Jillian Lauren

Writer, mom, rockwife. Author of the upcoming memoir EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED, NYTimes bestseller SOME GIRLS: My Life in a Harem (yes, it's true) and PRETTY.

Hope Happens

We’re back in Addis now, with its crazy slow-moving traffic, tons of construction, brightly colored corrugated tin shacks, miles of market stalls and crowds of people walking everywhere. I’m sitting under an overhang in an outdoor café, the rain blowing in sideways and soaking the bottom of my skirt as an Amy Winehouse album plays on repeat and I try to digest all that we’ve seen over the past week. The smell of frankincense wafts in from a neighboring shop ....more

The Road

“From here on out, the road is KAPUT,” said Aschalew, the local Help One Now director and our emissary here. Translation: the road is screwed. He wasn’t kidding ....more

Again, Always: Ethiopia

The minute we walked off the plane in Addis Ababa this morning, the distinctive smell hit me- some mysterious mixture of frankincense, burning trash, eucalyptus, coffee, and bodies. It’s profoundly human and otherworldly at the same time and lets you know unmistakably that you are in Ethiopia- this glorious and complicated place. I remembered the last time I walked into that airport ....more

Love Hope

On the final afternoon of our adoption trip to Ethiopia, we participated in a goodbye ceremony, after which we would be bringing Tariku home for good. Never again would we have to leave him. By that time, I was beyond exhausted ....more

Then and Now

We spent a remarkable weekend with T’s “first friends.” Unprompted by me, he calls them his brothers and sisters. The first picture is of the kids when they were still living in a care center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The second one is of the same kids now (in almost the same order- wrangling challenges) ....more

On Special Needs…

When I was stuck in traffic after the camp drop-off this morning, I found myself musing about the day I first heard the words “special needs” applied to T. It seems a lifetime ago. I remember the combination of fear and relief I felt ....more

My Tedx Talk!

Here is the talk I gave at Chapman University, about adoption and the role of imagination in forming our identities. Hope you enjoy it! Please pass it along if you do ....more

On Fear and Soccer

I’ve been struggling with a bizarre case of massive stage fright. I speak in public a lot, and this anxiety has been an intensely unpleasant aspect of my life for the past two years. When it happens, it’s practically an out-of-body experience ....more

The Move and Everything After

It’s been a long while. I wish I could say that I’ve been absent because the fam and I have had our toes sunk in the mud by a lake somewhere woodsy, or that we’ve been busy hunting for abalone shells, enjoying these last days of spring before the summer descends. The truth is, we moved onto a new house in the middle of multiple work deadlines (sorry, Becky, I swear I’ll have the new book finished in a jiffy), the end of the school year, and Scott being in and out of town ....more

A Blow to the Head

I am packing my books, pulling the dusty tomes down from a high shelf, when my dead friend’s poetry chapbook falls and hits me on the head. It is hot pink and stapled at the seam. How I felt about her art always shifted with how I felt about her, and our complicated friendship ....more