Yesterday, I posted a review of Addition by Adoption by Kevin Hendricks. The book was a fast-paced, entertaining and inspiring read. I highly recommend you get a copy, and while you are at it, donate to his project to build a well in Ethiopia. Today, Kevin joins us to answer some questions about the book, his life after Milo’s adoption and his humanitarian inspiration.
When did you look at your Twitter stream and realize this could be a book?
It happened last year when people kept telling me that I needed to collect all my tweets about Lexi and put them in a book. Different people kept saying it and eventually I realized they were right.
Your daughter is hilarious, and you seem to have a humorous outlook on life as well. How has humor played a role in this addition to your family?
Life can be a little too overwhelming if you’re not willing to sit back and find some humor in it. That’s part of why I share funny stories about my kids—sometimes kids can drive you nuts and you need to remember the positive moments.
Laughter can keep you sane.
Your humanitarianism seemed to be amplified by Milo’s adoption and your time spent in Ethiopia. How did that trip to pick up Milo affect your view on international issues?
When Milo joined our family we became a multicultural, international family. We have roots that go beyond Minnesota—they go all the way to Ethiopia. They’re Milo’s brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters. How could I ignore the plight of those I’m so deeply connected to?
So yeah, my humanitarianism became amplified. It’s kind of a no-brainer. That’s why we’re trying to build a clean water well in Ethiopia.
I blogged about this after Haiti (http://www.kevindhendricks.com/2010/01/21/why-haiti-matters-compassion-by-connection/), but our compassion is amplified when we have a personal connection. We need more and deeper connections. And this one is the deepest.
Why a traditional book consisting of content from a micro-blogging site? Had you thought of an epublication to present the material, or was it paper and ink all the way?
I wanted my Grandma to read it, so it had to be paper and ink. I’m certainly not opposed to a digital version (and I’m giving away PDFs to anyone who makes a donation to charity: water), but it seemed like less of a draw. Reading tweets on a Kindle seemed like a hard sell—you need the paperback.
But now that we have it published I am trying to explore the Kindle and iPad opportunities.
Share a bit about your efforts to bring clean water to those without, and how this book will help accomplish that goal.
My wife had been pushing charity: water before we went to Ethiopia, but while we were there it really hit home for me. I saw people gathered around muddy trickles of water with those yellow jerry cans. I got sick from the water. Milo came home with a water-borne parasite. The importance of clean water and the tremendous lack throughout the world became painfully obvious (literally so).
So last year we did the Bald Birthday Benefit and I offered to shave my head if we could give clean water to 30 people for my 30th birthday. In the end friends, family and strangers donated enough to give clean water to 130 people (more than $2,600) and I was bald.
When it came time to publish the book I wanted to give back in some way and water was a no-brainer. So we’re hoping to raise $5,000 to build a well in Ethiopia through charity: water. At least $2 from every copy of the book will go to charity: water (if you buy the ‘Awesome Edition’ a whopping $12 will go to charity: water). So far we’ve raised about $1,000, most of it coming from people making donations and not just from the book sales, so that’s pretty cool to see.
Water is such a simple thing—we don’t even think about. But in other parts of the world they spend hours gathering water that makes them sick. In Ethiopia it kills 300,000 kids every year. Water is the number one cause of infant mortality. How crazy is that? It seems like a small thing, but clean water means life.