Team members

Adoptees of  South America + Extended Latin Americas

Team Members: Maria Fernanda, Megan Keif & Kyleigh VanderWell
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Co- Creator
Group facilitator
Content Creator
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Co- Creator
Group facilitator
Content Creator
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Team Member
Group facilitator
Content Creator

Maria is a multiracial, intercountry. She currently lives in Texas. She is married to her favorite person, mother of two amazing children, three sweet fur babies & many curious aquatic babies. Maria was born in Quito, Ecuador, South America in the mid 1980’s. She was relinquished to an orphanage before her 1st birthday. She was adopted before she was 3 & brought to the United States to live her life with her adopted American family. Being adopted has influenced all areas of her life from a young age until now. She can remember being young & curious. Not able to formulate the words or feelings she had, she struggled. As a young adult she became very curious about learning her story & connecting the dots to her identity With no details she was left with a lot of questions. In 2007, Maria began the quest to search for answers. She experienced a lot of dead ends, many frustrations & many tears. In 2020, while doing investigational work on her adoption story, she connected with people who knew her from the past. During a global pandemic she found her first/birth family. It was during her reunion that she longed for connection with other adoptees- to share stories, thoughts, feelings, experiences & offer support. Her personal experience inspired her to co-create Adoptees of South America + Extended Latin Americas. A space for adult adoptees who have ties to a Latin Country either by birth or birth parent. Maria hopes to continue to be involved in the community as an ally for adoptees.

Megan is a 25-year old international, transracial adoptee born in Quito, Ecuador, South America. In 1996, as an infant, she was adopted & brought to the United States. She grew up in Massachusetts in a small predominantly White town with her adoptive family & still currently resides there. Since her closed adoption, Megan longed to complete the story of her life, meet her birth family & learn about her culture. In fact, as she got older, she made this her mission. This mission was & still is so important to her because her adoption has affected many aspects of her life including her mental health, self-esteem & navigation in a White world. After years of searching, she has been navigating reunion with her biological maternal & paternal family in Ecuador & its complexities since 2018. While she thought that finding her biological family would complete her life story, it did not. Instead, she has learned the adoptee life is a continuous journey but connecting with the adoptee community has finally provided her with a space to be heard, validated & empowered. Co-creating Adoptees of South America + Extended Latin Americas has been such a blessing for her as she longed for this community growing up. Megan recently completed her Masters Degree in Social Work in May of 2021. She is gaining experience as an Outpatient Therapist in a community mental health setting & hopes to one day have her own practice that is dedicated to supporting & uplifting adoptees.

Kyleigh is a transracial international adoptee from Bogota, Colombia. She was adopted as an infant to a white couple in west Michigan during the 1980's. Her adoption was out of an orphanage called FANA and was a closed adoption. While Kyleigh has been in reunion with her first family for over a year and is still learning how to navigate the many complexities surrounding those relationships, she really didn't have intent to search or find them until she became supported by the adoptee community. Only then did she feel prepared to take that step. When Kyleigh was growing up, she struggled a lot with mental health due to many unaddressed adoptee issues. Because of her struggle, she is passionate about seeing adoptees of all ages receive the help they need to live full and healthy lives. She grew up and lives in Grand Rapids, MI with her two children and partner. She really loves to give back to the adoptee community and has been the co-founder of a non-profit that serves adoptees as well as acts in a coordinator role for the Grand Rapids chapter of Adopteen. Her hobbies include but aren't limited to orchid growing, rock climbing, hiking, singing, and creating art.