June 2008 Archives

American Adoption Congress in 2009

The American Adoption Congress 30th Annual Conference is in Cleveland, Ohio next year on April 22-25, 2009. If you're in the adoption constellation, you owe it to yourself to consider attending. Check out the comments from this year's conference. I attended for the first time this year. I thought I knew almost everything important about adoption - I've lived with it, written a book, helped a few people search, gone to support group meetings. But I was blown away by what I learned. It shook my assumptions to their foundations, in a good way. I was also warmly welcomed and befriended some extraordinary people. Next year, I'm bringing my family - and we're going to the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame as well! You should think about coming too.
- njb, 28 Jun 08 | link | 0 comments

Company on the Trail

In publishing Swimming Up the Sun, I often hear from people who want to search for family members. Perhaps they've tried, and it didn't work out. I always tell folks that time plays an enormous role in the success of reunion. Time and company. You don't have to walk the road of reunion alone; in fact, I highly advise against it. It's too easy to get discouraged [dis - couraged, to lose one's courage] or to miss an important clue or opportunity because of the whirl of emotions. In the DC area, we have the Adoptee-Birthparent Support Network and Concerned United Birthparents. The American Adoption Congress links a nationwide network of similar organizations. These are organizations of our peers. They hold monthly meetings, help us search, support us when the going gets tough (it always gets tough!), and rejoice with us at every breakthrough, no matter how small. I completed my search before attending ABSN meetings but those adoptees and birthmoms carried me through some dark times. They walked with me along the seemingly endless road to openness and love. It's an adventure but it's scary. You don't have to do it alone, so don't.   
- njb, 25 Jun 08 | link | 0 comments

Making Room in Our Hearts by Micky Duxbury

As an person raised under closed adoption, I never knew openness of the kind Micky Duxbury writes about in Making Room in Our Hearts. I love the case studies and photos because we humans are storytelling creatures. We learn best through engaging tales. I learned that openness can exist in adoption, with birth and adoptive families discovering together how best to support the growth of the adopted young person - wow, what a concept! "Open Adoption" it turns out is not a one-size-fits-all, utopian arrangement but a supported process of learning to be flexible, compassionate, and respectful to the people who love the people we love. Highly recommended.
- njb, 21 Jun 08 | link | 0 comments

We're Not Blank Slates - We Remember

I often write about memory. My play-in-progress, FRED AND FRIEDA, is about a Holocaust survivor who suppressed her memories and now wants to remember. Adoptees aren't blank slates. We remember what happened to us, the loss. Sometimes we remember in ways that don't have words, because we didn't have words. But we remember... everything, at least we can if we choose to. For most of us, we were minding our own business, getting born, and suddenly, a nuclear explosion happened. When the dust cleared, everything we'd ever known was gone: parents, siblings, siblings-to-be, grandparents, family friends, ancestors, hometown, pets, music, language, culture, jokes, mountains... all gone forever. In their place was a new family. They were kind and we liked them. We weren't supposed to talk about the explosion and if we did, we weren't supposed to let on how much it mattered. Reuniting with our birth families is a conscious act of remembering. That's why it's so hard.
- njb, 17 Jun 08 | link | 0 comments

Author Signing at Bethany Beach, DE

I'll be signing copies of Swimming Up the Sun at Bethany Books, 99 Garfield Parkway, Bethany Beach, DE on Tuesday, June 24, at 7PM. Do stop by!
- njb, 15 Jun 08 | link | 0 comments