Are you constantly swiping through your Instagram or Facebook feeds? I do. I am notorious for spending most of my winding-down time before bed on Instagram. While I have the typical celebrities, decorating tips, and food accounts I follow, the most content I pay attention to is on mental health or adoption. Did you know that there are adoption influencers out there? While it sounds a bit ridiculous and slightly questionable, adoption influencers (for the most part) are making waves in the adoption community by promoting stories, new perspectives, healthy coping skills, great resources, important information, and life as a member of the adoption triad. They are usually not tied to adoption agencies. They just have a passion for adoption. I am constantly soaking in wisdom from others and the perspectives they have.
Here are some of the influencers I am personally following:
This amazing podcast has been a great part of my self-care routine every week. Hosted by two of my friends, Emma and Muthoni, every episode is full of great nuggets to help me grow, learn, and heal. A few episodes worth mentioning:
Episode 1 and 2 are all about Emma and Muthoni’s story. They are so transparent about their adoption journeys and they share in a way that makes you feel like you are sitting on the couch with them, chatting over some wine.
Episode 6 is one of my favorites; Courtney shares her 20-year journey with such joy and words of affirmation for the listener. Her episode is a wonderful reminder of how worthy birth mothers are. I laughed and cried during that episode.
In episodes 6 and 18, you might hear a familiar friend, me! I had so much fun sharing my story as an adoptee and birth mother with my friends who happen to be adoption influencers. If you like podcasts and are passionate about adoption, Birth Mothers Amplified is worth a listen!
I mentioned above that Muthoni is one of my friends, but what I left out was how passionate she is about making movement in the adoption community. I have learned so much from her in our private friendship, but through her personal Instagram, she shares so many other important voices and perspectives. One thing Muthoni has always held me accountable with and challenged me to is to listen to every story, no matter how difficult the content. We do not have to see eye to eye on our adoption stories. After all, they are our stories and not anyone else’s.
I have learned the most when I am mindful of this. Muthoni is such a gem and she is truly sharing important words for the adoption community. Not only does she have a lot of wisdom to share, but she is also a newlywed, a talented singer, a huge fan of The Office, and loves a good lipstick. Along with her adoption-focused content, she shares a lot of fun stuff that I enjoy getting to see!
About five years ago, I went to a birth mothers’ dinner in Dallas. I had heard about this non-profit through the agency I had placed with and thought it was worth looking into. I had other friends who were going to this dinner, so I was open-minded and it seemed reputable. Once I was there, women who placed a child for adoption at some point in their lives surrounded me. I remember getting in a circle and everyone went around to share how they were touched by adoption.
I was overwhelmed with emotions to hear people share pieces of their stories and the thought of the community I had just stumbled upon that night. BraveLove is a treasure. BraveLove’s website states: Our mission is to change the perception of adoption through honest, informative, and hopeful communication that conveys the heroism and bravery a birth mother displays when she places her child with a loving family through adoption.
When I began my search for my biological father a decade after I had met my birth mother, I was at a dead end. I had done an Ancestry DNA kit and had a lot of DNA matches for distant cousins, but I had no idea what I was doing. I somehow stumbled upon Jenni’s IG profile. She has a blog and has used her platform to share her story as an adoptee who is discovering her biological roots. I happened to comment on something about my difficulties in my search and she pointed me to an organization that helps adoptees discover their biological roots through Ancestry DNA matches.
I have loved reading her story and how she was helped by search angels to find her birth parents. I have been able to see another perspective through her stories, but it also has shown me that we adoptees have a lot in common. We all think certain things through our journeys, we all struggle in some capacity, and we all are curious about our identities. I cannot wait to see what more she has to write about. Go check her and other adoption influencers out.
I mostly spend time scrolling through adoption profiles or profiles focused on mental health and Cam has the best of both worlds on his Instagram profile because he is a licensed professional clinical counselor who is also an adoptee. I usually like every single thing that Cam puts out there in his content. One of the things that I love the most about his profile is that he is not afraid to ask uncomfortable questions.
They are so thought-provoking and sometimes leave me digesting his words for days, but I also enjoy the challenging perspectives I sometimes miss. I love challenging my own narrative with other ideas and practices. One of the thoughts he shared recently was on how adoptees are often pitted against one another, how abnormal it is for us to sit in the stories of adoptees who don’t “fit the box.” He further says, “To write them off as ‘extreme’ cases, simply because their story isn’t the same as ours, is arrogant and proud.” That is both so deep and so relevant to my adoptee ears and mouth. If you are touched by adoption in any way or even just love therapy practices, this is a great account to follow.
A little over a year ago, I started chatting about creating a place for birth parents to have support with another birth mom friend. We had met through the agency we placed with and used to be in the same support group that the agency held monthly. The support group we attended had been going through some growing pains. Lots of cliques and negativity made it difficult for others to speak their truth and it was not a group that fostered growth.
While their hearts and intentions were pure, it just wasn’t the right model for the support group. My friend, Lacy, and I realized that there is a lot of hurt tied to adoption agencies simply because that is where the trauma is tied to. It doesn’t matter if the agency is upstanding or not; sometimes the hurt is too great for birth parents to take post-adoption resources that they can hand out.
So Lacy and I began to brainstorm how to make a beneficial support network and be a resource to other birth parents in our area. We decided everyone loves happy hours and food. So we formed The Table DFW to have birth parent events (starting in 2021, thanks COVID) where people casually get together around a table and find a community. But we are also using our social media accounts to share birth parent, adoptee, and (hopefully soon) adoptive parent voices. We dream that one day, all sides of the triad will be able to see one another’s perspectives. Our mission is to create a space to gather, connect, and support one another as well as share stories and find healing through the adoption community.
I stumbled upon Lydia’s profile through my friend Muthoni. Muthoni and another adoptee joined Lydia to chat about episode two of the most recent season of This is Us. Lydia is a transracial adult adoptee who is also an adoption caseworker. Lydia says that she “is a lover of music, cooking, and all things beauty and makeup related.” Which if we are being real, sounds like all the things I love! Lydia said “[she] created this space to connect with adult adoptees that shared in her experiences. And to give insight to white adoptive parents on the racial, emotional, and mental hardships that adoptees face in hopes that their adoptees won’t be able to share in the same experiences and hardships.”
When I first heard the term “transracial adoptee,” I didn’t know what it meant. I always thought that the term was “biracial adoptee.” A transracial adoptee is a child of one ethnic background that is adopted by a person/couple of a different ethnic background. It is the proper term for this situation. Not only have I learned things like that, but also how white parents can and should be bringing their child’s culture into their lives, among many other things. I think there is so much that needs to be addressed in the transracial adoption lane and Lydia in particular among adoption influencers is serving up some good word on the topic.
While it feels a little silly to put myself on this list as I am FAR from being an influencer, I decided to add myself because I know how important having a community is, even if it’s just online friends. So here is a little bit of my story, so you can get to know me a bit. I was adopted when I was two days old from an agency. My parents had been trying for nine years to conceive, but they ultimately found out that they were struggling with infertility.
Since I was adopted in the 80s, it was a closed adoption and I never knew anything about my biological family growing up. My birth mother occasionally asked the agency to request updates and my mom was really good about giving all the details relevant to my life at that time and she even would say “our daughter,” which touches me now as a birth mom because she acknowledged my birth mother being a part of my life.
Growing up with a sister who was also adopted, we always knew that we were adopted and I remember carrying such pride in that fact. I began to struggle with my identity and worth during my teenage years especially. I rebelled a lot and looked for my worth in the only group that showed me attention: men. I became pregnant by 17 and thought about adoption. I was in an abusive marriage, my life was a mess, and as hard as I tried to meet the expectations of the world of women in that position, I wanted more for my child. Thankfully, my parents offered to adopt my son. As you can imagine, that’s an extremely open adoption that has its challenges, but it’s been such a gift to live by his side.
A few years after that, I was faced with another unplanned pregnancy and I knew immediately that while I had settled down some, I was not in a position to provide what I wanted for my baby. I chose to go through an agency to place my daughter for adoption. Ten years later, I have a fantastic open adoption with her and her mama. We see one another often, I am social media friends with her mom, my children know they are siblings and that I am their birth mom, and I am so blessed to watch her flourish in the life I chose for her. I have found my biological maternal side, have had them in my life for a decade, and I have a lot of supportive friends to lean on that have also been touched by adoption.
The truth is, when we are connected to others, we influence. We have a voice and we can support and listen to one another. I think that it’s so vital to be connected to other adoptees, adoptive parents, birth mothers, and adoption influencers/advocates so that we can see beyond our own stories. And not only that, but also so that we can better understand ourselves and the chapters of the story that made us who we are.