Ana's Miracle was a personal blog that I ran from 2007 until 2013, which focused on sharing my experiences of being reunited with my birth family from El Salvador at the age of 16. I wrote stories, made videos, and conducted live streams all to figure out how best to share my family's incredible story. Not only was it my first online writing project, but my first experience with hosting and maintaining a Wordpress site. The experience taught me a lot about marketing, storytelling and inspired several other projects, including my documentary film Identifying Nelson/Buscando a Roberto, and my autobiographical novel Waking From Innocent Dreams.
The blog started as a way to help my adoptive mother, Margaret E. Ward, write her book Missing Mila, Finding Family. In the fall of 2005, my mother asked me, and my biological sister Eva, if we wanted to share our experiences with her to be included in her memoir. At the time, we were unable to share our feelings with her, but by 2007 a few coinciding events lead me to find my voice.
In January of 2007, I saw a movie called Freedom Writers, which is based on a true story and revolves around a group of L.A. high school students. In the film, the students come together by writing about their life in the inner city and sharing the struggles they face. It taught me the power of sharing our truth and made me think about sharing my own story.
Not too long after that, I was listening to a podcast about the way the internet was changing our world. On the episode, a man by the name of Robert Rebholz said:
"Now anyone with a library card can publish, and because of that, the world has changed."
He made me realized that I had everything I needed to share my story with the world, and all that I was missing was the will to start. That was the last push I needed, and within a few days, I had set up a blog, which I named Ana's Miracle as a tribute to my birth mother, Ana Milagro. I enlisted the help of my siblings and jumped into the unknown.
I saw the blog as not only a way to help my mother, but as an opportunity to learn marking and storytelling. I began to experiment with video blogging, live streaming, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms to see how I could best tell my family's story. Most of my efforts didn't translate into an increase in readership, but I learned a lot along the way. At its peak, the site had a small but loyal readership of roughly 40 people.
By 2013 I had all but stopped writing on Ana's Miracle, and decided to end the project. I've kept the site running for posterity, and if you would like you can check it out here: