Feb 2021: Adoptee Changemakers


Adoption Mosaic hosted WTE on Feb. 13, 2021.

Our adoptee experts were Sandy White Hawk, Ian Anand Forber-Pratt, Zara Phillips, and Kristopher Larsen.

Because of our lived experience as adoptees, it is natural for some of us to desire to give back to our community. In the past, there were very few options for adoptees to do work or service in relation to adoption, often just social work or religiously affiliated missionary work. However, because of trailblazing by our fellow adoptees we now have a larger diversity of outlets to channel our desires to serve the adoptee community.

February’s We the Experts panel featured adoptees working for change in the adoption community through:

  • Artistic expression
  • Reimagining child placement policies
  • Changing laws
  • Creating healing programs

Ian Anand Forber-Pratt works in the field of child protection and child care system reform in India, Moldova, Sri Lanka, the United States and globally. He is the Executive Director of the Institute for Child Welfare Innovation (forchildwelfare.org) as well as the Global Director of Advocacy for CERI (cerikids.org). He identifies as an Indian adoptee. Ian believes that the act of service is healing. He sees everyone as a change-maker and is hopeful that this panel speaks to those seeking for a way to lean out. Ian lives with his wife, sister-in-line and son in St Louis, Missouri, USA.

Zara Phillips has been speaking and writing books, plays, and articles about adoption for the past 20 years. Her books include, “Mother Me,” and “Somebody’s Daughter”. Zara is also a singer-songwriter and co-wrote the song “I’m Legit” with hip-hop artist Daryl McDaniels of Run DCM, which became an anthem for adopted people and open birth records. Zara has just finished a new album, “Meditation & KitKat’s”. Zara is excited to be on the change makers panel as she believes there is a power in bringing people together who are making individual changes in their lives and others.

Kristopher Larsen Kristopher is an adoptee from Saigon, Vietnam who escaped during the evacuation of Saigon in 1975 during US Military Operation Babylift due to the imminent communist takeover of South Vietnam. Adopted in Guam and raised in Alaska, he attended the University of Alaska Anchorage. Kris now advocates for adoptee rights and is currently working on citizenship for all adoptees (Adoptees For Justice). Kris feels that everyone can be a change maker and by adoptees uniting we will be heard.

Sandra White Hawk is a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. She is the founder and Director of First Nations Repatriation Institute (FNRI). She organizes Truth Healing Reconciliation Community Forums that bring together adoptees/fostered individuals and their families and professionals with the goal to identify post adoption issues and First Nations family preservation strategies. Sandra is the Elder in Residence at the Indian Child Welfare Law Office, Minneapolis, MN. Sandy is excited to be on a panel of experts, a powerful group of lived experience and vision.


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