Linda L Franklin is a writer, clinical social worker and psychotherapist. She is also a “birthmother” of her first son given up to adoption in 1964. Since being encouraged by her youngest son to search for his brother, she located her now adult son and developed a relationship with him and his family.
She has written her memoir, River of Connection, about her search and reunion. She is currently in the process of final revision and expects to publish her story by Spring of 2019. Linda’s book is the powerful account of her decision to discover her son’s identity and to pursue a relationship with him, leading to the joy of reconnecting with her lost son and of healing the grief that she uncovered in that process. If you would like to receive a complimentary copy of Chapter One, please click here to fill out the form on the BOOKS page.
Linda’s career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker spans almost forty years and entails work with individuals in psychotherapy, as well as work in multiple agencies, including for people with developmental disabilities, brain trauma, chronic pain, medical illnesses, mental illnesses, and chemical dependencies. Ultimately, Linda gravitated to offering individual therapy in outpatient psychiatric settings to people facing a wide range of depressive, anxious, traumatic, abuse-related and grief and loss issues. Linda still maintains a part-time private practice in her detached home office and has never ceased to be amazed at her good fortune in being allowed to witness, share and guide in her clients’ journeys of healing and growth.
In the process of coming out of hiding of her “birthmother” identity to the public and even to herself, Linda traveled her own journey of growth and healing. She discovered her own trauma, grief and loss resulting from allowing her first child to be placed into adoption when she was twenty. She came to understand that she had suffered “adoption loss” and that that loss is shared by millions of other birthmothers and birth family members as well as adoptees. Linda began to seek to work with this population in her psychotherapy practice. She acknowledged that until dealing with her own shame, stigma, loss and grief, she had not been able to be fully available to help these clients.
As she became involved in adoption related organizations, Linda opened to understand that she and many others affected by adoption loss feel a sense of betrayal, anger, and hurt towards her professional community. She saw that the social workers involved in her own relinquishment had failed to give her and millions of other birth mothers information and encouragement to consider all their options and to understand the lasting results they and many of their children would suffer. She learned that all adoption begins with loss, and she awakened to the realization that that loss continues for a lifetime. She realized that many of her colleagues lacked adequate understanding, sensitivity and awareness towards those effects and that social worker professionals needed deeper information, education, and training to grasp this and to better perform their roles.
Linda supports the many efforts now being made towards progressive adoption changes and reforms. She appreciates contributions made by all members of the adoption triad, e.g. birth parents and family members, adoptive family members, including adoptees, and her fellow professionals, to honestly evaluate and work towards improving adoption practices and systems.
She also wants those efforts to be turned towards preventing the need for adoption. Linda wants to see all efforts made to preserve the natural connection between a mother and her child. Even in instances when a mother is not able to raise her own child, she believes it is critical to preserve the child’s original identity and connections with biological family.
One of Linda’s purposes in writing her own story, River of Connection, is to educate her fellow professionals in the multiple results of adoption loss. Another goal is to provide encouragement to other birth and adoptee members to share their own, often overlooked, experiences. Linda wants to free herself and others from the hiding imposed by stigma, shame, grief and secrecy.
Linda wants you, her reader, to journey along with her on her challenging, always interesting and ultimately healing story of loss, discovery and recovery. No matter your own struggles, Linda believes you, too, can overcome great obstacles and achieve development of your truest and best self.