In honor of both National Adoption Awareness Month and Thanksgiving, I am happy to announce a book giveaway. I will be giving one copy of Jennifer Grant’s Love You More to a lucky winner. Love You More is a beautiful chronicle of Jennifer and David Grant’s decision to adopt a child internationally, Mia, and everything that happened in that process. Then Jennifer discusses Mia's transition into her new family. To read a review of this book go here.
Entering this contest is easy peasy.
There are two steps. First, either join this site through Google Followers at the right, or like the Facebook page for Robbinswrites. You can do this on the Facebook link at the right, or go here.
Second, leave a comment at the end of this post expressing a desire to be entered into the contest. To leave a comment, go to the bottom of the post, and click on the phrase "o comments" or "1 comment" or whatever the number of comments is at the time. That is it! Your name will be entered into a drawing to win!
The drawing will be on Wednesday, November 30 at noon. Then, I will announce the winner.
To kickoff the book giveaway, I have interviewed Jennifer Grant. The interview follows. Happy Thanksgiving!
Jennifer Grant is a journalist with particular interests in parenting, family life, and international health and development. Jennifer writes feature stories on health and parenting for the Chicago Tribune and is a guest blogger for websites including Fullfill, adoption.com, Sojourner's "God's Politics," eatdinner.org, and Patheos. She is also a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s her.meneutics blog for women. Her work has been published on britannica.com and in magazines including Chicago Parent, Christianity Today, Draft, and Conscious Choice. For more than a decade, she wrote features, restaurant profiles, and columns for Sun-Times Media newspapers. She is a founding member of Redbud Writers Guild. Her memoir, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter was published in summer 2011 by Thomas Nelson publishers. Jennifer is currently at work on a second book, Momumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family to be published in August 2012 by Worthy Publishing. Jennifer lives with her husband, four children, and a mutt named Shiloh outside of Chicago, Illinois. Find her on Twitter @jennifercgrant and onlineat http://www.jennifergrant.com
1. How is life these days at the Grant household?
With four kids, there are countless details and schedules and personality quirks to manage in our household. There are many days when the kids are going in different directions, but we all come together at dinner most nights of the week to check in, hear what is happening in each of our lives, and just take a big breath and be together.
2. Your book Love You More is a memoir about your family going through the adoption process, with everything that it entails. Mia is the child that you adopted. How old was she when the process started?
She was four or five months old when we began the adoption process.
3. How old was she when you finally were able to go and get her?
Mia was 15 months old when her adoption was finalized and we were able to bring her home from Guatemala.
4. How old were your other three children when you brought Mia home?
Theo was 6, Ian was 4, and Isabel was 3.
5. What are their ages now?
Theo is 15, Ian is 13, Isabel is 11, and Mia is 9.
6. What was the most rewarding part of this process for you and your family?
Adoption has affected our lives in too many ways to name. It’s opened our eyes in new ways to struggles families in resource-poor parts of the world face. It’s opened our lives to other families who have grown by adoption. But most of all, it brought a vital part of our family home.
7. What was the most frustrating?
Waiting, second-guessing myself, and not having any control over the process (Would the adoption fall through? Would she bond with us? Would everything be all right?) were the most difficult parts of our adoption journey.
8. If you had it to do all over again, knowing what you know now, what would you and your husband do differently in the adoption process?
I can’t speak for David, but I know that I would be easier on myself in the weeks and months after Mia arrived home. I was so eager to prove to her that I loved her and was a good mother to her. I was overly eager to bring her “up to speed” in terms of language and fitting into our family system. I also wanted others – our extended family, friends, and community – to accept her and to know that she was always meant to be in our family. If I had it all to do over, I would slow down and breathe more in those early months and trust that all of this would work itself out in time.
9. You made the decision to pursue adoption at the international level. What was the main reason that you chose international adoption over domestic adoption?
My husband and I had traveled overseas extensively in our work lives before beginning the adoption process and had witnessed street children and other children who did not have families caring for them. We both had an intuitive sense that ours would be an international adoption.
10. Your describe adoption as a spiritual journey. Can you explain that characterization?
As a Christian – I’m a member of the Episcopal Church – I see my life as a spiritual journey so I look to God for guidance as I make decisions and navigate my life. Of course, then, I prayed for help and direction when we decided to welcome a child into the family by adoption. It was also a spiritual journey because my faith grew during the adoption process.
11. Could you see this book being made into a movie?
I’ve not been approached about making the book into a movie, but sure!
12. If asked about making it into a movie, would you be willing to pursue this?
Yes – I think so. I love the idea of highlighting and telling the stories of nontraditional families– whether they are families like mine (that are created by adoption and are transracial) or many other kinds of families.
13. November is National Adoption Awareness Month. What do you think is the biggest issue concerning adoption about which we should all be aware?
There are many children both in the U.S. and abroad who deserve to grow up in the loving embrace of family. I don’t think everyone is meant to adopt a child, but I do think we all should be mindful of the fact that so many children are vulnerable and in need. We all have something to offer – from volunteering at a homeless shelter to making financial donations to organizations that support people in need to developing relationships with kids who might need tutors, coaches, or other support people – we all have gifts to share.
14. You have a husband, four children, work and attend church. So, what is your typical day like; or since you wrote this book, is there such thing as a typical day?
A typical weekday for me is very glamorous! I make breakfasts and pack lunches, get the kids off to school, and then go through the house picking up library books, throwing in loads of laundry, and so on. I then spend most of my kids’ school hours writing and then – like so many parents – the day begins again when they all get home from school. I oversee homework, make dinner, take them to practices and music lessons.
And then, as I said earlier, we all meet up again and take a breath together at dinnertime.
15. Your bio on your book lists you as a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Do you still write this column since your book was published, or have you had to cut back on some of those activities?
I’m doing less freelance work since my book’s publication and as I write my second book. I still freelance for the Chicago Tribune as well as for a number of blogs and other publications. But, yes, I take on far fewer assignments these days
16. You are a founding member of Redbud Writer’s Guild. Tell about that labor of love.
Redbud Writers Guild is an amazing group of women and writers. I’m so proud to be counted among them. Redbud began with several women in the Chicago area meeting monthly to critique each others’ works-in-progress, encourage each other, and talk about writing and publishing. There are 13 founders of the group, including me, and we continue to meet monthly.
We recently began to accept applications from other writers, all over the U.S., for affiliate membership. Redbud is growing! All of Redbud’s members encourage each other, offer support to each other, and network with and for each other. The whole guild meets virtually via Facebook as a community. We propel one another in our work as we fulfill our mission to “fearlessly expand the feminine voice in our churches, communities and cultur
17. You are also working on a new book with a new publisher. Please share the details of this coming book.
The new book – and this is my first interview since I learned the final title – is called “Momumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family.” It is comprised of stories about family life. It’s a lighter book than “Love You More” although it looks at the particular challenges that parents today face as we raise our kids – pediatric anxiety, the influence of technology and media, and other issues. It details the ways that motherhood changes us, makes us more real.
18.When is the new book scheduled to hit the shelves?
The new book will be released in August 2012.
19. You have blogged about working in the library with music playing in earphones to block out distracting noises. Is this your typical writing modus operandi?
When I write in public places such as libraries, airports, or coffee shops, I do like to wear earphones. I’m a curious person and so if people begin to talk around me, I like to listen. This eavesdropping, of course, keeps me from focusing on what I’m writing. Headphones work for me.
20. Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you work through this?
I haven’t suffered from that particular problem. Lately I feel like I have too many pages to write and too little time. There’s no room for writer’s block!
21. Do you think that a writer is born or is trained?
22. Which do you consider yourself? Inspired or driven?
Definitely inspired more than driven.
23. Which do you prefer-Coke or Pepsi? Cats or Dogs? Facebook or Twitter?
These questions are fun – they make me laugh.
· Diet Coke with a slice of lemon. (I know – not good for me, I usually try to avoid soda.)
· I love dogs – we have a wonderful mutt (German Shepherd mix) named Shiloh.
· I like Facebook and Twitter equally well.
24. Do you get tired of adoption questions? Would you ever, just for a day or week, like to be asked about party planning or football?
Party planning – definitely!
Football – no. I’m not much into sports. In fact last night I was teased by my friend’s husband by forgetting what replays are called. (I referred to them as “flashbacks.”)
But, yes, answering different kinds of questions about family, books, travel, or any of my other interests – is a welcome change. I love telling the story of Mia’s adoption, but when I look at her, I just see my daughter, not my “adopted” daughter.
25. Do you have a favorite word or trademark phrase?
I often say to my friends, when they are sharing a story about their own moments of weakness or something else that they might feel ashamed about – “No judgment, only love.” It’s a phrase that makes them laugh but also let’s them know that I’m not sitting in wait to criticize them, but am just listening to them with great affection for who they are.
Thanks Kathy! It’s been fun to chat.
copyright 2011 by Kathy Robbins