12/2022: Adoptees Who Chose a Different Religion


**This is a recording of our We the Experts event on December 10, 2022.**

Join us as we listen and learn from these amazing panelists who will share their experience with the intersection of religion and adoption while creating a path different from their adoptive families and how they were raised.

  • What are the rewards and challenges of choosing your own religious journey?
  • How has the religious diversity within your family system impacted your relationships?
  • How has their religious faith helped them navigate their identity as an adoptee?

Ana Felicia is an International Transracial Adoptee from Colombia, South America. She was adopted in 1978 at 5-weeks-old and eventually moved permanently to the states when she was two. Her parents were missionaries with Latin American Missions. Ana currently resides on the land of the Cowlitz, Cascades, Clackamas and the over 30 tribes of the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde AKA Portland, OR. She is an Anti Bias Anti Racist Early Childhood educator and Montessorian of 18 years and works in a local Montessori School, advocating for children and staff of the global majority working in predominantly white spaces. Being adopted by Missionaries is a piece of Ana’s adoption story, but it does not define her story any longer and only recently has she been able to name for herself the reasons why she no longer participates in organized religion.

Leah Lusk is a same-race domestic adoptee. She has a background in journalism and worked as an editor at newspapers for many years before shifting course and getting a master’s degree in counseling — the common thread being a desire to help others write their stories. Her own story was complicated by a DNA discovery in 2020, and she continues to explore what family means to her. She now works as a counselor at Open Adoption & Family Services, a pro-choice adoption agency. Leah is eager to share how the intersection of adoption and her upbringing in the Mormon Church have shaped her identity and relationships, and is curious to hear about the religious experiences of other panel members.

Having been displaced from their family as infants via closed private transnational adoption, the body of matthew anthony was purchased and trafficked into a sundown town. matthew’s work is rooted in a lovegrief which persists, and is wholly interested and invested in co-creating Black (Adoptee) Futures wherein we are not under siege by those who claim Whiteness. matthew anthony is an Afro-surrealist theopoet, essayist, and host of little did u know: an abolitionist podcast seeking to reveal the precarity inherent in transnational/racial adoption and dream of new futures by centering the voices of impacted people. You can find matthew’s writing at Creativekindred.substack.com. matthew looks forward to this panel as he loves talking about relationships to divinity.

Becca Flatt is an BIPOC interracial adoptee born in Salt Lake City, UT and raised in San Jose, CA. She was raised in a devoutly Catholic household, going to church often. Becca’s religious beliefs changed around the age of 8. As an adult, Becca researched a lot of different religions, but always felt something was missing. It was not until she decided to look at the religion and spirituality of her people did she find the history and knowledge that helped her connect to her birth and adoptive ancestors and to the historical trauma of those who are black in the US. This connection gave her a strong base of her own power and importance. Becca is a mental health therapist specializing in working with transracial adoptees and adoptees of color around identity formation and trauma processing. She is married with one child and lives in Oregon. She looks forward to sharing her experience with others.

Kris Rao is a late discovery adoptee. He learned about his adoption in 2019 when he took a DNA test for fun. Those results confirmed a suspicion he always had growing up but just never had an answer for. Kris blogs, tweets, and shares his experience on Instagram. He was raised by Hindu and Mormon influences. Religion being one of the reasons his adopters never told him he was adopted, he is now interested in the ways religion influences different concepts in life, such as happiness, anger, grief, and forgiveness.


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