Unfortunately, parents who are divorcing or separating frequently make mistakes that will haunt them and their children for generations to come. In Broken Circle - Children of Divorce and Separation, I discovered a number of patterns of what I will refer to as cause and effect. In other words, the stories from these now young adults allow us to learn from history. As with all history, we may learn both what to do and what not to do. I am so grateful to all of the young adults who were courageous and generous enough to share their personal stories, so that others might benefit. Karen, thank you for this book, for establishing the Broken Circle Project, and for all that you do to help future generations learn from the past. Let's toast to the importance of history and better yet, the enlightenment that comes through learning from the past.
—Mark B. Baer - Family Law Attorney, Mediator and Collaborative Law Practitioner
The Broken Circle Project confronts us with the faces and voices of divorce in a way that has a deep and lasting impact. Each page provides a wakeup call that makes it impossible to ignore the true impact of divorce. For those of us who work with divorcing families, this book serves as a constant and powerful reminder on how children experience the divorce of their parent. Every divorce professional should have a copy available in their waiting rooms, offices and conference rooms so that we can sense the real presence of children during these important times.
—Ron Ousky - Collaborative Attorney and Mediator, author of The Collaborative Way to Divorce
The Broken Circle Project provides a unique look at the long-term effects of divorce on children. The power of each parent’s individual decisions during divorce is made evident by the scars shown through the words and images captured by Karen. The simplicity of the Broken Circle Project is what makes its impact so dramatic; there is no need for fancy interpretations or implied messaging. These grown-up children of divorce provide a poignant and honest understanding of the long-term implications of divorce.
—Jai Kissoon - CEO, OurFamilyWizard®
As a therapist and researcher, I have heard and read many personal stories of children of divorce, but I have never seen this kind of powerful juxtaposition of gripping words and haunting photography. Karen Klein allowed these young adults to express themselves in their own terms, unencumbered by what their elders might impose on them. The photographs and personal statements are marked by clarity and ambivalence, subtlety and simplicity, vulnerability and resilience. We don’t give young people a place to express themselves about the long shadow that divorce casts on their lives, especially divorce not handled well by the parents. The Broken Circle Project opens up that opportunity and enriches us all.
—William J. Doherty, Ph.D. - Professor of Family Social Science, and Director of the Minnesota Couples on the Brink, U of MN
Not surprisingly, many of the stories have raw and painful edges. Divorce is extremely difficult for children. The young adults in the Broken Circle Project, who experienced feelings of abandonment and loss, or those for whom parental conflict was high or remains active, are still struggling to find equilibrium and a sense of emotional security. Many participants acknowledged to Karen that this was the first time they could remember having the opportunity to talk about how they felt about the divorce. Their participation in the project was cathartic and healing. However, what is hopeful is that not all the stories were negative or bleak. The young adults whose parents had divorced in a respectful or amicable way, and those whose parents were on friendly terms as co-parents tended to express acceptance, balance and hope for the future.
—Deborah Clemmensen - M.Eq., Licensed Psychologist, Neutral Child Specialist in Collaborative Law
As a divorce mediator and former Family Court Judicial Officer, I have always emphasized that the actions of parents toward their children in a divorce have lasting impacts long beyond the age of 18 when the Court’s jurisdiction ends. Karen Klein’s Broken Circle Project encapsulates the impact of divorce on young adults by empowering the children to speak from their souls, often in heart-wrenching terms. The stories of the young adults are brought to life through Karen’s powerful photographs, which allow the reader a rare glimpse into the source of the profound narrative that weaves through her book.
—Kevin McGrath - Family Law Mediator, McGrath Dispute Resolution, LLC
Most of what we know about the complex and often long-lasting effects of divorce comes from social scientists who have conducted research on – not with – adult children whose lives have been (and continue to be) so impacted by the decisions that their parents have made. The Broken Circle Project is an extraordinary departure from this. Instead of impersonal statistics, facts, or figures, we are hearing these young people’s stories through their own voices and words. We are seeing their pain and vulnerability, alongside their strength and resiliency, in their faces and in their eyes. This project offers something that no academic text or therapist could offer.
—Tai J. Mendenhall, Ph.D., LMFT - Assistant Professor of Family Social Science and Co-Director of the Citizen Professional Center, U of MN
Family Practice Lawyer Dilia Jorge Mera and Karen...how the Broken Circle Project came to Dilia's attention, and her efforts to bring the exhibit to Santo Domingo's Uribe University. La Vida, Santo Domingo RD