Maria Fernanda is an Afro Indigenous, transracial adoptee who currently lives in Texas with her husband, two children, fur babies & aquatic animals. She was born in Quito, Ecuador, South America in 1984 & relinquished to an orphanage before her first birthday. Maria was adopted before she was 3 years old & brought to the United States to live her new life with her adoptive American family. Leaving her birth country affected many areas of Maria’s life growing up. She can remember feeling frustrated at not having the words to express the challenges she faced as an adoptee. There were many times when her experiences left her feeling alone. As an adult, she became very curious about learning her story & connecting the dots to her identity. Because of the lack of information upon adoption, Maria 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 her regular investigational work on her own adoption story, she connected with people who knew her from the past. During a global pandemic, she found her first/birth family. In 2021, she traveled to upstate New York to meet her birth father & to Ecuador to meet her birthmother & siblings. It was during the initial finding of her family, that she longed for connection with other adoptees- to share stories, thoughts, feelings, experiences & offer support. Her personal experience inspired her to co-create ASA+ Extended Latin Americas, a community & space for adult adoptees who have ties to a Latin Country either by birth or birth parent. Maria understands the unique challenges that come with being a transracial adoptee disconnected from birth country & birth family & the importance of having a soft place to land while navigating life as an adopted person. Maria hopes to continue to be involved in the community for years to come as an ally for adoptees.
Megan is a 26-year old international, transracial adoptee born in Quito, Ecuador, South America in 1996. As an infant, she was adopted & brought to the US. She grew up in Massachusetts in a small, predominantly White town with her adoptive family, where she currently resides. Since her closed adoption, Megan longed to complete the story of her life, meet her birth family & learn about her roots. 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 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 this space has been such a blessing for her as she longed for this community growing up. Megan has her masters in social work, is a licensed clinical social worker & works as an outpatient mental health clinician. One day, she hopes to have her own practice dedicated to adoptees.