Do you have a story to tell?
If you have a story about your adoption experience that you'd like to share, we'd love to hear it. We are always looking for stories to share in our quarterly newsletter, Bits & Pieces and here.
Where do I start?
Below are some writing resources to help you on your way. They include prompts, exercises and links that you might find helpful. You can also contact us with your questions.
Who will be reading it?
Only our Jigsaw Qld and Forced Adoption Support Service staff unless you wish it to be published in the newsletter or on our website. This can be done using just your first name, your full name or a pseudonym if you prefer. So please don't be shy, we can't wait to read your stories...really!
SELF CARE WHEN WRITING ABOUT YOUR ADOPTION EXPERIENCE
Writing about your adoption experience can be therapeutic and it can also stir up emotions. Experiencing emotions is not a bad thing unless you are being overwhelmed by them.
BEFORE YOU START: Consider thinking about your current level of general well- being and if this is a good time to do this writing.
ONCE YOU START the process, if you find you are feeling overwhelmed you should consider;
Seeking support - someone to talk this over with such as a counsellor or another support service such as the Forced Adoption Support Service at Jigsaw Qld. Phone 1800 21 03 13 (from Qld only) or 07 3358 6666 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Deciding if you need to take breaks and space out the writing over time.
Think about what aspects of your experience you want to write about – uncovering very traumatic material may not be wise if you do not have the support of a therapist.
Putting the project aside for another time.
"I sit down to write and nothing comes out! Help!"
Sound familiar? Freewriting is a possible solution!
What is freewriting? In a nutshell, it is when you sit down with a pen and paper in front of you and just let your thoughts flow unhindered (you can do it on a computer, but pen and paper works even better...something to do with how the brain works, trust us!) .
Don't worry about how it looks or reads, punctuation or grammar. No one will ever read it, this is strictly to help you get unblocked. Don't try to steer your thoughts in any particular direction, just let them flow. Write for between 10-20 mins. Don't stop to think, just keep writing!
Sometimes you will find some gold in what you have written. Even if you don't, you will most likely find yourself unblocked and some ideas may have taken root.
Ideas to get you started
Don't worry about what others will think about what you write. This is a time and space for you to write that you need and want to write about YOUR story.
Forget about whether or not you think you can write or whether your writing is 'good enough'. That judgy little figure sitting on your shoulder is a pain and needs to be banned from this project. Just write!
Not knowing what to write or how to start is cured by writing. Use the freewriting exercise above. It might give you a word or a sentence that you can use for your story. Consider it to be a warm up before you run.
If your story seems too big to to be used in the newsletter or on the website, then you could choose a moment / time / event that has resonance for you, that is particularly meaningful or memorable. You may have lots of these, as most of us do, and you could try writing some of them and see which one you feel fits best.
Another way to get started is to use an object that has meaning for you, like a photograph, a soft toy, something a loved one gave to you, or even the memory of a house or a room or other place (natural or human-made) of significance. It might be a birth certificate, a diary, a handwritten letter or an email.
There is some excellent information available to mothers on the History Project website here.
This could be a good place to kick-start your writing process.
There are great resources for fathers to get your writing going located here.
How to edit a lifetime of experiences into a short story.
My experience is too big, I don't know how to turn it into a short story or poem!
It can be tricky to figure out what to write when there is so much to write about.
For the purposes of sharing via our newsletter or website, you must keep your story fairly concise. You could either summarise your story or talk about a specific experience or feeling or you could even write a poem.
Grab a tea, coffee or other drink and take your laptop, pen and paper outside if you can. Somewhere where you can see some trees or feel some sunlight or blinking stars.
The Lost Daughters website created some adoption related writing prompts for designated writing months and National Adoption Awareness Month. The prompts were created with adopted people in mind, however with a little tweak, many crossover to anyone affected by adoption. If there isn't a prompt that suits you, it might trigger a question you would like to answer. Take a look!
The Lost Daughters writing prompts are found here.
GRAMMAR AND PUNCTUATION
Been awhile since you learned the basics at school? Don't worry, you aren't alone and that isn't what this project is about.
Here is a link to Grammarly.com where you can refresh your memory, or just do your best and send it through to us and we can help you edit it.
Enjoy listening to podcasts? There are some good ones out there and they could be a great writing prompt for your own feelings about how adoption has impacted your life.
Adopt Perspective is our very own podcast and it includes stories from mothers, fathers and adopted people. Have a list via our page or through your favourite podcasting app. (Links included on the podcast page).
Adoptees On is a great one that features only adoptee perspectives.
Have you got a suggestion of one from another perspective that we can add?
Time to get going. Be sure to check this page from time to time for updates and additions.