‘Proof of Heaven’ author discusses his adoption at the Westin uptown

Dr. Eben Alexander, the neurosurgeon who says a near-death experience in 2008 led him on a metaphysical out-of-body journey, talked about a different life odyssey Thursday – the path of his adoption as an infant.

Addressing the annual luncheon of the Children’s Home Society of North Carolina, which serves 17,000 children and families through services like adoption, foster care and parenting education, Alexander told how his impoverished unwed mother gave him up for adoption at 4 months.

“There was not going to be a way for her to keep me,” said Alexander, who now lives in Lynchburg, Va.

“As my adoptive parents put it, I was ‘chosen,’ ” Alexander told the luncheon of 600 at the Westin uptown.

He was adopted into a family and grew up in Winston-Salem, following in his adoptive father’s steps to become a neurosurgeon.

He has tried to reach out to his birth mother over the years through the Children’s Home Society, but she has not approved a reconciliation, he said. A few years ago, he said he was told, “It’s not a good time to come back into her life.”

But in 2007, they met and reconciled. He met his birth parents and two siblings.

Alexander wrote a book, “Proof of Heaven,” about what his experiences while unconscious for a week after contracting acute bacterial meningitis. While in a coma, he said, he experienced the afterlife and became convinced that consciousness is a state independent of the brain.

While he remains a dedicated scientist, Alexander said, he has come to believe that a spiritual world exists beyond our scientific understanding.