Lately, when friends and family ask me how things are going, the conversation looks something like this:
“How have you been? How’s work going?”
“Work is great…I wrote a book…!”
Yes, that’s right. I wrote a book. Every time I say it out loud I find it hard to believe the words. It did not happen overnight; it has been quite a journey.
It started during the Fall of 2015. Kelly and I brainstormed how we wanted our book to look and feel. The image we had in our minds happened to be inspired from the same place: a book that both of our mothers had shared with us as children, and is no longer in print, called Listening to the Littlest by Ruth Reardon.
Our synchronicity was uplifting and motivating. We began by simply writing out topics that we wanted to include in the book; the topics were specifically geared towards common themes we notice in our therapeutic work with adoptive families. Once we had a thorough list, we wrote about each topic from the adopted child’s perspective, with the child’s voice.
We called each of these the “book blurbs.” We printed them all out, cut them into strips, and placed them in an envelope. Because we are both artistic and visual, it was easier for us to play with what order to put the blurbs in with them printed out. Each time we would meet, we would take out the book blurbs from the envelope and line them up on the table. It became a sort of ritual and got us in the right mindset. That envelope with the little strips of paper became a very important presence in our book meetings.
This process took several months. Kelly and I would meet in the morning and get the creative juices flowing. Some days, we could not make any progress. Some days, we were in the creative flow and felt very productive. Above all, though, we felt safe with each other. We were honest with whatever came up for us and we kept open minds when sharing thoughts and ideas.
After we had the rough draft, with all the blurbs in a particular order, we felt like some pages needed more explanation. Our idea to add the reference section to the back of the book came quickly and easily (we called them “expansions,” since we were expanding upon a topic in the book). Our execution for the expansions took much longer, as we wanted a thorough explanation with specific recommendations and references for each. We divided and conquered, and eventually we had expansions for many of the blurbs. Between the expansions and the blurbs, our meetings sounded like we were speaking in code!
Looking back on this journey, I am reminded of a time when I was young. One of the (many) things I wanted to be when I grew up was a children’s book author and illustrator. When I was thirteen, I attempted to write a book (a fictional story based on my own life events) and kept the chapters hidden away in a “secret” drawer in my room. Now, I see my name on the cover of this book and am in disbelief that it is a reality! With an incredibly supportive team, I played a part in writing a book.
Throughout the process, at times I would pause and question my own competency. Why should I be a part of this process? Is what I have to say valuable? Do I even deserve to be writing this book when I am not adopted? And in the rabbit hole of doubt, a small voice rose up and answered, “You are, because no one else did.” With each of our experiences, knowledge, and empathy, Jennifer, Kelly and I wove our hearts together in every word we wrote.
The past year has been an unforgettable experience. What was once a dream, hatched into an idea, and with time, care, and love, has become a beautiful reality.
Written by Katie Gorczyca, MA, Expressive Therapist
Boston Post Adoption Resources