January marked the one-year anniversary of my website Since launch, my life has evolved into a busy, focused and purpose-driven journey. As I thought of a way to celebrate the site and really honor how God has met me on this journey, I did some research that led me to an article encouraging bloggers to write their own book.
The New York Times claimed that 81 percent of Americans have a book they want to write, but only 3 percent of those people ever finish a book and of that 3 percent, only 30 percent ever have their book published. If I’m being honest I wanted to be in the 30 percent that published but what would I write about? When you love to write there are so many things you want to say. Which story would I share with the world in deep detail?
I decided to write about our adoption story. Many people know how our journey unfolded but far too few know of the dark days before our adoption. Even fewer people know the toll infertility took on my body and soul. I wanted to write an authentic piece about the true struggles of infertility, adoption, and hope in a way that helps others feel validated and heard, while at the same time pointing to the beauty and loss that is adoption. #losstolove
I’m often asked why I finally decided to go live with my intimate life stories about loss, adoption, infertility, and our multiracial family experiences. It wasn’t an easy decision. It really puts me in a vulnerable space. However, I have learned that I grow the most when I am genuinely uncomfortable.
This book is about the hardest moments in our lives and the biggest lessons we have learned along the way. It's the true story of how God stepped into my mess and made it perfect in its time. My hope is that our story will help another couple or family step into their purpose of adoption.
I’ve been asked by a number of people to share how I wrote a book so quickly. I promise it wasn’t quick and it really started over a year ago when I started the blog. Here are some of the things I learned along the way.
1. Content: If you are already a blogger, you already have many stories written out. So that’s where I started. I went on a journey through my blog reading story after story of how we became the family we are today. I dug into stories that needed to be fleshed out and added the difficult details that weren’t captured on the blog. Those led me to larger stories that needed to be included in the book. Many of the stories are personal, powerful and beautiful. I’m excited to have all of you read it. If I’m being honest, there were many nights I had to stop writing so that I could cry and process what I was putting on paper. My hope is that as you read it you are moved as well.
2. Family: When I finally made the decision, I sat down with my husband and son. You see, I was about to share some really difficult stories about our past with the world. Some of the adoption stories Jaden didn’t even know himself. What I loved most about writing this book is that it made me intentional about sharing stories with Jaden. Boy did he ask some tough questions! It gave me time to ask his permission before I shared his life story with the world. I think we made good decisions in what stories were made public and which ones will remain private.
3. Book Design: I knew the design, layout, and cover of the book needed to be something that would resonate with my audience but also spoke to me. I knew I couldn’t trust anyone but Heath Cushman, my brilliant designer husband to bring my vision to life. One of the best parts about writing this book is that it’s a labor of love for our son that we both got to take part in creating. For the last 3 months, we sat in our loft at our respective desks and deliberated over what fonts, layout choices, and the cover would look like. We were intentional about blocking off time each week for writing and designing. He focused on every detail. It wasn’t until our trip to California in April where we visited my brother Alex Medina that I grabbed my iPhone and snapped one simple image of Jay facing the Pacific Ocean. I knew then that it was the book cover. The minute I shared it with Heath he said, “This is it!” When it came to the font, we knew we wanted something clean and modern. We finally landed on the beauty that is Bison. Once the font was purchased we were off to work on designing the layout. I know I’m biased but visually the book is a beauty.
4. Promoting: The biggest lesson I learned while pouring my life into this book was about marketing. Did you know that the best time to promote your book is before its even written? Yup! I called my good friend Alison Little of Visual Uprising for some advice. Alison is a brilliant creative and has a strong social media presence. I wanted to pick her brain about what my vision was for the book. While chatting for over an hour about our kids and her life in her beautiful country home in VA she told me “Decide where you want to take your audience and then take them there.”
5. Editing: I knew I needed a professional editor that would take the time to review my written work, give constructive feedback and respond in a timely manner. After much research, I decided to partner with Upwork. “Upwork is the leading freelancing website where businesses find and work with top freelance marketers, designers, developers, editors, and other professionals.” The process was simple. I posted the job and waited for editing freelancers to reach out. After two days, I found the person I wanted to work with and the results were great! What I didn’t expect is that he would find a duplicate chapter in my book! I nearly died! I actually cried a bit. I took 2 weeks off from writing. Where would I get more content from? What would I share in a whole new chapter? It took me a couple of weeks, but I regrouped and got back to writing. This motivated me to write a whole new chapter on where we are now and how our story changed my profession.
This project is a personal account of our journey to our son. Although I am nervous, I am truly excited to share it with you. My hope is that families struggling with infertility, embracing adoption or feeling ignored by God know that we have been there and come out on the other side with more than we could have ever hoped for. Our journey through loss to love is one that has shaped my life forever. I’m excited to announce that the book will be available this June!