The Work

The Whole Story

Our work explores the whole story of adoption. We look at two distinct but related areas: the big picture and personal experience.

The big picture can only be seen when we look at all the forces that shape adoption and how they work together:

  • System (laws, policies, money)
  • Practices
  • History
  • Cultural expression (including language, films, books)
  • Social forces (including race, gender, religion, economics)

Personal experience of adoption can only be understood when we listen to the people who live it. There is an astonishing diversity of lived experiences. More and more of stories are being told, bravely, through blogs, books, films, solo performances on the stage and more. They are the stories of ethical adoptions that serve all parties, corrupt adoptions that profoundly harm people, and a constellation of experiences in between. Each story is valid, true for that person.

We acknowledge how adoptive parents’ stories have always dominated the discourse about adoption. While more adopted people and first/birth parents have been speaking out, their stories remain largely hidden, oversimplified or distorted. As a corrective action, our work seeks to amplify the stories of adopted people and first/birth parents while creating space for adoptive parents to join the conversation.


The Adoption Museum Project explores U.S. adoption. Because the U.S. adopts the most children internationally and wields enormous global power, our country’s ideas and practices have an enormous impact on families around the world.

Domestic adoption includes adoptions arranged through foster care, private agencies, lawyers and facilitators as well as kinship, second parent and stepparent adoptions. International adoption includes the adoption of non-U.S. children by U.S. citizens.


Over time, we will explore adoption through diverse kinds of museum experiences: physical exhibitions, oral histories, objects, performance, art and dialogues and more. This work currently takes place in museums, other cultural venues and public spaces. Online content complements and amplifies our place-based work. When we have enough support, we envision building a physical museum dedicated to adoption.

Our work is highly collaborative. We dream, build resources, create and learn with individuals and organizations in many realms including: adoption, museums and cultural institutions, arts, humanities, and social justice.

Learn about our past projects.