Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rest in Peace Psychologist, Author, & Adoption Activist BJ Lifton

As some of you may already know, BJ Lifton (Betty Jean Lifton) passed away on November 19, 2010.

Lifton was an Adult Adoptee, an Adoptee Rights Advocate, a Psychologist, a therapist, a lecturer, and an esteemed author.  She wrote many books and professional journal articles.  Lifton spoke out about the complexities of being adopted during a time where adoptees rarely did such a thing.  Because of her and many others, we have increased awareness of the many issues surrounding adoption and an improving societal atmosphere to discuss them in.

When adoptees and Adoptee Rights Reformers were criticized, Lifton took a stand for us.

Her books include:
  • Twice Born, Memoirs of an Adopted Daughter
  • Lost and Found, the Adoption Experience
  • Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness
...among other books and articles.

Lifton also had a website and a blog that I encourage you to check out.

I was only ever able to speak with her a few times when she emailed me after finding my blog.  I had no idea who she was at the time and regret missing the opportunity to ask her questions about her work.

Lifton has been writing, supporting, and advocating for the rights and needs of those within the adoption community for much longer than I've even been alive.  I didn't know her very well and am still diving into her various works; I hope you will check out the blog postings by others who also had a tribute to make to this wonderful woman.

Betty Jean will never be forgotten.  If you are a friend on her Facebook account, please make sure to post a comment on her Facebook wall.

BJ's Obituary

"No one has yet put into words the complexity of being adopted" --BJ Lifton


ms. marginalia said...

Betty Jean's books were the first ones I read when I began to explore in earnest my own feelings about what it meant to be adopted. I read them 15 years ago, long before the Internet changed the way we communicate. She showed me I wasn't alone and that it was okay to talk about the pain and disappointment.

Her writing about reunion encouraged me to push forward over the years. I felt that I deserved, at the very least, to be treated as a human being. I wasn't, but I still deserved it. And when my nfamily came down on me like a ton of bricks and then evaporated as though I didn't exist, BJ found me on Facebook and offered herself as witness and support. She validated my feelings and told me she was in my corner. It meant everything to me to have someone with her years of experience and her compassion to stand by me.

She was generous and brilliant and left a legacy of commitment to adoptees that I am proud to carry on in whatever ways I can.

I cried most of last night, remembering her kindnesses to me, both small and large, and thinking about how her death has left us without her everyday guidance and love. And yet I know she is with us, willing us onward and telling us that we are deserving of respect and acknowledgment.

Thank you, Amanda, for putting BJ front and center today.

Von said...

Sad to loose someone so influential and who meant so much to so many.Big shoes to fill and they won't be, but she has left behind a legacy of strong adoptees who can carry on and who now have a voice to speak out.