Start Here

Welcome! I'm really glad you are here, and that you've arrived to this page first. I designed this page to acknowledge the learning curve that my blog presents. I have been adopted for 35 years. Two of my grandmothers were adopted. My adoptive father was informally adopted. I am trained professionally in adoption issues. And I have been doing all of this work for 11 years. If everything I say does not make immediate sense to you - that is normal. I designed this page to give new readers a starting place and a context to the rest of my work. To learn more about me, check out my About Me page, too.

I started this blog over eleven years ago in hope that my original family would find it. At the same time, I was working through an intermediary to try to find them directly. In the meantime, lots of lovely folks began arriving at my blog letting me know what I wrote was helpful to them. That meant a lot to me, and I have been blogging, speaking, and creating content ever since.

What is Adoption?
Adoption is a legal designation given to children in a huge spectrum of family composition types. Adoption legally severs that child's relatedness to the parents that birthed them. And it makes them legally "as if born to," to the parents that adopted them. This occurs in all kinds of adoptions such as tribal, step-parent, second-parent, foster care, foster-to-adopt, private infant - to name just a few.

All Adoptions Involve Loss
Because adoption includes so many different scenarios and family types, it's difficult to make broad sweeping statements about it as a whole. However, there are some things that are true about adoption. All adoptions involve loss. Almost always, all core parties to adoption have a complex grief process of some kind - even if no one acknowledges it. It doesn't matter if adoption helped improve life for an adoptee or even their parents. Being relinquished and adopted are tremendous life transitions for a human to go through.

All Adoptions Involve Outdated Laws
All adoptions in the United States involve laws that need to be modernized. In some states, there are adoption laws nearing 100 years in age that are based on social norms and legal practices that no longer exist. These outdated laws don't really benefit anyone, and adoptees and original parents are placed at a particular disadvantage.

Why am I "Declassified?"
Documentation pertaining to nearly a year of my life, since birth, including my birth certificate, was once locked away in a sealed government file. When I was 13, activists in my birth state (Tennessee) changed the law to allow adoptees greater access to both their original birth certificate and their adoption records. When I turned 25, I figured out how to navigate this process, and I unsealed all of those records. I felt like I became "declassified" and freed from a level of secrecy that no one in any of my families ever meant to impose upon me.

There are several reasons why I took on this role as a "declassified adoptee." Being able to access this sealed documentation has always been stigmatized in the United States. The oldest adoption agencies that have operating roots into some of the most ethical eras of adoption history (e.g. twin studies, girls who "went away," etc.) tend to adamantly oppose adoptees seeing any of these records of their own. Not every adoptee gets the access to their own personal information that I have. I feel the need to divest that privilege on behalf of fellow adoptees. And I am also living proof that a client's right to access documentation about their own lives in adoption (or any other social service) should extend to adoptees. I'm able to represent myself and speak on my own behalf. And I am proud to do so!

The Primary Client of Adoption is the Child
As a social worker, I frequently balance the needs and rights of multiple people in a family at once. When I am called in to help in any situation of any kind, I'm obligated to first and foremost protect the most vulnerable person. In adoption, this person is always the child. My goal is for every child to have a safe and loving home. Adoption is not a goal itself - it's just one of many ways this goal can be reached. That means that my focus is always directly on children - rather than on amplifying adoption or foster care as institutions.

You can kind of liken this to focusing on caring for a patient rather than praising the hospital or the medical system. You can also liken this to focusing on someone's spiritual needs rather than praising a specific church or religion. I am a child advocate and a humanist at heart.

Foster care is about reunifying families. Adoption is about finding homes for kids that need homes - not finding kids for homes that want kids. I'm proud to partner with adoptees, fellow professionals, and original/foster/adoptive parents to center adoption on children and on adoptees.
What Else Should my Audience Know?
I am a feminist. I am dedicated to anti-racism. I am LGBTQIA+ affirming. My drive to be culturally competent and respectful is a lifelong journey. I strive to be inclusive and accommodating of people with disabilities. I desire to be a responsible citizen of the world.

Everyone is Welcome to Respectfully Engage with me
There may be one more elephant in the room. My writing is often blunt, technical, and academic. This is my comfort-level when I write. This can make people feel intimidated and afraid to say something wrong for fear they will look unintelligent or not "woke" enough. I want you to know that, I'm afraid of not looking intelligent or "woke" or respectful enough too. Mis-communicating or hurting someone's feelings unintentionally make me feel awful. I'm doing the very best that I can, and it's very easy for me to tell when others are too. We are all human, and I am very thankful for anyone and everyone who is brave and bold enough to show up for adopted youth and adults.