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Let's Gather!

Gather Together to Learn: Reckoning with the Primal Wound Screening & Conversation

We are thrilled to welcome Isaac Etter and Rebecca Autumn Sansom to the Chicagoland area as part of our Gather celebration, to screen Sansom’s critically acclaimed documentary, Reckoning with the Primal Wound, bringing all sides of the adoption constellation together to develop a deeper understanding of the implications and outcomes of adoption. Reckoning with the Primal Wound, by filmmaker and adoptee, Rebecca Autumn Sansom, alongside her biological mother, Jill Hawkins, Ph.D., is the first feature-length documentary reckoning with relinquishment trauma -  aka the primal wound -  from both of their perspectives.

The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child, written by American author Nancy Verrier, posits that there is a "primal wound" that develops when a mother and child are separated by adoption shortly after childbirth. Verrier recognizes the vital, connected bond between mother and child, encompassing the physical, psychological, and physiological, and examines critically the effects on adopted people of disrupting these bonds. The primary focus of the book is on the effects of adoption on the adoptee, and this film builds on that foundation by looking at the lifelong effects of adoption and the need to acknowledge this pain and loss.

The University of Minnesota’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare named the film their #1 media resource for child welfare workers. Laura LeBrun says of the film,

Even in a positive reunion, even in a wonderful family life, there can be an immense amount of pain from adoption, because the primal wound is one that comes with identity issues, feelings of rejection, confusion about one’s history, and more. All members of the adoption triad provide emotional labor through this film, sharing their stories in a way that can only increase our understanding of these complicated feelings. The film wonderfully weaves how important and revolutionary Verrier’s book was to adoptees through interviews with the author as well as many members of the adoptee community.

Individual Tickets

INDIVIDUAL TICKETS: $15 each or 2 for $25

For sponsorship information of Gather/Reckoning, please visit the Gather 2023 page. For questions or to discuss custom sponsorship opportunities up to $10,000, please contact Alexis Eyler.

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