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Adoption Unfiltered: A Panel Discussion

Wednesday, February 28th | 6:30 - 7:30 PM

The Book Stall | 811 Elm Street | Winnetka

We are proud to partner with The Book Stall to welcome Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard, Sara Easterly, and Lori Holden, authors of Adoption Unfiltered: Revelations from Adoptees, Birth Parents, Adoptive Parents, and Allies, for an informative panel discussion. Adoption is a multi-sided experience that can feel like it takes place in a vacuum. Here, three participants in the adoption triad reveal the challenges, the triumphs, and everything in between from their perspectives of adopted, adopter, and birth parent, and those of others who have experienced adoption from a variety of perspectives and roles. The Book Stall will donate 20% of all book sales to the On Your Feet Foundation. 

This event is free with registration. To register, please CLICK HERE

More About the Book: Adoption Unfiltered reveals the candid thoughts and feelings of those most directly involved in adoptions: adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents. The authors Sara Easterly (adoptee), Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard (birthparent), and Lori Holden (adoptive parent) interviewed dozens of adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, social workers, therapists, and other allies—all sharing candidly about the challenges in adoption. While finding common ground in the sometimes-contentious space of adoption may seem like a lofty goal, it reveals the authors’ optimistic aim: working together with truth and transparency to move toward healing. Healing isn’t possible, though, without first uncovering the hurts—starting with adoption’s central players: adoptees, who are so often in pain, suffering from what the latest brain science validates as the long-term emotional effects of separation trauma.

By encouraging others to vulnerably share their stories, the authors discover that adoptees aren’t the only ones in the adoption constellation who are hurting. Birth parents regularly shut down after being shut out by adoptive parents. Adoptive parents often struggle with unique parenting challenges and hidden insecurity, feeling the need to hide the fact that they are not the Super Parents they led the agency to believe they would be. Across the industry as a whole, misinformed and even unethical practices abound. Adoption Unfiltered models the importance of adults in adoption working together in the spirit of curiosity and empathy—to learn and do better for future generations of adoptees and their first and adoptive families.

Tasha Jun, adoptive parent and author of Tell Me the Dream Again: Reflections on Family, Ethnicity, and the Sacred Work of Belonging says, "Adoption Unfiltered is not only an excellent resource, it is a needed, invaluable resource for every conversation and consideration of adoption--past, present, and future. Easterly, Ranyard, and Holden have written and compiled a book that everyone in the "adoption constellation" needs. As an adoptive parent who has felt the lack of substance and over-emphasis on adoptive parent voices and perspectives for far too long, this book deserves to lead and take up wide space. I learned so much from every page in Adoption Unfiltered and I know that I will go back to it again and again. It is honest and it is a book of hope for the future." 

More About the Authors: Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard is the Director of Advocacy and Policy at AdoptMatch, where she works on public policy issues impacting all adoption-triad members. She’s a birth mother who is passionate about raising the standards in adoption to better serve the children, mothers, and families affected by family separation. Adoption has been a monumental part of her entire life: Kelsey is the daughter and granddaughter of adoptees. She has worked at various agencies and law firms in the adoption field and is also a co-host of the first-ever birth-mom podcast headed into its third season, Twisted Sisterhood. Kelsey resides in Northern California with her husband and daughter. 

Sara Easterly is an award-winning author of books and essays. Her spiritual memoir, Searching for Mom, won a 2020 Illumination Book Award gold medal, among many others. Sara’s adoption-focused articles and essays have been published by Psychology Today, Dear Adoption, Feminine Collective, Godspace, Her View from Home, and Severance Magazine, to name a few. Sara is the founder of Adoptee Voices and resides outside of Seattle with her husband, two daughters, and a menagerie of rescued fur-babies. 

Lori Holden, a veteran parent of two young adults, writes at and hosts the podcast Adoption: The Long View. She’s the author of the acclaimed book The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, written with her daughter’s birth mom and featured on adoption-agency required-reading lists across the country. She has keynoted and presented at adoption conferences around the US and Canada, and her work has appeared in magazines such as Parenting and Adoptive Families. In 2018, she was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). She lives in Denver, Colorado.

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