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For The Organizing Sourcebook

The organizing credentials and experience which gave me the expertise to write and publish The Organizing Sourcebook are detailed in the About Kathy Downs section of this site.
 

For Falling Through

Because Falling Through is a memoir, my credentials for its topic are much more personal.  The life experiences which underpin and inform this book are listed here in chronological order.  All of them are related to mothering, being mothered, adoption, and/or writing:

  • Born in late 1957 as the oldest child of parents raised in the 1930s and 1940s
  • Big sister to four other children born in 1959, 1960, 1962, and 1966 respectively
  • Was raised devoutly Catholic by my Catholic father and my Protestant-turned-Catholic mother
  • Grew up in a small town in the Midwest in a house next door to my maternal grandmother
  • Graduated from high school in 1975
  • Attended a Catholic university from 1975 to 1979, with a one-semester leave of absence in the fall of my senior year
  • Gave birth to a son on January 11, 1979, spent four days with him in the hospital, then relinquished him for adoption through Catholic Charities in Northern Virginia
  • Graduated from university in May 1979
  • Became a Jesuit Volunteer and taught third grade in an inner-city Catholic school in Cleveland 1979 to 1981
  • Served as ghostwriter to Bishop Pilla of Cleveland for two diocesan pastoral statements in 1981
  • Helped launch The Ounce of Prevention Fund, a public/private partnership to prevent teenage pregnancy and child abuse, in Chicago from 1981 to 1985
  • Met Will Waddill in Chicago in 1982 and married him in March 1984 (we divorced in 2016)
  • Participated in all the research for a study funded by the federal Department of Health and Human Services to explore the question, "Why is adoption so infrequently chosen by adolescents as a pregnancy resolution alternative?"  The results were published by DHHS in Children Today in the Nov/Dec 1984 issue
  • Helped my family grieve the death of my grandmother, who fell through a hole in a floor and died
  • Joined a training program at Sears Roebuck in Chicago in 1985 so I could learn a skill I could do part-time from home, in anticipation of starting a family
  • Gave birth to two daughters in 1987 and 1990 in Boston, where I worked part-time as a systems analyst and programmer
  • Started my organizing business in 1993 because it gave me more flexibility as a full-time mom and part-time worker
  • Was actively involved in mothers' groups throughout my daughters' childhood
    • La Leche League, first as a participant, then as a Leader
    • A weekly playgroup with five families which met for nine years and still reunites biannually
    • Peaceful Parenting
    • A book group
  • With my husband, participated actively in our Catholic parish
    • Eucharistic ministers
    • Leaders in marriage preparation classes for engaged couples
    • Treasurer for our faith community
    • Participants in Teams of Our Lady, a monthly discussion group for married couples
  • Actively participated in my daughters' education, especially after we moved to California in 1997
    • Produced four elementary school musicals
    • Coached two Odyssey of the Mind teams and was an OM judge for three years
    • Attended every game, recital, performance, planning meeting, Parents Night, etc.
  • Cared for my mother as she died of cancer from 1995 to 1998
  • Left the Catholic Church when I realized it didn't want me or my daughters as full members because we were female
  • Wrote The Organizing Sourcebook in 2000 and published it in 2001
  • Was reunited with my birth son in May 2003
  • Joined a birthmothers support group in November 2003 and now act as its facilitator
  • With my son, spoke to a Right to Life conference at the University of Notre Dame about our adoption story and reunion in March 2004 (recorded on video)
  • Acted as Master of Ceremonies for a conference entitled "The Changing Picture of Adoption: Voices of Adoptees, Birth Parents, and Adoptive Parents," May 20, 2006; this was cosponsored by the Post Adoption Center for Education and Research (PACER) and the American Adoption Congress (AAC)
  • Joined PACER's board of directors in 2006, recreated its website, and now serve as its Treasurer
  • Wrote two articles for the PACER newsletter:
    • "Being Found," Spring/Summer 2005, in an issue entitled "Stories from the Reunion Roller Coaster"
    • "The Circle of Connection," Summer 2006, after the PACER/AAC Conference
  • Was featured with my son in the full-length documentary film "I, the Aforementioned Infant" by Ronit Kertsner, an Israeli director and adult adoptee, in the summer of 2006
  • Have shared my motherhood story with hundreds of other women and been graced by hearing their stories in return
  • Have survived the emotional roller-coaster of my reunion with my son and have come through it with my marriage intact, my parenting improved, all three of my children still talking to me and being wonderful, and my understanding of life's troubles vastly enhanced
  • Am convinced there are millions of women with all kinds of similar stories who need to know they're not alone

 

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Copyright 2006 by Kathy Downs.
All rights reserved.