Betty Jean Lifton

I was sorry to hear that Betty Jean Lifton, the quintessential author of books about the psychology of adoption, passed away on November 19. A writer, psychologist, speaker, and advocate for adoption reform, her books were profoundly illuminating to me, and countless others like me.

She believed that all members of the adoption triangle - adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents - are traumatized by their losses to some degree.

An adoptee herself, BJ Lifton was one of the first voices to speak out out about the complications and complexities of adoption, and the closed adoption system, which she called, "a socially engineered arrangement that was designed to cut us off psychologically as well as legally from our genetic and cultural heritage."




Although I am not a product of the closed adoption system, I know what it's like to be cut off from genetic and cultural heritage. Reading Journey of the Adopted Self helped me understand myself in fundamentally important ways, and led me to form many of the views I have today about the adoption industry and the adoptee rights movement.

I'd say I'm going to miss Betty Jean Lifton, but she'll always be here in the books on my shelf - heavily highlighted and underlined. Her work was a wonderful gift to those of us who make the quest for wholeness.

For her NY Times obit click HERE