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09/01/2007

Reconstructing Stephen - Why Adoption Hurts

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At the age of 39, Stephen Francis, management consultant, is fast approaching mid-life crisis. Subject to anxiety, panic attacks, exhaustion and burnout, his life is rapidly going into freefall. Only when he reaches his lowest point, and seeks the help of a counsellor, is he able to address the roots of his malaise, which lie in his early life as an adopted child.

 
What Nancy Verrier Says About Reconstructing Stephen

 
Nancy Verrier, Author of two seminal works on adoption: "The Primal Wound" and "Coming Home to Self" has this to say about Reconstructing Stephen:

 
"What a refreshing book! Stephen Francis has written a book that is both honest and heart-felt. Finding out later in life that he was adopted, Stephen's experience once again reinforces the necessity for honesty in adoption. Adopted people have a sense that they are different from their families, and not being told they are adopted only leaves them feeling confused about this. Many, many adoptees will relate to this book because of the honest portrayal of the many ways in which Stephen expresses his pain and frustration about his situation. It also demonstrates the value of therapy in healing the pain and overcoming the behavorial responses to that pain. His relationship with his half-sister can give hope to those adoptees whose birth mothers have died or who refuse reunion and points to the importance of having some biological connection. I highly recommend this book to anyone connected to adoption."

 
Why Read Reconstructing Stephen?

 
Ever since Dave Pelzer published "A Boy Called It", ordinary people with extraordinary life stories have felt empowered to tell them and in this outspoken autobiography the author uncovers, with unerring frankness and honesty, the truth about his own life and that of the little spoken of – and virtually taboo – subject of adoption from the point of view of an adoptee who feels no sense of kinship or belonging to his adoptive parents. As he retraces the path that led to his shattering discovery that he has been adopted – and realises that the sense of alienation he has felt all his life is grounded in fact rather than paranoia, Stephen describes the inevitable breakdown and deconstruction of his identity and the slow healing process of reconstruction that can then begin to take place, with the help of his wife, his child, his half sister, and his counsellor.

 
Although, in seeking to get in touch with his natural parents, Stephen receives a severe emotional and psychological blow, and the long-waited meeting with his birth mother is potentially traumatic, Stephen becomes stronger through the experience, particularly through being reunited with his half sister Debra. As Stephen Francis movingly writes:


 
"You are confronted by a stranger who nevertheless carried you in her womb for nine months, who held you in her arms albeit briefly perhaps and who decided to cease to be the most important person in your life, who had abandoned you, rejected you, chosen a life without you. Even so you know that in some way you are intimately associated with this person, that you have inherited her genes and she is linked to you by blood, after a lifetime in which you have come to realise that you shared none of these with your adoptive family. In that strange, biological sense, you still feel that whether she likes it or not, and whether you like it or not, she holds the key to your very identity."


 
The author


 
Stephen Francis is a 40 year old successful management consultant though he'd rather not be. He does want to be a good father and husband and to become in some sense whole, whatever that means.
He also wants to give up wine and lose 50 pounds and not have grey hair (though thankfully so far he's not bald). He lives in Southern England but wants really to live in Italy.
 
Reconstructing Stephen is his first book and tells his adoption story.
 
Stephen publishes a regular blog at http://stephenfrancis.blogware.com/


 
 
Source : http://www.reconstructingstephen.co.uk/default.aspx