I’ve been invited back to Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, to speak about my book, The Girl Behind The Door, which has been released by Scribner in paperback. It chronicles my search for answers to my daughter Casey’s suicide. Casey was a Redwood High School senior who leapt from the Golden Gate Bridge on January 29, 2008. My search led back to her infancy in a Polish orphanage, a trauma which we learned too late was likely at the root of her demise. Casey’s story has touched a great many readers, with two literary awards and over 100 extremely satisfied Amazon customers. Recently The Girl Behind The Door was published in Germany and Poland.
Please join us Sunday for what should be a moving and thought provoking event!
I’m excited to announce that the Polish publisher Prószyński i S-ka released “The Girl Behind The Door” in Polish language in January. It is titled, “Mogło być inaczej: Prawdziwa historia rodziców, którzy zrobili wszystko, by ocalić córkę” which translates into English as “It Could Have Been Otherwise: The true story of the parents who did everything they could to save their daughter.”
I only found out about this through a woman in Poland named Monika, who is an adoptive mother who read and embraced the story and has become our new friend. In fact, she sent us something that truly blew our minds. She found the orphanage in Mragowo where Casey spent the first year of her life. It was closed down long ago and re-purposed into a nursing home for children and youth with disabilities, which makes sense because most of the children in the orphanage back then were handicapped.
The building has aged quite well having been tastefully repainted; there is even a new front drive of attractive pavers. Below is the orphanage as we saw it in 1991, and the “home” (at bottom) as it is today.
I share this opinion piece titled “Yes, It’s Your Parents’ Fault” from the Sunday January 7th New York Times because I rarely see analytical pieces on attachment issues and disorders in major newspapers. To those like me who have been steeped in this subject, it offers nothing terribly new. Rather, it is more just textbook attachment theory unlike what you may find in Wikipedia. Still I share for anyone who might find it interesting or helpful.
If you are part of the adoption triad you’ve probably heard about the movie “Lion.” I saw it today believing that it was a story about loss and reunion. It is that but, in my opinion, the crux of the movie is an adoption story with all its warts, mysteries and crises of identity.
And that’s all I’ll share. No spoiler alerts!
I started this blog as a way to share with other families everything I’ve learned about understanding and parenting children with attachment issues as well as behaviors that manifest much like attachment disorders. Unfortunately I learned all of this too late as my 17 year old (adopted) daughter took her life in 2008. You can go to my Resources page on this blog or read my book, The Girl Behind The Door, for more detail.
I still get messages and emails years later from parents who, unlike me, recognized that their children carried serious baggage from infancy yet still couldn’t find them the right kind of help. So I try to share anything I come across that might be helpful to the endeavors of others. To be clear, these aren’t vetted endorsements. You will have to do your own homework to determine if any organization I feature is appropriate for you.
Someone recently tipped me off to a North Carolina organization called CelebrateCalm. Founded by Mr. Kirk Martin, this organization offers workshops, books and CDs aimed at parents and teachers dealing with children who have trouble self soothing. Though this is a classic trait of orphaned children, Martin’s work is aimed at kids, such as his own son Casey, with ADHD. Here is a link to a 2008 article on CelebrateCalm in The Washington Post.
This may or may not work for everyone but I believe when it comes to our kids well-being we have to try everything!
This isn’t an adoption story per se but I connect with any and every sorrowful story involving teenagers, and there are so many such stories. Recently I got an email from Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother, as she was reading my book, just to say how much she identified with Casey’s story.
Amanda was in high school in British Columbia when she found herself the subject of a bullying campaign, the result of an innocent mistake that anyone could’ve made at her age; it had gone viral over the Internet. She was ultimately driven to take her precious young life in 2012 at the age of 16.
Before she died she posted a Youtube video of her story told in her own words, but there is no sound. Silence is powerful. It’s gotten nearly 20 million views.
What a tragic, tragic loss.
Now that Igor is in doggy heaven there is one thing we’ve wanted to do – a trip to Europe in summer, 2017. It’s less about seeing the sites because we’ve seen them, and more about connecting with people and seeing places we’ve missed. Here is a very preliminary itinerary: San Francisco to London to Edinburgh/Fortingall, Scotland. Then onto Manchester/Huddersfield/Liverpool. Fly to Brussels/Uccle and visit Bruges on my bucket list. Onto Paris/Chatou for a couple of days, then Bern, Switzerland to see the Brandenburgs and Regensberg, Germany where Erika was born. Lastly Poland – Krakow (another bucket list), Osweicim (Auschwitz), Wroclaw, Warsaw to see family and Mragowo to revisit where Casey spent her first year. Then Gdansk, back to Warsaw, London and home. About 30-45 days. We plan to stay in Airbnb’s where possible or family/friends as long as they can stand us (2-3 nights max). So we welcome any input on best ways to get around (plane, train, rental car) and lodging. Consider this our Amazing Race!