It's Not About You: Understanding Adoptee Search, Reunion &

It's Not About You: Understanding Adoptee Search, Reunion, & Open Adoption is a book written for adoptive and birth parents and their therapists. After repetitive conversations with adoptees (and sometimes their parents) about reactions to their search and reunion, I knew we needed a book to share with adoptive and birth parents on the topic. It is my honor to present to you a variety of stories on the topic of search, reunion, and open adoption, calling on all members of the adoption triad and those involved with both domestic and international adoptions. I present these stories to you, birth and adoptive parents, as comfort; I want you to know, understand, and find peace in the fact that it’s not about you. Those words, “it’s not about you” can be read as snotty or comforting. There are times I wanted to take a birth or adoptive parent by the shoulders, look them in the eyes, and make it clear that it’s not about you, and you need to quit making it about you because it does not help you or your (adult) child. There are just as many times that I wanted to assure some that it’s not about you and this drive to search does not mean that you made good choices or bad choices, that your (adult) child sees you as a good parent or a bad parent; you are not evaluated at all, rather this drive is inherent, expected, and natural for all human beings whether adopted or not. The title of this book can be both inflammatory and comforting. I believe different people need to read it different ways. I hope you understand it in the way that is most helpful to you.


"This volume contains experience and wisdom from many who have lived adoption. I think it is a must read for adoptive parents who search to understand how it feels for their children to be adopted. This insight makes it more possible to give your children the space to have their many feelings and not take it personally..." - Barbara Freedgood


"The bravery and inspiration found through these stories are invaluable and underscores the truth that the impacts of adoption truly are lifelong. It's a privilege to hear directly from adoptees in such an unfettered, honest and compassionate way." - Angela Tucker, The Adopted Life LLC


"Adoption is often a complex journey replete with angst, despair, joy, wonder, and hope. These narratives offer rare and immeasurable insight into the lives of beautiful individuals shaped by resiliency." - Kristin Meekhof, LMSW, Adoptee, and Author of A Widow's Guide to Healing 


"This book contains short personal accounts about searching, reunions and openness in adoption.  This compilation conveys the wide range of emotions involved for all of those touched by adoption.  Designed to give a voice to the many different perspectives of open adoption, this collection features guest offerings by adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents and professionals working in the field.  Painful, personal, candid and beautiful, these stories will give one a deeper understanding of what searching, reunions and open adoption looks like, allowing one to appreciate the many brushstrokes that comprise a family portrait.  Always, the child is placed at the heart of the text.  Overall, open adoption can be a wonderful experience for everyone involved in the process.

This is an essential text for experienced adoption workers or those currently in training. Bottom Line: I highly recommend this poignant and sobering book to others and feel that it should be required reading for adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents or anyone working in the field of adoption or the child welfare system." - Wayne D. Duehn, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus of Social Work, The University of Texas at Arlington


Contributing Authors

I have been blessed with a wonderful group of contributing authors who have added their voices as adoptees, adoptive parents, birth parents, and therapists. The group includes people I admire, people I have worked with, people I call friends, and some I am just getting to know. You can learn more about this impressive group and read their bios here. I look forward to sharing their writing with you.

In no particular order other than how I arranged the photos. 

Christina Romo  

Maris Blechner, LCSW

Brooke Randolph, LMHC

April Dinwoodie

Joshua Redfern, LCSW

Barbara Freedgood, LCSW

Kristin Berry 

Deesha Philyaw 

Gayle Swift 

Kerrie Siegl, LMFT

Lynn Grubb 

Annie Jacobs 

Jodi Haywood 

Bari Benjamin, LCSW, BCD

Erik Deckers

Mary McBride 

Kimberly Paglino

Deanna Binkofsky

Deanna Doss Shrodes 

Karen Belanger 

Wendy Barkett 

Jeff Chafin

Lucy Sheen