Thursday, 8 December 2011
Adoption is Everywhere: 2 Themes From Mount Hermon
I’ve only been home three days, but already Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference feels like a dream.
All the workshops, learning tracks, appointments and sessions seem a blur now, caught in the other-world of travel and other time zones and a different way of moving through a day, with no kids to fuss over, no naps to schedule (except my own), no places to drive, no work to do.
But I’m starting to see themes emerge. Here are just a couple things I learned.
1. My audience might be too small.
When I described my book idea (guess what the topic is? yes, adoption) to agents and editors, they would have a few reactions. Most thought the idea was intriguing. Then some said that although publishing nowadays is all about the niche audience, my primary audience — of Christian adoptive families or prospective adoptive families — might be too niche. It might be too small of a market to make my book a success from a bottom line perspective.
But then I learned something else.
2. Adoption is everywhere. And so is my audience.
I’m sure it was partly God’s orchestration of events, his gentle way of nudging me toward a table, his spirit whispering that perhaps this would be a good place to land, that caused it. But in nearly every new situation, at every meal or in line for coffee, when I would introduce myself and say that I write nonfiction about adoption, someone at the table or in the circle, and very often the person right next to me, would say, “Oh really? I’m an adoptive parent, too.”
Then they shared their experience — sometimes it looked a lot like mine, sometimes it was very different, but each time, I learned something new.
I met so many adoptive parents in a gathering of Christians (attendee count around 400) that I lost count. I now have a stack of business cards, all potential interviewees for yet-to-be-written chapters.
And though God’s hand in bringing us together was undeniable, I also felt like he was whispering another truth in my ear: Your audience might not be so small after all.
Adoption is everywhere. Adoptive parents are everywhere. Though I’m sure some have supportive communities that are educated and know how to help when everything goes dark in an adoptive parent’s world, I’m sure there are many more drifting without an anchor, who can’t see land — hope — for miles.
I really think there are so many of us like me, the mom who was blindsided by her own problems with attachment and then felt buried in shame. When I found out I wasn’t alone, that there was light and truth in vulnerability, that I didn’t have to hide anymore — it changed everything.
God, use my words how you will. I am your servant, and I will follow your lead.