A new online magazine launching in Minnesota is aimed squarely at a group some say gets overlooked: Adult adoptees.
The magazine's creators say most people think of babies or their adoptive parents when they think of adoption. Their publication, Gazillion Voices, seeks to provide a voice for adult adoptees around the country, Minnesota Public Radio reported (http://bit.ly/16WRSli).
"That's one of the biggest things about adoption that people forget to think about," said magazine co-editor Kevin Vollmers of Minneapolis. "We actually grow up and make something of ourselves.
"We have kids, we have families, we have our own professional lives," said Vollmers, who was born in South Korea and adopted at age 7 by a family from western Minnesota. "And there is some really important work that is being done by adopted persons."
Vollmers and other contributors to the magazine say the success stories of adoption must be balanced with more difficult issues.
That includes struggles experienced by some adoptees who can feel disconnected when they grow up in a culture they were not born into.
Gazillion Voices is planning to inject race into the conversation about adoption. Vollmers used to work to recruit adoptive families. He said adoption agencies aren't doing enough to prepare white families who raise children of color.
"If you are going to place an African-American child in the middle of nowhere in northern Minnesota where they are going to be the `diversity,' you best make sure there are resources available for those kids," he said. "It's not just to say we have a great adoption culture here in Minnesota because we place so many kids. What do you do with those kids after they're with the families?"
Adoption agencies agree that it is a fair criticism but say they have adapted over time. Minnesota's Lutheran Social Service and Children's Home Society and Family Services provide 30 hours of training to adoptive parents. The training includes discussions on race, trauma, grief and loss, and other topics.
Vollmers is well known in the Minnesota adoption community through his blog, Land of Gazillion Adoptees, which often questioned the business of adoption. Alexis Oberdorfer, senior director of adoption programs at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota and Children's Home Society of Minnesota, considers Vollmers both an ally and critic.
But she throws her support behind Vollmers' efforts to elevate the voices of adoptees. "It's absolutely important that voices of all members of the adoption process are heard, and have a place to be shared, and for adoptees to find commonalities, and frankly, critique different pieces so we can evolve over time," said Oberdorfer, who is herself an adoptee.
Gazillion Voices: www.gazillionvoices.com
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mpr.org