Saturday, November 20, 2010

BJ Lifton Remembered

In the 1990s, I became very involved in the adoption world. It is a time where I was allowed to think about being adopted. One of the seminal books about the adoptee experience was Betty Jean Lifton's book, Lost & Found:: An Adoption Experience. Why not everything in the book rang true to me, there were parts that really spoke to me and I was always grateful for her books being out there for adoptees and those who love them. I especially responded to her description of adopted persons feeling in limbo.

When I worked on Voices of Adoption, I made sure people knew about her books. She dug deep to give adoptees a vocabulary to describe what we are feeling and thinking. It was consoling to have someone give us permission to think about things we as adoptees were told we shouldn't even think about.

In my work in Voices of Adoption, I know that BJ's books were a lifeline for generations of adopted persons.

At the turn of the century, I went to Ethics in Adoption conference with Ron Morgan and I was able to meet BJ in person. She was just the most lovely lady. I didn't agree with her when she discussed the adoptee syndrome, but it was just a thrill for me to be able to speak with her.

After I left the adoption movement, I kept in touch with almost all the folk from the adoption world on Facebook. I was lucky to have BJ Lifton as a Facebook friend where she would share her life with her dear companions, Jingly and Maui. Through them she would offer her wise opinion on current events. They would always make me smile and think. When her dear Maui was thought lost out in the wild this Summer, we all held our breath until she found Maui in a cabinet. Her updates showed her incredible humor and humanity.

This morning I found out this wonderful lady passed away last night.  We are all huddling together online today in shock and in sadness that she is no longer here. We have her books, but we will miss her caring, passion, and wisdom. Rest in Peace well BJ.


Margaret (Hoffman) LyBurtus said...

Sad to see another pioneer in adoption reform leave us. Now we must continue to educate others about the need for adoption reform and equal access. May she rest in peace knowing she did her share:)

Amanda said...

She will be missed!