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'My First Lesson In Motherhood' | Modern Love 1423:01Download

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(David Chelsea for the New York Times)MoreCloseclosemore
(David Chelsea for the New York Times)

When Elizabeth Fitzsimons first met her daughter Natalie, it wasn't face-to-face in a delivery room — it was through a picture taken in a Chinese orphanage.

The small infant seemed like an average baby but her short life was checkered with mysteries both big and small. Connie Britton brings us this week's story.  She is known for her roles as Tami Taylor in NBC's "Friday Night Lights," and Faye Resnick in "The People vs. OJ Simpson."  She currently stars as Rayna James in ABC's "Nashville."

Family Album

From left to right, Alexander Manolatos, Elizabeth Fitzsimons, Nicholas Manolatos, Tony Manolatos, and Natalie Fitzsimons (front) (Courtesy of Elizabeth Fitzsimons)
From left to right, Alexander Manolatos, Elizabeth Fitzsimons, Nicholas Manolatos, Tony Manolatos, and Natalie Fitzsimons (front) (Courtesy of Elizabeth Fitzsimons)
Left: The first photo of Natalie received by her adoptive parents. Right: Natalie, Matt and Elizabeth Fitzsimons, after receiving a blessing from monks at a temple in Guangzhou. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Fitzsimons)
Left: The first photo of Natalie received by her adoptive parents. Right: Natalie, Matt and Elizabeth Fitzsimons, after receiving a blessing from monks at a temple in Guangzhou. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Fitzsimons)
Natalie, Elizabeth and infant twin brothers Nicholas and Alexander. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Fitzsimons)
Natalie, Elizabeth and infant twin brothers Nicholas and Alexander. (Courtesy of Elizabeth Fitzsimons)
Natalie Fitzsimons (Courtesy of Elizabeth Fitzsimons)
Natalie Fitzsimons (Courtesy of Elizabeth Fitzsimons)

Voices In This Episode

Four times Emmy nominated, Connie Britton, is an actress who continually receives accolades for her work in television and film. After stand-out roles on series such as “Spin City,” “24,” and “The West Wing,” she starred in one of the best reviewed shows on television, NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” created by Peter Berg, for which she received an Emmy nomination in 2010 and then again in 2011.

Britton returned to the small screen fall of 2012 starring in ABC’s highly anticipated drama, “Nashville,” in which she plays Rayna James, a legendary country music superstar, earning Britton her first Golden Globe nomination and fourth Emmy nomination. Britton also starred as the female lead in the first season of “American Horror Story,” Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s Golden Globe and Emmy nominated series for FX for which she received her third Emmy Nomination. She recently teamed up with Murphy again this year in “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” for FX.

In 2015, Britton was seen in the film “American Ultra” alongside Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg and Topher Grace as well as in “Me & Earl & The Dying Girl” directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon which earned the prestigious Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. She also appeared in “This Is Where I Leave You,” based on the novel by Jonathan Tropper with Tina Fey, Jason Bateman and Adam Driver; “The To-Do List,” alongside Aubrey Plaza and Andy Samberg and “Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World” with Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley.

Britton received two individual nominations from the Television Critics Association and “Friday Night Lights” was the organizations most nominated show in its first season and won Outstanding New Program of the year in 2007 and won the award for Program of the Year in 2011. It won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence .The American Film Institute also named the show one of the ten best TV shows of the 2006-2007 season and it received Teen Choice Award nominations two years in a row. Connie was also nominated for a Women’s Image Network Award (WIN), which honors work that features female protagonists.

Britton starred in ABC’s award-winning comedy “Spin City” opposite Michael J. Fox for five seasons. Her other television credits include a recurring role in the highly-acclaimed drama “The West Wing,” as well as, FOX’s popular “24.”

Britton received accolades for her starring role in Edward Burns’ acclaimed independent film, “The Brothers McMullen.” This popular low-budget film went on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. Some of her other feature credits include Michael Bay’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” Edward Burns’ “No Looking Back,” “Looking for Kitty” and ‘The Lather Effect”, and the critically acclaimed, independent feature “The Last Winter” opposite Ron Perlman which received a Gotham Award nomination for Best Ensemble Cast.

In April 2014 Britton was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme. In this role, she will raise awareness of UNDP’s work in poverty eradication and women’s empowerment, advocating to the American and global public.  She tweets @ConnieBritton

Elizabeth Fitzsimons is vice president of marketing & events at the San Diego Chamber of Commerce. Before joining the Chamber, Elizabeth was senior director of marketing & communications at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, where she oversaw a rebranding initiative; media relations; web, video and social media; creative content development; and strategic communications planning.

Elizabeth also worked at the County of San Diego in media and public relations, and was an award-winning journalist at The San Diego Union-Tribune, where she covered public safety, agriculture, the communities of San Diego’s backcountry, and general assignment news of the day.

Elizabeth is a 2013 graduate of Lead San Diego’s Impact program. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs from American University in Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth volunteers at Phoebe Hearst Elementary School in its Art Corps program, and at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Banker’s Hill. She lives in San Diego with her husband and three children. She tweets @ewfitzsimons

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Jessica Alpert Twitter Managing Producer, Program Development
Jessica Alpert is the managing producer for program development at WBUR. In this position, she develops new podcasts and programs while also launching and nurturing WBUR’s newest projects.

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