Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Memoir, Not Exactly As Planned, fall 2014 release

                              Not Exactly as Planned
                              A Memoir of Adoption
Secrets and Abiding Love

                                         Book launch in Toronto

                                 November 18, 6:00 - 8:00  p.m.
                                         Ben McNally Books


My life took a major turn when our son, adopted at birth, is diagnosed with irreversible brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome. I am determined to change Michael’s prognosis and live with as much joy as possible while struggling to accept my new reality.

Not Exactly as Planned
is more than a story of motherlove. It’s about birdwatching, bar mitzvahs, the collision of '60’s ideals with the real world, family secrets and woodcarving.

The book, published by Demeter Press will be available October, 2014. 

                                                 order here

Why I wrote the book:

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder affects an estimated one percent of all children born in North America. Yet, despite being the most common cause of developmental disability, most members of the public are unaware of it and of the ways it profoundly affects the lives of individuals and their families.

It is my hope that the book will bring comfort and hope to families struggling to raise children with FASD, and bring to professionals who work with these families a better understanding of the daily struggles these families live with.

Synopsis of the book:

Not Exactly As Planned chronicles Linda Rosenbaum’s arrival in Toronto in 1970 from the US after political upheaval and sexual violence in Washington, D.C. casts her on an unexpected journey north in search of safe haven. She lives a counterculture life in communes in Toronto’s American ex-pat community, eventually moving into the city’s mainstream. A move to Toronto Island, marriage, and parenthood through two unorthodox adoption processes finally bring a sense of safety and belonging.

Life takes a major turn when Linda’s son, adopted-at-birth, is diagnosed with irreversible brain damage from fetal alcohol syndrome when he is six. She was determined to change Michael’s prognosis, illustrating the expectations that those raised on the activism of the 1960s brought to their lives and families. She no longer fights for other people’s sons — picketing for civil rights or demonstrating to bring soldiers home from Vietnam. She has to fight for her own son.

According to statistics at the time, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) was a sentence to failure in his life: he'd drop out of school; he'd be incapable of holding a job; he'd live on welfare, on the street or worse. The brain damage, they said, was irreversible.

With love, devotion, hope and all the medical knowledge she could accumulate, Rosenbaum sets out to change the predicted course of events. Though truth of the old Yiddish saying “Man plans, God laughs”  was testing her, she is determined to have the last laugh. She confronts the sexual violence in her youth; raises her children Jewish even as they share their father’s last name of Christmas; fights to save the iconoclastic Toronto Island community from developers’ bulldozers; and resolves to live with as much joy as she can while struggling to beat Michael's odds.

With compassion and humour, Not Exactly As Planned weaves the disparate threads of Rosenbaum's life into a story of acceptance, at once achingly unique yet universal to all parents.  Not Exactly As Planned  is a provocative story about hope, loss and acceptance. 


  1. Your story seems very hard but rewarding in the end because you gave your child a great life.

  2. Very kind of you to say so. I try to think of this whenever times get tough. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

  3. Dear linda I havent read youf book but i feel i share the same heart felt I will fight to do my absolute best for my child although this was not as i planned for. My little girl was 15 mths when i adopted her. I love her with all i have and am ..she is now almost 6 yrs of age.
    Last year my husband left us the same time my little girl was diagnosed as having a congenital abnormality. She had 5 operations st year 3 were emergency operations. It has been noted highly probable FASD in all reports. She cannot be diagnosed until 7 here in new zealand. I am researching all i can to learn snd connect others i have meet who havd the same heart to be equiped with the experience of those who have walked this who have already asked proved and learnt. You are the one that I want to learn from if you are happy to help ...even if its just your personal opinion I would appreciate your knowledge and support. My email is nztotan1@yahoo.co.nz. not the gmail