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The Adoption Files

The Adoption Files

By Ande Stanley

The Adoption files seeks to provide a place for adoptees and allies to discuss the laws preventing adoptees from accessing their identities, and the emotional and physical challenges adoptees face in the process of dealing with the obstacles we face.
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Interview with co-host Lynn Grubb and guest Lorraine Dusky

The Adoption FilesMay 07, 2023

Interview with co-host Lynn Grubb and guest Lorraine Dusky

Interview with co-host Lynn Grubb and guest Lorraine Dusky

Please join us as we talk with Lorraine Dusky, author of Hole in My Heart: Love and Loss in the Fault Lines of Adoption, as well as the book Birthmark and many other books and articles. Lorraine was the first mother to come forward and publicly talk about her experience with loss to adoption during the height of the baby scoop era. Lorraine has been a vocal advocate of adoptee rights and unrestricted access to birth certificates for over fifty years. Her books can be found at bookstores and can also be ordered online at sites like Amazon Hole in My Heart: Love and Loss in the Fault Lines of Adoption eBook : Dusky, Lorraine: Kindle Store

Lynn Grubb can be found online at The Adoption Experience | a podcast by Lynn Grubb (

Mentioned in the episode:

Saving Our Sisters Home - Saving Our Sisters (

Roe v Wade: Roe v. Wade: Decision, Summary & Background | HISTORY

Dobbs Decision: Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022) | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII / Legal Information Institute (

Alitos draft opinion: Read Justice Alito's initial draft abortion opinion which would overturn Roe v. Wade - POLITICO

Safe Haven Baby Boxes: legal abandonment boxes leased in some states from the Safe Haven Baby Box company, whic h profits from infants being anonymously deposited. For more information, visit Stop Safe Haven Baby Boxes Stop Safe Haven Baby Boxes | Stop Baby Boxes Now! (

Florence Fisher/ ALMA, Bastard Nation: BB: The Adoption Reform Movement | Bastard Nation (

Turnaway Study: turnaway_study_brief_web.pdf (

Reunion with a Grave: the experience that many adoptees have, learning the identities of family members only after those relatives have died.

Birth Index: Every county in the United States has some mechanism for collecting and maintaining birth records, as do most countries. They may have different names, but serve the same purpose. Some birth indices are public information, others are not.

The FOG (Fear, Obligation and Guilt) This term is not exclusive to adopted people. This is a good article by Derek Grimm that talks about his experience. I would expand the definition to include not just seperation from mother, but from our entire extended family. Adoption Fog | Search Find Become

AB 1302: AB 1302 is a Mommy May I bill being touted as progress for adoptees, when the bill is actually discriminatory and with create additional layers of trauma for adoptees in a state that is already incredibly callous about adoptee rights. Here is a good article discussing the bill by Greg Luce of Please let California legislators know that you oppose AB 1302, and ask that the sponsor amend to make this a clean bill. California Adoptee Rights | Adoptees United Inc.

Disclaimer: the hosts and our guest are not lawyers, or therapists or religious gurus. All opinions expressed are just that-opinions.

If you are experiencing suicidal ideation, please reach out to someone for help. You are important. You matter. Below are some resources for people dealing with trauma, including sexual abuse.

RAINN | The nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization

Help Prevent Suicide | SAMHSA

Mental health support: get help -

Mental health services - NHS (

Crisis support - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (

Mental health and wellbeing – where to get help | Ministry of Health NZ

Thank you for joining us as we spoke with Lorraine Dusky. Please read her book and share! Lorraine wrote the book in the hope that the information contained be accessible and useful not just to the public but also to educators, mental health professionals and legislators.

Hole in My Heart: Love and Loss in the Fault Lines of Adoption

Lorraine Dusky, Author | Website | Books | Interview | Quotes - AllAuthor

May 07, 202301:43:50
The Cult-Like Aspects of Adoption Episode 6 with co-host Lynn Grubb and guest Rebecca Dragon
Mar 30, 202301:12:02
AB 1302, a California bill that would further diminish California adoptee rights
Mar 19, 202303:33
Insufficient and deficient; a comment on adoption cruelty

Insufficient and deficient; a comment on adoption cruelty

Part of the BITE model of cult like behaviors is the teaching that the family is deficient. I realize in the recording I use the word insufficient. I considered deleting the original version, re-recording and moving on from this embarrassing word substitution. Then I thought about the definitions of each word. Insufficient means not enough, inadequate. Deficient means not having enough of a specified quality or ingredient. Both have at their root the word facets; to do or to make. Both seem relevant to the treatment of our families of origin and to our treatment as adoptees. In this bonus episode, I will talk briefly about my younger adopted brother and his mom.
Mar 13, 202305:20
The Cult-Like Aspects of Adoption Episode 5 Andrea Coates

The Cult-Like Aspects of Adoption Episode 5 Andrea Coates

Please join us as we speak with non-adoptee and Licensed Clinical Social Worker Andrea Coates, who is also a DNA search angel and adoptee advocate. Andrea is a therapist with Greenhouse Counseling. 

Adoption Therapy | Counseling at The Green House | Indianapolis Indiana Kentucky Texas Massachusetts Wisconsin (

Lynn Grubb can be found on social media as The Adopted Genealogist. 

The Adoption Experience | a podcast by Lynn Grubb (

Mentioned in the podcast:

Cult Expert Steven Hassan's Freedom of Mind Resource Center

The Baby Scoop Era: Unwed Mothers, Infant Adoption and Forced Surrender: Wilson-Buterbaugh, Karen: 9780692345795: Books

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Code of Ethics (

"I do not think that....the great majority of social workers (especially young, unmarried women) are competent to handle the problem of the unmarried mother and her child. A Masters Degree in Social Work does not always qualify a young woman to deal with the intricate problems of social unwed mother must not be rushed into a decisions to give up her baby for adoption until every other avenue has been explored and every other door opened." ( in Solinger 1997) Dr Robert Barrett, the son of Crittenton home co-founder Dr Kate Waller Barrett, who became president of the Florence Crittenton homes after her death in 1925

National Mental Health Hotline | 866-903-3787

The thoughts and opinions expressed in the podcast are just that, thoughts and opinions. The host and their guests are not lawyers, therapists or religious gurus. 

Thank you for listening! Please take a moment to rate the show. We are always open to constructive criticism and feedback about the show. The host of The Adoption Files can be reached at 

Mar 13, 202301:18:53
Lynn and Ande interview Emma Stevens for episode 4 of The Cult-Like Aspects of Adoption, a therapy episode

Lynn and Ande interview Emma Stevens for episode 4 of The Cult-Like Aspects of Adoption, a therapy episode

Emma Stevens is a U.S. domestic adoptee from birth and has survived layers of trauma that have put her on multiple journeys. She developed the inner strength and courage to surmount the many struggles she faced. Her traumas were born from first being relinquished and then becoming an adoptee who struggled with being forced to wear an impossible mask playing the part of the "good adopted child." Emma is the author of two memoirs. Her work can be found at: The Gathering Place: An Adoptee's Story eBook : Stevens, Emma: Kindle Store A Fire is Coming: 9798375288994: Stevens, Emma: Books
Lynn Grubb can be found out:
The Adoption Experience | a podcast by Lynn Grubb (
Dr. Janja Lalich, PhD — #igotout
NBCC | National Board for Certified Counselors
Where Adoptee Voices Meet – An Adoptee Centric Connect Group (adopteesconnect)
A Little Bit Culty on Apple Podcasts
The Adoption Experience | a podcast by Lynn Grubb (
Steven Hassan's BITE Model of Authoritarian Control - Freedom of Mind Resource Center
Home (
Home - Beyond Words Psychological Services (
RAINN | The nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization While not discussed in the episode, Emma talks in her book about inappropriate and criminal sexual touch committed by her former therapist. If you or someone you know has or is experiencing unwanted or unethical sexual attention from anyone, including a therapist, psychiatrist, or social worker, please reach out for help.
Disclaimer: The host and their guests are not lawyers, therapists or religious gurus. The thoughts and opinions expressed are just that; thoughts and opinions. The host(s) always encourage listeners to learn more about the topics discussed on the podcast, and to think outside of the confines of the adoption narrative.
Thank you for listening!

Mar 03, 202301:04:33


The ongoing saga of one adoptee with a foreign birth certificate, issued more than a year after their birth, attempting to obtain a Realid. Tune in for more of this ridiculous tale!
Mar 02, 202308:29
The cult-like Aspects of Adoption Episode 2 pt 2 with guest Greg Gentry

The cult-like Aspects of Adoption Episode 2 pt 2 with guest Greg Gentry

Part 2 of Lynn and Ande's conversation with Greg Gentry.  Mentioned in the show:  Roe v. Wade: Decision, Summary & Background - HISTORY Read Justice Alito's initial draft abortion opinion which would overturn Roe v. Wade - POLITICO Judaism and abortion: like any other topic, abortion is one argued about in Judaism. Some hold that it is prohibited, but not until a certain stage of pregnancy. In some cases abortion is allowed only to preserve the life of the mother. The guiding rule is that abortion must be considered on a case by case basis, and not banned outright. You can spend all day reading articles on Judaism and abortion. Here is one short article that hints at the complexities: Judaism and Abortion - The Jewish View of Abortion - ACE: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) ( Genealogy!  We did not mention the importance of genealogy in the Bible. We do talk about the erasure of identity and history that is part and parcel of adoption. As contrast, the Scriptures are huge on the importance of family lines. Just take a look at Leviticus! or at how the gospels of Mathew and Luke begin by using the genealogy of Christ to justify his position in Jewish lore. But hey, where we come from is not relevant!  The host is not a lawyer or a therapist. The thoughts and opinions of the host and their guests are just that, thoughts and opinions
Feb 28, 202301:06:51
The Cult-Like Aspects of Adoption with Lynn Grubb and guest Greg Gentry Pt 1
Feb 19, 202352:01
Intro to The Cultlike Aspects of Adoption with Lynn Grubb and Ande Stanley
Feb 15, 202352:52
Interview with Marilyn Huff

Interview with Marilyn Huff

Marilyn Huff is an ally and advocate for adoptee rights. She is one of the founders of the Facebook group The Search Co-op, and is working on creating a database of the state laws that allow the retention of original birth certificates in adoptions.
Mentioned in the episode:
Debunking Reasons for Birth Certificate Revision:

State Code Birth Certificate Revision Spreadsheet:
The Search Co-op: a private Facebook group for people interested in sharing resources to assist individuals to find family lost to adoption or donor conception. Please visit Fb to find the group and apply for membership if interested.
Greg Luce and
Anti-Adoption: a public Facebook Group
The host is not a lawyer or a therapist. The opinions of the host and their guests are just that, opinions. Everybody has one.
Thank you for listening! Please consider rating the show so that we can be more visible and get the word out to more people about the need to change the laws and the narrative that underpin adoption. Much love, people!
Feb 13, 202301:37:17
Interview with Beth Figuls

Interview with Beth Figuls

Beth Figuls is a Baby Scoop Era California adoptee.  California is nortoriously difficult to obtain original documents from. Please join us as we talk about how Beth obtained her identifying information. 

California adoption laws: Adoption Records (

ICWA:Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) | Indian Affairs (

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA): Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) | Indian Affairs

ALMA: As far as I can ascertain, this organization no longer exists. Perhaps it does under another name? Please let me know if you know. 

The opinions of the host and their guests are just that, opinions. The host is not a lawyer. 

Dec 01, 202201:27:19
Interview with Daphne Keys

Interview with Daphne Keys

Daphne Keys is a Baby Scoop Era Maryland adoptee. Please join us as we discuss Daphnes attempts to obtain her identifying documents, the recent efforts by Maryland adoptees to pass legislation guaranteeing access, and how taking up quilting has been a source of therapy. 

Mentioned in the show:

Baby Scoop Era: a period from 1945 to 1973 where a high rate of adoptions took place in the United States. Shame and coercion were common characteristics of this period. Similar practices occurred in other countries, with varying names given to the phenomenon. 

Maryland Adoption Law:  Maryland Original Birth Certificates | Adoptee Rights Law

SB331: A bill that would have allowed Maryland adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificates< regardless of year born .MD SB331 | 2021 | Regular Session | LegiScan

Catholic Charities: Catholic Charities is an arm of the Catholic Church that has been heavily involved in adoption for decades. 

Unadoptable: a term used for children who were not considered suitable for adoption, usually due to disability or medical conditions, and other factors such as race, age or undesirable appearance. 

The opinions of the host and their guest are just that, opinions. The host is not a lawyer. 

Nov 18, 202201:44:36
Interview with Michele Kreigman
Nov 06, 202201:31:22
A Talk about the Different Types of Adoption, with Paige Adams Strickland and Renee Gelin

A Talk about the Different Types of Adoption, with Paige Adams Strickland and Renee Gelin

Please join the host as they talk with domestic adoptee and author, Paige Adams Strickland and Renee Gelin, mother and one of the founders of Saving Our Sisters, about the different types of adoption common in the United States( and a lot of other places).
Paige is the author of two adoption memoirs and has contributed to several anthologies. Her books can be found at: Paige Adams Strickland: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle. She blogs at: Akin to the Truth: A Memoir of Adoption and Identity ( She can be found on Facebook at Akin to the Truth
Mentioned in the episode:
Saving Our Sisters: Home - Saving Our Sisters (
Minnesota Adoption Law: Minnesota History of Closed Records and Reform Efforts | Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform (
History of California Adoption Law: History of Closed Records in California (
Title IV, SSI Law regarding funds for adoption and legal guardianship: Social Security Act §473A (
Kafala: How Adoption Is Practiced in Islam (
A great resource for information about the laws by state is: Adoptee Rights Law Center PLLC
The opinions of the host and their guests are just that, opinions. The host is not a lawyer.
Nov 05, 202201:48:57
Interview with Rich Clark
Oct 28, 202201:07:55
Interview with Mary Ellen Gambutti
Oct 21, 202201:23:48
interview with Annie Oxborough

interview with Annie Oxborough

Annie Oxborough is a New Zealand Baby Scoop Era adoptee. She is the author of the newly released book Where the Fuck is my Mother, illustrated by her brother Sparrow Phillips, a New Zealand artist.  Annie can be found at: and insta handle 

You can find Sparrow Phillips at:

 Mentioned in the show:

 The  Adoption Act of 1955: Adoption Act 1955 No 93 (as at 28 October 2021), Public Act Contents – New Zealand Legislation

Royal Commission of Inquiry: Home | Abuse in Care - Royal Commission of Inquiry

Adult Adoption Information Act: Adult Adoption Information Act 1985 No 127 (as at 28 October 2021), Public Act – New Zealand Legislation

Bethany Salvation Army: Bethany Centre | The Salvation Army

Private Members BillMembers' bills - New Zealand Parliament (

Mental health issues, including anorexia, bipolar disorder and depression. If you or anyone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please reach out to your local mental health network. Listed here are just a few. 

New Zealand Mental Health: Home | Mental Health Foundation

Australia Mental Health: Mental Health Australia | (

United Kingdom Mental Health: Mental Health UK - Forward Together (

Canada Mental Health: Mental health services -

USA Mental Health: National Hotline for Mental Health Crises and Suicide Prevention | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Disclaimers: the opinions voiced by the host and their guests are just that, opinions. The host is not a lawyer or a therapist. 

Sep 30, 202201:28:57
Interview with David Lang
Aug 07, 202201:21:03
Non Adoptee/ Adoptee Conversations: You were adopted a long time ago. Why are you still talking about it?

Non Adoptee/ Adoptee Conversations: You were adopted a long time ago. Why are you still talking about it?

Please join me as i speak with:

Lynne Miller, Late Discovery Adoptee and writer at the blog

Laureen Pittman: adoptee, author of the Lies that Bind

Andrea Coates: adoptee ally, search angel and LCSW

Lynn Grubb: adoptee, adoptee advocate, author of Hidden Identity

Plenary Adoption: plenary adoption, as practiced in many places including the United States, is a form of adoption that terminates the relationship between an adoptees family and the adoptee. Records are usually sealed and unavailable to the adoptee, even as an adult. In most cases, adoptive parents are given the option to replace the adopted persons original birth certificate with a legal fiction that changes the adoptees name and may also alter details such as place of birth, race and nationality, 

The opinions of the host and their guests are just that: our opinions

Adoptee/non adoptee conversations are especially crucial as we confront the consequences of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, overturning Roe v Wade. The decision has profound implications for adoption, the child welfare system, family preservation efforts and human rights. As the responsibility shifts to the states, adoptees will increasingly need kept people to ally themselves with the adoptee community to enact legislation protecting our rights to our own identities and agency. This statement does not ignore all of the other fuckery involved in the denial of womens reproductive rights. This is an adoptee advocacy platform. Adoption is not the solution to abortion. Stop conflating adoption with abortion. Thank you

Jun 25, 202201:29:03
Interview with Dr. Kristy Howell

Interview with Dr. Kristy Howell

Dr. Kristy Howell is an adult adoptee in reunion. She was born and adopted in the sealed state of Mississippi. She is a Sustainability expert and trained historian. Kristy can be found at @kwittman on twitter and on instagram.
Mentioned in the show:
Mississippi adoption laws:
ISRR: International Soundex Reunion Registry: International Soundex Reunion Registry - ISRR This used to be one of the few resources available to adoptees hoping to find family. Today, DNA testing has largely made reunion registries unnecessary.
Adoptee Rights Law: Attorney and adoptee Greg Luce maintains an up to date easily accessed list of the laws regulating adoptee access to records for every state. He includes links to the legislation which makes further research easier.
Search Angels: Search angels are individuals with trainig and experience in conducting searches for adoptees. Search angels are FREE. Groups like the Search Squad on FB receive training in genetic genealogy, and have been vetted for reliability. Please do some research prior to sharing your personal information with anyone offering to be your search angel. DNA detectives on Facebook is a good group to join and ask for references. Search Squad is affiliated with them.
The Adoptee Community, aka Adopteeland: there are a number of free, online resources for adoptees. Not every group will align with every adoptees needs, but groups exist for many different situations: Late Discovery, Anti adoption, Reunion support, Trauma support, LGBTQ adoptees, adoptee writers, artists, inter-country adoptees, transracial adoptees, etc. You may have to try a few before you find some that fit, but, for the most part, finding these groups can be a tremendous relief. Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter are good places to look for groups.
Adoptee-informed therapy: finding an adoptee-informed therapist can be a huge boon. The search can be lengthy. for a list of questions that can help you find a good fit in a therapist, please see the article linked here.
Adoptee-informed therapy: finding an adoptee-informed therapist can be a huge boon. The search can be lengthy. For a list of questions that can help you find a good fit in a therapist, please see the article linked here.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Opinions voiced on the podcast by the host and their guests are our opinions.
If you happen to recognize the book referenced by Dr Howell at the beginning of the podcast, please contact the host and let them know the title.
If you woulld like to be a guest on the podcast, please let the host know. I am invested in amplifying the voices of adoptees, adoptee allies and others impacted by adoption law. Thank you for listening!
Jun 18, 202201:31:34
Interview with Renee Gelin, founder and president of Saving our Sisters

Interview with Renee Gelin, founder and president of Saving our Sisters

Please join me as I speak with Renee Gelin, mom of a son lost to an unnecessary adoption. She is also the founder and president of the organization, Saving our Sisters. Renee and I discuss her experience with the adoption industry, which motivated her to advocate for other women in crisis. Renee is an avid ally of adoptees as well. 

Renees' organization can be found at Saving our Sisters works to assist pregnant women in making informed decisions about their pregnancies, and to provide assistance so that they can avoid applying permanent solutions to temporary situations. 

Mentioned in the show:

Parentfinders: a website whose purpose is to funnel women in crisis into the adoption industry

Books: basically catalogs of slick advertising campaigns designed to persuade women in crisis to choose a prospective adoptive parent or PAP to raise their child

Gladney Adoption Agency: an adoption agency 

Open Adoption: an arrangement whereby ongoing contact is maintained between the adoptee and their family of origin. These agreements must be written into the contract at the time of termination of parental rights. Even if this occurs, open adoption agreements are not generally enforceable. The adoption industry advertises open adoptions while actually using the idea of open adoption to persuade parents to surrender children. Their idea of open is to simply encourage adoptive parents to disclose the adoption to the adoptee. 

The Primal Wound, by Nancy Verrier. A book written by an adoptive parent based on her observations of the effect of adoption on adoptees.

The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel Van der Kolk. The Body Keeps the Score - Wikipedia

Persuasive Coercion: coercive practices that are emotional and psychological in nature, rather than by force or threat of violence

Florida Adoption law:, Consumer Pamphlet: Adoption In Florida – The Florida Bar

Disclaimer: the opinions of the host and their guest are just that, our opinions. 

May 22, 202202:05:23
Non-Adoptee/Adoptee conversations: a talk with Andrea Coates about respectful dialogue

Non-Adoptee/Adoptee conversations: a talk with Andrea Coates about respectful dialogue

Andrea is a licensed clinical social worker. She is also a search angel with the Search Squad. Andrea was one of the first people I interviewed when I began this podcast. A non-adoptee, or Kept person, Andrea has devoted a great deal of energy to an intentional exploration of adoptees lived experience. Through countless hours of reading adoptee memoir, blogs and articles; listening to podcasts and viewing recordings, and via her work as a search angel, Andrea has worked to become informed and to gain a greater understanding of how adoption impacts adopted people.
Mentioned in the show/ Resources:
DNA Detectives: a private Facebook group founded by CeCe Moore, genetic genealogist. The group is dedicated to assisting people with genetic genealogy work
Search Squad: Search Squad is a private Facebook group which provides free assistance for adoptees, birth parents, biological family through trained, vetted volunteers
Family Preservation: attempts to provide assistance to families with the intent of keeping families together.
The Girls Who Went Away: by Ann Fessler. This book is an important discussion of the history of coercive treatment of unwed pregnant women sent away to give birth in secret in the decades prior to Roe v Wade. The children born were lost to adoption or to the foster care system. a website dedicated to providing a list of books written by or recommended by adoptees.
Finding Family: my search for roots and the secrets in my DNA, by Richard HIll. Hill's memoir recounts his use of DNA to unravel the secrets of his origins.
Adoptee podcasts and blogs: There are many good lists of podcasts and blogs by adoptees that can be found by simply googling Adoptee podcasts and Adoptee blogs. I have partial lists included with these two blog posts:
Baby Scoop Era: a period from approximately 1946 to 1975(dates vary) where coercive adoption industry practices resulted in up to four million babies being given up for adoption in the United States alone. Similar practices occurred in other countries.
May 20, 202201:29:57
Birthdays and Gotcha days

Birthdays and Gotcha days

The host shares a few thoughts on adoption and birthdays and gotcha days.
May 11, 202216:56
Interview with Laureen Pittman

Interview with Laureen Pittman

Laureen Pitman is a Baby Scoop Era adoptee, born and raised in the closed state of California. Laureen is the author of the memoir The Lies that Bind. She is active in the adoptee community, writing for her blog, participating in roundtables like The Red Couch Rebuttal, contributing to the anthology The Adoptee Survival Guide, and in other projects.
Mentioned in the podcast:
California Adoptee Access laws: Adoption Records ( Please be aware that each county may have slightly different procedures and forms available for adoptees. California is a sealed state.
Waiver of Confidentiality: California requires adoptees and family members to file a waiver giving permission for contact to be included in the adoptees file. If the adoptee and a family member have both filed a waiver saying Yes, they agree to contact, the state is supposed to pass on the contact information.
Non-Identifying information: California adoptees can contact the county where their adoption took place or go through the Adoption Records portal listed above to request their redacted information.
Private Investigator: adoptees sometimes resort to hiring a private investigator to assist with searching for family members. This can be quite expensive. Always remember to check to see if the person is licensed, reputable investigator. You can go to to check license status.
Ghost family/Kingdom: first coined by Betty Jean Lipton, this refers to the fantasy family created by adoptees as stand-ins for the family we have been separated from
CUB, Concerned United Birthparents: a support group for parents and adoptees.
Commercial DNA companies: there are a number of commercial DNA companies that are useful for adoptees. They have DNA tests as well as subscription services for their databases. The largest company is is popular for medical information as well as matches. other companies include My Heritage, Gedmatch, and Familytreedna
Search assistance: on Facebook, there are the DNA Detectives, the Search Squad, the Search Co-op. There are others, but these are the three I am familiar with. A search angel provides assistance for FREE.
Because there is a lot going on in the community right now with the SCOTUS announcement and conflation of adoption with abortion, and because this is going out on Mother's day, I am including the contact information for mental health hotlines. It is important that we be kind to ourselves and give ourselves permission to seek help when we need it.
National Mental Health Hotline | 866-903-3787
Mental health support: get help -
Mental Health Helpline for Urgent Help - NHS (
Helplines - Immediate confidential free support | Mental Health Commission (
Finding an adoptee competent therapist can be challenging. One source I have found is I suggest asking specific questions to determine if a therapist is trauma competent. You can find support from the online adoptee community as well. Check out my earlier blog posts for lists of podcasts, and blogs.
May 08, 202201:30:50
Adoptee Access and the state of Vermont

Adoptee Access and the state of Vermont

A thank you to those who worked so hard on behalf of Vermont adoptees, and a plea to see other states follow their lead. Vermont is only the eleventh state to allow adoptees access to their original documents.
May 02, 202208:17
Advertising for Babies

Advertising for Babies

The host delivers a short rant on the awfulness of advertising for babies. Contact your legislators if you live in a state where independent advertising for children is allowed. Use the convenient map provided by (the enemy), at Our Chosen Baby. Just google States where advertising for babies is allowed.
May 02, 202204:30
In the Market

In the Market

This episode is also available as a blog post: A brief talk about white, grey and black market adoptions, the situation with Ukraine, and a disturbing list of the twenty easiest places to adopt. Disclaimer: the host is jot a lawyer. The hosts opinions are just opinions, even if she did look this shit up and finds it highly offensive. People! People are being taken from their families by opportunistic child “ resourcers” and sold to, primarily, white people in other countries. Selling people! That’s why it’s called a Market.
Apr 24, 202223:22
Open Adoption: what is Open Adoption?
Apr 20, 202218:01
Lynn Grubb, the Adopted Genealogist, interviews the host of The Adoption Files

Lynn Grubb, the Adopted Genealogist, interviews the host of The Adoption Files

Join the host, Ande Stanley, as they are interviewed by Lynn Grubb. We talk a bit about my experience as a UK adoptee, and a lot about the complexities of pursuing our identities.
Lynn Grubb is the editor of the Adoptee Anthology, The Adoptee Survival Guide. She is the author of the memoir Hidden Identity. She is The Adopted Genealogist on Facebook. Her memoir can be found in podcast form at:
Mentioned in the show:
UK adoption law: In England, adoptees 18 or over can apply for and receive their adoption files and a copy of their original birth certificate. Adoptees born before 12 Nov 1975 must attend a counseling session to prove they are of sound mind in order to receive their documents. Adoption records: Accessing your birth records - GOV.UK (
Adoption Council: The United Kingdom has a system where an adoptee can visit the Adoption Council where their adoptions were registered, and apply to receive their files.
General Registry Office (GRO): The United Kingdom maintains vital records through this office. General Register Office (GRO) - Official information on births, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths
Search Angel: a Search Angel is a person who, free of charge, assists adoptees with finding their families. The Search Squad and The Search Co-op on Facebook are two places free assistance can be found.
Genealogist: a person who has learned how to use the various genealogical resources to trace family histories. Genetic genealogists have learned how to use a persons DNA test results to trace family.
Commercial DNA testing companies:,,,, a site run by attorney Greg Luce, that provides information about each of the US states adoptee access laws. He also provides information about ongoing legislative efforts.
Adoptees United: Adoptees United | Identity, Citizenship, Equality : A non-profit dedicated to advocating for adoptee rights. Great resource for information on a variety of adoptee rights issues.
Adoptee Rights Coalition: Home | ARC ( a non-profit providing resources and education on issues relating to adoptee rights
Adoptees Connect: Where Adoptee Voices Meet – An Adoptee Centric Connect Group ( an adoptee centric group committed to providing space for adoptees while building connections between them
Adoption Reunion Registries: there are different types. Some are run by private or non-profit organizations. Others are mandated by states in order to apply to access documents. The hope is to register your information and discover that a family member has also registered in hope of finding you. There are occasions when this happens, but, overall, when dealing with a non-state mandated registry, you are better off guarding your private information and doing DNA instead.
Disclaimer: The host is not a lawyer. The opinions expressed by the host and their guests are just that, opinions. the host can be contacted at:;; or at

Apr 17, 202201:33:51
Interview with Victoria Bond

Interview with Victoria Bond

Victoria Bond was born and adopted in the state of Kentucky. Please join us as we talk about the difficulties of applying for documents in a closed state, and how Victorias experience motivated her to become a Search Angel for other adoptees. Victoria is a small business owner as well. She can be found at Made by Victoria:

Mentioned in the show:

Kentucky adoption law: Adoptee search brochure.p65 (      Adult Adoptees in Kentucky • Original Birth Certificates (

The Search Co-op:

Search Angel: a person who assists an adoptee with their search for their family of origin, free of charge

U.K. (United Kingdom: for me, specifically England): Adoption records: Accessing your birth records - GOV.UK (

Commercial DNA testing companies: these are companies that you can purchase a DNA test, have it analyzed, and receive varying degrees of information. The largest company is Others include 23andme, My Heritage, Gedmatch, Family Tree DNA. 

Adoptees United:  Adoptees United | Identity, Citizenship, Equality

Adoptees Connect:  Where Adoptee Voices Meet – An Adoptee Centric Connect Group (

Adoptee Therapy:

Disclaimer: The host is not a lawyer. The opinions expressed by the host and their guests are just that, opinions. 

 Yes, this episode is longer than usual. Yes, I tried to make it into two episodes. Yes, I realized I had no idea how, and am getting help(for so many things!). Yes, It is totally worth listening all the way to the end. 

Apr 10, 202201:42:49
Arguing with Experts

Arguing with Experts

The host does a bit of ranting about the many reasons given for denying adoptees access to our documents, including the rationale that adoption is not a trauma, and biology can be transgressed.
Apr 04, 202213:47
Interview with Mary Constance

Interview with Mary Constance

Mary Constance is an adoptee from Ohio. Mary is preparing to walk across America to bring attention to the inequity faced by adoptees in seeking access to our original birth certificates. 

Mentioned in the show:

Ohio adoptee access to records:

The Chosen Baby: a pro-adoption childrens books by Valentina P Wasson, designed to help adoptive parents explain adoption to adopted children. 

ACOA: Adult Children of Alcoholics.  A support group for adult children of alcoholics

Generational Trauma: a fairly new field that explores trauma passed from one generation to another. Also known as intergenerational trauma and transgenerational trauma

Life Gap: a term created by an adoptee to refer to the time between birth and adoption, where few if any records are available to adoptees. Many of us deeply feel the absence of this information, of a time when we were cared for in an institutional or foster care situation. 

ACE: Adverse Childhood Experience. While Adverse Childhood Experiences have long been acknowledged as a source of lasting trauma, few measures include being given up for adoption as a trauma. The closest many assessments come is to have losing a family member on the list of recognized trauma. 

PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, is characterized by sleep disturbance, intrusive thoughts, anxiety and depression. A persons nervous system is often stuck in high gear, causing a person to be hyper alert at all times. Or, they may find themselves in flight, freeze or fawn. Therapy can be very helpful. Many people find EMDR, Cognitive Processing Therapy, and Prolonged Exposure Therapy helpful. 

Agoraphobia: an anxiety disorder that causes a person to be fearful of places where they feel they can't escape. This may cause people to stay only in places where they feel secure, like home. Therapy can be very helpful. 

Mental Health Resources: If you have health insurance, you can contact your provider to find information about the services available to you. If you do not have insurance, you can contact for information about resources, or contact your local department of health. If you are a student, your school may offer services. Mental health services can be difficult to locate, though there are now online therapists who can be helpful. Always check if a provider is licensed, and ask if they will provide services on a sliding scale. Some Womens health clinics offer sliding scale mental health services to women and children. 

Paul Sunderland: an internationally known expert on addiction. He has spoken on adoption and addiction. Here is a popular youtube video:

Red Couch Rebuttal: a roundtable produced in response to a fundraising film created by The Cradle Evanston, an adoption agency in Illinois.

The Ghost Kingdom: first coined by Betty Jean Lifton, the Ghost Kingdom is the imaginary family that adoptees create in place of the families we have been denied contact with

Disclaimers: The host is not a lawyer. The laws are discussed to the best of our ability.  

The opinions expressed by the host and their guests are just that, opinions. 

Apr 03, 202201:26:51
Kidnapping is not morally ambiguous

Kidnapping is not morally ambiguous

The host talks about her adoptive parents plans to run away with her, if her family had attempted to reclaim her.
Mar 30, 202215:15
Interview with Margaret Theriault

Interview with Margaret Theriault

Margaret is an adoptee from Ontario, Canada. Margaret is a kinship adoptee, who did not discover until she was older that her adoptive family is her family. 

She is the author of two books:  Adoption: The Truth Comes Out, and Overwhelmed by God's Grace, Uncovering the Truth about Adoption. 

Margaret has a podcast: Maggie Closet Chats, on Spotify

Mentioned in the podcast:

Ontario, Canada adoptee access to records:

Origins Canada:  An organization providing resources for those seperated by adoption

Adoption Council of Ontario:  An organization providing information and resources for all members of the adoption constellation

Adoptee support groups:

Adoption Trauma Network on Facebook and @adoptiontraumanet on Instagram

Adoptees Connect:

Disclaimers: the host is not a lawyer. The opinions expressed by the host and their guests are simply that; opinions. 

Mar 27, 202201:17:13
A note on mental health

A note on mental health

What can we do when we listen to a podcast and feel triggered by what we encounter?
Mar 21, 202210:60
Interview with GAAR, the Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights

Interview with GAAR, the Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights

The Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights was founded by Jamie Weiss and Courtney Humbaugh to advocate for the rights of all Georgia adoptees to unrestricted access to their original birth documents. 

Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights can be found at:*

Mentioned in the show

Georgia adoption law:, also Georgia Code 31-10-14 and Georgia Code 19-8-23(3)(A). Links to the relevant laws can be found by going to, clicking FInd Out under Who Holds your Truth, then click on Georgia

Accessing Georgia adoption records:      Birth Family Search. 

Greg Luce: Greg Luce is an adoptee and attorney who founded Adoptee Rights Law Center and is the president of Adoptees United, Inc. Excellent site with easy to use links to state laws and information on current legislative efforts* A non-profit organization dedicated to pursuing equality for all adopted people*

Tennessee Children's Home Society/Georgia Tann: Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society were involved in the trafficking of children for adoption during the first part of the twentieth century. A number of books, articles and documentaries have been produced discussing this and the ongoing influence of Tanns actions on the modern adoption industry. 

Organizations aligned with the Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights:

Adoptee Rights Law Center*

Adoptees United*

The Family Preservation Project*

Signed, Sealed, Adopted*

Saving Our Sisters*


Adoptee therapy: grow beyond

*please consider making a donation to any or all of these organization to help them continue their advocacy work


The host is not a lawyer.
All opinions expressed by the host and their guests on the podcast are just that, opinions. 

Mar 20, 202253:03
Interview with Jamie Weiss

Interview with Jamie Weiss

Please join me as I speak with Jamie Weiss; professional photographer, writer and adoptee rights activist. She is one of the co-founders of the Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights. Jamie Weiss was born in Virginia, but adopted in the state of Georgia. 

Jamie can be found at:

Mentioned in the podcast:

Georgia Adoption Law: Georgia is a closed state. Adoptees are not allowed unrestricted access to records. They may participate in a reunion registry, or appeal to the court.

Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry: There are several adoption reunion registries in Georgia. This is the only one licensed with the state of Georgia. They are a non-profit contracted by the state to administer the states mandated registry. Contact with family only occurs if the people concerned have given written consent. Assistance is fee based.

Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights GAAR. The alliance is a coalition of state and national organizations fighting for Georgia adoptees rights to unrestricted access to their original documents

Virginia adoption law: Virginia is a closed state. Adoptees must provide the court with good cause in order to have records released. The largest commercial DNA testing company. 

Resources: a resource for adoptees seeking adoptee informed therapists

Disclaimer: All opinions expressed are just those: Opinions. 

Mar 13, 202201:27:49
Interview with Emma Stevens

Interview with Emma Stevens

Please join me as I speak with Emma Stevens, domestic adoptee and author of the newly released memoir, The Gathering Place.  Emma's book can be found on Amazon, including on Audible, where Emma narrates her book. 

Emma is a U.S. domestic adoptee from birth. She has survived layers of trauma that have put her on multiple journeys. She developed the inner strength and courage to surmount the many struggles she faced. Emma is dedicated to helping redefine the narrative of adoption to include the entire complex truth. 

Emma has an undergraduate degree in journalism and has completed Master's level course work in psychology, specializing in Marriage, Family and Child counseling. 

@emmastevensthegatheringplace for both FB and Instagram

@emmastevensTGP for Twitter

Amazon link: The Gathering Place: An Adoptee's Story by  Learn more:

Mentioned in the interview:

Colorado law: Fill in access to adoption records in search bar

Gabor Mate: Dr Mate is a physician and author who has written and spoken extensively on childhood trauma

ACOA: Adult Children of Alcoholics.  A support group and educational service for adult children of alcoholics

AA: Alcoholics Anonymous  A support group for people struggling with alcohol addiction

Twelve Step Programs: Twelve step programs to help individuals recover from maladaptive coping strategies originated with Alcoholic Anonymous. These programs incorporate steps to help people learn new ways to cope with challenges as varied as alcohol and drug addiction to compulsive shopping. 

Paul Sunderland: Therapist Paul Sunderland is known for his work with people in recovery, and frequently speaks on relinquishment trauma and substance abuse. 

Implicit Memory: Implicit memory has many facets, but is most commonly referred to as unconscious memory.

Anne Heffron: Anne Heffron is an adoptee, author and teacher. 

While not mentioned in the interview, I am now including the website for adoptee-centric therapists as an additional resource adoptees may wish to explore. the site is

*Disclaimer: the host of the podcast The Adoption Files is not a lawyer. All discussion of relevant law should be considered the opinion of the host and her guests. The laws are discussed to the best of our ability. All opinions voiced on the podcast are simply the opinions of the host and the guests and are not meant to malign any person or persons. Unless you consider the Adoption Industry a person. Then all bets are off. 

Mar 06, 202201:38:18
Interview with Daryn Watson

Interview with Daryn Watson

Daryn Watson was born and adopted in Alberta, Canada. Daryn is an Adoption Reunion Coach and also writes a blog, The Adoptee Mind. He has been a guest on Jennifer Dyan Ghostons podcast Once Upon a Time in Adopteeland, and on Julie Jackson and Richard Castles podcast Cut-off Genes. 

Daryn can be found at Adoption Reunion Coaching on Facebook, and on his blog, The Adoptee Mind (also on FB) 

Mentioned on the show:

Once upon a time in adopteeland:, episode 43

Cut-off Genes:, episode 502

Alberta Ca Adoptee Access to Original documents:, enter Adoption Records in the search bar

Manitoba Law:; enter adoption records in search bar

Journey of the Adopted Self, by Betty Jean LIfton

The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier

Redaction Veto/clause: a legal mechanism that allows parents, and sometimes adoptive parents to prevent adoptees from accessing identifying material in their adoption records. If a redaction clause exists and has been filed, all identifying material is redacted. Laws governing when these redactions can be signed and how long they last vary by province or state.

Zombie Veto: a redaction clause that remains in effect even after the parent dies. 

Paul Sunderland: Paul Sunderland is an internationally recognized expert on addiction issues and speaks frequently on the intersection of adoption with the incidence of addiction. His work can be found in print, and on Youtube. 

Gabor Mate: Gabor Mate is a physician who has written a number of books on addiction, trauma, childhood development and stress. 

Feb 27, 202201:27:21
Interview with Ann Rehfuss Mikeska

Interview with Ann Rehfuss Mikeska

Anne is an adoptee from Nebraska. She is currently at work writing a fiction-ish novel that treats adoptees from an adoption-informed perspective. She is also participating in an anthology related to her membership in the group Flourish, headed by Pam Cordano and Anne Heffron. 

Mentioned in the show:

Adoptee Chameleon: adoptees are sometimes described as chameleons, given we often learn to conceal ourselves in order to fit into our environment

Kansas laws regarding adoptee access to documents: Kansas allows adoptees unrestricted access to their own original birth documents. 

Nebraska laws regarding adoptee access to documents: Nebraska does not allow adoptees unrestricted access to original birth documents. They have a complex, confusing set of regulations governing release. 

The District of Columbia; laws regarding adoptee access to documents: The District of Columbia does not allow unrestricted access to adoptions that took place after 1 September, 1937.  

Zombie Veto: a veto that maintains restricted access to identifying information even after the death of the parent who has signed a non-consent or redaction veto. *

Adoptee Rights Law Center: an excellent resource regarding the status of state laws regarding adoptee access to original birth certificates, established and maintained by lawyer and adoptee Gregory Luce. 

23 and Me: a commercial DNA testing company that provides information on health, ethnicity and genetic matches.

Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital:  maintains records from the maternity hospitals once run by the Salvation Hospital. Adoptees born in these hospitals can request and receive redacted non-identifying information about themselves so long as the records still exist. 

Lutheran Family Services:

Paul Sunderland: Adoption and Addiction Full Lecture,

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Adoptees Connect:

*Since the recording of this episode, I re-read the laws that allow adoptive parents in Nebraska to deny access to identifying information to adoptees. I had originally misunderstood the law to be a Zombie Veto. While Nebraska adoptive parents may block adoptees from receiving identifying information during their lifetimes, the veto expires after the adoptive parent who filed the veto dies. The adoptee must be able to demonstrate to the state that the adoptive parent in question is deceased. The state promises to make a "reasonable effort to determine if the person is deceased", adoptees have reported that the states efforts are not very vigorous and have missed deaths that occurred in other states. 

Feb 20, 202201:24:43
Interview with Kirsten Weatherford

Interview with Kirsten Weatherford

Kirsten Weatherford was born and adopted in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has some very odd eligibility requirements for adoptees seeking access to their documents. Join me as Kirsten and I talk about these requirements, her personal journey in requesting her adoption file, and her efforts to be present for young adoptees. 

Kirsten is the author of the book Finding My Way Home. She was a guest on Haley Radkes podcast. Kirstens can be heard on episode 168 of Adoptees on, as part of the Estrangement Series. Kirsten has a blog,, and can also be found on Instagram @nomoremistfit

Mentioned in the show:

Pennsylvania law: Enter:  Information for adoptees in the search bar

KidsPeace Pennsylvania Foster Care and Community Programs(Facebook page): an organization hired by the state of Pennsylvania to provide intermediary services 

Benaroya Research Institute: Benroya is a research group looking into the causes and cures for autoimmune disorders. 

Support resources:

Adoption Trauma Network on Facebook

National Association of Adopted People

Adoptees Connect

Adult Survivors of Foster Care


Adoptees, NPEs, Donor Conceived and Other Genetic Identity Seekers (facebook)

RAINN: not adoptee specific; provides support for survivors of sexual abuse

Al-Anon: not adoptee specific; a group for people impacted by others substance abuse

Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous: not adoptee specific; groups for people dealing with alcohol and drug addiction 

Feb 14, 202201:28:41
Interview with Deborah Hart Yemm

Interview with Deborah Hart Yemm

Please join me as I talk with Deborah Yemm, author of the blog Missing Mom. Deborah is the child of adoptees, who sought to honor her parents and find her own history by applying for documents from the states of Tennessee and Texas. Deborahs story:

Mentioned in the podcast:

Tennessee Childrens' Home Society: an orphanage that existed in the state of Tennessee during the first half of the twentieth century. The Society is best known because of the practices of Georgia Tann, who ran the Memphis branch. For more information, visit the website of the Memphis Public Library, which maintains an extensive archive on the childrens' home.

Georgia Tann: the child trafficking practiced by this woman resulted in a huge scandal that led to the state of Tennessee allowing access to adoption records to people adopted through the Tennessee Childrens Home Society during her tenure as director. 

Tennessee Adoption laws: Tennessee allows adoptees over the age of 21 to request their records. This does not guarantee you will be given your records. For frequently asked questions, visit:, Tennessee Adoption Records FAQ. the place to find an application is at Some aspects of current law are due to change in July of this year. For more information on the law, you can visit click Find Out, under Who Holds Your Truth, and go to the state of Tennessee and click. 

Salvation Army Childrens Services: Foster Care and Adoption Program: the Salvation Armys Childrens Services are headquartered at 2200 Hamilton St, Allentown, Pa 18104. http:/  (610) 821 7706

Texas Adoption Laws: Texas law allows adoptees over the age of 18 to apply for a non-certified copy of their original birth certificate as long as the applicant can provide the names of the parents listed on the original, and, if I am reading this correctly, were placed for adoption through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. You can visit the Texas Department of State Health Services at and type in Original Birth Certificate for Adult Adoptee for directions on how to apply 

Before We Were Yours: a book by Lisa Wingate, inspired by accounts of the Georgia Tann/Tennessee Childrens Home Society child trafficking scandal. 

The Baby Thief: a non-fiction account of the events that took place at the Tennessee Childrens Home Society and Georgia Tanns impact on the commercialiation of adoption,  by Barbara Bisantz Raymond

WPA: the Works Progress Administration was part of the New Deal, providing jobs to millions of Americans during the years 1935-1943. Employees worked on public works projects nationwide. 

Feb 06, 202201:25:54
Interview with Jamie Nagy
Jan 31, 202201:36:01
Interview with Christine Mueller Dechert

Interview with Christine Mueller Dechert

Please join me as I speak with Oregon adoptee Christine Dechert. Christine participated in the advocacy movement that resulted in Oregon becoming one of only ten states in the US to have truly unrestricted access for adoptees to their original birth certificates. Christines family history is complex, as her mother was also adopted. While Oregons laws now allow adoptees to receive OBCs, the state of Montana, where Christines mother was born does not allow unrestricted access to adoptee documents. 

Mentioned in the podcast:

Oregon and Montana adoptee access to records laws: for a good review of the laws, visit 

Adoption Triad: a term used to represent the three aspects of adoption; the families of origin, the adoptee and the adoptive parents. 

Reactive Attachment Disorder(RAD)* Reactive Attachment Disorder is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as a condition characterized by "grossly abnormal attachment behaviors in early childhood, occurring in the context of grossly inadequate child care. There are many ways that the attachment issues can be expressed. The disorders diagnosis is pretty controversial when applied to adoptees.

 *This is just my opinion, but I believe it is often used to invalidate the trauma inherent in relinquishment by making the adoptee the "identified patient" and allow adoptive parents and our culture to avoid identifying the problems caused by erasing a persons identity and ignoring their grief. I believe that any time we hear the label of RAD being used to describe an adopted person, by non-adopted and non-adoption trauma informed individuals, we should immediately treat that label as highly suspicious. 

Jan 24, 202201:43:36
Interview with Dr Abby Hasberry

Interview with Dr Abby Hasberry

Please join me as I speak with Dr. Abby Hasberry, a transracial Maryland adoptee from a closed adoption. Dr Hasberry has a BS in African American Studies and Sociology, her MA in teaching K-12, and her PhD in curriculum and instruction. She is currently studying for her MEd to become a licensed marriage and family therapist specifically to address the lack of African-Amderican, adoption-experienced counselors. 

Mentioned in the interview:

Mutual Contact Registry: a mutual contact registry is a registry that allows adoptees to leave contact information for interested family members. If the family member(s) have left their own contact information or do so in future, the registry will notify the adoptee. 

Search person/Intermediary: a search person may be a person who searches for free, such as a Search Angel with the Search Squad, or a payed person who acts as a go-between. Some states mandate that adoptees utilize the services of a designated intermediary in attempting to obtain documents and make contact. 

Maryland Adoptee access to records laws: for an easy to understand overview of the states closed access status visit

Ghost Kingdom: the Ghost Kingdom is the space where an adoptees relatives live in their imaginations. It is a term coined by psychologist Betty Lifton

Brain-spotting: brainspotting is a form of therapy that utilizes the eyes and eye movement during talk therapy to assist clients in dealing with topics such as trauma and anxiety. 

Jan 17, 202201:28:11
Interview with Samantha W

Interview with Samantha W

Samantha is the daughter of Canadian parents. Her mother traveled to the United Kingdom to give birth, where Samantha was adopted by an American woman and her English husband. Listen as we talk about what requesting adoption documents is like in the UK, especially compared to requesting the same documents in the United States. 

Samantha is an artist and academic coach/dyslexia specialist. She has a BA in Metals Design, an MA in Visual Arts/Sculpture and a Post-Grad qualification in Dyslexia.  

She can be found on Instagram @samanthagwilles and through her blog:

Mentioned in the interview:

Mr Fairweather and His Family, by Margaret Kornitzer

The Chosen Baby, by Valentina Pavlovna Wasson

Adoption and Adoptee information in the United Kingdom:  

The General Register Office: you can order birth, adoption, marriage, civil partnership and death certificates from the GRO

The General Register Office is also where you can apply for your adoption records. You must be over 18 years of age. If born before 12 November 1975, you will need to attend a counseling session with an approved counselor first. To do this, you must contact the Adoption Council in the district where your adoption was filed. 

Jan 09, 202201:18:51
Interview with Lisa Ann

Interview with Lisa Ann

Hi! Welcome to another episode of The Adoption Files. Please join me as I talk with Lisa Ann about the challenges of being adopted in Iowa and seeking your documents. We discuss how so many of us must become detectives, utilizing DNA tests, learning to decipher the meaning of centimorgans and the perils of making contact with matches. 

 Lisa Ann is a closed adoption adoptee from the Baby Scoop Era, who authors the blog and hosts the podcast: The Wandering Tree. These focus on Lisa's experiences of searching and reunion, how the journey has been shared with family and friends and the impact it has had on their lives. 

You can connect with Lisa Ann viz the website:  

Or, look for her via Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Audible or other podcast platforms. 


Dna Detectives Facebook page: A private page dedicated to helping people use DNA to find biological family for adoptees, foundlings, donor-conceived individuals, unknown paternity and other types of unkown parentage cases. This group is open to non-adoptees also. 

Adoption Reunions; Sioux City, Iowa Facebook group for Sioux City parents children and siblings involved in adoption through Florence Crittenton Home, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services or private attorneys   https:/

Iowa Adoptees and Family Coalition Facebook Group: A coalition of adult adoptees, birth and adoptive family members joining together to change the Iowa laws restricting access to Original Birth Certificates (OBCs) and to educate Iowans about adoptin and searching. https:/

Iowa Department of Public Health 

HF855: signed into law on May 19 2021. Adoptees born before 1 January 1971 can receive noncertified copy of their OBC. If adoptee is deceased, an entitled family member may apply. https:/ The new law does contain a redaction clause, worded as a contact preference form. If a parent does not wish to be contacted, they may fill out the form and all identifying information will be redacted. 

Family Tree Magazine Podcast:

DNA Painter:  Use the tools found on DNA Painter to help demystify your DNA results. They have four tools that use different pieces of your information to assist in determining DNA relationships. 

The Leeds Method-DNA Color Clustering: a spreadsheet that helps to sort DNA matches into color-coded groups based on shared ancestors. 

*Being real here. I had every intention of reading and absorbing all of the editing instructions and making this neat and clean. Or, if that didn't work, hire some eighth grader to mock me whilst taking my money to do it for me. I also thought my spouse would be well, and I would not be waiting to see if a neurologist could fit us into their schedule so they could take pictures of his brain. As I sit here typing this, all I can say is that the last six weeks have been challenging.Yes, I am throwing myself upon your mercy. Please listen to the conversations for the content, and ignore the technical difficulties. If I can't figure this sh*t out for myself by the end of January, I am finding someone to trade with who will teach me the ways of the editing suite. Until then, much love and gratitude for your patience and compassion. 

Jan 02, 202201:07:07
Interview with Courtney Fleming Humbaugh

Interview with Courtney Fleming Humbaugh

Please join me as I discuss adoption and the closed state of Georgia with adoptee Courtney Humbaugh. Courtney was born on Christmas day in Augusta, Georgia and adopted five months later to a family in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2010 she began her journey to discover her roots and her birth story. In 2020, she petitioned the court system in Georgia for her adoption records. 

Ms. Humbaugh works in the public relations, media and marketing industry. She is a former television news reporter and most recently has served the trasnportation indjustry with expertise in social media platforms, event planning, public speaking, medcia production and print design, Ms. Humbaugh holds a communication degree from Florida State University. 

Resources mentioned in the interview: 

Concerned United Birthparents:

Adoptees United:

Adoptees on, with Haley Radke:

Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights:

Lesli Johnson, MFT:


Kate Murphy:

Adoption attorney, state of Georgia:

Dec 25, 202101:08:57
Interview 2 with Elle Cuardaigh

Interview 2 with Elle Cuardaigh

Please join author and blogger Elle Cuardaigh and I for a bonus birthday episode! Elle is the author of the book The Tangled Red Thread, and participated in the adoptee anthology The Adoptee Survival Guide. She can be found at, where she blogs about adoption and her adoptee reality. 

We discuss a WTF moment; one that far too many adoptees face. 

Elle shares a wonderful article given to her by her mother on the day of their reunion. 

Be forewarned! We talk about the recent Texas abortion restrictions, and whether adoption is a "solution." We have opinions, and not everyone is going to agree with us. 

Dec 20, 202101:01:28
Interview with Lora K Joy

Interview with Lora K Joy

Lora K Joy is the author of two illustrated books: NoBody Looks Like Me: An Adoptee Experience, and Goodbye Hypervigilance: Healing Adoptee Worries. She can also be found on her blog My Adoptee Truth, and @adopteelorakjoy on Instagram. Lora was featured on episode 185 of Haley Radke's podcast Adoptees On. 

Lora was born and raised in Indiana. Please join as as Lora explains the Four Things that guided her search for identity and her experience with her adoption files. 


All the books! many of which can be found at:   

Adoptees on,  podcast

Facebook support groups for adoptees

Dec 12, 202101:14:32
Interview with Elle Cuardaigh

Interview with Elle Cuardaigh

Today I talk with Author and blogger Elle Cuardaigh.

Please join us as Elle Cuardaigh and I visit dark places, discuss documents and enjoy talking each others ears off. Elle is the only person I know with crashing a funeral in her biography! 

Elle can be found at, where she blogs about her reality as an adopted person. She is the author of The Tanlged Red Thread, and participated int he adoptee anthology, The Adoptee Survivial Guide, edited by Lynn Grubb. 

Some of the things discussed in our chat:

Washington State Adoption Law

WARM: Washington Adoption Reunion Movement,

Bess Gilroy Adoption Home/ Hospital

Adoptees Connect:

HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 is a U.S. regulation that addresses privacy rules concerning medical information. 

Dec 10, 202101:32:57
Interview with Becky Conrad Drinnen

Interview with Becky Conrad Drinnen

Becky is a fellow Baby Scoop Era adoptee. Born in the state of Ohio, Becky is the Queen of Persistence. Please join us as we discuss her over THIRTY year pursuit of her documents and her identity; plus, antique tractors. 

Becky Conrad Drinnen is co-facilitator for Adoption Network Clevelands DNA Discoveries support group. She has written articles tor two adoption anthologies, Adoption in the Social Media Age and The Adoptee Survival Guide. She has also been a guest on Haley Radke's wonderful Adoptees On podcast. 

You will also note that my lack of editing skill is once again highlighted in this episode, as I do battle with the perils of unstable internet connections, and Becky patiently waits for me to get my act together. 

Organization mentioned in the episode:

Adoption Network Cleveland:

Dec 06, 202101:31:31
Interview with Lorah Gerald

Interview with Lorah Gerald

Please join Lorah Gerald and I as we talk about requesting adoptee records from the state of Tennessee, and the threat of felony charges associated with attempts to connect with family.

 Lorah is an adoptee, a writer, Kundalini Yoga Instructor, Reiki Master and ordained minister. Lorah can be found at, and as the @theadoptedchameleon on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest. in addition to her many other activities, Lorah provides virtual yoga classes, with a sliding scale for adoptees who wish to participate. 

Visit today and tomorrow to pre-order adoptee Shirley Mackenzie designed t-shirt, with all proceeds going to support Adoptees Connect. Adoptees Connect is a non-profit dedicated to giving adoptees a place to be seen and heard. They have groups in 43 cities and 27 states in the United States, 4 groups in Canada, and their first group in the U.K. 

Resources mentioned in the interview:

Adoptee Rights Law Center:

Adoptees United:

Adoptees Connect:

DNA testing companies:, ftdna. com,,,

Other items of interest:

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

Domecon, or Practice Babies: 'Practice Babies': An Outdated Practice, Rediscovered : NPR

For any listener who may be contemplating ending their life, you are valued. You deserve to be here. You are worthy of life. Please call or contact a support person at one of the following:  1 800 273 8255

There are a number of facebook pages that are adoptee-centric. The Adoption Trauma Network is committed to supporting adoptees in a trauma informed context, and lists a number of resources for adoptees. They also run several adoptee only private support groups designed to provide adoptees with a safe context to share our feelings and experiences.  

Nov 29, 202101:03:03
Interview with Jude Conn

Interview with Jude Conn

Jude Conn is from the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area. She is a certified professional massage therapist and Reiki Master as well as a contemporary spiritual teacher and holistic life coach. She is also a Closed, Private, Stranger Adoption at two days old. Jude was adopted in the state of Virginia.  Please join me and Jude as we discuss the barriers that exist in procuring adoptee records from Virginia, and how we are affected when we are told that we are the result of a sexual assault. 

Virginia adoptee right to access: an adult adoptee has the right to apply for non-identifying information from their adoption files. The application is a one page document which must be printed, filled out, notarized and submitted for consideration. An adult adoptee may also apply for identifying information, but if they do so, they must show "good cause." The birthparent must consent to the release of this material, and the adoptee must include a signed letter from a doctor affirming that the adopted person has a serious medical condition that should be disclosed to the parent. The Virginia State Department of Social Services may deny any application without explanation. The adoptee must then appeal to a court of law and appear before a judge to make their case. This process is referred to as "Breaking the Seal of Adoption".

Nov 21, 202101:04:01
Interview with Michelle Madden

Interview with Michelle Madden

Michelle Madden is a fellow Baby Scoop era adoptee. She is also a mom, a Reading Specialist who has been working as a Special Education teacher for many years, and a marvelous person. Join us as we talk about the crucial nature of medical histories, and the difficulties of navigating not just one, but two countries bureaucracies in her search for answers. 

Baby Scoop Era: The Baby Scoop Era was a period of time from roughly 1945 to the 1970s. The Baby Scoop Era was characterized by the shaming of unwed mothers into relinquishing their children for adoption. Adoptions were often shrouded in secrecy, and the falsification of birth records was common. 

Grey Market Adoption: this is an adoption that takes place through a lawyer rather than through an agency. They are sometimes facilitated by doctors. They are legal, but ethically questionable.

Clinical Geneticist: a clinical geneticist is a doctor who works with patients dealing with conditions related to a hereditary issue

Adoptee-centric therapist: an adoptee centric therapist is a therapist educated in the issues that confront adopted people. Often, the therapists are adoptees themselves, and uniquely situated to understand the challenges adoptees face.

Illinois adoptee access to records law: In 2011, Illinois amended their laws, allowing adoptees born before 1946full access to their original birth certificates. Adoptees born after that date who are over 21years of age may receive their original birth certificate if their birth parent did not file a veto before November of 2011.

*note: I am new at this podcast business. You will hear me say Oops at the beginning of this broadcast. Do not be alarmed. That was me realizing I had accidentally hit record before I was ready to record. I thought, I will just edit that out later. If only my computer was so agreeable. I am learning as I go along. 🙂

Nov 14, 202101:10:04
Interview with Julie Ryan McGue

Interview with Julie Ryan McGue

Julie Ryan McGue is the author of  the award winning memoir Twice a Daugher; a Search for Identity, Family and Belonging. To say her book is well-written does not convey how beautifully Julie communicates her journey as she navigates the complex emotional interactions involved in obtaining answers for herself and her twin sister. 

Julie Ryan Mcgue can be found on Facebook @juliemcguewrites, on Instagram @juliermcgue and on Twitter @juliermcgue


Catholic Charities: Catholic Charities provides post-adoption support to adoptees who were adopted through Catholic Charities

Midwest Adoption Center: Midwest Adoption Center provides information and servces to people impacted by adoption and foster care in the state of Illinois

A note on the term Search Angel: I have been told by a Search Angel who works with the Search Squad that, if a person assists an adopted person in their search for documents and information and the work is done for free, they are considered a Search Angel. If a person assists an adoptee and charges a fee, this is not considered a Search Angel, but, rather, a for profit investigator or intermediary. Like many terms associated with adoption, I think there is some confusion about the phrase Search Angel. If you are searching, or hope to search, be aware that there are free services available. Search Squad, the sister group to the Facebook page DNA Detectives, is a group of people trained in genetic genealogy who perform searches free of charge. They are vetted prior to being allowed to perform searches, and must complete training and an apprenticeship. 

Nov 08, 202150:47
Adoptee Remembrance Day

Adoptee Remembrance Day

For my dear friend, Jean. This episode is also available as a blog post:

Nov 01, 202107:28
Adoptee Remembrance Day, a Day Early

Adoptee Remembrance Day, a Day Early

I wrote this in memory of my adoptive, adopted little brother, who I miss every day. Like me, he was not told as a child that we were adopted. I miss him every day. This episode is also available as a blog post:

Nov 01, 202104:27
Total Strangers

Total Strangers

TThis was written as a kind of companiion piece to my interview with Andrea Steiner Coates. I hope you will take a moment to listen. Thank you! this episode is also available as a blog post:

Nov 01, 202103:19
Interview with Andrea Steiner Coates

Interview with Andrea Steiner Coates

Welcome to the Adoption Files Podcast! Today my guest is Andrea Steiner Coates. Andrea is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a DNA Search Angel, and a lovely person who is a staunch Adoptee Advocate. Andrea was instrumental in my search for my paternal family. Today we talk about what a search angel is, how they differ from an intermediary, and what kinds of resources exist to assist people in their searches. We also discuss the importance of being prepared for DNA test results, the laws in the state of Michigan that pertain to adoptees, and the need for kindness when an adoptee contacts DNA matches about their family connections. 

Some of the terms:

centimorgan: this is a way to measure and express genetic linkage. It is a measure betwen chromosome markers. Basically, the more centimorgans you share with a genetic match, the closer the relationship

The Green Chart, or The DNA Green Chart: thisis a chart used by many genealogists to determine the likelihood of a certain relatinship. If you google the DNA Green Chart, you should see a chart pop up that lists centimorgan ranges next to likely relationships. 

OBC: original birth certificate

Non-identifying information: information about the persons parents that do not identify them by name or provide information that would allow the adoptee to identify family members. May include parents ages, professions and some medical information. 

Resources for searching:

The Search Squad: a group of volunteers who train to perform DNA based genealogical searches. Their sister group is The DNA Detectives

DNA tests. The most commonly recommmended tests are through Ancestry and 23 and Me. Ancestry has the larger database and has many search functions. 23 and Me has an opt in for medical information that can be very helpful for people seeking answers to medical questions. Other companies include ftdna, gedmatch, myheritagedna. Some sites allow free uploading of dna results to their sites. Some provide some basic search functions for no fee. Most of these services require payment for testing and ongoing access to results and search functions. 

True People Search: this is a free site that can help provide information about people when you are searching. There are other resources such as and, findagrave, BeenVerified and more. 

Nov 01, 202101:02:27
Social Worker Interviews

Social Worker Interviews

This episode is also available as a blog post: Many people are unaware that not all adopted people have access to their original adoption files. As a person adopted from the United Kingdom, I have access. What I found in my files has caused me to have serious questions about adoption practices. This is a quick listen from some of my initial reactions to social worker notes found in my file. Thanks for listening!

Oct 26, 202106:56
Compelling Evidence

Compelling Evidence

This episode is also available as a blog post:  The requirement that an adopted person present themselves in court in order to convince a stranger that they have a right to something as basic as our medical records is, in my opinion, a violation of our human rights. Too often, adoptees are put through this dehumaninzing experience, only to be denied access. This is a short description of some of the problematic aspects of this topic. The topic will be explored in greater depth in upcoming interviews with other adoptees. Thanks for listening!

Oct 26, 202109:06
Disclosure Vetoes

Disclosure Vetoes

This episode is also available as a blog post:  Disclosure vetoes and Redaction clauses are just one more way that our culture fails adopted people. This is a short take on my personal opinion on the topic. Listen to my interviews with Lynn Grubb and Paige L Adams Strickland for more insight into how these laws impact adoptees and our families. Thanks for listening!

Oct 26, 202103:10
Interview with Paige L Adams Strickland

Interview with Paige L Adams Strickland

Please join me as I interview Paige Strickland, author of Akin to the Truth: a Memoir of Adoption and Identity, and After the Truth, a Memoir. Paige also participated in the anthology The Adoptee Survival Guide, edited by Lynn Grubb. Paige was born and adopted in the state of Ohio. She shares about discovering her right to request her documents via a television program, the benefits of high school research classes, and what it means when your cat screeches. We also discuss the impact of adoptee identity on our children and grandchildren. Thank you for listening!

Oct 26, 202158:18
Interview with Lynn Grubb, the Adopted Genealogist

Interview with Lynn Grubb, the Adopted Genealogist

i had the pleasure of interviewing Lynn Grubb, also known as the Adopted Zgenealogist on Facebook and Instagram. Lynn and I talked about adoption documents and the incredible impact acces to DNA testing has had on adopted's search for our identities. We hope you will join us for the conversation!

Oct 09, 202150:33