As part of our “In My Experience” series highlighting the personal stories of our listeners, we talk with a panel of people who are adopted. We’ll hear about their process in searching for their identity and, in some cases, looking for and meeting their birth parents. And we’ll hear the experiences of our listeners.

Laura Callen, adoptee who reunited with her birth mother and father when she was 32
Sean Ramsey, adoptee who later found his birth mother and father and now has a relationship with both
Janelle McCormack, born in Vietnam in 1973 and adopted by a Caucasian family 13 months later
Sarah Bernat, adoptee born in 1979 who later searched for her birth mother and found she had recently died

  • Jennifer from Burlingame

    Unfortunately, I will have to listen to this discussion after the fact as I have a meeting at air time. However, it would be interesting to discuss those adoptees, like myself, who have found one or both of their birth parents and were only rejected again. In fact, I found my birth mother at the age of 20, and was told to leave her alone. I found her again 15 years later, only to be told once again that she would not reunite. As much as I want information, particularly detailed medical information, the rejection is too painful. I’m a woman without a history and it is so incredibly unfair and cruel. Years of therapy have helped, but the pain of rejection will always be there. It is undeniable and the pain invades so many areas of my life.

  • Annie

    I was adopted by an amazing couple in Modesto, Ca in 1967. My parents raised me to believe that God gave me to them as a gift and that we were always meant to be together. I was never curious, I never felt different and the subject rarely surfaced. When I was 21, my parents had a friend who had recently been reunited with her son and had a joyful reunion. They wanted me to know that if I ever wanted to have this experience that I should never worry about betraying them — that I would always be their daughter no matter what happens. To this day, I cry thinking of this moment as I just don’t feel the need to find my biological parents. My cup is full. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day and maybe it will be too late. Now having birthed 3 of my own, I can’t imagine having to give one of them up.  I am truly grateful to my biological mother for giving me a life where I was raised by two people who couldn’t love me more if I were their own.

  • Reid

    May is National Foster Care Month, and as most will know, adoption is one of the most positive permanency outcomes for the almost 1 million children annually who enter foster care. I wanted to make this forum aware of which is a free online community for those wonderful people raising children children in foster, adoptive or kinship care. Our programs help limited funds go farther, and help children and youth bridge the digital divide to succeed and stay in school. Thanks for all you do.

    Reid Cox

  • Nodogma

    I was adopted in the 1960s and had a relatively loving and positive upbringing. However, the experience has left me largely anti-adoption. Perhaps there used to be a stronger belief that nurture could conquer nature and thus it was no big deal to take a child and drop it into a family to which s/he shared no genetic connection. However, surely by now the science is quite clear that it is nature, not nurture, that is the dominant force in our lives. In light of this, it is irresponsible to subject children to growing up in a family that will have different tendencies, different medical issues, risk factors and so on. My solution is to promote the responsibility of the extended family to raise children born to mothers who for whatever reason can’t raise them, and then if there truly is no blood relative available, and an outside adoption is done, this should not be a secretive and closed process. It is criminal to withhold such vital medical and life information from adoptees, or it should be! Bringing a human being into this world is not something that one should be able to do secretively and forever have their privacy protected! However uncomfortable it may be for the birth mother, the children deserve to know all information about their background and genetic makeup.

    • Omniscient1

       I think it is interesting that you said, “children born to mothers who for whatever reason can’t raise them” and, “However uncomfortable it may be for the birth mother” — and that with such a compelling argument based entirely on the necessity of genetic knowledge and nature as the dominant force in family formation — it is also interesting that you never once mentioned the biological father.

    • Susan Nielson

      I agree that adoption information should be open to everyone.  However, it is not always appropriate for an “extended family” to raise a child.  I intentionally gave my birth daughter up for adoption because my family was a bunch of abusive alcoholics who were in control of me also, and I wanted to give her a better chance of having a loving family.  Despite what you in your limited experience might think, “Nurture” is often FAR more important that Nature.  The science of psychology supports this, despite your claim.  The genetic factors in a person’s life do not control their lives and destinies. 

      It is better to have an open mind since others’ experiences may differ from yours.  It seems to me that yours is the dogma.

  • Jennifer Morris

    Thank you so much for having this discussion.


    As an adoptee in the state of California I feel like a victim
    of it’s closed adoption system. I have no access to a family medical history
    and as a result I can’t make informed decisions around prevention such as was
    mentioned in the story before around Breast Cancer. My doctors have no clues or
    insights to current medical issues unlike others who benefit from this


    Really adds a whole other level of anger and loss at not
    knowing one’s origins as one ages or considers starting their own biological

    • Hi, Did you ask the agency or state registry for information? They should have some background information to give you. Also join adoption search and support groups.  Just google adoptees and see what comes up.

    • Linda

      Hello Jennifer,
      I too am an adoptee and belong to a search and support group called SearchFinders of California.  We have monthly meetings in Campbell and you can contact us at  I hope that helps.


  • PriscillaSharp

     Adopted persons like Janelle should know that there are exciting new horizons in family searching in DNA family matching.  In particular, we recommend – for women the “Family Finder” test and for men the “Family Finder” plus Y-DNA.  Your DNA will be put in the database with almost half a million participants, and you will be matched with relatives from close to distant cousins.  In Janelle’s case, it should be a simple matter to distinguish her American (or European Caucasian) and Oriental kin.
      I am a search angel, mother of loss to adoption, and adoptee rights advocate.  Please feel free to contact me for additional help and information or visit my website priscillasharp dot org.

  • PriscillaSharp

    Also, I encourage everyone to read “The Girls Who Went Away” by Ann Fessler and watch Dan Rather Reports “Adopted or Abducted” tonight 8 PM EST HD-NET channel (available tomorrow for DL from ITunes).

    • Ruhama Veltfort

       There’s not much out there from the birth mother’s point of view. I have a book out, “The Things We Do For Love: Stories of My Life” which tells the story of how I gave up my first child and later reuinited with him. We have enjoyed a good relationship since, although I know this isn’t true for everyone. Closed adoption was extemely painful for me, as a birth mother but I can see how “open adoption” could also be problematice. In our culture, children “bleong” to their parents.

  • Dougcalkin

    I’m adopted 69 now (family adoption as a baby and informed when I was 16 for trust purposes) , my wife is adopted (as a baby always knew) and our three kids are adopted; 1st at four; now 41 (abused and negelcted) 2nd at birth now 33 (fetal alcohol) 3rd at birth now 22. Third child met her bio mother and siblings when she was 15.
    We had most medical information and a little background on each child. I certainly believe in adoption as without a doubt some of us would be dead now and others living very dysfunctional lives. Our kids have always known they were adopted. My experience is that our adopted children have pretty much grown up like bio children with the same problems and issues as any children who had issues of drugs and abuse. My advice to prospective adoptive parents regarding abused children is don’t expect your adopting these children will keep them from the pain and difficult life eecept you WILL BE THERE for them.
    I do think that our adopted children as well as myself do seem to have an  ability to cope with life and though we experience difficultys in life  we never give up.

  • Villageattab

    I think today’s program would have been worth its salt if it were context sensitive, that is about the first of may.   A day that gave the worker 8 hour shift per day and many more good things.  

  • Jhanson153

    Please thank your guests for sharing their story. I adopted my daughter from Vietnam in 2008. I try to incorporate her adoption story in our daily lives. I know she will have to come to terms with her feelings about this someday. Hearing your guests stories helps me to prepare to be the best mom I can be for her when the time comes. -Janet from Petaluma

    • Andie

      Hi Janet! My parents took the same route. I was adopted at birth and I never had to “find out” that I was adopted because my parents told me about it from the very beginning, which made it all very normal. I think it’s absolutely the best way.

      The only time this was difficult for me was when I was in elementary school and was very intensely teased about being adopted. I never hesitated to tell people I was adopted because it seemed very normal to me. But of course elementary school kids jump at any reason to tease, and I often came home from school crying. My parents ended up lending out books about adoption to the kids who were teasing me to try to help them understand. Perhaps there’s a way for you to prepare your daughter for this beforehand and arm her with practical responses; I think that would have helped me out a lot.

  • Linda

    I’m a 67 year-old New York adoptee and was fortunate enough to find a searcher who was able to find my birth mother in 2006.  My birth mother is 91 and we reunited then.  For the first time in my life I felt the hole in my heart filled.  FYI, there are only 7 states that have open records for birth certificates – the rest (NY included) are still closed.  VERY frustrating!!!

  • Paige

    I joined the show late, but I’m wondering if any of your guests have found a good, comprehensive website that aims to connect birth parents and children who were adopted.

    • I didn’t hear the show but, as an adoptee and volunteer searcher, I would say that anyone wishing to search, from any point of connection to adoption, must register with ISRR — International Soundex Reunion Registry.  They are the largest search and reunion organization currently operating in the United States.

  • Jennie

    Thank you for having this conversation.  My biological daughter is 3 years old.  Her father is East African and was deported last week.  She has been living with me and her step father for the last year and a half and we often discuss the best approach to ameliorate any feelings of abandonment she may have.  My husband and I are also considering adopting another child.  What advice can your panel give us?  What did they appreciate most about their adoptive parents and what were their biggest mistakes?

    • Sarah Bernat

      Hi Jennie,
      If and when your daughter feels abandoned, these feelings are going to happen independently of anything you say or do. The loss felt by an adoptee is often accentuated by the inability to pinpoint why one is feeling loss to begin with. Here you have these adoptive parents who want and love you, and yet in spite of that knowledge, the loss and abandonment feelings persist.

      I believe the best thing you can do as an adoptive parent is be honest and communicative about the situation. Answer your daughter’s questions as thoughtfully and openly as you can possibly be. Share your own experience and feelings, and ask questions back. Engage her as a friend, and the bond you form can grow beyond the strictures (and possible damage) of the parent/child relationship.

      The other panelists can speak more to being a sibling in a family of adopted children, whereas I was raised alongside my adoptive parents’ natural daughter, but I would imagine that growing up in a family where all the children are adopted could ease any feelings of isolation and alienation that arise.

  • Sarah

    I was born in 1958 and adopted when I was four days old. My adopted parents had returned to their Santa Monica home late the night before after spending the entire summer in Sequoia National Park, where my dad was a seasonal ranger. They answered a 5 a.m. phone call, which was from the hospital, and heard, “Congratulations! It’s a girl!” I have a younger brother who was also adopted. I can’t remember being told I was adopted; I was raised knowing this information and have always felt extremely blessed and special.

    I had an amazing childhood, spending all my summers until I was in my teens in Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and Yellowstone national parks. When I was 10, we moved to Three Rivers, Calif., where my dad was raised and his family has been since the 1870s. My children (Daughter, 23: UC Berkeley alum; son, 21: As of May 19, 2012, a San Francisco State grad!) were the sixth generation of our family to live in Three Rivers. Out of all my cousins (who are actual blood relatives to my adopted family), I am the only one who resides in this community, has studied the family history, carries on the family legacy here, and has committed to take care of the land that has been in the family for 138 years. (My grandparents — my dad’s parents — would tell me that I was the only grandchild who was left-handed like my grandpa and had curly hair like my grandma.)

    Interestingly, my brother and I are polar opposites and, as thus, are not very close. I have no urge to find my birth parents, but it would be nice to have some medical history.

    Thank you for your wonderful program and for the adoption episode.

    • Nadeseh

      But interesting that a natural mom’s heart longs for you every day and you have no longing for her.  To go along with the propganda of a ‘successful’ adoption to continue the complete heart break is so controlling and mean.  A compassionate family would have included the natural mom in your growth process as the baby brokers told her would occur.

      •  I’m sorry to point this out, as I am fairly sure I am more of your (Nadeseh) feeling than Sarah’s, but she was born in 1958 and “open” adoption was just not done at that time.  Her mother (natural) was most certainly not told she would be included in her daughter’s upbringing.  “Open” adoption — which is one of the cruelest misnomers in adoptoland — was first introduced in the early 1980s and didn’t achieve any kind of wide use until the 1990s.
        As a reunited adoptee born in the 1970s, I agree with the rest of what you said.  I’m as disheartened as anyone by the ‘success’ stories that are so harmful and painful to natural mothers and many, many adoptees, too.

  • Hi, International Soundex reunion registry. They have a Mutual consent registry.

  • Andie

    Hi, Michael. I was wondering what your guests’ experiences were with forming relationships with their birthparents. My birthparents feel very emotionally attached to me and have long wanted to have a relationship with me. I met them for the first time when I was 16 (I’m 25 now) and didn’t feel much emotion for them. I struggle with feeling so much guilt about not being closer to them, but also don’t share their feelings. My family is my family, and I don’t feel that I need another one. My biological sister invited me to a party of hers a few years ago and she and her friends kept referring to my birthparents as my “real parents,” and asking how happy I was to finally meet them. 

    Any suggestions for navigating these tricky relationships?


    (San Francisco)

  • Susan Nielson

    I’m a birth mother and met my birth daughter 11 years ago.  We met through the internet, Soundex.  My heart breaks to hear stories of rejection and abandonment.  I love my birth daughter and would do anything for her and have expressed this to her, but I’ve left it up to her to let me know what kind of relationship she would like to have with me.  I wish we could be closer, so now, at the age of 61, I’m thinking of being more active to try to have a closer relationship.  She gets upset if I send her gifts, so I’m suggesting a little vacation together.

    I’d love to do volunteer work on the horrendous closed adoption system in California.  If anyone has information on a group working on this, could they please share with us?

    • Susan — try connecting with Adult Adoptees Advocating for Change.  They have a website by that name (I am a member and an adoptee) and there are some mothers of loss there, as well.  In addition, connect with Priscilla Sharp, who commented close to the top of these comments.  I would also suggest contacting Sandy L. Young, a mother of loss in Texas, who runs an online group called “Senior Mothers” specifically for mothers of loss from the BSE (post-WWII to Roe v. Wade, roughly 1945-1972).  These people in turn can probably make better suggestions for groups that are working on reform, activism, etc.  Take care and my best to you and your daughter!  (My mom is 61, too.)

      • Susan Nielson

        Hi Holly,
        What does “mothers of loss” mean?  I have to be careful because I need to avoid any anti-abortion groups that might be in this field.  All women should have choice whether to have a child – and to raise a child – or not!

  • Tshifhiwa

    I can honestly say that my adoptive father made the difference between my going on to a very unpromising future of poverty, violence, and crime versus my current placement as faculty at the University of California. Even at the age I was adopted at (15), his love and role modeling made all the difference in the world. We simply cannot overstate the magnitude of influence that adoption has on children and their future in this country.

  • Jean Finn

    I’m a birth mother, having given up my daughter in 1963. When she turned 21 years old I began a search for her and hired someone to help in the search. I found her and over the years we have come together in a very special way. But it had to wait until both her adoptive parents passed away. She felt it was being disloyal to have a relationship with me while they were alive. 

  • Blairtaffuri

    How many people on the.panel have relationships .and what has their experience been dating and developing heathy relationships. And dealing with the rejection if it fails. I’ve had lots of failed relationships and heart break.

  • Aerinae

    For people concerned about their health history, I have several adopted friends who have used the new genetic testing services to see what sort of health issues to which they may be susceptible. I think that can be a great resource.

  • Lesley

    As for how to help a child talk about adoption, the WISE-up power book is a great way to help a child talk about themselves, to feel empowered to answer questions, or not. To empower kids who are adopted to say what they feel comfortable saying, which might mean saying nothing at all.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for creating this forum. As an adoptee it is rare and wonderful to hear from other adoptees since the majority of this discussion, from my experience, is usually led by adoptive parents. I would love to take this forum to the next level and am wondering how your guests would suggest creating a more effective network of adoptees?

    • There is a great group called PACER, Post-Adoption Center for Education and Research.  They are here in northern california and a great organization.  I haven’t been active with them lately, but I’m sure they could use some fresh faces at their events. If anybody want more info, you can contact me at “ramsey(at)” or just at

  • Carolyn

    I am a 54 year old woman who after a 15 year search found 2 half sisters and made contact just this past Sunda!!! . I really rocked their world as one sister is 2 years younger and the other 18 years older and neither knew about me. We all have different dads.

  • PriscillaSharp

     Adopted persons like Janelle should know that there are exciting new
    horizons in family searching in DNA family matching.  In particular, we
    recommend – for women the “Family Finder” test and for
    men the “Family Finder” plus Y-DNA.  Your DNA will be put in the
    database with almost half a million participants, and you will be
    matched with relatives from close to distant cousins.  In Janelle’s
    case, it should be a simple matter to distinguish her American (or
    European Caucasian) and Oriental kin.

      I am a search angel, mother of loss to adoption, and adoptee rights
    advocate.  Please feel free to contact me for additional help and
    information or visit my website priscillasharp dot org.

  • Jae

    I am a Korean Adoptee raised in a Chinese Family at the age of 3 months in Southern California.  Although from the outside, it is not very apparent that I was adopted, it has had a profound impact on how I view the world.  For the better part of my life, I have tried to suppress the fact that I am different, when in reality, I have been searching for those pieces of the puzzle to help me understand my identity.  Of course, most people do not completely know who they are, but the foundation pieces of the puzzle were missing.  I grew up with loving parents who stressed the importance of good education and self-reliance.  In my teenage years, I rebelled.  I rebelled because I was attempting to find my identity and was in conflict with who I was.  I finally went to college in Northern California and still continued to struggle.  I have had several jobs that have no relevance to my education.  It is difficult for me to have any passion for these jobs, as I am not even sure who I am or what I want to do.  I have recently contacted my adoption agency who has located my birth mother.  I have exchanged two letters thus far, and perhaps we will meet someday.

  • Hi Everyone:  The author I spoke about is Betty Jean Lifton, and two of her books that helped me are: Lost and Found, The Adoption Experience (1979), and Journey of the Adopted Self, A Quest for Wholeness (1994).

  • Jessicamjenkins

    thank you for highlighting adoption on your show. I was adopted as an infant in 1982 and was raised by a loving, close, large family. My adoptive parents were very matter-of-fact about my adoption and it was never a negative experience for me. Yet I was always curious about where I “came from” and wanted to know my biological mother. In 1999 I sought her out via a mutual reunion registry online. We met shortly thereafter and have developed a wonderful, close relationship. It is amazing to, at 17, meet for the first time someone who shares your physical appearance and mannerisms. My adoptive parents were vey supportive and are now close to my birthmom as well. I have two younger biological sisters and more aunts, uncles, and cousins, all of whom are delighted to include me in their lives. There’s more than enough love to go around to biological and adoptive family alike. 

  • CA adoptee

    Thank you for having this adoption discussion!  As an adoptee who was able to locate both sides of my birth family, I am grateful to educate the public on this process.  Meeting my relatives has made a significant positive impact on my life, and it has helped the emptiness in my life finally disappear.  
    Growing up without anyone that looked or acted like me was hugely difficult, and I feel so much better about myself now.

    Every adoptee should  have the chance to meet his/her parents once and then make the mutual decision what relationship they would like to have.  The government should not be part of the process- closed records are not respectful or fair. 
    I would love to get in touch with Janelle- I think we are friends from high school.  Is there any contact information for her? 

    • Nadeseh

      Please remember that ALL natural mothers love their children like no other.  And in this proces are the ones that never get a choice.  A single mom is preyed upon by all the baby brokers.  Breaking the mom baby bond hurts like no other.

  • Grapevine

    Unfortunately, most adopted children were in foster care prior to being adopted due to parental abuse/neglect and when they reconnect with their biological parents they are often met with disappointment.

    • Guest

      I don’t think this vague generality speaks to my experience whatsoever. What is the source of this information?

      • grape

        I am an adoptive mother who is currently teaching classes for foster/adoptive parents. I adopted my daughter at the age of 7 and didn’t know the full extent of her background and the trauma she had suffered when I adopted her. I attend a support group for adoptive parents who are dealing with extreme behaviors. I know of dozens of families in similar situations. Unfortunatley, there are thousands of children in foster care who were abused/neglected and desperatley need homes. I am glad this experience does not resonate with you. You probably were not drug exposed in utero and your biological parents probably were not abusive, but there are many adopted children that are not that fortunate. What happens to them? 

        • Guest

          Adoption has changed over the generations.  The people on the panel resonate with me, since they come from the same time frame.  During the Baby Scoop Era (, many adoptees (including myself) came out of extremely successful and well off families.  However, our status as bastards, and the stigma of being a single mother, was more than our natural families were willing to accept.

    • Susan Nielson

      Yes, I imagine that is true.  There is a big difference between being adopted as a baby at a very early age, and being adopted as an older child.  I hope one day I can afford to have a foster child.

    • “Most” adopted children were certainly NOT in foster care prior to adoption.  Not for abuse/neglect nor for anything else.  In the United States, the vast majority of adoptions are — and always have been — private, newborn adoptions wherein the natural parent(s) never had an opportunity to care for their children; sometimes, mostly in the past but even now, they are not even allowed to see/hold/touch them.  While disappointment is a possibility in any reunion, the reasons are as many and varied as adoptees themselves.
      As for “often” being met with disappointment, let me share a number with you.  95% of all mothers are delighted to find, or be found by, their sons and/or daughters lost to adoption.  These numbers come from the reunited mothers and adoptees in states where adoption records are open and available to adult adoptees and their natural parents once the adoptee reaches the age of majority. I don’t include numbers for natural fathers because they have not, to date, been collected in any organized way.
      Sadly, most of the children who are in foster care for abuse/neglect age out of the system without care if their parents’ rights have been terminated.

  • Jo

    Thank you so much for this program. As an adoptive mother with young children, hearing the voices of adopted adults is amazing. I can’t imagine anything more helpful.

  • Jane

    I love Janelle’s comment about playing with people when they ask where she is from, etc. I was adopted into a “Caucasian” family. My heritage is Irish but my adoptive parent’s are German and Welsh/English. Even in a Caucasian family, people are still taken aback when you’re heritage doesn’t match with our (adoptive) parents. It’s important for people to understand that adoption, like life, is multifaceted. Adoptees are individuals like everyone else. We ALL have baggage! We are all unique. MY adoptive parents are my REAL parents. My birth parents made a decision that was the best decision for them at that time. 

  • Ninavp2

    thank you for this program.  We have just given our daughter the letters, photos, and information we got from our search to find her guatemalan parents.  She is only 7, but we are hoping to meet her family one day soon (whenever she is ready to do so).  I am hoping that in finding her family she will have some of the tougher identity questions answered before her teen years when this is such a tough issue for all kids.  i do worry though about her attachment issues, and the void i feel that can never be filled.  i wish i knew some way to teach her how to fill this void for herself.  perhaps meeting her birth family will help

  • John Brooks

    I called into the show as the adoptive parent whose 17 year old daughter took her life 4 years ago from the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s only now – too late – that I came to realize that Casey’s early abandonment and institutionalization had been embedded so deeply within her that she probably couldn’t make the connection herself – her tantrums, crying jags, lack of coping skills – all hidden behind a suit of armor. Once I learned about attachment disorders in adoptees it explained everything about her. I’m finishing up a book on this, and as I said on the air, an entire system fails these children – adoption agencies, orphanage workers, parents and post placement therapists. The sad irony is that no one in the system means any harm. My biggest criticism is with therapists who work with adoptees as if they were just like ones biological child. Casey’s last therapist got so close to a diagnosis (attachment disorder) but then veered off on a witch hunt over drugs. Casey paid with her life. I know now how important it is to get the RIGHT kind of help (for those who need it; I know all adoptees are not the same of course), and that’s what my book will speak to. 

  • Laura Callen

    If anyone would like to learn more about the Adoption Museum Project I mentioned on the program, please go to and leave a message. 

  • Sheeko

    This was an amazing broadcast. I was adopted even before my conception as my biological parents promised to their child-less aging friends that they will have them adopt their 7th child. I was the lucky one. I think it was a difficult experience for my mother because when I grew up she would always ask me for forgiveness. First I would not understand why but then I did understand the reasons. I was different than my other biological siblings, kind of isolated. I liked solitary activities and was never able to form long lasting intimate relationships with the opposite sex although I was always interested in having one. After hearing the stories at this show, I am able to understand why I am so different. Thanks for sharing

  • Thank you for sharing this, from another adult adoptee in reunion.

  • hmbalison

    I’m the adoptive mother of two kids almost 18 and 14, and we’ve raised them both in open adoptions. Both have always known they are adopted, and they have always had relationships with their birth families (grandparents, mother, father, etc.). My husband and I made a firm commitment to open adoption from the very beginning. 

    I wish the adoption biz was more honest about how adopted children are truly themselves at birth. Genes are so strong and so important. My husband and I have had a slight impact on our kids’ values and ethics, but beyond that, not so much. And before people trot out the old saying, “Well it’s the same for families where the kids are biological,”  I beg to differ. Because in bio families, kids may be wired differently than parents, but they at least share physical traits. With adopted kids, not only are they wired differently than their parents, they don’t look like anyone, either. I have real empathy for my children about what that’s like–to have me for a mother so different from them. Having a connection to their birth families is really important for wholeness. Sometimes that connection isn’t possible, but I’m grateful that I’ve been able to raise my kids in an era of openness. 

    I used to frequently say, “Adoption is a wonderful way to build a family,” and I still mostly believe this, but I think adoptive parents (me, included in my early days) sometimes get so besotted by the idea of raising a baby and having a family that they don’t comprehend the true ramifications of raising children with not genetic connection to them–and what this means for the children and for themselves. 

    And what about my family? This June, we are making our annual trip so the kids can visit their birth families. My son will celebrate his 18th birthday with his bio father and his bio dad’s kids and wife. We won’t be there, but it’s what my son wants. And I’m ok with it.     


  • uffdagirl

    James Logan High School’s Ethnic Studies Department, in Union City, Ca. is co-hosting a free screening of the PBS/POV documentary “In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee”, chronicling the adoption saga of the producer/writer/director herself, Deann Borshay Liem. 

    African Cradle will be co-hosting the event. (Saturday, May 19th at 1:00. Little Theater @ James Logan High School. 1800 H Street (at Colgate) Union City, Ca. 94587)Deann will be in attendance at this event as will Amber Stime, owner of African Cradle post adoption services. (Amber Stime, MSW, is an Ethiopian adoptee, raised in a caucasian family, an adoption facilitator and a recognized expert in the areas of trans-racial and trans-cultural issues and counseling  ) Facebook Event Page:'s “In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee” page: the screening, both Amber and Deann will be available for questions.Come and join us for this wonderful opportunity to explore the complex issues surrounding adoption and international adoption.

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