AAC 2018 Conference Book RoomNancy FeldmanBohl, David. Parallel Universe: The Story of Rebirth, 2018.
2018 Winner of Book Excellence Award in the Addiction/Recovery category
This poignant and powerful memoir reveals the inner turmoil and broad spectrum of warring emotions shame, anger, triumph, shyness, pride experienced growing up as a relinquished boy. Adopted at birth by a prosperous family, Bohl battled throughout his earlier years to keep up a good front and surpass expectations as he tried desperately to fit in. An over-achiever at everything he undertook, whether in sailing, academics, or life as a trader on the Chicago Exchange floor, he continued his search for happiness, often finding it in a bottle or pill, and ultimately becoming a raging and wealthy alcoholic.
'Baby Boy Bender,' as he was labeled in the adoption papers, had been born to a red-haired co-ed who struggled with alcoholism and an athlete who later died of a brain tumor.
After several severe seizures and frequent blackouts, it was time to make a drastic change and admit his addiction. Raised with no religious teachings, David struggled with traditional recovery fellowships and sought out secular supports, where he finally fit in. This approach allowed him to learn the stark facts about mental health and addiction, as well as the monumental issues many relinquishees need to overcome to find peace and a quality of life they deserve.”
Crofoot, Rebecca. Who Am I? A Journal to Guide the Search for Your Birth Family, 2017.
A solid help for the searcher. Be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster, but also know that this can be a fulfilling and wonderful experience. This is not a how-to-search book, but rather some simple suggestions of how to handle your emotions and the various situations as your search progresses.
Hummons, Marietta. An Expected End, 2017.
A story of disappointment, despair, hope, and fulfillment for a well-to-do couple who had experienced everything that they meticulously planned for their lives, except the one thing that meant the most to them—a family. They struggled for years with disappointments, loss, and grief as they were unable to achieve their goal of starting a family in the way they had planned Through their faith and perseverance, they found that even the best and well-thought-out plans are often derailed by God's divine plan for one's life.
Jackson, Dr. Cecilia. Help! My Child Doesn’t Look Like Me: Adoptive Parents -- Bridging Racial, Ethnic and Cultural Differences, 2018.
In recent years families established across national, racial, cultural and ethnic boundaries represent a growing demographic in the United States and are broadening the diversity of family unit forms. International adoptions are comprised of parents who bring into their families a child from another country to a new country with its own diversity challenges. Such families can benefit from supportive information that helps to guide and fortify the family unit. This book is a tool that assists adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, and introductory professionals with pertinent definitions, instructions, and benefits of embracing multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial differences in adopted and pre-adoptive children. These tools are enlightening and will secure the bridge of endearment and acceptance between the adoptee and adoptive parents by dispelling myths and offering strategies for understanding and embracing differences. Moreover, the book helps to successfully nurture trans-racial adoption and healthy international families.
Kearney, Meg. The Secret of Me, 2007.
Being adopted is a fact of life in the McLane household: fourteen-year-old Lizzie, as well as her older brother and sister were adopted as infants. But dry facts rarely encompass feelings, and what it feels like to be adopted is something Lizzie never dares openly discuss with her loving parents—let alone with outsiders. More and more Lizzie yearns to confide in others, especially her boyfriend, Peter. But something stops her. Will Peter think she is less because her birthmother gave her away? Would telling be disloyal to her adoptive parents?
Told entirely through the poems Lizzie writes for herself, this intimate, moving story gives voice to the thoughts Lizzie cannot utter aloud. Lizzie transforms relationships and events in her daily life--family dinners, the school dance, hanging out with friends--into blues poems, list poems, sonnets, sestinas, and free verse that delve into her secret wishes and her fears. Often Lizzie feels like two people: the person everyone knows, and the one known to precious few. But when a tragic accident occurs, Lizzie finds the courage to say who she truly is and to set off on a new path of self-discovery and truth.
In an Afterword the author discusses her own experience as an adopted child and how writing can help make sense of one's life. Also included are a Guide to Poetic Forms and an Appendix of Poems (referred to in the novel)
Kearney, Meg. The Girl in the Mirror, 2012.
Lizzie McLane, the adopted poet-heroine of the widely acclaimed The Secret of Me, is now a high school senior, excited about her future: meeting boys, college, and finally finding her birthmother. Then, on the day a letter from her adoption agency arrives, her adoptive father unexpectedly dies. Lizzie, lost in grief, turns to alcohol and the wrong kind of friends, and her life begins to spiral out of control. Loved ones try to help, but only in her poems and journals can Lizzie make sense of the hurt and her relentless curiosity about her birthmother.
Kearney, Meg. When You Never Said Goodbye: An Adoptee’s Search for her Birth Mother. A Novel in Poems and Journal Entries, 2017.
Against the odds, eighteen-year-old Liz McLane, adoptee and aspiring poet, searches for her birth mother in this sensitive and daring novel told through her own accessible and moving poems and journal entries.
A student at NYU in Greenwich Village, Liz McLane is pursuing her dream of becoming a poet and, at the same time, determined to find her birth mother, no matter what the results may be. Through her journals, Liz records her struggle to navigate adoption bureaucracy and laws. In spare and poignant poems, she confides her fears and her prayers. Could her birth mother be the unknown guitarist in Washington Square Park, who sings a soulful song in a strangely familiar voice?
This is an unforgettable novel full of heart that addresses the primary questions all adoptees must answer for themselves: who was the woman who gave me life, and why did she decide to give me away? Based on author Meg Kearney’s own experiences.
Levin, Fran Gruss. The Story of Molly and Me, 2017
The author takes us on a raw and honest emotional journey as she tells her story of first love, longing, and loss. At seventeen, unsure of herself but full of hope and passion, she falls deeply in love with a young man from her hometown and soon finds herself pregnant and terrified. Her parents’ response, a reflection of the attitudes of the time, is to forbid contact with the baby’s father and send her away to have the baby, who is then given up for adoption. These events mark the beginning of Fran’s long and painful struggle to deal with the guilt, shame, and grief that she carries along with her closely held secret. The pain of her loss and the yearning to find her lost child only grows over time.
The Story of Molly and Me takes the reader through Fran’s odyssey from the very beginning through several decades as she learns to draw on her optimism and strong spirit to find what she needs to make her family, and her life, complete.
Millard, Maryl, Ph.D. Blood Dilemma: Kith and Kin, Where Have You Been?, 2017
Two adoptive families meet through an FBI’s investigation that begins in San Francisco, then takes them to Mexico. This novel explores the history of the US/Mexico war on drugs, and the personal/professional dynamics of adoption in the context of this compelling international crime thriller.
Five-star reviews on Amazon describe it as rich with endearing, complex characters whose families have all been impacted by grief and separation. Dr. Addison Diaz, A Mexican-American Forensic Psychologist, adoptive mother, and nationally recognized psychic in abduction cases, risks marriage, motherhood and career in a journey that abandons illusions and embraces love of family as never before.
Millard, Maryl. Infertility Distress Syndrome, A Study of Pre- and Post-Adoptive Parents, 2018.
Recognizing the need for education and therapy with regard to PTSD in adoptive parents, who were suffering from loss and trauma issues, Dr. Millard helps professionals and infertile couples understand infertility-related PTSD symptoms and patterns that, if not treated, will limit the honesty and security of the adoptive relationship. Infertility-related questionnaires for assessment are included in this study. Adoption topics are: open versus closed; common fears in adoption, relationships with birth parents, raising adopted children in open adoptions and why adoptive parents fear birthparents. This important thesis is available on Amazon and Kindle, or copies can be obtained by e-mailing email@example.com.
Seek, Amy. God and Jetfire, 2016. New York Times Best Seller List.
A mother's account of her decision to surrender her son in an open adoption and of their relationship over the twelve years that follow. Facing an unplanned pregnancy at twenty-two, Amy Seek and her ex-boyfriend begin an exhaustive search for a family to raise their child. They sift through hundreds of "Dear Birth Mother" letters, craft an extensive questionnaire, and interview numerous potential couples. Despite the immutability of the surrender, it does little to diminish Seek's newfound feelings of motherhood. Once an ambitious architecture student, she struggles to reconcile her sadness with the hope that she's done the best for her son, a struggle complicated by her continued, active presence in his life.
For decades, closed adoptions were commonplace. Now, new laws are guaranteeing adoptees' access to birth records, and open adoption is on the rise. God and Jetfire is the rare memoir that explores the intricate dynamics and exceptional commitment of an open-adoption relationship from the perspective of a birth mother searching for her place within it.