Friends in Adoption attends: “This is Us: Adoption in the REAL World”

Friends in Adoption attends: “This is Us: Adoption in the REAL World”

-by Deirdre Graham, Community Outreach Manager

A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend: “This is Us; Adoption in the REAL World”, a
panel co-moderated by April Dinwoodie, Chief Executive of the Donaldson Adoption Institute
(DAI), and Richard Heyl de Ortiz, Executive Director of the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition
of New York (AFFCNY). The event was held at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
Community Center of Manhattan. The discussion used the hit NBC show “This is Us” to initiate
meaningful conversation about adoption and identity. The panelists; Ridghaus Nin, Zachary
Fried, Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy, Sarah Gotowka, Sarah Gerstenzang, Kahlila Robinson, Andrew
Hume, and Bryan Hill, were PHENOMENAL. Everyone belonged to the adoption circle in one
way or another, and at times overlapped roles: adoptee, birth mother, birth father, adoptive
parent, foster parent, adoption professional. I was so grateful to hear such diverse, unique and
important perspectives.

I had many takeaways from this event on both a professional level and as someone who has
been personally touched by adoption. I felt particularly inspired listening to the all the different
perspectives of the panelists. It reaffirmed in me the notion that everyone in the adoption
circle—adopted person, birth parents, adoptive parents, extended family relationships—has a
voice, and that voice matters! It is crucial we listen to, respect and acknowledge these voices.
They offer perspectives that are necessary to our greater understanding of adoption itself. How
else can we learn and improve upon current adoption practices? What better way to continue
confronting the widespread and pervasive misconceptions about adoption? Let’s continue
having these conversations. Let’s open ourselves up to the intersecting realities of adoption,
identity, race, class, loss and love, and engage with the important voices of the adoption circle.
To learn more about this event, please visit the AFFCNY website: www.affcny.org and the DAI website: www.adoptioninstitute.org
Deirdre -Community Outreach Manager
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