The roots of the National Association of Adoptees & Parents began in 2009 when Pam Kroskie and Marcie Keithley joined forces in an effort to unseal Indiana’s closed adoption records.
In 2015, Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records (HEAR) a 501(c)4 non-profit organization, was formed dedicated to educating legislators and the public about the importance of original birth certificate (OBC) access for adult adoptees, and mobilizing those touched by adoption to stand up for their rights.
In 2016, upon the passage of SEA91, HEAR formed Indiana Adoptee Network, Inc. (IAN) a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization when it became clear that the education/awareness of state’s lawmakers and the general public around adult adoptee matters was limited.
Over the course of four years, IAN was able to build a nationwide network allowing them to impact education, attitudes, and legislation through their alliance with other nonprofit organizations, annual conferences, newsletters, social media, and webinars.
In 2021, IAN expanded its vision to educate, empower, and elevate adoptee voices when Marcie Keithley and Jennifer Fahlsing founded the National Association of Adoptees & Parents (NAAP), a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization which is committed to building unity in our community.
Marcie J. Keithley, Co founder and President, is a retired Vice President of Retail Bank Management and was also a licensed securities and insurance representative serving the financial community for over 32 years. Her background includes sales, management, operations, team development and leadership. She has served on a variety of boards during her career such as Habitat for Humanity, United Way, Kiwanis International and Executive Director for her local Chamber of Commerce.
A birthmom in reunion since 2008, she co founded Indiana Adoptee Network and testified multiple times throughout the years in support of OBC access for the sister organization, H.E.A.R. Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records where she served as Vice President. She also hosts a weekly Friday night virtual event, Adoption Happy Hour, with global attendance from the adoption constellation.
Keithley is the author of The ShoeBox Effect, Transforming Pain Into Fortitude and Purpose as well as the co author of Frankie and Friends Talk Adoption. She is a director for Women’s Writes Publishing and Author Services that gives voice to inspiring women authors and resides in southern Indiana along the banks of the Ohio River.
Jennifer Fahlsing, CPC is a co-founder, Vice President, and Secretary of NAAP. Jennifer has spent the last 20 years in the employment industry and is a licensed real estate Broker. She holds a BS in Business Management and an AS in Accounting. Her background includes education, training, sales, operations, and public speaking.
Jennifer is an Adoptee and First Mother which provides her with a unique understanding of the challenges involved in search and the gamut of emotions experienced in reunion. In 2013, after three decades of searching she located both her mother and son within a 3-month period. In 2018, after years of rejection she finally reunited with her father days before his death.
She served on the board for the ISSA for 8 years in a variety of roles including President and was the Secretary and managed the Social Media for Indiana Adoptee Network for four years. She joined Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records in 2015 and testified in 2015, 2016 and 2021 in support of OBC access legislation for Indiana Adoptees. Jennifer is a Sister on the Ground for Saving Our Sisters.
A 2014 Huffington Post article was written, by Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy, about her struggle to obtain a Passport; US Adoptees Have Trouble Getting Passports Due to Seal Records Law. Jennifer was the recipient of the Angel in Adoption award in 2018.
Jennifer resides in NE Indiana and enjoys spending time with her family and husband of 37 years, renovating investment properties, outdoor adventures, and traveling.
In 2016 Beth and her genealogy-loving daughter launched a search to uncover the secret of Beth’s doorstep beginnings. DNA solved the mystery, revealing a scenario that even this fiction writer could not have fathomed. Her reunion experiences have spanned the gamut from welcoming family gatherings in exotic locations with paternal family, to stunned devastation and ultimately no desire for a connection from her deceased birth mother’s side. Beth has blogged extensively about the sometimes overwhelming, always intriguing experience of finding and connecting with her biological family under the tab “A Doorstep Baby’s Search for Answers” on her website, www.BethSteury.com
Nancy Verrier is a mother, a former teacher, a psychotherapist, author, and lecturer. Her book, The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child has become a classic in adoption literature and is considered by adoptees to be their adoption bible. Nancy has received two awards for the publication of this book: The Book of the Year Award from the Council for Equal Rights in Adoption in 1993, and the Emma Vilardi Humanitarian Award from the American Adoption Congress in 2003. Nancy’s second book, Coming Home to Self, takes adoptees and those in relationship with them to the next step in healing. When one has been traumatized at the beginning of life, there is often very little awareness that coping behaviors are a result of that trauma, rather than indigenous aspects of the person. In order to overcome self-defeating behavior, one must become aware of the difference. This book is about becoming aware, authentic, and accountable-which should lead to more satisfying relationships.
Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao, Ed.D., LCSW, LMFT, was the Founder and CEO of Center for Family Connections, Inc. in Cambridge and New York, Founder and Director of Riverside After Adoption Consulting and Training, PACT (Pre/Post Adoption Consulting and Training, and Pavao Consulting and Coaching. Dr. Pavao has done extensive training, both nationally and internationally. She is a lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and she has consulted to various public and private child welfare agencies, adoption agencies, schools, and community groups, as well as probate and family court judges, lawyers, and clergy. Additionally, she has worked closely with individuals and families touched by adoption, foster care, and other complex blended family constructions. She has developed models for treatment and for training using her systemic, intergenerational, and developmental framework, The Normative Crises in the Development of the Adoptive Family, and her book, The Family of Adoption, has received high acclaim. Dr. Pavao has received many awards and honors, including the Children’s Bureau/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Adoption Excellence Award for Family Contribution (2003) and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption award for Angels in Adoption (2000).
Leslie Pate Mackinnon, LCSW maintains a psychotherapy practice in the Atlanta area. Her specialties include individual, group, and couples therapy, as well as expertise in third-party reproduction and adoption issues. Drawn to the field by her own experience of placing two sons in closed adoptions, Leslie’s story is included in the book; The Girls Who Went Away and the documentary A Girl Like Her by Ann Fessler. She’s been on Good Morning America and CNN discussing the impact of the internet on adoption. She was featured in Dan Rather’s investigative report; Adoption or Abduction. Leslie previously served on the board of CUB & the Evan B. Donaldson Institute. She currently assists the participants of LONG-LOST FAMILY through the tumultuous emotions of reunion.
Lorraine Dusky is an award-winning journalist, editor and author who prefers to write stories that will make a difference. Her controversial memoir, Birthmark, published in 1979, was the first from a mother to write about the grief of giving up a child to adoption. She began her career as a newspaper reporter when she was 14, writing for her hometown newspaper. Her goal was always to break out of old-fashioned "women's news," yet her life and writing has been greatly shaped by the daughter she gave up for adoption, culminating in her recent book, Hole in my Heart.
Rhonda Churchill, LPC is an author, Licensed Professional Counselor, Adoptee Advocacy, co-owner and Clinical Director at Therapeutic Life Choices. Rhonda is an established cornerstone in the Tulsa mental health and substance abuse services community. Her contributions to children’s mental health began over 20 years ago at the historic Children’s Medical Center here in Tulsa. Rhonda was born and adopted in Oklahoma, a state with closed adoption records. And, although she was cherished by her adoptive family, she—like so many adoptees—felt a burning desire to find and make contact with her birth parents. Her three-decade search involved institutional stonewalling; the intervention of numerous judges, attorneys, and detectives; hundreds of court filings; mountains of paperwork, and thousands of dollars in expenses.
Jeff Hancock a Late Discovery Adoptee (LDA) is an Independent Artist, Academic Tutor, Adoptee Rights Activist. Jeff is a co-contributor to The Adoptee Survival Guide: Adoptees Share Their Wisdom and Tools and a member of the group Unsealed Initiative and a President of The Adoptee Right Coalition Inc.
Barbara Robertson, LMSW is an Ohio-born, New York Adoptee. Barbara is a strong advocate for adoptee rights, volunteering her time providing online education and support to all members of the adoption triad. She currently serves as Co-Facilitator of Adoption Network Cleveland's monthly Virtual Webcam General Discussion Meeting, available to participants who live outside of the state of Ohio. Barbara has also written a piece for the Dear Adoption blog and is a contributing author to the book, Black Anthology: Adult Adoptees Claim Their Space.
This award for outstanding service to the adoption community goes to an individual or organization that exemplifies the pioneer spirit of Betty Jean Lifton.
Betty Jean Lifton, was a writer, adoptee, and adoption-reform advocate whose books-searing condemnations of the secrecy that traditionally shrouded adoption-become touchstones for adoptees throughout the world. Ms. Lifton, who lectured widely about the potential psychological effects of adoption was best known for a nonfiction trilogy: “Twice Born: Memoirs of an Adopted Daughter.” In which she recounts her adulthood search for her birth mother; “Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience” and “Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness.