My Appearances This Week


On Tuesday of this week I’ll be a featured guest on KWMR-FM/90.5, Point Reyes, CA., 89.9, Bolinas, 92.3, The Valley, on the local news show “Epicenter” at 5:00PM with Jim Fazackerley talking about The Girl Behind The Door.


On Thursday of this week at 6:30PM I’ll be speaking about The Girl Behind The Door at the San Francisco Public Library, Civic Center main branch at 100 Larkin St. in the Latino Room.


On Saturday at 11AM Mountain Time (10AM Pacific) I’ll be interviewed on “Adoption Perspectives” on KLTT-AM/670, Denver, CO.


Casey’s Comfort Pillow

Casey Photos 1991-96_0042I submitted this short personal essay to KQED-FM’s Perspective series which invites listeners to submit their 2 minute stories. They broadcast a couple I did a few years ago but lately I’ve been on a losing streak. After they turned this one down I listened to the essay they accepted about someone’s old cat. I didn’t get it. But sorry I don’t do “lite and breezy.” I write from the gut and go for something hopefully thought provoking and uplifting in the face of tragedy.

Unfortunately what I’m finding I suspect is that the general public doesn’t like the whole “suicide thing.” But when they let me tell the story or read the book they are totally enrolled.


When you were a kid, what did you have to drag around with you all day and snuggle with at night? For me it was my Teddy bear.

For my daughter Casey, it was different. She had plenty of stuffed animals. There was Toucan, Plush Pink Piggy, Pooh Bear, Squeaky Doll, Bunny and an assortment of Beanie Babies. Like all kids, she’d play with them when she was little – having snacks, pretend tea, watching videos together – but at bedtime they were relegated to the foot of her bed.

Casey’s true constant companion was her goose down comfort pillow. My wife bought it for her just before we received her from a Polish orphanage where she’d spent the first year of her life. She was well cared for but missed the things that provide comfort to children who weren’t raised in an institution. She was never breast fed, probably wasn’t held nearly enough, and wasn’t allowed a pacifier for fear of spreading germs.

Casey had trouble self-soothing from sometimes crippling tantrums and meltdowns. So her comfort pillow was her prosthetic. On any given night we’d find her asleep in bed with that pillow over her face. She’d suck on it and rub it on the tip of her nose to calm herself down. During one of her meltdowns, she’d cry and scream into that pillow. My wife re-stuffed and re-covered it many times from all of the use it had gotten to sooth her well into her teen years.

But the pillow wasn’t enough. Eight years ago when Casey was 17, she took our car, drove to the Golden Gate Bridge, jumped and disappeared. She left her room behind neat as a pin with Toucan, Plush Pink Piggy, Pooh Bear, Squeaky Doll, Bunny, her Beanies and her comfort pillow, threadbare from use, carefully arranged on her bed.

Now her comfort pillow is my comfort pillow. I hug it and smell it but her scent is long gone. It’s all I have left of her. Meanwhile my own Teddy sits old and musty, worse for wear, hermetically sealed in a Rubbermaid container in my basement.

Casey Photos 1991-96_0047

NY Times The Ethicist Piece, March 6, 2016

Yesterday’s Sunday New York Times Ethicist column featured a piece titled “Should I Tell My Sister She’s Adopted?” The title alone was jarring to me. How can this even be a question in 2016? In short, the letter writer’s biological parents adopted a child, so the parents had a biological and adopted child. But the parents kept the adoption a secret and insisted that their biological daughter keep the secret as well, a terrible burden to impose on a child!

I wondered if this adoption had happened decades ago when these kinds of secrets were more commonplace. But it seemed as though the adoption happened more or less in current times.

The Times’ Ethicist responded in an overly long winded response that had little to do with the question until finally answering the writer’s question with a convoluted affirmative.

They could’ve just answered with one word: Yes!



Please tune in for these upcoming radio events.


logoMonday Mar. 7 2-3PM on KPFA-FM/94.1 I will be interviewed about adoption and attachment along with internationally renowned adoption expert, therapist and author of the adoption bible, The Primal Wound, Nancy Newton Verrier, on the show “About Health” hosted by Rona Renner, RN. You can also LISTEN LIVE on or listen to the archived show.


KQED_logoMonday Mar. 14 10-11AM on KQED-FM/88.5 I will be on a panel discussion about survivors of suicide on the nationally syndicated “Forum,” hosted by Michael Krasny. You can also LISTEN LIVE on or listen to the archived show.




REMINDER: Girl Behind The Door Author Event at Book Passage San Francisco Wed. Mar. 2nd at 6PM!

9781501128349Please join us for an author event for The Girl Behind The Door, published by Scribner, at Book Passage San Francisco in the Ferry Building on WEDNESDAY MAR. 2nd at 6PM

About The Girl Behind The Door:
Early on Jan. 29, 2008, Casey Brooks drove from her Tiburon home to the Golden Gate Bridge and jumped. Why?
* Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award.
* Winner of the Kindle Award for Non-Fiction.
* Recommended as an Elaine’s Pick.
* Recommended as a Marin Magazine Local Page Turner.
* Featured in Books Inc’s non-fiction titles.

About Scribner:
A premier imprint of Simon & Schuster founded in 1846.

About Book Passage:
One of the Bay Area’s premier booksellers.
Ferry Building Marketplace, 1 Sausalito, San Francisco Ferry Bldg. #42



REMINDER: Girl Behind The Door Launch at Book Passage Corte Madera Tues. Feb. 9th at 7PM!

Please join us for the launch of The Girl Behind The Door, published by Scribner, at Book Passage Corte Madera on Tuesday Feb. 9th at 7PM, co-sponsored by Buckelew Programs.

9781501128349About The Girl Behind The Door:
Early on Jan. 29, 2008, Casey Brooks drove from her Tiburon home to the Golden Gate Bridge and jumped. Why?

Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award.
Winner of the Kindle Award for Non-Fiction.
Recommended as an Elaine’s Pick.
Recommended as a Marin Magazine Local Page Turner.
Featured in Books Inc’s non-fiction titles.




About Scribner:
A premier imprint of Simon & Schuster founded in 1846.

About Book Passage:
One of the Bay Area’s leading booksellers.

About Buckelew:
A North Bay non-profit dedicated to enhancing quality of life in our community.


tumblr_static_mini_bp_logo kh7ZEz2K 40882-2


Scribner Picks Up The Girl Behind The Door!

the-girl-behind-the-door-9781501128349_hrI’m excited to announce that Scribner has picked up **The Girl Behind The Door: A Father’s Quest To Understand His Daughter’s Suicide**.Our book launch and reading is Tuesday, February 9th at 7PM at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, CA.

Book Passage is Marin County’s premier bookseller.

My deepest gratitude goes out to all of you who supported me when I self published and needed support the most. For anyone who hasn’t read the book, now is your chance! It is available at most bookstores, retailers and online where books are sold.

We’ve received wonderful accolades to date:

* Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award

* Winner of the Kindle Award for Non-Fiction

* Recommended as One of Elaine’s Picks

* Recommended as a Marin Magazine Local Author Page Turner

Please come join us on February 9th at 7PM at Book Passage and bring your family, friends, neighbors, parishioners and coworkers!

Why Adopting War Orphans May Not Be In Their Best Interest

pj5-Gus Waschefort-DRC orphan from war I am posting this as my first guest piece written by Leo Sampson, a volunteer worker for  charities who contributes to many websites from his home in Manchester, England. I found it very thought-provoking in light of the ongoing conflicts throughout the Middle East, Africa and other regions.

It’s no secret that some countries today are at war, whether civilly or internationally. No matter what the reason is for a country embroiled in war, the losers will always be the children. When soldiers die, their offspring are left behind with no choice but to face the real world without the guidance of their birth parents.I am posting this a

When we see images of abandoned and crying children in a country torn apart by war, good parents often feel the responsibility to reach out to them and, possibly, adopt them. And while the intention is pure and good, adopting children who were ripped from their parents by war may not be the best course of action. In addition, it is unattainable due to political, religious, and cultural barriers.

In the aftermath of a war, it is extremely difficult to make sure that a child is indeed an orphan. Families may have become separated in the disaster and it may take months, or even years, to reconnect families with each other. It is globally viewed as unethical to adopt children immediately without solid proof that a child is indeed orphaned. In addition, resources after a war will be limited, and adoption may not be a priority that a government is focused on. Without updated passport and necessary papers, a person will not be able to take a child out of a country legally.

Even if a country’s government manages to put some time and effort into adoption, it may be best to leave children in the care of local charities that work hard to give war orphans shelter, home, and a new family within the country. In many parts of the Middle East, adoption is not recognized and it will be difficult for both the child and adopting parent to win a case for adoption.

Right now, the best option for people who are willing to help war orphans is sponsorship programs, which is widely practiced by charities all over the world. By donating an amount that costs less than a cup of latte every day, people can make the life of a war orphan a little bit better.

Children deserve to live a full life, and adults must do everything they can to ensure that everyone grows up healthy and well educated. Since adoption has a lot of barriers that prevent a child from connecting with a new family, perhaps sponsorship programs may be the best course of action right now.

“Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline

orphan-train-coverI don’t mean to make this blog into a book review site, but sometimes (a) bloggers run out of stuff to write about and (b) I occasionally read a really good book. I’m usually pretty attuned to adoption themed books, but rarely do I come across a great fiction story. When I saw the title “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline at my local bookstore, I judged that book by its cover and bought it.orphan-train

The story begins in present day Maine centered around a teenage girl named Molly who had bounced around in foster care for years, now living with foster parents, Ralph and Dina. Molly’s father died in a car crash and her mother was in jail with a long rap for drugs. In lieu of a sentence to “juvie” for stealing a library book, she agrees to community service, helping an elderly widow, Vivian, clean out the attic of her stately home.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to reveal that through numerous flashbacks we learn that Vivian also has a past. She immigrateStreet-Childrend to New York City from Ireland with her family in the 1920s, only to lose them in a tenement fire. Sent to an orphanage, she is ultimately packed onto an “orphan train” with other children bound for the Midwest where families were looking less for a family and more for free help. Vivian’s Dickensian journey makes Molly’s foster parents’ mobile home look like the Ritz.

The story is fraught with losses, reunions and family discoveries made too late. A true joy to read, it literally brought me to tears.