Finding a Tribe: Why Do You Like Our Story?

The State of Marketing

Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors and marketers. He really understands the state of marketing in today’s world. If you aren’t familiar with his work then I highly recommend you check out some of his books.

His basic theory is, marketing is about finding a group or tribe of people that share the same world view, and doing stuff for them. This could be helping them connect or introducing them to something new to talk about.

Building a Movement

I recently listened to a talk he gave about the new dynamics of publishing. It’s a great program and only 40 minutes long. I highly recommend you take a listen even if you are not in the publishing industry. I think these rules apply across industries.

In the speech, he talks about finding a tribe and building a movement. This is so important because it’s not about you the author, film maker, or company. It’s all about the tribe.

I’ve been talking with John about this very idea. The one thing we’re still trying to figure out is who the audience is for our documentary and who’s in the tribe?

Who’s In the Tribe?

I realize this story is about me and my family, but it can be so much more than that. It touches on so many aspects of the human condition and is too important to be just about us. There is so much that people can learn about life and each other from what we have been through.

One could say that the tribe is adoptees or people who have been touched by adoption. It could also be people who care about human rights issues. It could be people who are interested in history or family. It is really hard to narrow down but I know that I must narrow it down. A tribe has to have insiders and outsiders.

Why Do You Like Our Story?

As people who are part of the Fan page or reading this blog I’m wondering why do you like it? What do you get out of our story and how can we help you?

Becoming One Family: An Interview You Don’t Want to Miss

I’m very excited to announce the first interview for the yet to be titled documentary I’m working on. The interview is going to be about becoming one family. It will take place Saturday July 31st and we will be broadcasting the interview live so you can be part of the filming.

One question I get a lot is: What was it like for your families when you were reunited? It’s difficult to say because it was an emotional time for everyone. We were people from two completely different backgrounds thrown together by chance. Our own real connection was through me and I was only 16.

While I never felt hostility between my two families, it was obviously hard for all of us. My adoptive family now had to share me with a whole group of people. My birth family had just found a long lost relative and wanted to get to know me. Thanks to a lot of hard work and understanding by both families, we slowly became one family.

At the end of July my older sister Eva will be visiting us and I thought it would be a great time to address this subject. Eva, my mother Margaret, and I will be sitting down to share our thoughts and experiences about this interesting time.

We would love it if you would join us for this exciting discussion. We will also be taking your questions. Since this is being filmed for the documentary, there is a chance your question could make it into the film! You can RSVP for the event on Facebook or Eventbrite in case you’re not on Facebook.

Why I Want to Speak at #140conf and How You Can Help

About #140conf

The other week I went out to the #140conf Boston TweetUp. For those of you not in the know, a TweetUp is a networking event for people on Twitter. This event was all about the #140 Character Conference taking place September 14th in Boston. Being a pretty heavy twitter user, I had heard about #140conf before but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was about. Thankfully, the founder of #140conf Jeff Pulver was there to enlighten us.

He described it as a conference about the real time web, but also a platform for people doing interesting things to shine. Jeff tries to get celebrities and other big names to speak at the conferences to build an audience, then opens it up to lesser known people to speak. There are individual talks which last no more than 10 minutes and group talks that are no more than 20 minutes. The idea is to have lots of different people present a wide range of ideas.

My Pitch

Of course this sounded like a great opportunity for me to talk about the documentary project I am working on. I promptly wrote up a proposal to speak. Below is the proposal I submitted. Let me know what you think.

I would like talk about my family’s incredible story and how the real time web is helping us share our story.

This past December I sat down with my family in Central America to interview them about the past 12 years since we were reunited. We used ustream to broadcast the event to our friends and family. It was an interesting experience for some family members who had never heard or seen my father speak about what happened during the war.

From that first interview I started doing more interviews with other family members about different aspects of the story. My goal is not only to share our story with the world, but to make a documentary from it.

The internet has always played a big role in my life and in reconnecting with my birth family. In 1997 our home number was found by doing an internet search. Over the past 12 years we’ve used AIM, Skype, Facebook and many other programs to keep in touch.

I’m fascinated with the power of the web to connect people and share information. The #140conf seems like it is a celebration of this idea. It would be an honor to be able to share our story with a group of like minded people.

How You Can Help

Jeff was big on saying he wants people to tell him who should be speaking at the confrence. If you think I would make a good speaker at #140conf and you are on Twitter you can drop Jeff(@jeffpulver) a line. Please don’t spam him but you could say something as simple as:

I would like to hear @dewittn speak about #anasmiracle at #140conf

Every little bit helps!

Nervously Going Back to El Salvador

I recently booked tickets to El Salvador for a week in December. I’m going down for a cousin’s wedding. This will be my first time back since 1998 and I’m a little nervous.

Since the end of El Salvador’s civil war the situation in the country has steadily declined. The war was supposed to improve life for its people. Instead the country has become less economically stable and more violent. Now a country the size and population of Massachusetts has an average murder rate of 16 people per week. Over 2,000 people have already been killed this year alone.

My family is no stranger to this violence. A cousin of mine almost died when her husband went on a shooting spree, attacking her, killing their baby and himself. She recovered both mentally and physically but other family members were not so lucky. An uncle on the other side of the family witnessed his son’s murder when they were carjacked.

I hear a lot about how violent the country is. It always makes me ask if everything my parents did was in vain. They gave up so much to try and change things. Here we are 30 years later and it’s about the same if not worse. My family made it and are better off now, but what about everyone else?

Maybe it’s the violence or the state of the country, but the thought of going back “home” makes me uneasy. I don’t think anything bad is going to happen but I know this will not be like visiting Panama, which is much safer. My family has been asking me to come back and I never go. I feel bad sometimes but it’s tough when my immediate family is not living there anymore. Even though I’m nervous I think the trip will be good. It has been a long time coming and I can’t wait to see my family.

A Conversation About Race and Adoption with Kevin Hofmann

Last night I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Hofmann about his experiences growing up in a multicultural household. We talked about race, identity, and cultural expectations. It was a great discussion and we really hope you enjoy it as well.

Don’t see the video?

I’m working hard to makes great interviews with interesting people involved with our story. Please let me know what you thought of the interview in the comments, or by emailing

By the way, this our 100th post! I don’t know how significant that is, if at all, but either way it’s a milestone. 🙂

Start of Something New: Making a Documentary

Sharing Our Story

In 2007 I started this blog with my sister as a way to record our thoughts and help my mother with her book. Over the past three years we’ve posted almost 100 times and talked about everything from adoption to identity. As well as being therapeutic, it’s been a lot of fun.

One of the best parts about sharing our story has been meeting and reconnecting with people who were touched by our words. I’ve heard from people I’ve never met, thanking us for writing about our experiences. I’ve also been reconnected with people from my past.


One of those people who reached out to reconnect was John Younger. John was my counselor at summer camp in 1990. He still remembers when my little brother Derek came to visit. He says it was striking to see how close Derek and I were despite being so different on the outside. That image has stayed with him for all these years.

John was so moved from reading the blog that he offered to help us tell the story. I have been working with him to improve my writing. He also helped with the lighting and testing the setup for the interview I did with my parents. Over the past few weeks we have been talking seriously about creating a documentary related to some aspect of the story.

Making a Documentary

While I’ve done photography for years, I’ve never made a documentary. John has been explaining the ins and outs of the business. We have been talking about everything from a story line, to equipment, to how we are going to finance it. It has been very interesting and I am learning a lot.

There is still a lot of work to do. We need to figure out what exactly it is going to be about, how we are going to shoot it, and how to finance it. As we work out all the details we will be bring you along for the ride.

Doing Something Different

One of the things we really want to do with this project is include all of you. As this project develops I will be updating this blog about its progress. I’ll be sharing just about all of our ideas and decisions as we make them. This will create a type of production journal that people will be able to follow. Maybe one day it will even become a blueprint that other people can use.

Part of the documentary is going to be a series of interviews with different family members. Just like the interview with my parents, we will be broadcasting over the web so all of you can participate. The idea is not only to share everything, but to allow others to be a part of it. If you have any ideas or suggestions for the project we would love to hear them. This is a new journey and we are very excited to see where it takes us!