Lawrence P. Adams' presentations recounts his heartbreaking journey from the day he was born and given up for adoption by his 19-year-old unwed mother to numerous foster care placements as a child to graduation day from Boys Town in Nebraska at age 18.
Adamsí describes how the Michigan state foster care system failed him numerous times from missed opportunities for adoption with a loving family to placement in an abusive household. Through Adamsí story, we learn how broken and fractured the foster care system is in the United States, and how miraculously, Adams survived this unsettling childhood managing to find salvation at Boys Town at age 11. During his seven years in this new home, he learned he could amount to something in this world and make a difference. We watch as his feelings of worthlessness dissipate as he finds redemption in participating in such group activities as choir and the debate team.
During the second half of his presentation Adamsí adult life as he struggles with relationships, his health, and his career. His search for his birth mother and family leads him down a long, heartbreaking but necessary path as he grapples with finding his identity and heritage.
In the end, Adamsí reveals that what is important in life is not so much how we started out in life or what it even looked like in the middle, but what we have become and what we have done with what we have been given. Adams is a testament to this basic tenet and shows that true compassion and integrity is born from within.
I have heard him speak twice, including our International Conference last October. His presentations are heart wrenching, moving and inspirational to anyone who listens with an open mind and open heart.
MARISA SALCINES, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, IAC (International Advocates for Children)
As an adoption professional who heard him speak at the International Advocates for Children's International Conference in Atlanta this past fall, I witnessed a presentation that moves mountains.
Mr. Doek, from the Netherlands who is Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, was profoundly moved by his words, and I believe that it will have an enormous impact on UN policy and UNICEF over the coming years.
My colleagues and myself all viewed his wonderful story of success and inspiration. I refer to their impact time and again when reflecting on life-changing moments in my recent history and career. His real world perspective is invaluable to policy change. His contributions are enormously valuable in changing the world for the better. He is the very right messenger with the very right message. His story is very important and worthwhile to share with policy makers and potential adoptive families everywhere.
Debbie Spivack, Reaching Out thru International Adoption.
Mr. Adams has ALL of the credentials to do this work, including a testimony, experiential and clinical competency, a burning passion, tenacity and guts! Remember, social homeostasis, en trophy, gravity and momentum, are all working against him. People do not want to be told the truth. People resist change. People always avoid pain and do not wanted to be confronted. The work is tough...he is attempting to change city hall, right a history wrong and unbury children the system has left to decompose under mounds of bureaucracy and paperwork. Society does not want him to expose them or face the terrible odor of the decay they have caused! We all desperately need his voice.
Dr. Kenneth Brown, LMFT, Hope for Families
Adams'is blessed with the skill of being able to take life challenges to speak and also gracefully put them on paper for future generations to read. Someday another child, in the same situations he lived through, will read his book or hear him speak; it will inspire another great leader to keep trying and to not give up. It could be today, tomorrow, or ten years after you have gone. Regardless of when, it will be there when it is needed.
In Mr. Adams, I see a man that is so dedicated to his beliefs that he has given up all monetary values to try to save the children the world has forgotten.
I see him as a man that has already triumphed over horrible life circumstances, who has found a way to share his experiences in a positive manner. I see a man that needs to be listened to.
Pamela Wooldridge, private citizen working to create a non profit to assist families in preventing the need for foster care
I am also a survivor of child abuse. I read "Lost Son" by Lawrence Adams and have also heard him speak.
Although we grew up in different parts of the country and under different circumstances it amazes me that we went through the same things. Many of our feelings and thoughts were the same. We moved the same way in "Paper Bags" and lived day to day never knowing when we would wake to and be going somewhere else to live. Life for a child in the foster care system is the same for all of us no matter where we live. The saddest thing of all even after over 50 years the children of today in the "system" sound the same as Larry and I did over 50 years ago. After 50 years nothing has changed .........how sad is that?????
Here is a man who has found his voice while so many remain voiceless. Read his work, hear him speak; you will be moved and inspired to create conditions for children within the system who only dream about it today.
Jeanne Fowler, Executive Director, Big Families of Michigan
As you hear his story you realize that it's not just a story about his life as a youngster, it's about how people treat other people and how there should be some kind of check to make sure everyone is alright. He reminds you that every state's foster care system needs an overhaul, and it makes you remember about stories in the newspaper and on television about children who have been literally LOST in the system. Here is a person who is standing on the wall, willing, able, and wanting to protect all our children.
I was telling everyone about this man and his work. Who should read his book or hear him speak? Every parent, anyone who works with the public, teachers, social workers, police, you can't help but remember how you felt when you were the ages he talks, you remember how innocent you were, it will make you want to join his fight to make "in the best interest of the child" a reality.
This is serious work, by a serious person who has made it out, he is a success. Who knows, maybe some little boy or girl who isn't sure about his own future could learn about the trials and how Larry came out triumphant, it could give someone hope. I continue to hope and pray that Larry is on the news and in more newspapers, and is invited to speak so much that he becomes a household name, so that kids will hear about this man who is working on their behalf.
Chris Bartholomew, Evangelist
I would like to take this time to thank, on behalf of the entire group here at the Foundation, Mr. Larry Adams, one of our newest members and published author of a wonderful book of his life in the foster system
here in Michigan. "Lost Son? A Bastard Child's Journey of Hope, Search, discovery, and Healing."
Larry recently attended the rally and gave a talk of his life at the luncheon afterwards. Throughout the presentation there were visible gasps and groans as he explained his plight as a child of the system. It was a bittersweet story with his success story which shows how you can survive and make a life in spite of horrible experiences as a child.
I hope all who truly care about children will have the opportunity to meet and hear this man. He has dedicated himself to help the cause of reform as his life's work and passion. We need to get behind this man and do what we can to help him bring this fight to the attention of the general public.
Nancy Lockhurst, President, Foundation for Children's Rights
My presentations are inspirational and motivational to any audience. The story directly speaks about the need for foster care and adoption system reform, as well as meeting and overcoming life's challenges. Due to my own search for and reunion with my birth family, the process for adoptees and birth parents searching and what one might expect at a reunion or relationship building can also be speech topic.
I am available to speak before organizations or companies for expenses and a negotiable speaker's fee. I am also available for television, radio or telephone interviews.
Please feel free to contact me directly via E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in arranging to schedule a speaking engagement for your organization or company.
Used copies of "LOST SON?" only may be ordered through Amazon.com, B&N.com and other major online book retailers since as of August 1, 2007, book is no longer being published.