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Educate, Advocate & Inspire


From birthparent stories to news about upcoming programming and events, our blog will keep you informed about everything happening at On Your Feet Foundation.

Torie DiMartile sat down with Lori Holden, who co-authored Adoption Unfiltered, with Sara Easterly and Kelsey VanderVliet Ranyard, in advance of the Chicago stop on their book tour. In this post, Lori discusses the book, adoption and lessons learned. This blog post, and their book, is a must read for any adoptive parent!

In celebration of Black History Month, we highlight a few of our favorite podcasters and authors, whose work sits at the intersection of race and adoption, and who provide everyone in the adoption constellation opportunities to learn and grow.

The Birthparent Support Alliance launched in 2022, and we recently had the opportunity to sit down with Molly Berger, MSW, and Pam Brown, from Adoption Center of Illinois, the latest member of the Birthparent Support Alliance in 2024, to learn more about the work they do, and how Adoption Center of Illinois built their own model of adoption that moves past older of ideas of adoptions either being open or closed, and instead builds an entirely new relationship model for everyone in the adoption constellation. We also had the chance to discuss Adoption Center of Illinois’ decision to join the Birthparent Support Alliance, a program designed to help agencies provide the post-placement support birthparents need to heal and thrive.

We read Lori Prashker-Thomas’s memoir," From Mistakes to Miracles: A Jewish Birthmother’s Story of Redemption, Hope, & Healing", and knew immediately we had to learn more. As a writer, speaker, and advocate, she has the ability to take an unflinching look at her past in a compelling and thought-provoking way as she details her journey as a Jewish birthmother and telling a story of resilience, courage, and personal growth as she found her voice and began to use it.

We can’t imagine a better way to kick of Activism in Adoption in 2024 than to have Torie come and speak, as she shares preliminary insights from her research into the challenges Black adoptees face when being raised in white families, and the important changes and shifts in mentality that need to happen for adoption professionals and adoptive parents to make transracial adoption safer for racial minorities.

The Birthparent Support Alliance launched in 2022, and we recently had the opportunity to sit down with Steffany Aye, LSCSW, LCSW, the Founder & Executive Director of Adoption & Beyond, who is joining the Birthparent Support Alliance in 2024, to learn more about the work they do, talk about common adoption misconceptions, and why adoption education is so critical for adoptive parents and hospital staff. We also had the chance to discuss Adoption & Beyond's decision to join the Birthparent Support Alliance, a program designed to help agencies provide the post-placement support birthparents need to heal and thrive.

We are thrilled to introduce Tiffany, our 2023 Create! Birthparents Art Grant winner. In her winning proposal, she created a brand new program for our birthmothers - More Than Art - which provides a healing space for them to create art in a community of other birthmothers.

Who was missing from the White House Proclamation regarding National Adoption Month? Birthparents. This proclamation, in which the President talks about 'forever homes', but not 'family preservation'; and adding guardianship eligibility as an expansion Adoption Tax Credit, but not about how to better support families considering adoption because of their lack of resources. Hoping to educate the President on the reality of adoption, our Executive Director, Alexis Eyler, wrote him a letter this month, and today, we share that letter with our community.

As we get ready to enter the holiday season, On Your Feet Foundation's Executive Director, Alexis Eyler, shares her thoughts on what the work we do means to her, why we shouldn't use the word 'fulfilling' to talk about it, and her gratitude for those in the adoption constellation and the greater community for all they do to help us as we help birthparents.

A brief history of National Adoption Awareness Month: how we got here, whose voices have traditionally been missing from discussions surrounding adoption, and how a group of adoptees, led by Rosita González, began using their collective voices online to tell their stories and advocate for change.

One in five mothers/birthgivers will experience a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMADS), which you may have heard referred to more colloquially as postpartum depression (PPD). Today, we discuss who is most at risk, why most birthmothers are not screened adequately, or at all, and how that lack of care impacts every member of the adoption constellation.

In our work, defining "growth" and "progress" might involve thinking outside of the box, making it hard to measure in a quantifiable way. But not all growth can be distilled into a number that fits neatly onto a spreadsheet! Today, we are celebrating some of the incredible wins we’ve seen in our birthparent community lately, and the hard work and effort those wins represent. We are so proud of every one of you!

Isaac Etter, the founder of Identity and Etter Consulting, joins us today to talk about our upcoming film screening, Reckoning With The Primal Wound, where he will be co-hosting a Q&A after the film, with filmmaker Autumn Sansom. We had the opportunity to catch up, find out what Isaac is working on now, get the inside scoop on his new docu-series, and get his reaction to both the film, and the pushback the book The Primal Wound has received.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Autumn Sansom, who, along with her biological mother, Jill Hawkins, Ph.D., produced the feature-length documentary, Reckoning With The Primal Wound, a film that reckons with both relinquishment trauma and the cultural phenomenon of Nancy Verrier’s landmark book, The Primal Wound. Autumn walks us through how the film came to be, taking us on a deep-dive into how she came to make the film, what surprised her afterward, and how she hopes the film can help other adopted people.

Meet Heather Janiga, our newest team member, joining us as our Development and Communications Associate. We thought it might be fun to interview her as a way of introducing her to our community, so that you all could get to learn what drew her to the work we do with birthparents, while getting to know her better.

Today we sit down with Jay Rosenzweig, the founder of BirthParentFinder.com, to learn more about how he became a specialist in birthfamily search and how his firm's unique combination of detailed research, meticulous investigation, and DNA is changing the adoption landscape, providing answers and information to both birthparents and adult adopted people.

We talk a lot about how the help and support we give birthparents is rooted in a case-management model, but we know that it's not always clear to people exactly what individual case-management support looks like, or how it works. Today, with permission, one of our birthparents, Sarah, along with her Case Manager, Katy, discuss how case managers can provide the help and support necessary for birthparents to heal and ultimately, thrive.

As we await the Supreme Court decision regarding ICWA, we offer a brief primer on what it is, and why it matters.

To make them all easier to find, we've created an index of our ongoing Ethics in Adoption blog series.

DNA testing is revolutionizing the way we think about adoption and family relationships. This is Part II of our interview with Bethany Fraser, our upcoming Activism in Adoption speaker. Bethany is an adoptee whose DNA testing uncovered the truth about her biological origins, genetic heritage and ethnicity, and, to her surprise, her birth family.

DNA testing is revolutionizing the way we think about adoption and family relationships. Today we sit down with Bethany Fraser, our upcoming Activism in Adoption speaker. Bethany is an adoptee whose DNA testing uncovered the truth about her biological origins, genetic heritage and ethnicity, and, to her surprise, her birth family.

We did a roundup of some of current faves on social media, who use their accounts as birthparents and adoptees to educate the entire adoption constellation. This is by no means a comprehensive list! But it is a good starting point.

Given how critical post-placement birthparent support is for an open adoption to be successful, we have compiled a list of questions for prospective adoptive parents to ask when searching for an agency to work with. The answers to these questions can draw you a roadmap of the kinds of outcomes you might see in your own adoption, depending upon the level and duration of post-placement support your child’s birthparents receive.

As part of our ongoing Ethics in Adoption series, we discuss the linking adoption pricing to race, and how this sets a up adoption as a marketplace.

We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Kim Noeth, who is offering our birthparents an opportunity to join a 2023 Birth Moms Today post-adoption journey cohort. Today we talk with Kim about her work, what this cohort offers birthparents, and get a glimpse into some of the other projects she has in the works.

Today we talk about the ethics of the Adoption Tax Credit as one of the ways adoptive families have been compensated financially for adoption, while at the same time, expectant parents are unable to access the resources that could enable them to parent their child.

Three Barnard undergraduates gave up part of their winter break to work with us, advancing several projects we have had in the works, and lending us their talent and expertise in support of our mission to provide the structure and support necessary for birthparents to heal. You can meet them here.

Taking stock of 2022 and looking forward to the work yet to be done. With gratitude to everyone who values and supports the work we do.

We had the opportunity to sit down with our 2022Create! Birthparents Arts Grant winner, S. Savannah Verdin, to hear her story, talk about the process of writing a book, and get a little advice about learning how to tell our own stories.

A round-up of some of our favorite books and adoption-related gifts, just in time for holiday gift-giving.

Today we are sharing our Associate Case Manager Kiara Montgomery's letter to our community, which shines on a spotlight on how critical ethical post-placement support is for helping birthparents heal.

It's a good week to think about gratitude, so we polled a few people in our organization to ask them what they were grateful for this year.

A brief look at gendered language in the adoption landscape, and a reminder to our community that regardless of how you identify or the pronouns you use, we are here for you.

Our annual fundraising event, Gather, is an opportunity for our community to come together and raise the funds necessary to make sure we are able to provide the comprehensive case management and support birthparents deserve. Our speakers this year had the audience moved to tears, and we wanted to share their words here for those unable to attend this year's event.

Gather, On Your Feet Foundation's annual gala, is our opportunity to come together with our community, honor birthparents, and raise the funds necessary to continue the vitally important work we do every day, providing comprehensive case management and support to birthparents, giving them the help they need to heal, and to thrive. Our speakers this year had the audience moved to tears, and we wanted to share their words here for those unable to attend this year's event.

We talk to members of the Birthparent Support Alliance about the importance of recognizing and supporting fathers, both prior to placement, and afterward, and understanding how their needs and healing process differs.

We launched the Birthparent Support Alliance in 2022 to help adoption professionals connect birthparents with the resources they need to heal. Today is the second half of our interview with Meshan Lehmann, LCSW-C from Adoptions Together, to dive a little deeper into the importance of developing ethical practices in adoption and the importance of advocacy, and to discuss Adoptions Together's decision to join the Birthparent Support Alliance, a program designed to help agencies provide the post-placement support birthparents need to heal and thrive.

2022 marks the launch of the Birthparent Support Alliance, and today we talk with Meshan Lehmann, LCSW-C, a Pregnancy Social Worker at Adoptions Together, to learn more about her work, discuss common misconceptions about adoption, and discuss Adoptions Together's decision to join the Birthparent Support Alliance, a program designed to help agencies provide the post-placement support birthparents need to heal and thrive.

Activism in Adoption speaker Cordan James, himself a transracial adoptee, sits down with us to discuss the intersectional nature of race, resilience, and adoption, ahead of his talk, sharing his lived exeperiences and his advice for adoptive parents.

Often when we post on social media, we receive comments challenging what we do, and in particular, these challenges are often positioned as an argument against what we do, or a call-to-arms for us to change our focus to family preservation. However, we know that two things can be true at the same time: family preservation is important, and caring for people who placed a child for adoption is also important. These are not opposing viewpoints for us, and today we discuss the specifics of how that might be.

We play "Ten Questions" with our newest member of our case management staff, Katy Finn.

Classroom assignments that don't take into account the complex families created through fostering and adoption can be difficult trauma triggers for kids. Today we talk a little bit about what kinds of assignments can be triggering, and offer suggestions for how to work with teachers to modify classwork to be more inclusive for all of their students.

As part of our ongoing Ethics in Adoption series, we discuss the difficult history of adoption matching, and examine how the modern practice of announcing adoption matches online and in other public spaces brings with it ethical concerns.

Our adoption podcast list just keeps growing, with podcasts hosted by birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents. But this is by no means a comprehensive list, and if you have an adoption-related podcast to recommend, please tell us!

2022 Marks the launch of the Birthparent Support Alliance, and today we talk with Linda Fiore, Executive Director of Adoption Center for Family Building, to learn more about her work, discuss common misconceptions about adoption, and discuss ACFB’s decision to join the Birthparent Support Alliance, a program designed to help agencies provide the post-placement support birthparents need to heal and thrive.

Get to know Kiara Montgomery, our newest case management staff member, a little bit better.

Recent Activism in Adoption speaker Clemencia Deleon provided us with a resource list to accompany her talk. Focusing on emotional intelligence and radical honesty, these resources are an excellent accompaniment to your journey toward radical honesty as a tool in your adoption toolkit, one that can help make open adoptions healthier for everyone involved.

Why is it so problematic to position adoption as the opposite of abortion? Today we examine what adoption researchers and experts have to say about adoption, adoption trauma, and why comparing adoption and abortion is a false equivalency.

On July 12th, birthmother Clemencia Deleon joins us to speak at Activism in Adoption about the importance of radical honesty and emotional intelligence when navigating a kinship adoption. We had the opportunity to interview her about her story, and to begin to understand what it means to be radically honest, both with yourself, and with other people.

After the latest mass shooting, we are starting to curate a helpful list of resources for anyone impacted by gun violence in America.

Unregulated custody transfer, often referred to as 'rehoming', is the practice of adoptive parents transferring custody of a child to another individual or family without the involvement of the child welfare or other appropriate systems. On June 29th, Kirsta Bowman joins us to speak at Activism in Adoption about the ethical issues surrounding re-homing adoptees, and the role social media plays in the re-homing process. We had the opportunity to interview her about how she began harnessing the power of social media to shine a light on this practice.

This week we have a curated list of mental health resources for people of color: organizations, podcasts, and other links meant to provide access to culturally competent mental health resources.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and this week we talk about the importance of mental health support and services for birthparents. When all you have left of your child is grief, letting go of that grief can feel unimaginable.

Introducing Jennifer and Julia, two of our newest interns for the Spring Semester.

Author and Birthmother Candace Cahill, whose book, Goodbye Again: A Memoir, is coming out in November 2022, discusses why Mother's Day and Birthmother's Day can be so fraught, for so many people, and offers some sage advice on how to cope.

April’s BirthmomsConnect calls theme celebrates National Poetry Month. Why poetry? Among other reasons, reading and writing poetry can be a form of self-care, stress relief, and encourages self-reflection.

On Your Feet Foundation is hosting an art-making event and fundraiser in Indianapolis on May 7th - Birthmother's Day - giving the entire adoption constellation an opportunity to make art together. Art-making activities will be led by board-certified art therapist, Kristi Gmutza, and this week we sat down with Kristi to get the scoop on what art therapy is, who can benefit from it, and how it can help people heal.

Activism in Adoption, On Your Feet Foundation's Educational Speaker Series, is putting out a call for speakers for 2022. We are looking for speakers who can connect their lived experiences to greater themes within adoption in ways that can provide our audience a new way of understanding the current adoption landscape and their role in it. Is this you? We'd love to hear from you.

As part of our ongoing Ethics in Adoption series, we discuss how recent comments left on our social media posts are problematic, and highlight the need for potential adoptive parents to understand that it is their responsibility to support ethical practices in adoption.

As part of our Ethics in Adoption series, we discuss the practice of moving expectant mothers as an adoption practice, separating them from the support of their family and friends.

In 2022, On Your Feet Foundation has earned a Platinum Transparency rating from Guidestar, putting us in the top 0.1% of the 2.5+ million non-profits currently operating in the United States, and demonstrating our commitment to honesty, ethics, and transparency in all that we do.

Over the next few months we will be taking a deeper look at issues and research within the adoption constellation. Today's topic? Genetic mirrors: what they are and why they matter.

2022 Marks the launch of the Birthparent Support Alliance, and today we talk with Paige Knipfer, owner of Love Grown Adoption Consulting, to learn more about her work and to discuss her decision to join this new program offered to adoption professionals.

Five questions with our new Board Chair, Monica Tsikretsis.

Executive Director Alexis Eyler, and Board Chair Jennifer Tully Diehl, reflect on our accomplishments this year, as we wrap up our twentieth anniversary celebration and look ahead to our next decade of service to birthparents.

On Your Feet Foundation's Executive Director, Alexis Eyler, talks about our accomplishments both in the past year and in the past twenty years, gives thanks to our entire adoption constellation community for showing up, seeing us, and supporting us, and touches on what we need to do, going forward, to ensure that birthparents get the care and attention they deserve.

On Your Feet's case manager Jessica Figlio, a registered yoga teacher, walks us through a meditation designed to remind us all to practice compassion for ourselves this holiday season.

Holiday plans and a holiday gift guide.

This week, we talk about Giving Tuesday, radical generosity, and how vital Giving Tuesday support is for On Your Feet Foundation.

How do you know if seeing a therapist is a good idea, and what should you expect if you do?

Telling the origin story of National Adoption Awareness Month, and how adoptees used #flipthescript to open the adoption narrative up to include their voices, and those of birthparents.

Top 10 list to help us celebrate 20 years! Join us in celebrating On Your Feet Foundation and our twentieth anniversary of providing post-placement birthparent support and community. There are so many ways for adoption triad members, adoption professionals, and friends to get involved, and our top 10 list has something for everyone, both in-person and virtually.

We have the opportunity to sit down with our 2021 Create! Birthparents Arts Grant recipient Candace Cahill, to hear her story, and get a little advice about learning how to tell our own stories.

It's easy to tell people to just find an adoption-competent therapist. But what if there isn't one available for you? Today, we unpack strategies for how to better help your therapist help you.

We have the opportunity to sit down with our 2021 Create! Birthparents Arts Grant winner, Carissa Losey, to talk books, and writing, and get some advice about how to tell your own story.

This month's BirthmomsConnect theme is focused on personal mission statements. Today, we unpack seven reasons why writing one is such a powerful tool for healing and growth.

Our adoption podcast list is now rounded out to an even baker's dozen, representing birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents. But this is by no means a comprehensive list, and if you have an adoption-related podcast to recommend, please tell us!

Links and resources for understanding Juneteenth.

Unpacking the intersection of adoption and race with adult adoptee and upcoming Activism in Adoption speaker Cordan James.

This month, we are shining a light on fathers and the roles they play, by focusing on amplifying their voices and experiences.

Julia Stolle, an adoptee, adoptive parent, and On Your Feet Foundation Case Manager, gives us a glimpse of what it was like meeting her birth father for the first time, and talks about birth father grief and loss.

Talking about all things fatherhood with upcoming Activism in Adoption speaker and social entrepreneur Cordan James.

A quick recap of Hope O Baker and Nam Holtz's talk as part of our Activism in Adoption Speaker Series.

Honoring birthmothers on Birthmother's Day.

A frank and nuanced talk with Activism in Adoption Speaker Hope Baker, about birthmother misconceptions, what potential adoptive parents need to know on their adoption path, and how to change the way we think about the post-placement birthmother experience.

Did you see us on Teen Mom OG this week? If you found us through that show, please read this.

As part of our Birthmother's Day 2021 Event, From the Heart: Honoring Birthmothers, we are putting out a call for submissions to our birthmother community. We'd love to feature your writing in this project, and give you a chance to connect with other birthmothers through your words.

Part 2 of our Q & A with April's Activism in Adoption speaker, Nam Holtz, LMSW. Today, we get some excellent advice for parents who have adopted internationally and/or transracially. Tickets are still available for her talk on April 18th.

Today we discuss the importance of connecting birthparents with adoption-competent therapists.

We sit down with Nam Holtz, LMSW, documentary filmmaker, and Korean adult adoptee, to talk about the making of her film, Found in Korea.

A quick recap of Billy Kaplan's talk as part of our Activism in Adoption Speaker Series.

Part 2 of Activism in Adoption speaker Billy Kaplan's interview, where we talk about anxiety and pandemic parenting strategy. Tickets are now available for his March 21st talk.

Billy Kaplan our March 21st Activism in Adoption speaker, sits down with us to talk about childhood trauma, therapeutic parenting, and parenting during a global pandemic.

With the help of Brandon Argianas, and Advisory and Technology Implementation Firm Spaulding Ridge, we now have a new database system in place to help us better serve our clients.

Recapping Isaac Etter's Activism in Adoption talk, along with providing links to the many resources he referenced.

Our 2021 Local Love Gift Card Auction was a huge success, thanks to the support of our wonderful community.

Welcoming the two newest members of our Case Management Team.

The Auction site for our 2021 Local Love Gift Card Fundraiser is now open. While bidding won't start until February 14th, bidders can start checking out the auction items now, so that they can plan their bidding strategy!

Part Two of our interview with Activism in Adoption speaker Isaac Etter.

Isaac Etter, our February 21st Activism in Adoption speaker, sits down with us to talk about meaningful ways white adoptive parents can better support and nurture their non-white kids.

Thank you for recognizing the importance of post-placement support: