Out of the Fog and Into Consciousness: A Model of Adoptee Awareness

Hello all,

If you’ve been following my social media, you’ve seen hints about this post in my “soft launch.” I am so excited to finally share with you this paper on the adoptee consciousness model, patterned after Gloria Anzaldúa’s process of conocimiento.

It has been such a pleasure working with fellow adoptees JaeRan Kim (Harlow’s Monkey), Susan Branco, Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter, and Paula O’Loughlin on this model. In writing this work, we were intentional about drawing from the work of other scholar-activists of color and adoptees. We also elected to self-publish this paper, so that you all could access it from each our websites rather than putting it behind a paywall, restricted to only those with university access.

Our proposed model acknowledges existing adoptee identity models and challenges the pervasive “out of the fog” language used in our community. We sincerely hope that our adoptee consciousness model will help adoptees and others better understand themselves and the adoptees in their lives, as they go through the process of political consciousness development related to issues in adoption.

While current models seek to explain stages adoptees undergo while coming into awareness on an individual level, our adoptee consciousness model is unique because we address the critical consciousness adoptees may experience as they become aware of political and sociocultural adoption issues at the group level. Additionally, we conceptualize this process as a spiral where different touchstones or turning points propel the adoptee into different aspects of consciousness rather than the more linear and numeric phases and stages outlined by other models. You can see the visual for this model below.

In addition to explaining our model fully, we provide specific recommendations to target populations within the adoption constellation, including adoptees, adoptive parents, and mental health and adoption professionals. You can read the full paper below. To adoptees, I hope you find resonance in these words and that your stories and experiences are validated wherever you fall on the consciousness spiral. To adoptive parents and adoption professionals, I hope this adoptee consciousness model can help you better understand, and thus support, the individual adoptees in your lives and the adoptee community as a collective.

Thanks in advance for reading the paper and for your thoughtful engagement with this new model.




5 responses to “Out of the Fog and Into Consciousness: A Model of Adoptee Awareness

  1. Pingback: Coming to consciousness – Harlow's Monkey·

  2. Grace, thank you so much for posting this article. I am an adoptive parent (and social work professor at Baylor). I forwarded the article to one of my colleagues (Elissa Madden) who does a lot of research around adoption and foster care. I have two daughters adopted from China. The oldest is a social work major a Baylor. This model has given a new framework to our whole family for how to understand the trauma, the narratives we tell, and how to support each other. Thank you thank you thank you!! I have never cried when reading an academic article (and I’ve read a lot), but this one touched a place deep in me to help me see with more clarity.


  3. Pingback: Reclaiming November as National Adoptee Awareness Month | Red Thread Broken·

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