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 Keithley is an author, emotional wellness coach, writer and first mom in reunion since 2008. Her nonfiction book, The ShoeBox Effect, Transforming Pain into Fortitude and Purpose, offers the reader a transparent look at a life filled with family secrets and shame released by the power of truth and forgiveness. Her dramatic story, which has been reported globally on major networks and newspapers across America is a unique blend of memoir and inspirational self-help. Now known as the ShoeBox Sherpa, she teaches and guides others how to face their truths by unpacking their own shoeboxes. Marcie is the co-author of Frankie and Friends Talk Adoption and has written various articles for Adoption Today Magazine and the Indiana Adoptee Network News. She is a member of the Non-Fiction Writers Association and the National Association of Memoir Writers.
Jennifer joined forces with Marcie in 2015. As a member of HEAR she testified on behalf of legislation in 2015 and 2016. She served as a board secretary for IAN and managed the social media.
Jennifer is both 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 decades of searching she located both her mother and son within a 3-month period and reunited with her father days before his death in 2018.
A 2014 Huffington Post article was written 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.
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.