Jean Nelson Erichsen, MA, LBSW, earned a BS in communications/social work from Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota, and a Master's in human development specializing in foreign adoption sources and procedures from St. Mary's College, Winona, Minnesota. She and her husband, Heino, launched Los Niños International Adoption Center (LNI); they live in The Woodlands, Texas.
My Portable Life: Reluctant Runaway Finds Families for Thousands of Childrenby Jean Nelson Erichsen
Sacred Heart, Minnesota, 1934: Born in the Great Depression to a sadly mismatched couple, a child is moved from one small town to another in her family's quixotic search for affluence. She is neglected, abused, kept penniless in a middle-class family. She dreams of helping children find the stable family she is denied. Forced out of her home at sixteen, she's a runaway, a child bride, a battered teenage mother. While she observes major events of the twentieth century, she wins her private struggle for independence.
Through romance with a former World War II German soldier during the social revolution of the 1960s, to moving to Texas in the 1980s, Jean Erichsen becomes an innovator in international adoptions and a widely acclaimed and emulated agency director, social worker, and author. On an international journey spanning three decades, she and her husband raise children while traveling abroad and shaping ethical adoption practices for the benefit of thousands of orphans.
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Fascinating story of the author's journey from growing up with many hardships in Minnesota to settling with her multicultural family in south Texas. Jean Nelson Erichsen writes with sensitivity, compassion, and gentle humor. I found it very compelling the way she wove the story of her current husband's past into her story of overcoming many challenges while working toward her goals. In addition to the appeal for the adult reader, the memoir is an uplifting read for teenagers who find themselves in challenging family situations. Readers of all ages will be inspired by the author's triumph over many hurdles to achieve her lifelong dream of helping people build families through adoption. Jean Nelson Erichsen tells a heartwarming story of how she and her husband Heino raised six children and successfully directed a world-renowned adoption agency for over 25 years. Readers will be moved by the author's resilient spirit and her accomplishment of touching the lives of thousands of families. In many ways the memoir reminded me of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This memoir will stay with you for a long time after you've finished reading it.
Engrossing! I read "My Portable Life" in one sitting. Jean Neson-Erichsen's memoir brings to life the frigid Midwest with brilliant details, intimate recollections and vivid stories. Through her work in the field of international adoption, she has changed the lives of thousands of children and their adopted families. Thank heavens she chose to discard her cardboard box full of hardluck stories and misery and instead pull out rainbows of hope. We are all better off for her choices.
Powerful, inspirational.heart wrenching. A must read for all who have experienced obstacles in their life. This story illustrates that it is possible to convert negative experinces into positive life changing actions. I felt inspired and uplifted when I read about Jean's determination to use her life experinces to help thousands of families. I am proud to say that my family is included into her legacy.
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Jean has helped many people reach their dream of adopting children internationally. She and her husband Heino have advocated for children around the world, and continue to do so by speaking and writing. In this bio, Jean experienced difficulties with her family in childhood, and survived them to become a very productive adult. God bless Jean in her continued efforts for the welfare of children.