Create a Mind Map

This is the final installment in the month of journal series! If you have followed along, thank you! And YAY you.

Yesterday, we focused on putting together an article, beginning a novel, and starting a blog. We covered a lot of information! Just remember, these assignments are like little seeds, the ones you plant, cultivate, and work on the most will grow.

Mind Mapping

This last day may seem as if it should have been posted a few days ago. Shouldn’t we have a map first? Some people prefer to mind map before they choose a theme. I choose a theme first.

“A mind map is a tool for the brain that captures the thinking that goes on inside your head. Mind mapping helps you think, collect knowledge, remember and create ideas. Most likely it will make you a better thinker.” – simplemind.eu

Here’s a great article to get you started on the basics of mind mapping. Simplemind uses a birthday party example, all you need to do is tweak it to your theme. Have fun with it. Draw or write your theme in the middle of the page and then, if you are writing a novel, you can do characters, plot, subplot, plot twists, etc. If you are writing an article, your theme can be your topic such as “How to Keep Your House Organized in Three Easy Steps.” Use lines to list your steps, a personal story, a quote or two from other sources, and there you go. You’re ready to write!

While I was packing up my office closet, I found one of my old mind maps for the novel, Defining Home. I had actually gotten to the point of doing a mind map per chapter. Here are some random words from my mind map. 

Chapter 1 – Theme – New Beginnings

  • Adelina meets prospective parents
  • Inciting incident – newcomer – Cecylia
  • Daria – Acting strangely, new boyfriend, adoption failing
  • Sabilia – social worker
  • Adelina and Cecylia form some sort of bond.

You Will Not Use Everything on Your Board

Your mind map is a brainstorming session. You will not use everything! It’s okay. There is no grade on this project. This is to get your brain warmed up. If you are one of those people who think the book will write itself, or you have to be in the mood to write, or some voice will speak to you and tell you what to write, without any forethought or planning, good luck with that. Sure, there are rare occasions when someone just puts it all down on paper. I’ve never had one of those. Writing takes preplanning, perseverance, and proactivity.

If you (like me) are a perfectionist and don’t feel as if you can let an idea go, I hear you. Take a deep breath. Get some feedback from another writer, not just a random person on social media. I changed names, habits, outcomes, and even decided not to let someone die in a book because my revision team advised me against it. They were right, that character was actually needed in the sequel! 

I’ve thrown a lot of random information at you today, so I’m going to leave you with a few simple instructions and some resource suggestions. First, get a white board or poster board out and try a mind map. Follow the instructions here. 

Second, if you want to pursue some more writing, here are a few resource suggestions!

Speed Writing For NonFiction Writers by Ryan Healy

Also, if you are serious about a writing career, and you want to be an indie writer (self-publish), Joanna Penn is your go-to person. I linked her website yesterday. Gone are the days of self-publishing when you print to order and have a garage full of books that you sell only to your aunt, uncle, and grandma. Indie writers can make a living from their writing (as well or better than) traditional published writers. Are you a doubter? I was. Then I found Joanna Penn, bought her books, listened to her podcasts, read and reread her articles and changed my mindset! Check out her website for more info!

Journaling a Book or a Story

The same guidelines for planning out an article apply to a nonfiction book. Like I said the other day, my book 25 Days of Thriving Through Christmas started with my own need, and then grew into a series of articles, and then into a book. If you want to write a nonfiction book, it’s a great idea to think of it as a process instead of something you can do in a day, a week, or even a year. The same applies to  novels. 

Get some education and encouragement

Obviously, these last two days of a month of journaling is only to get you started on your journey. If you plan to continue, let this be your springboard, not your landing. There are plenty of podcasts, articles, freebies, just waiting for you on the internet. Just a warning. Don’t get so caught up in learning everything that you never start. You have to start somewhere.

Several years ago, after teaching a novel writing curriculum to my son, my desire to write one was rekindled. As I watched the videos with him, did the assignments, and read the textbook, I had all sorts of ideas. I started by writing them down. I wove those together with places I had been (Poland), the orphanage my kids had lived in, a cause close to my heart -ending human trafficking. As my son did his work, I copied worksheets for myself and did the work alongside him. The point is – it’s okay to use resources and frameworks to get you started. I see so many people who want to write a book start it forty million times and never finish, not because they aren’t disciplined, but because they need help organizing. It’s okay to need help.

And the moral of the story is…

The phrase “the moral of the story” is one I used often when homeschooling my kiddos. It’s another way of saying, “What’s the theme of this book/story?” You must have a theme. Don’t believe people who say that some books have no moral or underlying message. Every book has a theme. It’s important to know your theme before you write. Here are some themes:

  • Encouraging women
  • Advocating for or against something such as human rights
  • Instructional – such as writing self-help or a how to
  • Overcoming – how the main character (or you) overcame difficulty
  • The reluctant hero – A novel or nonfiction about a hero 

This is a short list. You can find more including the common ones – man against man, man against nature, man against God, etc. with a simple google.

Your assignment today? Write a theme you would like to pursue. Go through your journal for some clues as to what you would like to pursue. Also, if you are serious about writing, check out some of the resources below.

Expect Opposition

One last warning. It’s pretty much a given. You make a pot of coffee, sit down on your couch or in your office with your laptop and your phone rings, your computer won’t start, the children need you or fill in the blank. Expect opposition and don’t give up. Opposition is not a sign that you shouldn’t write. It may be just the opposite. When I finally decided to write my first novel, after combatting some things were said to me about my writing ability, I sat down to work. And guess what? My computer died. Like deader than Marley in A Christmas Carol.  I didn’t have the funds to buy a new computer so I pulled out a typewriter. I typed my whole first novel on it, plunking away every evening after I cleaned up from dinner. Take a minute right now and brainstorm some ways you can handle opposition. I don’t know what sorts of interruptions and opposition you face, you do. Think to yourself, if this happens, I will do this. Make a plan to run into roadblocks and then plan how to get around them! You can do this!

Some Resources

You are a Writer (so START acting like one) by Jeff Goins

Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull

Thecreativepenn.com

Joanna Penn has a podcast, freebies, including an author blueprint!

Giftaway of Faith, Hope & Connection

Are you a foster or adoptive parent needing hope for this complex and sometimes lonely journey?
Do you love your kids but feel discouraged?
Are you misunderstood by people around you?

In Faith, Hope, & Connection: A 30-Day Devotional for Adoptive and Foster Parents, you’ll find:

  • Real, often raw, stories from adoptive and foster parents in the trenches;
  • Scripture and faith-filled hope, pointing you to Jesus;
  • Honest reflections speaking courage to your soul and reminding you that you are not alone.

This devotional is a gift to you from 30 authors, all foster and adoptive parents, who offer a window into their own lives and families. You’ll recognize yourself time and time again in their words. Faith, Hope, & Connection: A 30-Day Devotional for Adoptive and Foster Parents is a treasure-trove of wisdom and grace for foster and adoptive families.

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In December 2018, I submitted an entry for this devotional and it was accepted! I’m so excited to be part of this devotional! The Whole House is gifting a copy! How do you enter? It’s simple. Click here and follow the instructions! 

 

Totally-Broke Tuesday- FREE Kindle Copy of Positive Adoption

Hi, Kathleen here, filling in for Audrey who is vacationing!

Wreath of leaves quote

August is winding down. It’s one of my favorite months. Summer lingers with high temps in the middle of the day and cooler nights perfect for county fairs and out door concerts, campfires and family reunions by the Cherry River. We buy school supplies in bulk and ‘bouquets of sharpened pencils’. The leaves, ever so slightly, change into autumn hues. And ….it’s my birthday month!

Yep, August 26, tomorrow is my birthday! I’d love you to celebrate it with me! I’d love to give you a present!  On my birthday (August 26th), the kindle edition of Positive Adoption A Memoir is FREE!  If you are totally broke from buying school supplies, accept the free gift and please share! And if you are totally broken from the world, from rejection or choked by your past. If you are broken from infertility or loss read on…

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If you are thinking about adopting, this is for you.

If you have adopted, this is for you.

If you foster children, this is for you.

If you have been rejected or abandoned, this is for you.

If you had a troubled beginning, this is for you.

If you wonder why you exist and if God has a plan to put all the pieces of your broken past together, this is for you.

“Then one day, my father burst out of the house like an angry hornet.  He jumped in the teal Suburban and sped down the lane. I sat on the back porch , staring at my new red sneakers. My brother ran after him yelling, “Dad, don’t leave!” Tears dripped down his dusty, sweaty cheeks.

My father was gone.

This was my first exposure to the reality of the great divorce of heaven and earth. I was banished from the only Eden I had ever known, flawed as it was.  I was a hurt child, reaping the consequences of someone else’s life choices just as children all over the world– children who are  victims of circumstances, hunger, rejection, alcohol addiction, depression, rage, fear, punishments, loss of temper, war, famine, prostitution, and drugs.  The pit is the same in any language: Deep, dark, and putrid. No matter what the cause of the rejection or abandonment, the feelings are the same. The devastation parallels Adam and Eve’s separation from the Heavenly Father.”

My troubled beginnings gave me a heart for hurt children. Many of us believe our beginnings ARE us. They are not. They are circumstances that happened TO us. If we voluntarily hand our pain and suffering to God the Father, He will shape it into the future He intended. A future of hope. A future of purpose. He loved you before the foundation of the world and only He can take a hurt and turn it into a healing that spreads like the ripples of a pebble tossed in a lake.

We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.- Romans 8:28

God had a plan for my life and He has one for yours. When things seem impossible. When you ask why. He will weave your story together. Wait. Trust.

This is my memoir weaved together with the adoption of my children. It is a life restored. It is a new beginning for all. It is a hard beginning turned into great love story.

I had read so many negative articles on adoption/foster care when we began the process. It was disheartening. So, when I began to write my story, on journal entry at a time, I knew it had to be Positive Adoption. It began with my spiritual adoption which led to a physical adoption of a sibling group of four half a world away.

I Missed It! (Three Word Wednesday)

This month we have extended our series on Autism. This post is for anyone who has ever suffered mom guilt (Tweet this). If you feel as if you missed it, it was staring you right in the face and you didn’t see it. I know. I’ve been there. Today I (Kathleen) want to make a huge confession about my eldest daughter (Audrey), she is most probably on the Autism spectrum and I totally missed it. It wasn’t until several years ago when she and I were researching Asperger’s Syndrome that I started seeing Audrey in the list of the symptoms. Tons of memories flooded in with an “aha” moment for each one.

For those of you have read my book Positive Adoption A Memoir, you may have seen some of the signs in my description of Audrey’s early years. I see them now. I didn’t then.

Some clues in my own words (book excerpts)

“I hiked up the carpeted stairs of the townhouse with baby Audrey slung over my shoulder. She slept until I stopped moving up and down like a human escalator. Then the crying began. Relentless, ear-piercing, you-are-not-going-to-sleep-all-night-mama-crying.

“She doesn’t like me!” I worried to Jerry. “My own baby doesn’t like me!”

Jerry’s job kept him away eighty hours a week. Some nights he stayed in a hotel close to work to grab a few hours of sleep before he began another shift. We owned one vehicle so I was alone with Audrey ninety percent of the time. My dreams of motherhood had come crashing down over my head in a deep depressing darkness.

The few times Audrey smiled, I snapped a photo.

“I think you brought the wrong baby home from the hospital,” my brother-in-law teased.” 

The not smiling, not engaging, not satisfied until moving should have been signs. I didn’t see it. I had no clue. Audrey was my first child and I didn’t have  some one else to measure her by.

Another clue:

“Audrey was a square peg in a round-pegged world. She cried when other babies smiled. She slept little. I received loads of free parenting advice from friends and family who had compliant text-book babies. None of it worked for Audrey, so I chucked it.  

At five and a half months, she could crawl up stairs. At one year old, Audrey could do a puzzle, take the laces out of her shoes and re-lace them, flip out of her crib and land on her feet. At four years old she could read, at six she won a story-writing contest but had one of her frequent bouts of pneumonia and couldn’t attend her own celebration.

I was frequently scolded by adult family members who wanted me to put Audrey in her place.  The truth is, Audrey was smarter than them (fact-wise) and she didn’t have the filter to tell her to keep her mouth shut about it. “

Kids on the spectrum are like square pegs in a round pegged world. Something is different about them. Not bad, just different. As I said the other day, they are honest. They don’t read social cues well. Audrey didn’t know it wasn’t socially acceptable to correct her aunts and uncles when they had facts wrong. Audrey has an amazing ability to read or hear something once and remember it. Most of us don’t have that ability and we may remember bits and pieces of something and she has always been a stickler for exactness. I didn’t know this was a sign. I was so busy treating her physical symptoms that I didn’t hone in on the tells. To me, this was just Audrey.

square pegs

Thankfully, Audrey is high functioning. She managed her childhood pretty well. She didn’t like hugs or anyone touching her face. She had obsessions, it is who she is. She seemed to live on a different plane or in a different universe. I chalked it up to her being an eccentric genius. She and a friend spent hours creating a Tolkien inspired world complete with a creation story and language.

The good news is that is was no surprise to God. He didn’t miss anything and where I messed up, He liberally poured out His grace and covered me and my child. For those of you who are experiencing a season of guilt over what you did or didn’t do, I challenge you to take some time to look back and see the hand of God. Trace your story line to those moments when you feel as if you failed and God showed up to pick up the pieces. Maybe he provided a friend who supported you. Maybe he sent someone to pray with you or take you out for a cup of coffee. It may be that you have spent years feeling guilty and you haven’t taken the time to look for the grace God covered you and your child with. Take a moment now and ask Him to show you the infusion of grace He poured out in your past. It’s only in forgiving ourselves, putting the guilt to the side that we can move forward into healing (Tweet this).

If you suspect that your child is on the spectrum or that he doesn’t fit in, he hones in on one thing, he obsesses, highly intelligent but doesn’t read social cues, has a large vocabulary at an early age or none at all, doesn’t like to play with toys or only plays with one kind of toy, doesn’t need other kids to play with, has sleep issues and won’t let an issue go, maybe check into some more research or talk to someone. This is not an official list or medically approved list. It’s my list. Sometimes the lists on medical sites are hard to interpret, hopefully mine helps.

I did miss it, but God caught it. I see His grace prints in my life and hers. When I question why, I see Audrey comforting and parenting with understanding. I watch her encourage other Moms and I know, God has it under control. He didn’t miss a thing.

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor at TWWbutton200x200_zps62610d74

Book Release Party- Life Lessons after the Fact

I walked up the hill and out of the corner of my eye, I saw it. A dog. I couldn’t see his head or tail, just a bit of his middle, a golden coat. I instantly began a prayer, something along the lines of God sending his angels to guard over me. My adrenal glands surged a wee bit. Lately, I had some bad experiences with dogs. Two of them had come snarling out of the woods at Ania and me, twice. I chased them with a large stick while yelling, “Go HOME!” So much for “speak softly and carry a big stick”. Turns out the dog loitering between the houses today was just an old, run down, tail-between-his-legs hound. Not much to be worried about.

As I passed the sorry hound, who followed me for a few seconds and then headed off in another direction,  My mind was overflowing with fond memories of the book release party the day before, but those thoughts were quickly hounded out by “What do I need to do next?” And I had this picture in my mind of myself going about my days as if I were being chased by those naughty dogs, constantly. No time to rest. No time to celebrate. Soak in the after glow of a job well done. How many of us women live our lives like that. Worry, haste, perfection, projects, voices that scream “NOT GOOD ENOUGH” snarl at our heels and we keep running. Running. Running. Trying to measure up. Measure up to what?

I heard that still small voice whisper to me, “Enjoy the fruit of your labor.” Rest. Why is that so difficult for us? i continued with my day and writing lists in my head when an email popped up on my phone- the subject line read- Kathleen, rest. Someone knows me well.

So, today, rest. Reflect. Rehearse past victories. What hurdles have you overcome lately? Did you take time to celebrate those victories? Or did you like me, let the canines corner you? Get out your stick and tell those nasties to GO HOME! Rejoice in the fruit of your labor. Thank the Lord for sustaining you. Thank Him for the strength He gave you to overcome. It’s not a new syndrome, this depression, fear of failure after a major victory. Elijah suffered it after He defeated the prophets of Baal. He fled after a threat from Jezebel. One person. And yet, God met Elijah where He was.

As he lay asleep under the broom or juniper tree, behold, an angel touched him and said to him, Arise and eat.

He looked, and behold, there was a cake baked on the coals, and a bottle of water at his head. And he ate and drank and lay down again.

The angel of the Lord came the second time and touched him and said, Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.

So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and nights to Horeb, the mount of God.- I Kings 19:5-8

God’s encouragement has extra staying power.Elijah went in the strength of that food forty days and nights!

Have you experienced a great victory? Are you feeling vulnerable? Exposed? Afraid? Trying to control what happens next? Are you taking that one negative comment and letting it chase you around all day?

Stop. Rest. Expect the Lord to show up. He wants to minster to you, did you know that? He longs to be gracious to you.

 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]. Isaiah 30: 19

If you skimmed that like I sometimes do, go back and read it again. If you seriously need some encouragement, write it down and hi-light everything that you can expect God the Father to do for you. Earnestly wait for Him. For His:

  • Victory
  • Favor
  • Love
  • Peace
  • Joy
  • Matchless, Unbroken Companionship

This is the promise for those who return to Him and resting in Him, through that you will be saved. In quietness and confidence will be your strength (Is 30:15). But, if you go your own way, chased by dogs or speeding your own course on horses, you will flee until you are left like a beacon on a flagpole (vs 16,17). How many times have I felt like that? Speeding my own course until I felt alone, exposed, a tattered flag on a pole? I’d rather have the rest, wouldn’t you?

Join me in celebrating with some rest and reflection. Wait on the one who is able to meet your needs and give you the strength for the next portion of the journey. Send those noisy dogs home!

And while I am resting and reflecting,here are some photos from the Book Release Celebration!

My Favorite Adoption Books by Category

My Favorite Adoption Books by Category

1. Memoirs

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More about my memoir here. 

memoirYou can read an interview with author Aaron Eske here.

2. Educational- the dog- eared books that I pull out often!

51oBlN+J5SL._SS500_Parenting the Hurt Child

Dr. Karyn Purvis (co-author of The Connected Child) has, by far, the best training program for raising children from hard places. Any parent can learn TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) through the videos series. Another great option is finding an Empowered to Connect conference near you.

3.Favorite Adoption Theology book (also dog-eared)

adopted for Life

“Love of any kind brings risk, and, in a fallen world, brings hurt. Simeon tells our Lord’s mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, that a sword would pierce her heart. That’s true, in some sense for every mother, every father. Even beyond that, every adoption, every orphan, represents a tragedy. someone was killed, someone left, someone was impoverished, or someone was diseased. Wrapped up in each situation is some kind of hurt, and all that accompanies that. That’s the reason there really is no adoption that is not “special needs” adoption; you just might not know on the front end what those special needs are.”- Russell Moore

4. My favorite Adoption Children’s book

Bye Bye Baby

The story of a baby who is sad and sets off one day in search of a mummy. He meets many people and animals who refuse to become his mummy, but offer to help him in his search. They find a lady who has no baby and she agrees to be the baby’s mummy. Then the search begins for a daddy

Linking up with Adoption Talk!

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Book Release Party for Positive Adoption: A Memoir

It’s time for a book release party for:

cover

It’s finally here -published and available -the book that took me a dozen years to write.

If you are thinking about adopting, this is for you.

If you have adopted, this is for you.

If you foster children, this is for you.

If you have been rejected or abandoned, this is for you.

If you had a troubled beginning, this is for you.

If you wonder why you exist and if God has a plan to put all the pieces of your broken past together, this is for you.

“Then one day, my father burst out of the house like an angry hornet.  He jumped in the teal Suburban and sped down the lane. I sat on the back porch , staring at my new red sneakers. My brother ran after him yelling, “Dad, don’t leave!” Tears dripped down his dusty, sweaty cheeks.

My father was gone.

This was my first exposure to the reality of the great divorce of heaven and earth. I was banished from the only Eden I had ever known, flawed as it was.  I was a hurt child, reaping the consequences of someone else’s life choices just as children all over the world– children who are  victims of circumstances, hunger, rejection, alcohol addiction, depression, rage, fear, punishments, loss of temper, war, famine, prostitution, and drugs.  The pit is the same in any language: Deep, dark, and putrid.  No matter what the cause of the rejection or abandonment, the feelings are the same. The devastation parallels Adam and Eve’s separation from the Heavenly Father.”

My troubled beginnings gave me a heart for hurt children. Many of us believe our beginnings ARE us. They are not. They are circumstances that happened TO us. If we voluntarily hand our pain and suffering to God the Father, He will shape it into the future He intended. A future of hope. A future of purpose. He loved you before the foundation of the world and only He can take a hurt and turn it into a healing that spreads like the ripples of a pebble tossed in a lake.

We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.- Romans 8:28

God had a plan for my life and He has one for yours. When things seem impossible. When you ask why. He will weave your story together. Wait. Trust.

This is my memoir weaved together with the adoption of my children. It is a life restored. It is a new beginning for all. It is a hard beginning turned into great love story.

I had read so many negative articles on adoption/foster care when we began the process. It was disheartening. So, when I began to write my story, on journal entry at a time, I knew it had to be Positive Adoption. It began with my spiritual adoption which led to a physical adoption of a sibling group of four half a world away.
book invite 2If you live in West Virginia, in the Fairmont, Clarksburg, Morgantown or surrounding areas, please come join us for a celebration!  If you need more information or to RSVP, please send me an email – positiveadoption(at)gmail.com and reference ‘book release party’ in the subject line! You can also RSVP by posting on the facebook page Positive Adoption.

*The series

Five Things Adoptive Parents Don’t Tell You will continue on Monday, April 6th.

Positive Adoption: A Memoir {Book Release}

It’s finally here -published and available -the book that took me a dozen years to write-Positive Adoption: A Memoir

If you are thinking about adopting, this is for you.

If you have adopted, this is for you.

If you foster children, this is for you.

If you have been rejected or abandoned, this is for you.

If you had a troubled beginning, this is for you.

If you wonder why you exist and if God has a plan to put all the pieces of your broken past together, this is for you.

book cover

“Then one day, my father burst out of the house like an angry hornet.  He jumped in the teal Suburban and sped down the lane. I sat on the back porch , staring at my new red sneakers. My brother ran after him yelling, “Dad, don’t leave!” Tears dripped down his dusty, sweaty cheeks.

My father was gone.

This was my first exposure to the reality of the great divorce of heaven and earth. I was banished from the only Eden I had ever known, flawed as it was.  I was a hurt child, reaping the consequences of someone else’s life choices just as children all over the world– children who are  victims of circumstances, hunger, rejection, alcohol addiction, depression, rage, fear, punishments, loss of temper, war, famine, prostitution, and drugs.  The pit is the same in any language: Deep, dark, and putrid.  No matter what the cause of the rejection or abandonment, the feelings are the same. The devastation parallels Adam and Eve’s separation from the Heavenly Father.”

My troubled beginnings gave me a heart for hurt children. Many of us believe our beginnings ARE us. They are not. They are circumstances that happened TO us. If we voluntarily hand our pain and suffering to God the Father, He will shape it into the future He intended. A future of hope. A future of purpose. He loved you before the foundation of the world and only He can take a hurt and turn it into a healing that spreads like the ripples of a pebble tossed in a lake.

We are assured and know that [[a]God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.- Romans 8:28

God had a plan for my life and He has one for yours. When things seem impossible. When you ask why. He will weave your story together. Wait. Trust.

This is my memoir weaved together with the adoption of my children. It is a life restored. It is a new beginning for all. It is a hard beginning turned into great love story.

I had read so many negative articles on adoption/foster care when we began the process. It was disheartening. So, when I began to write my story, on journal entry at a time, I knew it had to be Positive Adoption. It began with my spiritual adoption which led to a physical adoption of a sibling group of four half a world away.

You can order your copy today by clicking here and if you order the physical copy, you receive the Kindle copy free!