what you’re feeling. Educating yourself about adoption will give you confidence and will equip you with the practical tools you need to build your family through adoption.
Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog, Marybeth!
Laura Christianson
Pin It!

No comments: