By Twisted Sisterhood
Twisted SisterhoodNov 09, 2021
Guest Episode: Mercedes O'Bryant Gruzeski
Mercedes is a birth mother from St. Louis. At 20 years old, she pursued adoption for her daughter and dealt with the child welfare system in the process. Because of this experience, Mercedes is passionate about connecting foster youth to their biological families in every role she undertakes. Mercedes has over a decade of experience serving families engaged with the child welfare system, most recently as a Field Operation Specialist for Missouri Children’s Division, overseeing the St. Louis Region with the support of data for the implementation of legislation and improvement planning.
She is passionate about gathering and analyzing data to impact policies for youth and families. Mercedes graduated from the Minority Professional Leadership Development Program (MPLD) with AdoptUSKids, where she developed a language resource group to address a language barrier that adoption recruiters faced when working towards permanency for their Hispanic youth. In short, Mercedes is an absolute rockstar.
Flipping the Script on Stereotypes & Stigmas
We are back with the second episode of season 3 of the Twisted Sisterhood Podcast! Today, we talk about stereotypes and stigmas... but it's not what you think. We have grown tired of the usual conversation surrounding stereotypes and stigmas and how this doesn't foster inclusivity or bring anyone closer to community, healing, or understanding. We reject the idea of a hierarchy within the lowest rung on the adoption ladder. We encourage you to listen to today's episode with an open mind and discover how to bring people into your circle.
- Lifetime Healing Foundation - Find a support group near you!
Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back
Welcome to Season THREE of the Twisted Sisterhood Podcast! We have a great season lined up for you, you'll be hearing all about the projects that are happening in the adoption world, as well as policy changes, new books and documentaries, and hearing from more birth moms about their experiences.
- AdoptChange.org for the Adoption Provider Search, state law information, and more on how to get involved with change in adoption
- Ethical Family Building
- Lifetime Healing Foundation - Find a support group near you!
- Adoption Unfiltered book, releasing December 1st! Pre-order on Amazon or Bookshop
- Adoptees United - Stay updated on current legislation regarding open birth records for adoptees
- Adoptee Rights Law Center - Greg Luce, Esq. - Find out more about open records and the steps to obtaining an original birth certificate in your state.
In this episode, we address the curious event of switching roles in the adoption community and how we can stand in the gap for others. Kelsey talks about the loss of her grandmother, and what it felt like to watch her dad grieve his birth mom. Ashley and Kelsey dive deep into what experiences they have had where others have filled in the gap for them, and how they have filled in the gap for other people.
Guest Episode: Erika Gonzales
Erika Gonzales is a 30 year old birth mom from California. She is just over four years post-placement in an open adoption and she is here to be an ally for fellow birth moms and help normalize healthy, close relationships between birth parents & adoptive parents. In this episode we talk about the feeling of "not being in the club" when you have a healthy open adoption, classism in adoption, and what systems are in place that perpetuate the need for adoption to occur.
Guest Episode: Stephie Predmore
Our first ever non-birth mom guest is on this week! Stephie Predmore, an adoptive mom living in the middle of Illinois with her husband, daughter, and menagerie of cats and dogs. She is passionate about advocating for better adoption education and offers adoption advising for hopeful adoptive and adoptive parents. Stephie is a former ANLC client, the law center that was the focus of the TIME Magazine article that came out last week. Stephie came on this week to talk about what her process was while reading it and the days that followed, to come to terms with the ugly part of adoption and find her role in the fight for change.
Baby Brokers: Our Review of the TIME Article
Today, an article in TIME Magazine came out titled, "The Baby Brokers: Inside America’s Murky Private-Adoption Industry" and we took a deep dive into it. We go over the article top to bottom and help explain the ins and outs in a deep dive.
To read the article: https://time.com/6051811/private-adoption-america/
To watch the accompanying video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=ijqNpSqswtM&feature=youtu.be
Guest Episode: Chelsea Moore
Today we are speaking to Chelsea Moore about the problems with how open adoption has been talked about and advertised. Chelsea is a birth mother, eight years post-placement in a semi open adoption. Her daughter is a transracial adoptee. She came to talk to us today to share what it's like to long for openness and her feelings about how agencies should be providing more transparency around the process, especially when it comes to creating openness plans that best suit the child. Chelsea hails from Texas, but now resides in Oregon.
Guest Episode: Rebecca Houston
Ashley and Kelsey are back for Season 2... fashionably late! We give a preview of what to expect this season, a little about what we have been working on, and why you should be excited to tune in to this birth mom podcast. We are so excited to be back!
Guest Episode: Jori Reid
Jori is our guest this week! Jori is a transracial adoptee from foster care and a birth mom of 12 years. She grew up in Delaware and now lives with her husband and children in Utah. She found herself in an unplanned pregnancy as a student athlete in college, and found herself completely changed after placement. On this episode, Jori discusses her experiences with racial issues, how her spirituality was impacted during placement, and how important trauma therapy has been as an adoptee and a birth mom.
Dating & Relationships
This episode, Kelsey and Ashley discuss how different it is to date after placement. Relationships have a new dynamic, there's more nuances to marriage and partnerships, and we seem to bring our good ol' suitcase full of adoption baggage everywhere we go. When do birth moms drop the "adoption bomb" on the new significant other? They discuss all the good, bad, and ugly about finding love after placement.
Guest Episode: Shonda Larson
Guest Episode: Sarah Schmidth
Welcome to our guest, Sarah! Sarah is a two time birth mother of an 18 and almost 17 year old that were both adopted by the same couple, 19 months apart. She is an advocate for adoption education through her @adoptioneducationkeys page and is passionate about consistent, continual, free post-placement care for birth mothers everywhere, as a member of the Lifetime Healing Foundation team and a contributing author of the Knee to Knee curriculum for birth mother groups across the country. In this episode, we speak to Sarah about what it's been like to place with a family that goes through a divorce.
The Birthday Episode
Birthdays can be emotional and exhausting days for birth moms, and everyone handles them in different ways. In this episode, Kelsey talks openly about her son's upcoming birthday and what she does to celebrate and commemorate the day. Ashley and Kelsey dive into discussion about how our bodies hold trauma around these milestones, and how it affects us as birth moms.
The Birth Father Episode
Guest Episode: Muthoni Gaciku
This week we sat down with Muthoni, a birth mom of 3.5 years to a beautiful baby girl. She has an open adoption and that has helped immensely with her healing. She resides in Texas and for the last three years, she has found a community of women who share the same bond of adoption. In this episode, we get into conversation about delayed grief, relationships after placement, race and diversity, and of course, Tiger King. Join us this week as we get to know Muthoni!
Shit Show - Episode 5
We are back! It's been a whirlwind over the past month... COVID19 is sending us all into a frenzy. But we are here, giving you a virtual hug in true social distance fashion. We see you, we hear you, we are standing with you... 6 feet apart. Join us for an unedited, unfiltered episode because friends... it's a shit show.
Enneagram Series, Pt. 1
Ashley and Kelsey dive into the latest buzz around the adoption community: the enneagram. The enneagram is a typology of nine inter-connective personality types, but it's more than just finding out what your number is. It can unlock the process of self-discovery and truly getting familiar with yourself. Ashley and Kelsey discuss the basics this week: their type, their go-to behaviors, and how they support each other in friendship when they have two very different perspectives and personalities. They also talk about how birth moms have to be willing to do the work in their healing process, by getting to know themselves and others to pursue healthy relationships.
Are you able to share your story? - Episode 3
In this episode, Ashley and Kelsey talk about their ability to share their stories and what kinds of influences have tried to block their honesty. They also touch on family dynamics after adoption and what is difficult about coming to the table when people are offended by your grief.
Guest Episode: Amy Erickson
Pilot - Episode 1
Welcome to the Twisted Sisterhood's very first episode! Ashley and Kelsey introduce themselves and talk about challenges they have faced in their adoptions and how social media has affected the adoption community. They also answer the very important question: what has been the roadblock to your healing as a birth mom?