In the fall of 2015 when I saw Amy Seek’s book, God and Jetfire: Confessions of a Birth-Mom, reviewed in The New York Times, I lit up. From an earlier article I’d read about her, I knew Amy’s decision to make adoption plans were unlike my son’s birth-parents. Still I assumed the underlying feelings must be similar. I bought the book that day. I read the whole thing that night. Using descriptive language and beautiful metaphors, Amy helped me understand the grief and loss as well as acceptance and even moments of joy a birth-mother may experience during and after making adoption plans for her child. I knew I’d learn something from God and Jetfire, but I hadn’t anticipated how much.
Since finishing that book, I’ve continued to write my stories. I’ve found my voice and know my angle, but I’ve shied away from telling my son’s birth-parents’ stories. Those accounts must come from them, not me. I may have their child, but they alone have their voice. And their voices need to be heard, in their own words.
I spent two full years thinking about this, wondering if there might be a way I could help get birth-parents’ stories down on paper. I thought, perhaps, if I could create a safe place for those in Alaska to tell their stories, maybe they would. So I decided to host a one-day writing workshop in Anchorage. I approached some friends and several organizations, like 49 Writers, asking them if we could work together to make this possible. That’s how Passage Writes: Alaska Birth-Moms’ Stories came to be.
For nine months, we’ve dedicated ourselves to this project in order to explore the process of making adoption plans for children and what the impacts of those plans are on the adoptive community. It’s gone from a one-day writing workshop, focused exclusively on birth-parents, to a three-day series of events, encompassing all of the adoptive community. In fact, the Passage Writes’ events will all occurring this weekend, May 11-13, centered around Mother’s Day.
While the crux of the project is still the writing workshop, featuring several of Alaska’s own writers and storytellers, we’ve been fortunate to confirm Amy Seek’s participation, the birth-mother and New York Times’ bestselling author of God and Jetfire – the book I mentioned earlier. She will be joining us to give a public talk at the Z.J. Loussac Public Library on Friday, May 11, to participate in a writing workshop session on Saturday, May 12 also at the Loussac, and to read from her book on Sunday, May 13 at The Writer’s Block.
I’m prepared to look into Amy’s eyes when she arrives in Anchorage, which I know sounds strangely intimate, but anyone who has shared a child with another person knows what I mean. We search each other. It won’t be the first time I’ve done so. I’ve already told you I’ve looked into my son’s birth-mom’s eyes many times. So, accordingly, it won’t kick-off the first time a birth-mom has transformed how I think about adoption, empowering me to rise to the occasion. But I know seeing Amy will be a powerful moment and the start of a good weekend. And, when I meet her, I wonder what I’ll learn that I didn’t get from a written page.
To learn more about Passage Writes: Alaska Birth-Moms’ Stories, like their Facebook Page. You can also sign up to participate in the writing workshop at for members of the adoptive community at https://bit.ly/2I8AZxG.