My memoir, Not Exactly as Planned: A Memoir of Adoption, Secrets and Abiding Love, will be published this fall by Demeter Press. Book launch in Toronto, November 18 at Ben McNally Books.
A brief description:
Linda Rosenbaum’s life takes a major turn when her son, adopted at birth, is diagnosed with irreversible brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome. She is determined to change Michael’s prognosis and live with as much joy as possible while struggling to accept her new reality.
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One of the reasons I chose to write the book:
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder affects an estimated one percent of all children born in North America. Yet, despite being the most common cause of developmental disability, most members of the public are unaware of it and of the ways it profoundly affects the lives of its young victims and their families.
I believe the book will bring comfort and hope to families struggling to raise children with FASD, and bring a better understanding of our day-to-day lives to the teachers, doctors, social workers and other professionals who work with us.
A bit more detail about the book:
Not Exactly As Planned chronicles my arrival in Toronto in 1970 from the US after political upheaval and sexual violence in Washington, D.C. casts me on an unexpected journey north in search of safe haven. I live a counterculture life in communes in Toronto’s American ex-pat community, eventually moving into the city’s mainstream. A move to Toronto Island, marriage, and parenthood through two unorthodox adoption processes finally bring a sense of safety and belonging.
Life takes a major turn when our son, adopted-at-birth, is diagnosed with irreversible brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome when he is six. I am determined to change Michael’s prognosis, illustrating the expectations that those raised on the activism of the 1960s brought to our lives and families. I no longer fight for other people’s sons — picketing for civil rights or demonstrating to bring soldiers home from Vietnam. I have to fight for my own son.
According to statistics at the time, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) was a sentence for failure: he'd drop out of school; he'd be incapable of holding a job; he'd live on welfare, on the street or worse. The brain damage, they said, was irreversible.
With love, devotion, hope and all the medical knowledge I could accumulate, I set out to change the predicted course of events. Though truth of the old Yiddish saying “Man plans, God laughs” was testing me, I was determined to have the last laugh. I confront the sexual violence in my youth; raise my children Jewish even as they share their father’s last name of Christmas; fight to save the iconoclastic Toronto Island community from developers’ bulldozers; and resolve to live with as much joy as I can while struggling to beat Michael's odds.
With compassion and humour, Not Exactly As Planned weaves the disparate threads of my life into a story of acceptance at once achingly unique yet universal to all parents. Not Exactly As Planned is a provocative story about hope, loss and acceptance.