Blog Updates for the past few weeks! 

Hi friends! 

We're just getting back from our family road trip and I'm trying to get caught up here. We recently flew into Houston and then drove all over the southern United States. We've been working on visiting all fifty United States as a family, and this trip was a huge step in getting closer to completing that goal. Our kids have now been to 47 states! Just a couple more trips and we'll be done. (And then maybe ready to travel outside of the states, fingers crossed!) 

Being hobby-podcasters while traveling was pretty much one of the least glamorous things we've done. We had some moments of hunkering down in random parking lots, trying to re-upload content off of the LTE on our phones. But we love our podcast and feel so honored to be able to share these important experiences, stories, feelings, and messages with you all. 

We've had two episodes post since our last post on the blog--one new adoption in the media discussion and one new interview. These are both great episodes. In particular, the new interview is one we are SUPER excited about. I'll share more about both episodes below. 

Thanks for being here! 

New Episode: A Look Into Growing Up with an Open Adoption with An expert!

In episode 71 (!!!) of the podcast, we get to hear from Sara VanderHaagen. This episode dropped on March 6 (and then was republished due to an upload error on our part). Guys, this episode is a can't-miss. Listen to it! We love how our podcast's mission has grown and evolved over time into an opportunity to listen to a variety of voices across the spectrum of experience, but this episode is all about open adoption--our favorite subject and the reason we started the show in the first place. 

Sara was adopted at birth during a time when open adoption was nearly unheard of, but she grew up in a very open adoption. In today’s episode, she shares her thoughts regarding her experiences, talking about many of the complexities of adoption and relationships. She talks about creating psychological safety for individuals to share their feelings openly, and the importance of truly listening to these individuals with the goal of learning. She also discusses how her thoughts have evolved as she came to adopt her second child. 

The opportunity to hear from an adult who has experienced open adoption her entire life, had plenty of time to reflect on it, and then has become an adoptive parent herself working to keep open adoption relationships healthy for her child as well--it's an incredible opportunity to hear all of Sara's thoughts. If you can only listen to one episode of the show, I'd suggest this one. Listen to this episode!

In Our Second 'Adoption in the Media' Discussion, caretakers break down "Instant Family"

We held our second "Adoption in the Media" discussion over Zoom a few weeks ago, and posted the audio as our second February episode. It was really enlightening for us to listen to this discussion and learn from foster parents Shane and Alisha and others who joined the discussion, both by submitting questions ahead of time and by joining live. 

This was episode 70 of the show. Alisha and Shane led a discussion of themes in the 2018 movie “Instant Family.” They answered questions from listeners regarding expectations and realities of being foster care providers, and discussed how supporting and continuing relationships with first families enriches the lives of the children they care for. This was such a beautiful and valuable discussion. Shane and Alisha are so gifted at discussing foster care with so much compassion for these children and their families. Check out this episode and stay tuned for more information about the next Adoption in the Media discussion. 

Published 13 March 2023

hear a vulnerable and important voice this week on the podcast

This week on the podcast, we are honored to share a first mother's story. 

“Goodbye Again” author Candace Cahill shares her story of placing her son for adoption, reuniting with him 18 years later, and then tragically losing him again shortly after. She shares how she and the adoptive father of her son have grieved and supported each other together since her son’s passing, and how their relationship has supported them both through immense struggles. She talks about the complex emotions of adoption and the elements of coercion, deceit, secrecy, and money that taint it. 

Published 6 February 2023

Open Adoption 101 | Your Open Adoption Questions Answered!

Happy New Year podcast friends! 

We're excited to be kicking off the new year, and have some really wonderful episodes lined up and recorded already. We're sharing a bit of an Open Adoption 101 discussion (broken into 2 parts) for our first two episodes of the year. 

Most of our episodes are really geared toward the entire adoption community. These episodes are probably a bit more tailored for prospective adoptive parents who are feeling tentative about open adoption, but we hope there is helpful content for all of you here. 

If you’re new to our podcast, this is a great place to start! In the first part of the episode, which drops today, we discuss what open adoption is, why it matters, and what we can do to build better open adoption relationships with the ultimate goal of empowering adoptees with a more complete portrait of their identity. We discuss answers to listener-submitted questions, like whether it’s possible to have too much openness, experiences with PACAs (openness agreements) (with a guest interview with our friend Joanna from episode 50!), what to do when visits don't look Instagram-perfect, and how to navigate fears and insecurities with open adoption. 

In the second half of the Open Adoption 101 discussion, we discuss what open adoption looks like in practice, including what some of the challenges may be for adoptees, biological, and adoptive family members when building these relationships, and how parents (both adoptive and biological) can build better relationships with and for their children. We include thoughts from adult adoptees who grew up in both open and closed adoptions. That episode will drop on January 23, 2023.  

On the docket for upcoming episodes, we'll also be sharing discussions with multiple adoptees who grew up with open adoptions, a first mom whose son passed away shortly after they were reunited and the story of her and the adoptive father grieving together, and more adoption in the media discussions. We're looking forward to sharing so much with you, and are so glad you're here!

Published 9 January 2023

John Saintignon coaches us through his experience as an adoptee 

We hope you've all had a wonderful holiday season so far. Today we have a real treat on the podcast. Our new episode is an adoptee interview with a male adoptee (we have a much harder time finding male adoptees willing to open up on the podcast, which is fine but big thanks to John!). 

John is an adoptee who was born in Mexico and raised in Arizona. If you recognize his name, it’s probably because he played basketball professionally. He was the leading scorer in the country when playing college basketball. He currently lives in Japan where he coaches basketball. Basketball has been part of his life since he was a child. 

In John’s discussion with Shaun, John shares about his search for his bio family starting when he was 50 years old and his reunion experience. He talks about how one can’t understand someone else’s perspective unless they are that person and the importance of staying away from judgment and asking questions for understanding instead. 

We’re so excited to share his perspective and story with you. This is a phenomenal episode, give it a listen! 

Published 26 December 2022

"Elf" Adoption in Media Discussion + Newsletter Giveaway Closing this week

Happy Holidays from the Open Adoption Project. We're hosting a giveaway for this holiday season to say thank you for being here with us. If you simply subscribe to our newsletter before Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2022, then you'll be automatically entered. We'll randomly select one winner first thing Thursday, who will receive a $25 gift card and the books "Somewhere Sisters" and "Being Adopted" (both featured on the podcast recently. Thanks for subscribing to our new newsletter and thanks for being here! 

We're excited to introduce a new, special series on the podcast! Every couple of months we'll be hosting live discussions on zoom about different movies, documentaries, tv shows, and other media, particularly diving into adoption themes in these media. It's like a book club, but about movies, films, and shows. The dates and times will be determined by our discussion leaders, who will rotate for each topic. We started the series off with a holiday-themed discussion, led by our friend, adoptee Melaina Rogers, about the movie "Elf" and the portrayal of adoption in that film. We loved including your submissions of questions and themes you wanted us to talk about, and we loved having some live audience participation in this episode. (Thanks Aubrey!)

Published 12 December 2022

Listening to adoptee children with Amy wilkerson, LCSW and "Being Adopted" author

This week's episode is #64! It's been a while since I found Amy Wilkerson on Instagram, and I've wanted to talk to her for months. She shares so many great insights online, and sharing her voice on the show was such an honor. I am so excited we got to interview her! This episode is so valuable. I think it's particularly helpful for adoptive parents trying to better help and understand their adoptee children.  

In this episode, Chilean adoptee Amy Wilkerson, LCSW, shares her adoption story. Amy was adopted as an infant by a family in the United States, and, uniquely, was able to reconnect with her biological family as a child. She shares the struggles of balancing honoring and remembering culture in adoption, including her biological heritage as a Chilean and her adopted heritage being raised in a Jewish family. She has some really cool and unique experiences that we learned a lot from. 

Additionally, Amy is a therapist and social worker who wrote the book “Being Adopted” to help adoptive families discuss adoption with adoptees in a way that empowers kids to share their feelings and feel psychological safety. “Being Adopted” was written for younger adoptees of any background, and outlines adoption experiences aimed at helping adoptees process and reflect on their individual circumstances and emotions. This book offers an opportunity for adoptees to normalize thoughts and feelings. This book comes with a guide for caregivers of adopted children. We thought the guide was particularly valuable and that the book was a great tool for opening conversations with kids. You can find Amy at

Honestly, I (Lanette) am a bit jealous that Shaun got to do this interview without me, but I really loved listening to it, and I know you guys will enjoy learning from Amy too! I feel like this episode is the perfect way to wrap up National Adoption Month.


A conversation on racial identity and adoption with Amanda Justice of "Black girl, White family"

This week we're excited to share another adoptee voice on the podcast. Amanda Justice, a Black adoptee, was adopted by a white family at three days old in a closed adoption. Amanda coaches adoptive families through transracial adoption scenarios and the importance of racial identity for adoptees in particular.  

Of adopting children of different races than the adoptive family, Amanda says: 

"It’s not for everyone. It’s going to take commitment and constant learning.  If you are not willing to learn about new things and keep an open mind you can do more damage to your child than you think." 

-Amanda Justice, Black Girl White Family 

Amanda reminds us all that adoptees are the experts in adoption, and challenges listeners to keep listening and learning from adoptees. This is such important advice, and is really at the heart of why we do this podcast! We're so grateful for Amanda and the other adoptees who share with us. 

Amanda was born in the Bronx, New York, and raised on Long Island. She is a newlywed, a mother of a 17-year-old daughter, and is expecting a baby girl in April 2023. Amanda and her family currently reside in Maryland. Amanda loves anything that involves traveling, especially outside of the country. She enjoys learning about different cultures and trying new food.

Amanda offers consulting and other educational services for adoptive parents. We learned so much from her in this episode and highly recommend reaching out to her about learning more if you have adopted transracially or if you are considering adopting transracially. You can learn more about Amanda and the services she provides at Black Girl White Family

It's National Adoption Month/ National Adoption Awareness Month. We've been a bit behind on what we wanted to do on our social accounts this month, but we're reposting some content others are sharing, and hope to start sharing a few new ideas soon. 

We hope you'll spend this month listening to the diverse voices and opinions of adoptees. When we're uncomfortable, we're able to learn and grow. 

Thanks for learning with us!

Published 14 November 2022

Somewhere Sisters author Erika hayasaki discusses adoption research, history, and contemporary challenges

In this episode, we hear from author and award-winning journalist Erika Hayasaki. Erika is a professor in the Literary Journalism Department at the University of California, Irvine. 

Five years ago, Erika learned about Isabella and Hà, identical twins who were born in 1998 in Nha Trang, Việt Nam, where their first mother struggled to care for them. Isabella (initially named Loan) was taken to an orphanage where an American family adopted her. Isabella was raised near Chicago with a nonbiological sister who was also adopted from Vietnam. The two lived a fairly typical suburban life, attending Catholic school and playing soccer. Hà, the other twin, was deemed too sickly for the orphanage. She was taken in by her biological aunt and her aunt's partner. She grew up in a rural village and lived a very different life than Isabella. After Isabella’s adoptive mother learned about Hà, she was determined to reunite the sisters

Since learning about these twin sisters who were adopted by different families, Erika has been researching and interviewing to prepare this book. Earlier this month, the culmination of her research, her book, "SOMEWHERE SISTERS: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family" was published. 

In this interview, some of the things Erika discusses with Lanette include the future of adoption post-Roe v. Wade, adoptee citizenship legal issues, how adoptee experiences fit into a complex understanding of Asian American identity, the history of adoption in the U.S. and transnational, adoptee experiences in the age of anti-Asian hate. We are excited to share this episode and hope you enjoy hearing from Erika. 

Our review of this book: We received an advanced copy of "Somewhere Sisters," and absolutely loved reading it. Erika shares both adoptee sisters' perspectives while discussing some challenging conceptions about transnational and transracial adoption, Asian and Asian American identity, the nature versus nurture debate, poverty and privilege, and what it means to give a child a good life. She interviewed others in their family--including their biological mother and adoptive families--and delivers these stories in an emotional yet objective manner. This book is an important read for anyone seeking a greater understanding of adoption. Erika researched extensively and walked a fine line between objectivity and heartfelt storytelling well. We'd definitely recommend this book to any of our listeners, across the triad, and friends of the adoption community too. 

Published 31 October 2022

Helping Adoptees Transition into adulthood 

A discussion with authors Dr. Christina Reese and Elaine Shenk

This week on the podcast, we share a sneak-peak preview of the book "Leveling Up: Adoptive Parents and Adult Adoptees: Taking Your Relationships to the Next Level," which is coming out this week on October 20. Lanette discusses the book and some of the concepts behind it with authors Dr. Christina Reese and Elaine Shenk, who are both adoption professionals and adoptive parents. 

This episode expounds on thoughts from the book, including: “A caregiver teaches emotion regulation…a child cannot emotionally regulate themselves, but instead co-regulates with the adult who is with them,” and "It is not enough for a child to be safe, they also need to feel safe." The authors share thoughts regarding parenting adoptees in their twenties, as well as the role TBRI therapy can play in helping adoptees adjust to new phases of life. Most of all, they share thoughts on how parents can best support and love adoptees as they grow older while being sensitive to traumas and challenges they have and may continue to experience. A note: this book is written for a Christian audience, with adoptive parents and adoptees both being the target audience. 

Our review of this book: The trauma and therapy focus of this book created excellent foundations. The discussion of emotional regulation and creating psychological safety were well-done in particular. There is information in this book that may be greatly helpful when navigating this transitional time in children's lives. While our children are not yet adults, this book did offer insights and give us a lot to think about, including how we can help our children prepare for adulthood now. Some parts of this book were concrete and science-based, while other parts felt more theoretical or like conjecture. While we didn't mind this, we did wish that there was more distinction in defining each topic and where support originated. Additionally, some of the wording and tone did not feel geared toward open adoptions, which is fine, but we may recommend this book more to those who are navigating international adoptions, foster care adoptions, or other possibly semi-open or closed adoptions in particular. As the first book with an adult adoptee emphasis that we know of in the adoption community, we are grateful to have another resource available, and, as always hope for continual increases in research and support surrounding open adoption in the future. 

Published 17 October 2022

Trauma, transitions, and therapy with Maria Trimble

This week, episode 60 drops on the podcast! 

In this episode, we learn from a Peruvian indigenous adoptee. Maria Trimble is a licensed mental health counselor and a licensed professional counselor. She lives in Wisconsin and is licensed in Wisconsin, Florida, and Hawaii.

In this interview, Maria talks about the trauma experienced by adoptees when transitioning into new cultures, languages, and families, and the ways that therapy can bring healing and understanding during these transitions. 

Maria’s website for her online therapy services for adults and adolescents is She specializes in adoptee counseling and support, post-adoption services, and consultations for adoptive parents and professionals. 

We hope you enjoy this insightful episode with Maria. 

Published 3 October 2022

A conversation with Jamie Weiss of Signed, sealed, Adopted and host of adoption rewritten Podcast 

This week on the podcast we're sharing another adoptee's voice. Jamie Weiss grew up in a closed adoption and didn't have conversations about adoption in her home growing up. She talks about the impact of that lack of dialogue, and the challenges she faced growing up as an adoptee. She shares thoughts about her reunion experience and adoptee trauma. 

Follow Jamie's adoption education efforts at, and be sure to check out the podcast she and a fellow adoptee just launched this week where they discuss children’s books from adoptee perspectives called Adoption Rewritten. You can find the podcast at Jamie works with the Georgia Alliance for Adoptee Rights. You can learn more about her activism with this organization at 

Thanks for listening to the podcast and especially for listening to and supporting adoptee voices like Jamie's. We'll be back in two weeks with another adoptee interview episode. We feel so thankful to the adoptees who share their stories and struggles with us in hopes that the adoption community can learn, grow, and ultimately make the world a better place. 

Published 19 September 2022 

Adoption Language discussion

Adoptee-Centered Language vs. positive adoption language vs. honest adoption language

This week on the podcast, we (Shaun and Lanette) talk about the history of different adoption language schools of thought, including Positive Adoption Language and Honest Adoption Language. We offer what we feel is a better way to address adoption language, which we call "Adoptee Centered Language." 

We'd love to hear your thoughts about adoption language. Connect with us on Instagram and let us know what you'd add to the conversation! 

Published 5 September 2022

supporting teen adoptees: A conversation with sara odicio, LSW

We're so excited to share an adoptee voice on the podcast this week! Sara, a Chinese-born adoptee who was raised in Pennsylvania, is now a social worker who coaches teenage adoptees. 

In this episode, Sara shares her story and how she came to work with adoptees. She shares thoughts and advice for the adoption community to better help listen to and validate adoptees, in particular adopted youth. 

You can learn more about Sara's professional work in the adoption community at and follow her on Instagram @core.ofadoption. 

Published 22 August 2022

Steph talks about open adoption in France versus the United States

This week's episode features Steph, an adoptive dad from France who moved to the United States partially because he and his partner wanted an open adoption. One unique thing Steph talked about as he highlighted different ways adoptive parents need to advocate and watch out for expectant and biological parents--his family hired a doula for the expectant mother, with the agreement that she be available anytime needed for her. We thought this was a unique idea, and loved that they thought out of the box about how to support this mother. 

We gave this episode a French title (and hopefully it makes sense! Thank you google translate) as a nod to our many listeners in Europe. We'd love to hear more of your stories. Go to the "Contact" tab here on the website if you'd like to apply to be on the podcast. We love sharing different stories. 

This is our third episode in season 3, and is a treat to listen to--especially if you enjoy accents. We'll be back with an awesome adoptee interview in two weeks. 

Published 8 August 2022

Panel on Building Long-Distance Open Adoption Relationships 

In this week's episode, we bring back a panel, where we hear from Keri, Dawn, and Regan, who are all moms balancing long-distance open adoption relationships. These women, who are all either birth moms or adoptive moms, share their thoughts and experiences regarding cultivating meaningful open adoption relationships. 

We hear thoughts from each of them regarding building and maintaining relationships over long distances. The panel discusses lessons learned over the years and advice for building relationships with adoptive and birth families. They also share tips for others on creating these relationships.

We'll be back with a new episode in two weeks. Thanks for listening! 

Published 25 July 2022

Season 3 is here! We start off with another double-perspective interview

Our first episode of Season 3 (Episode 54) drops today. We're excited to be back! This week we hear from Rachel, who is both a birth mom and an adoptee. We love hearing these double-perspective interviews. Make sure to tune in and listen to Rachel's unique thoughts and experiences. 

We’ll be changing our format just a bit this season, shifting to dropping an episode every other Monday. At this point, this podcast is a hobby for us, and we want to be able to continue sharing content and encouraging dialogues, so we adjusted our schedule to help keep things sustainable. This season we’ll be sharing more interviews, panels, and discussions focusing on some frequently-requested topics. We’ll talk about how adoption in the United States compares to adoption in some other countries. We’ll also hear thoughts on creating positive open adoptions, and how to talk to children about adoption.

The OAP is about creating a safe place for conversations across the adoption triad. We love sharing all kinds of different perspectives and stories from adoptees and birth parents, and tips from adoptive parents and adoption professionals on creating healthy, ongoing open adoption relationships to benefit adoptees. Our ultimate goal is to help improve adoptees’ experiences. 

We want to take this opportunity to introduce ourselves to anyone joining us at this point. We’re an adoptive couple in the Salt Lake City, UT area, Shaun and Lanette. We met in college 16 years ago and fell in love with the mountains in Utah. We’re parents of four kids. All of our kids were adopted, and they all have open adoptions that have massively blessed our family. We see all of our kids’ birth moms, have contact with all of their birth dads too, and we see their half-siblings, grandparents, uncles, and aunts…One of the best things, I think, is that so many of their grandparents have really adopted all of our kids as their grandkids too, just helping create this huge, amazing village of people who love our kids, and that is really what open adoption should be about. Our family loves hiking, baking cookies, watching movies together, and eating pizza. We hatch and raise chickens too, and sometimes post about that on Instagram. We also love running and biking together. 

Adoption is a huge part of our lives. Creating a space where the adoption community can come together and share hard things, lessons learned, thoughts about reform, and more is really important to us because we want to create a better world for our kids. Thanks for being here and being willing to listen and learn with us. Be sure to listen to Rachel's experience as an adoptee and a birth mom. 

Published 11 July 2022

Season 2 Blog

Season 2 wrap-up

Our Season 2 finale just dropped. We recapped some thoughts and lessons that stood out from the season. We're taking a break from the podcast for a few weeks and will be back on July 11 with Season 3. 

Thank you for being with us. We love our listeners and hope you're learning as much from the podcast as we are. We feel honored to be able to hear and share stories from the adoption community. 

In Season 3 we'll continue sharing stories and interviews, and will also expand into more topical-focused episodes. As always, if you have any requests or feedback we love hearing from our listeners. You can email us at

We'll be back in July. Until then, take care! 

Posted 2 May 2022

Bonus episode | Adoptee voices: Highlights from adoptee interviews 

This week we planned on airing our Season 2 finale, but fate had different plans, and Lanette ended up sick in bed all weekend, unable to record. 

Shaun put this week's bonus episode together to share some highlights from some of our adoptee interviews and find commonalities and contrast different thoughts and experiences. 

We loved hearing bits of these awesome adoptees' stories as we put this episode together. 

Check it out, and we'll be back next week with the season finale! 

Published 25 April 2022

Birth Mom, Adoption Professional, and Author Michelle Shares her story and thoughts this week on the podcast

In this episode Michelle, a birth mom, shares her story of placing her son for adoption and reunifying with him, finally seeing each other in person during the pandemic. 

She shares her thoughts as an adoption professional about the importance of listening to adoptees, reiterating that we should hear adoptee experiences with open hearts. She said, “We should all be shutting up and listening to a lot more adoptees.” 

We love her focus on adoptees, and agree that our community needs to work harder to hear adoptee voices and experiences. She also talks about her experiences as an author, working to connect with and share her heart with members of the adoption community. 

Connect with Michelle on Instagram @michellethornebooks and through email at

Michelle is so wonderful, and we are so honored to share her story on our platform. 

Published 18 April 2022

With Arms Wide Open | How Joanna and Matt Navigate Open Adoption relationships

We are so excited to bring another adoptive parent interview to the podcast with a heavy focus and emphasis on openness. We met Joanna and Matt when our kids played on the same soccer team and loved making connections in our adoption journeys. We loved interviewing them and hearing about their thoughts and experiences. 

Joanna talks about the importance of adoptive parents continually learning more as they parent, deliberately seeking to hear adoptee voices and continually improve. 

Matt and Joanna talk about honoring their children's heritage and the immense blessings of having their children's birth families in their lives. 

This episode is such an important listen for adoptive parents in particular as this couple shares what they hope others will understand about supporting adoptees as adoptive parents. 

Published 11 April 2022

Ana Katia shares her 14 day search for her mother in costa rica

This week on the podcast, we hear from adoptee Ana Katia. Ana Katia was adopted from Costa Rica at the age of 3, by an American family. Ana Katia shares about her search for her mother as a young adult, and about the unexpected twists and turns along the way.  

Ana Katia wrote a memoir about her search for her birth family called "Fourteen Days." 

Connect with her at to learn more about how you can get a copy of her book and support her in sharing her story. 

Thank you Ana Katia for sharing with us! We are so fortunate to have adoptees willing to educate the adoption community. 

Published 4 April 2022

Shayla shares her side on the podcast this week

Last week on the podcast we heard from Jared, a birth dad. 

This week, we hear from his lovely wife, Shayla, who is a birth mom! It's so neat to hear their different recollections of and thoughts about placing their first son for adoption, and about the very open adoption relationship they have with their son and his adoptive family. 

We're wrapping up this season of the podcast and are planning out season 3. If you know of an adoptee or birth parent who would be willing to share some thoughts with us, refer them to our contact page. We're also looking for interviews with members of the adoption community who have experience with adoption outside of the United States. 

Next week we'll be back with an adoptee interview. Thanks for being with us!

Published 28 March 2022

Jared shares his story as a birth dad in this week's tender episode 

This week on the podcast we have a really tender episode.

 We've heard from many birth moms on the podcast, but this is our first episode hearing from a birth dad. 

Jared talks about how placing his first son for adoption affected him, and what his experience was in that process and after, in building a relationship with his son and his adoptive family. 

One of our favorite things in this interview is hearing how much love Jared (and Shayla, his wife,) have for their son's adoptive parents. It's so apparent and so beautiful. 

Next week we'll hear another side of this story, in an interview with Shayla. 

Published 21 March 2022

Molly, an adoptee, shares how to Listen to Adoptees with Curiosity and Compassion

This week on the podcast we hear from an adoptee. Adoptee voices are so important, and elevating them on the podcast is one of our main missions. We can learn so much by listening to adoptees. So listen to this episode! 

Molly, an adoptee from Colombia, talks about processing her own adoption story and trauma. She talks about “coming out of the fog,” reflecting on adoption policy, and the importance of having cultural and racial mirrors, honoring international adoptee’s cultures of origin. 

Molly works professionally as a social worker and shares how her thoughts regarding adoption have evolved with her reunification with her first family. 

Give this episode a listen and take the opportunity to learn from another adoptee. 

Thank you so much to Molly for being on the podcast! 

Thanks for being with us on the podcast as we listen to different stories and perspectives in the adoption community. We'll be back next week with a birth dad's story. 

Published 14 March 2022

Rebekkah shares her story of being adopted by her stepdad and placing her first child for adoption

On the podcast today we dropped a new episode where we hear from Rebekkah, who is an adoptee and a birth mom. Rebekkah is from North Carolina and currently resides in California with her husband and her two daughters she parents. 

Rebekkah's story of how she decided on adoption for her child and how she made an adoption plan is unique. She talks about the importance of supporting mothers and women in our lives and empowering them in making their decisions with compassion and open hearts and minds. One thing that she said was that she could have parented. She had a job and her own place when she had an unplanned pregnancy. However, societal racism and the opinions of others shaped her experiences. Listen and hear how things played out. It's complex and compelling and teaches us about the importance of supporting and loving our loved ones in their own decisions. 

We are so thankful for Rebekkah sharing her story and teaching us from her experiences! Learning from one another in the adoption community is so rewarding. Thank you all for helping us create this safe space where we can hear all different stories and thoughts. It's so beautiful to be a part of this community and we love the open, frank conversations we get to have on the show and the opportunity to learn and grow together as a community. 

We'll be back next week with another episode. Thank you for being a part of this community of inclusivity and learning together, and thank you for listening. 

Published 7 March 2022

Double Episodes drop on the podcast today, discussing gestational carriers and relationships with foster families

This week on the podcast we have a special treat! We're releasing TWO episodes today. 

In Ep. 43, we hear Kim Perry's gestational carrier story. We've heard from Kim on the podcast before, both as an adoption professional and as an adoptive mom with experience adopting internationally and adopting older children and parenting kids with special needs. We always love hearing from Kim, and this episode is no exception. Kim shares the story of how she decided to become a gestational carrier and the rollercoaster that followed this decision. It is INCREDIBLE and taught us so much.

In Ep. 44, we hear from Shane and Alisha, as they share their story of waiting to adopt and then deciding to become foster parents. They talk about their experiences fostering children together and how their relationship with their foster kids and their mom looks today. We talk a lot about open adoption relationships, but in this episode, we learn about how this amazing couple has forged a beautiful relationship that is similar, having evolved into a familial relationship. Now that the kids are back with their mom, Shane and Alisha still see them and are still part of their lives.   

These episodes delve into discussions about relationships and love that are not directly based on adoption but are so educational and beautiful. We hope you enjoy hearing from Shane and Alisha and Kim as much as we did!

Published 28 February 2022

"Party of 10" Examines Foster care and infant adoption

Today on the podcast, hear Melissa and Joseph share the story of how they became the parents of 8 children! This episode delves into domestic infant adoption, foster care, and foster-to-adopt, contrasting this family's experiences thus far with each of these. 

Something Melissa and Joseph talk about is that in life you "choose your hard," meaning infant adoption is hard, foster care is hard, growing your family and making these decisions is hard. Melissa and Joseph live in Arizona in the United States and are on Instagram @nearyperfect.

Published 21 February 2022

GIna shares her reunification story, and it'll blow your mind

Happy Valentine's Day! We have a special treat for you today. This week's episode is seriously incredible. 

Gina is a birth mom who placed her daughter for adoption in a semi-open adoption 21 years ago. She shares the feelings and struggles from her journey in this episode, and her jaw-dropping story of reunification with her daughter. You truly don't want to miss this episode and Gina's story. 

Gina is the author of "A Seemingly Unfillable Heart," which is a memoir about her adoption story. You can find that on Amazon, and you can find her on Instagram @ginacrottswriter. 

Published 14 February 2022

A quick note to say thank you!

Recently we've had a few new reviews come up for our podcast (three came up last week!), and we realized we've never thanked our reviewers here on the blog. 

THANK YOU! Your support means so much. Here are some of our reviews:

Again, thanks for listening to the podcast. We hope it's as helpful to you as it is to us. We love learning from the adoption community and are so grateful for the amazing people who are willing to share with us. 

What have you been learning, and what would you like to learn more about? We'd love to hear from you--send us an email at! And if you'd like to leave us a review as well, we'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Published 11 February 2022

Addison from adoptee meets world shares her story in ep. 40

Episode 40 is now live. We're so excited to be able to share another adoptee voice this week. 

Addison was adopted from China, and shares how her adoptive parents tried to keep her connected to other adoptees from the same orphanage she was adopted from She shares thoughts on growing up in a white family and community as an international adoptee. She also talks about the surges in Asian hate and her experiences with racism. 

Check out Addison's podcast, hosted by her and her friend Libby, Adoptee Meets World. It's a wonderful resource, and we highly recommend it. 

Published 7 February 2022

Michael & tony talk about their story as adoptive dads and foster parents

We're wrapping up the month of January with another interview, today with an adoptive couple. 

We hear from Michael and Tony, who are so sweet and fun. They are the adoptive parents of a little girl, and are also foster parents in California. In this episode, they talk about the blessings and challenges of foster care and their story of adopting their daughter. 

We loved hearing their thoughts about how, as they see their role as foster dads, they work to help kids recognize their self-worth and feel loved and valued, before sending them back to their families. 

Next week on the podcast we'll be dropping episode 40. We're more than halfway done with our second season, and we are so thankful for our listeners. 

Published 31 January 2022

Sarah shares adoption education keys, talks about how adoption isn't always beautiful 

We're releasing episode 38 of the podcast today. Thank you so much for being here with us. We so appreciate you listening and supporting us in our goal of sharing stories from all members of the adoption triad. We've just hit 11,000 downloads(!!!), and we are blown away and so thankful for all of our listeners! 

This week on the podcast we are so excited to hear from another birth mom. Sarah runs the @adoptioneducationkeys page on Instagram and works to educate the adoption community about adoption ethics, education, and trauma. She is the birth mother of two children, and is married and parenting her third child. She talks about the ups and downs after placing her first two children for adoption in the same family. 

This is a beautiful, vulnerable story, and we feel priviledged that Sarah shared with us. We LOVED talking with and learning from her. She is so eloquent. You will love this episode with Sarah!

Published 24 January 2022

Mary shares her "tragically beautiful" story of reunification

This week on the podcast we hear from Mary, and adoptee who tells her gut-wrenching and beautiful story of searching for and reuniting with her biological mother, and also finding other family members in that search. We won't give any spoilers, but fair warning you may want some tissues for this one.

Mary talks about how adoptee trauma has affected her throughout adulthood, including at the hospital when giving birth. She shares how feelings of rejection played into her search for reunification and what her advice is for other adoptees seeking their first family. 

Mary began her own website that helps adoptees work through their feelings regarding loss and adoption. You can find her at, and on Instagram @becauseadoption. We love her authenticity and vulnerability in sharing her story. Sharing adoptee stories for the community to hear is the ultimate reason we do this podcast, so please give this one a listen! It's a truly incredible story and we think it's so important to hear Mary's thoughts.

Published 17 January 2022

in ep. 36 we learn about special needs open adoption relationships 

We hope 2022 is off to a great start for you! 

This week on the podcast we hear from Nate and Kim. Nate and Kim are adoptive parents, and they speak to the considerations and joys that come with special needs adoption, including how adoptive parents can nurture positive open adoption relationships with birth family members who have special needs. 

This is a topic we are so excited to discuss. Open adoption can be such a blessing to adoptees, and special needs adoptions and relationships are a tender subject. We loved Nate and Kim's emphasis on respect and love in these relationships and loved their big hearts as we heard from them. Their love for their son's special needs family was so evident as we talked together. Thank you Nate and Kim for letting us all learn from you! 

Published 10 January 2022

Legal considerations in adoption with Adoption Attorney Derek J. Williams

This week on the podcast, Shaun interviews Utah Adoption Attorney and adoptive father Derek J. Williams. This episode speaks to legal decisions made by both expectant parents and potential adoptive parents. 

Derek is fantastic about sharing insights for those considering adoption to consider as they formulate adoption plans. While he primarily discusses his work with potential adoptive parents, he also speaks to parental rights in regards to what expectant parents considering adoption need to know about their rights. As part of this, he talks about the importance of biological parents receiving proper representation to allow them to share thoughts and feelings openly in a safe space. He also speaks about the importance of forming strong relationships between biological parents and hopeful adoptive parents. He's open and honest about different aspects of both ethics and legality and doesn't shy away from important discussions. 

As part of our conversation, Derek offered to answer additional questions from our listeners in a future episode. If you have questions for Derek, send us an email at If you'd like to talk with Derek directly, you can find him on Facebook at Utah Adoption Attorney Derek J. Williams. An additional resource Derek suggested, particularly for those looking for attorneys well-versed in adoption across the United States is AAAA, which is the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys.  

Derek discusses the importance of making ethical and educated decisions in adoption. He talks about the most common legal questions he is asked and shares insights and suggestions for the adoption community through a legal lens. 

We loved his focus on not only making legally-sound but also ethically-sound decisions regarding adoption. We hope you enjoy this episode and learn more about legal considerations from Derek! 

Published 3 January 2022 

Kaytlin, a birth mom, shares her story  

We hope you all are doing well and enjoying the holiday season. 

This week on the podcast we are excited to share an interview with Kaytlin, a birth mom. Kaytlin wants to help empower women to make the best decisions for themselves as they weigh their options. We hope you enjoy hearing from her and her unique perspectives and story this week. 

It's so beautiful to hear these stories and different perspectives from across the adoption triad. In a different interview recently, I was talking to an adoptee who doesn't know her birth mom, but she said that hearing other birth moms helps her feel a connection to her own first mother, and helps a small bit to fill that void of wondering why, even though it's not her own story.  I thought that was a poignant reminder of how our community can help lift and heal each other.  

We're excited to ring in 2022, and hope you all have a safe New Year celebration. Also, feel free to share our podcast with someone who you think might enjoy it, and, if you love our podcast, we would love it if you wanted to leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or Audible

Wishing all of you a wonderful 2022. Thank you for listening to the Open Adoption Project podcast!

Published 27 December 2021 

Happy holidays! This week, hear more from adoptee kids

This week on the podcast we hear from teen and child adoptees. We love hearing from adoptees, and these mini-interviews with adoptee kids aren't just cute, they're also insightful. We hear from kids who have different kinds of adoptions in this episode. Some were adopted from foster care, while others were adopted as infants. Some have special needs, and some have closed adoptions. We hope we can always prioritize listening to adoptees, and we hope you enjoy our special holiday episode.  

In this episode, our oldest child moderates as the interviewer for eight different adoptee kids and teens. We are so thankful for all of them sharing some of their feelings with us in this episode

If you have a child who is also an adoptee who would be interested in joining in future episodes like this one (if we do this again, no guarantees!) please fill out the form on our contact page.  

And if you'd like to spread some holiday cheer, share our podcast with someone who you think might enjoy it, and, if you love our podcast, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or Audible

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday. Thank you for listening to the Open Adoption Project podcast!

Published 20 December 2021 

Kim Perry shares about International Adoption, older child & special needs adoption

This week we're so excited to hear from Kim Perry. 

Kim is an adoption professional and a licensed social worker, as well as the mother of five children, two who were adopted from Ecuador. 

In this episode, Kim shares about adopting her daughters, and shares fantastic advice for adoptive parents about helping children address trauma and other challenges that stem from adoption. She talks about embracing our children's cultures and heritages, and about becoming a transracial family and the struggles of children facing racism. She also talks about special needs adoption and older child adoption and shares her thoughts for how we as an adoption community can better rally around and support adoptees. 

We love talking with Kim and are so excited to share this episode with you!

Published 13 December 2021

In our first panel episode on the podcast, hear three families share their journeys with infertility

We try to keep our podcast target audience wide open, and love sharing content to help all members of the adoption triad. This week on the podcast our episode is more geared toward hopeful adoptive parents, with the hope of addressing a subject that is often necessary to delve into deeply when a family or individual is looking at adopting. We feel like this is so important to discuss because often hopeful adoptive parents have not sought mental help in addressing infertility. 

When we were getting approved to adopt the first time, our caseworker said something that has stayed with us eleven years later. She said, "Adoption does not cure infertility. Adoption changes your current state of childlessness, but it doesn't change your infertility. You need to come to terms with that." 

When we choose to adopt a child, we need to deal with our own "baggage" so that we can better care for and help the children we adopt. 

Adoption needs to be focused on the adoptee, and should never be about the adoptive parents--it's about our kids' feelings. So we're talking about this so that we can start conversations with hopeful adoptive parents about where they are in their infertility journeys, and what they need to work through so they can be the best possible parents to any child who may join their family. 

In this episode, we hear from three families who have experienced infertility. These families are from all over the United States. They are all at different places in their journeys. One of these families adopted their son through kinship adoption around the same time as giving birth to their other son who was conceived with IVF. Another family is currently childless. The third family has one child who was conceived spontaneously despite doctors' assurance that this would be impossible. We are so very thankful for all three of these families opening up and sharing their very personal journeys. 

All three families still go through hard things with infertility, and all three have amazing things to share with the adoption community, even though only one of these families is technically part of the adoption triad. We hope you love hearing from them and learning with us. 

Published 6 December 2021

Katie, an adoptee and birth mom of two, shares her story this week

Episode 30 of the podcast drops this week. This is a fantastic interview that we're so excited to share, with heartfelt discussion on how growing up with a closed adoption looked, and how open adoption has blessed this interviewee's life.

This week on the podcast we get to hear another episode with a member of the adoption community who has experienced two sides of the adoption triad. These episodes are so neat and so educational. 

Katie is both an adoptee and a birth mom. She lives in Texas in the United States and she has very open adoptions with her two children who she placed (one in a kinship placement and one through an agency).  She talks about seeking reunification with her biological family and the challenges she's experienced in her adoption journeys. 

Katie also started an organization called The Table that supports birth moms in their healing. You can learn more about The Table on their instragram page @thetablefw.

Katie is so articulate and shares her message with power and love. We're so excited to learn from her. 

Published 29 November 2021

The Parking Lot Coincidence that changed everything: Cathy Shares Her Story as a Birth Mom

This week on the podcast we are thrilled to share another amazing interview with you. We're on Episode 29 now!

We talked to Cathy about her story in this episode, and it is beautiful! 

Cathy, a birth mom, shares her story of placing her daughter for adoption and eventually forming a very open adoption relationship with her and her adoptive parents. Cathy talks about letting love guide in relationships and how her family has supported her in the ups and downs of her journey.

We loved hearing what Cathy's relationship looks like with her oldest daughter now that she's grown, and loved hearing about how her adoption opened up early on and how her daughter's adoptive parents let love guide in their relationships with their daughter's birth family. We also loved hearing about how Cathy's younger kids have built a strong relationship with their older sister. 

Cathy talks about some challenges she and her daughter have faced because of adoption, and also the beautiful relationship they have now. 

This episode is full of warmth and love, as well as great lessons for all of us about letting love guide in our lives and relationships.  We loved getting to hear know Cathy and feel confident that you will too. 

Also, Happy Thanksgiving this week to our American listeners! We'll be back next week with a new episode where we'll be talking to another strong and amazing woman who is both an adoptee and a birth mom. 

Published 22 November 2021

ep. 28: A most-requested topic discussed with Jeremy from adoption med ed

We get a lot of episode requests from listeners. One of our most requested subjects is neonatal exposure and adoption. 

This is a HARD subject to address on a podcast! Adoption is already SO PERSONAL. We work really hard to ensure all of our interviewees feel good about what we broadcast from them. We also work really hard to ensure we don't overshare any of our kids' stories either. It's a constant tightrope to walk, but we do it because it matters. 

Enter a subject like neonatal substance exposure and that tightrope gets even more narrow. We want our podcast to be a helpful educational resource for the adoption community, but we don't want to educate at the expense of anyone's privacy or dignity. So we had to think for a long time about how to address this topic. 

A REALLY important disclaimer for this episode: This episode is straight-up facts. We do not talk about expectant parents who struggle with substance use or abuse. People in desperate situations need compassion, not judgment. There are plenty of stellar parents in the world who are incredible with their kids despite their struggles. So, again, this episode is NOT about judgment. 

Jeremy Stone is a 4th-year medical student and an adoptive dad. He created the website that serves as a resource for prospective adoptive parents considering different adoption situations where drug or alcohol exposure may be a factor. He lays out all of the medical information about different kinds of exposure in a clear, accessible format to help empower families to make well-informed decisions for themselves. 

We so appreciate Jeremy for taking the time to share his knowledge with us and with the adoption community! Be sure to check out and we'll be back with a new episode next week! 

Published: 15 November 2021

We're back with Season 2. Meet Emily!

This week on the podcast we hear from Emily. Emily is both an adoptee and an adoptive mom. In this episode, she shares her story, and it's incredible to hear. 

Emily lives in Indiana, in the United States, and was adopted as a five-month-old baby. She grew up with a sister who was also adopted. She met some of her birth family as a child and shares how these relationships looked then and changed over time, as well as how her experiences as an adoptee looked different from her sister's. After having two biological sons, Emily and her husband felt like they should look into adoption. She shares her story of adopting her third son, as well as the nuances of being an adoptive parent and how her experiences as an adoptee affect her parenting. 

We loved talking with Emily. She is a huge advocate for adoptee-focused parenting and shares examples of how she's trying to empower her son to recognize and embrace whatever his feelings are about his story. 

Published: 8 November 2021

Season 2 is coming next week!

We're gearing up for season 2 of the Open Adoption Project podcast, and figured it was about time to build a website. 

When we launched the podcast in April 2021, we weren't sure what to expect. Would anyone even want to hear about our adoption story? We decided to give it a try, and quickly the podcast grew into something more. Today it's a platform to share adoption experiences from all members of the adoption triad--adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents--in an unfiltered, safe space where we seek to learn from each other. 

In our first season, the podcast had listeners all over the United States and Europe, as well as around the world.  In addition to sharing our own adoption experiences, we began interviewing others about their stories. Sharing these stories brought us so much joy that we decided to launch a second season of the podcast, coming Nov. 8, 2021.

Thank you for being here with us. We're excited to continue learning and growing together. 

Published: 30 October 2021

Season 1

Looking back at season 1 of the podcast, in summary

Jori shared her story as an adoptee and a birth mom, what reunification with her birth family looked like, and what open adoption looks like with her daughter.

DaKota shared his story as an adoptee who grew up with an open adoption, and talked about navigating his open adoption as he's become an adult. 

Tamra shared her story as a birth mom and the heart-wrenching tragedy that showed her she gave her son different, not better.

Melaina shared her story as an international adoptee born in Colombia and raised in the United States, and reuniting with her first family.

Burgandy shared her experience as an adoptive mom to special needs children and adopting from foster care.

We heard from 5 adopted teenagers about their current thoughts and perceptions about adoption.

Alexa shared her recent story of placing her baby for adoption, and the pain and trauma she's felt since.

Sharolyn shared her story of being adopted in the era of closed adoption and searching for her birth parents. (Ep. 11)

Nicole shared her story of placing her baby for adoption, and ultimately reunifying with her daughter. (Ep. 10)

Keri shared her story of placing her daughter for adoption 10 years ago in a very open adoption. (Ep 5)

Brianna and Andrew shared their story of adopting their 2 daughters, and learning about addressing race and racism. (Ep. 7)

Crystal shared her experience as an adoptive mom with open adoption and the challenges kids face in closed adoption. (Ep. 12)

Five adorable adoptee kids shared their thoughts and feelings on their adoption stories.

We had a Q&A session with adoption professional and social worker Kim Perry.

Our kids shared some of their current thoughts on their adoption stories.

We shared our own family's adoption story, and our ongoing journey of becoming more educated.

Season 1 consisted of 26 episodes. It was an amazing experience. We heard from five birth moms, an adoption social worker, thirteen young adoptees (including our three oldest kids), four adult adoptees, and three adoptive parents (not counting ourselves), and learned so much from each of our guests! 

We hope you enjoyed season 1. Email us at with any ideas or requests for future episodes. We want the podcast to be a valuable resource for all of our listeners. 

We are so happy that it is already resonating with all members of the adoption triad--birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents--and hope it is also a valuable educational resource for those looking to learn more about adoption. 

Thanks for being on this journey with us! We so appreciate you and your support. 

Published 28 October 2021


Hi friends. We're so excited to be able to connect with you here on our website. 

Shaun and I are the parents of four beautiful kids. All four of our children were adopted at birth. We live in the Rocky Mountains of the United States. Our kids were all born within about two hours of our home. We have extremely open adoption relationships with our children's first families. They are truly family to all of us now. We feel strongly that open adoption is so important for helping our children know who they are and how much they are loved. 

We know every adoption story looks different, and we feel like there is so much value in hearing others' stories as well. That's what our goal is with our podcast. 

Ultimately, we want to do our part to help our children and other adoptees to feel more love and connection. That's why we talk about nurturing open adoption relationships so much. And we love learning from others in the adoption community, most of all adoptees, and hearing their stories and thoughts. We welcome all perspectives as we're learning too! Thanks for joining us on this journey. 

Published: 24 October 2021