"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Friday, January 15, 2010

5 Ways How Adopting a Story is like Adopting a Child

To be released November 1, 2010, National Adoption Month, will be a book called “Year of the Family: 12 Adoption tales to place in your home and to value the process today”. Pre-orders and updates are at www.yearofthefamily.com. All proceeds go to our adoption fund.

My husband and I have always wanted children. I have wished to peak at the Lord’s planner to find out when we would have kids as we have been married over eight years. We are one of many couples in the world who wish to grow their family. Then came the beautiful word of “adoption”.

We knew that whether we were blessed with children biologically or not, part of our family would come through adoption. Things would work out.

Since I am a professional storyteller, I tend to think about stories and how they relate to all aspects of life. While my husband and I began the adoption process, I contemplated how similar the steps were in finding and developing stories.

Here is the Adoption Process of a Story:
  • Decide to adopt a story in the first place
  • Determine what your heart may be open to receive in a story
  • Figure out your story agents in the process
  • Be patient and expect changes along the way
  • Love the new story as one of the family

Decide to adopt a story in the first place
Sometimes it seems life would be easier to stick to the stories already in your repertoire. There is so much research, refinements, and rehearsals to each tale that it could feel like you truly went through labor to deliver and give birth to the story.

Yet, something inside the storyteller’s heart urges us to have another story and another story and another story. The search for the story that would fit within your style could be an exhausting . . .yet satisfying journey. When you decide to take the first step for a new story, then you are one step closer to performing it.

Determine what your heart may be open to receive in a story
There are so many genres and kinds of stories. Are you interested in telling stories that heal the soul? Challenge the social norms? Stretch and exaggerate the truth? Explain how certain landmarks or traditions came to be? Interact with the audience through improvisation? Relate a personal or family experience to cherish a moment? The list could go on.

Likewise in the actual adoption process, there are lists that a couple marks known as a matching sheet. Preferences such as desired age of the child, racial background, and medical conditions could be pages in length.

As storytellers, we may feel open to experience each kind of story at least once. Perhaps we find our niche or specialty and pursue one or two kinds.

Figure out your story agents in the process
I meet with three different “story agents” normally known as my “story buddies” every week. We divide the time equally so that full attention could be given to our most recent projects.

An adoptive couple may decide to connect with one or more agencies. We have chosen to work with one. We keep in contact with the caseworker appointed to us. With more agencies involved, then the process may quicken. There is also the balance of time and money.

The number of “story agents” a storyteller has may also be determined by time and money. Friends may give of their time for free, though there are storytellers who specialize in coaching and could charge a fee.

Be patient and expect changes along the way
A story may not come to together as fast you dreamed. The creativity could be flowing and then suddenly stop. Months or years may pass before any development actually happens with it.

As for the paperwork involved with adoption, once completed there may be an average of six months to a year because placement with a child in the home. Some potential adoption couples have waited for five or more years.

Love the new story as one of the family
The story will develop and arrive on that stage . . .after the proper time creating outlines, storyboards, imagery explorations, or whatever ways you use to piece a story together. Celebrate this success by premiering the tale with family, friends, or community. Take pictures. Record the experience. Do all you can to relish in the moment.

The story may be new, though you could love it as much as any other story in your repertoire. Mix it with your other tales. Watch as the story grows. Congratulations. The story is part of your family.

The same can be said the moment that a child is placed in the arms of an adoptive parent. Some wonder if one could truly love someone who is not biologically connected to them, and yet this love happens every day. The child will sense your care for them and emulate the feeling.

So. . .are you ready to start the story adoption process?

There are many tales waiting for a teller like you.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Family Famine Series Site: http://www.familyfamine.com/

Friday, January 01, 2010

Future Success: 3 Key Ways to Tell the Story of Your Goals

K. Sean Buvala, storytelling marketing guru and director of Storyteller.net, inspired this blog post by coaching me to pretend it was December 31st of the new year and what I wanted to accomplish. With his permission, I expanded upon this exercise on ways to share goals like stories. If you would also like to be coached by Sean, then email him at sean@storyteller.net.

Lists, lists, and more lists. Such a thought could cause one to moan and groan when every year the goals must be figured out. Fortunately, there is a more empowering and effective way to enjoy this recurring process: tell goals as stories.

Consider the outlines that a teller may use to learn and develop a tale. When it comes time to perform, the outline is set aside so that the moment can be shared by the teller and the audience.

As for goals, the audience most important to please would be you.

Three Key Ways to Transform Goals into Stories:
  1. Characters
  2. Settings
  3. Moving the Plot Forward
Goal Characters

Yes, you are the hero in your story. When December 31st comes of the current year, be prepared to share an epic journey. You will have the expected trials. Folktales tend to have at least three, though do not dismay if you face more than that number. For remember, the hero conquers them in the end.

Family and Friends
Any hero in a story needs the mentors and the helpers. Family and friends are the perfect ones to fulfill these roles. Sometimes family and friends are similar to the cheering villagers found in fairy tales. Others get more involved and might be in contact on a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. It could compare to the walk along the path to visit the wise old woman or man for advice.

Business Associates
At times, the hero needs to have accommodations or supplies to make it past the dragon, monster, or other obstacle. Consider the business people who have the skills needed to help you accomplish your goals. You could go a step further and include key individuals into your business plan complete with contact information.

Goal Settings

The hero tends to leave home in search of another home. Yet, we live in an age when home offices are common. Furniture or routines may need to be adjusted to create “another home” that is more conducive to a productive environment . . .and especially as it relates to your goals.

Potential Performance Areas
You are a storyteller. Obviously there will be places in which you will be before an audience. Part of your goals might entail have so many new venues. Perhaps you want at least a certain percentage of places you have told at in the past. Whatever your endeavors, you could close your eyes and imagine perfect performances at these places. Although the likelihood of everything—or anything—being perfect, envisioning such a dream could boost your energy and motivation so you may have many “practically perfect” moments.

Storytellers need to collaborate and work alongside businesses from print shops to recording studios to advertising offices. If you have ongoing relationships with people, then it will be easier to picture the places where they do that fantastic work for you. These people and businesses are every part of the setting of your goals. You may want to imagine atmospheres of creativity, understanding, and of clear communication.

Moving the Plot Forward for Your Goals

Breaking Big Goals into Smaller Goals
Stories have scenes. Each moment builds upon each other to the grand goal. Though, if you only saw the “grand goal”, then that would only be a one-sentence story. These short stories may be nice to share at a party, but then they are forgotten the next morning.

Placing Smaller Goals on Calendar
Storytellers are faced with choices in every part of the process. There are endless possibilities. This could become overwhelming unless put on a visual map—also known as the calendar. Color-coding works for quick recognition on the calendar, especially as you most likely want to accomplish more than goal over the course of the year.

Add Details for Flavor
If your goals still feel like an outline of ideas rather than a story, then add details that would excite you beyond the basics. Do you have an outfit planned for that premiere of yours? Who will be at some of your performances? What does your face look like when the package of new CDs is delivered to the door? This is your success story so you have the right to make-up details—realistic or not. You may be surprised what comes to pass.

Keep in mind to share your story in the past tense—as if it already occurred. This act solidifies the glorious image in your head.

Are you ready to tell your future success story now?

Go ahead.

Have your happily ever after.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com/
Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/rachelfans
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller