Replacement Child Forum Webinar Creates Global Community

Saturday, March 20, 2021 saw the first ever global meeting of adult replacement children and health professionals, via Zoom, chaired by Author and Jungian Analyst, Kristina Schellinski, together with Judy Mandel and Rita Battat, the three Co-Founders of the Replacement Child Forum. With 21 women and men joining in, invitees were chosen from those who have contributed to the Replacement Child Forum during its first year. The webinar and the recording of it are offered as a celebration of the first anniversary of the Replacement Child Forum.

“The website has more than 500 visits a week already, and many have expressed their gratitude for bringing the group together, both on the website and in this first webinar,” Kristina said.

Global Community Webinar Screenshot

Throughout the past year which was marked by the pandemic, the three co-founders of the website replacementchildforum.com have worked to create a dynamic and informative website offering experience, knowledge and  resources as well as a community for therapists and adult replacement children. Honorary Board member of the Replacement Child Forum and renown psychoanalyst Andrea Sabbadini (UK) called it an ‘impressive venture’ to benefit many.

“Seeing all of these replacement children in one place was a very emotional experience,” noted Forum co-founder Judy Mandel. “You could see in people’s faces how moved they were to be together.”

Attendees joined from around the world, including Argentina, Germany, Lithuania, Switzerland, USA (California, Florida, Maryland, New York) and the UK. Each participant shared their story briefly, and how they came to join the Replacement Child Forum. Many were born after a miscarriage, an abortion or the loss of a child, but some were adopted.

“Because my brother died, I was born,” said Barbara Jaffé, Author of “When will I be good enough?”. She expressed interest in hearing from others how they found their way to wholeness. 

“I had a responsible function to perform but did not know what that task really was,” shared Robert Wilson.

“My role was to please mom,“ said Lizette Baker.

“My mother said, ‘I had four children, I will have four again!’” Johanna Glaser explained why she was born to replace her brother Johann, killed in a road accident.

“I am the child of Holocaust survivors, and I am a replacement child, too” said Erika Landau, Board Member of the Forum.

“I am a replacement child and I am also the mother of a replacement child,” said Board Member Patti Hawn.

“As each of the participants spoke, it was immediately apparent how much we all have in common,” Judy Mandel noted.

Kristina Schellinski added, “All of us have known suffering, and our family has, and this suffering has actually been a force that has brought us to consciousness, to search for our true self.”

One person voiced what many participants felt: “We have been alone in this, before finding each other.” Also the co-founders had found each other when researching about the condition for their respective books.

Andrea Sabbadini, Author of The Replacement Child (1988, 2014, 2018) engaged with psychoanalysts and therapists present in a discussion on the centrally important issue of identity and self-worth, as it concerns replacement children “who may feel that they are someone else”.

Maria Magdalena Demarìa added it was important to know what one’s place and birth order was in a family. Gladys Roij emphasized how we may all play a role until we know our own true deep desires (Maria and Gladys are both psychoanalysts, from Argentina). It was agreed that a full meeting exploring the question of identity and role shall be held, as this is of interest of many who participated in this first meeting.

“Our plan is to hold periodic webinars with topics that address some of the most common issues that adult replacement children face throughout their lives,” said Rita Battat, co-founder. “I think we have started something that is truly needed, and we have now expanded our vision, hoping to build a wider community of support and understanding.”  

If you are interested in participating in the next webinar, please let us know as soon as possible, as places will be limited, by writing to us at letters@replacementchildforum.com.

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