Hi! I am Jeff, and I am an adoptee. I’ve been working on a project photographing adoptees and sharing their stories. It’s called the ‘Innocent People’ project, as we are all the innocent byproduct of adoption.

The photos are an ongoing series aiming to change the narrative: get our stories out there, help adoptees ‘out of the fog’ and to better understand our ‘Chapter One’ and it’s impacts on our lives going forward.

There is healing in sharing.

And although our stories are unique and varied, they all share common threads.
It’s a journey to the center of self.

April Dinwoodie 1920 1280 wordadmin

April Dinwoodie

In October of 1971, April’s mother of origin, Helen June, a 33 yr old single mother of three, gave birth to and named her June Elizabeth.  June was her maternal grandmother’s first name – everyone called her “June Bug”. Soon after she was born, she was placed in temporary foster care while Helen took some…

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Brad Ewell 2250 1500 wordadmin

Brad Ewell

Brad Ewell is adopted. + While this story began in 1970, it didn’t start for me until March 15, 2019.  My wife, Pam, and I were out for a lunch date.  She had been talking with a woman who had reached out through Ancestry trying to figure out how I was related to her.  I…

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Brian Stanton 2250 1500 wordadmin

Brian Stanton

Actor Brian Stanton was born, adopted & raised in Kansas City. At age 23, he reunited with his birth mother. Upon reuniting, she shared the dark possibility that Brian was most likely born from a non-consensual situation with 3 boys in high school. After 10 years of living with monster fantasies of a rapist father,…

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Chris Thomason 1920 1280 wordadmin

Chris Thomason

Chris was adopted around age of 4 – 4 ½ years old, number “3” of 4 kids in the adopted family. 10 months after he was adopted the adopted father suddenly died at age 30. He was removed by the county and eventually ended up with the adopted father’s younger brother (Chris’s uncle) for 2…

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Chris Valdheims 2250 1500 wordadmin

Chris Valdheims

In 2009, during a late-night internet search, Chris Valdheims discovered a website dedicated to his grandfather – Latvian geometric artist and philosopher Zanis Waldheims. Since being adopted from foster care at seven years old, Chris knew little about what had happened to his biological family. The site he found held many answers – but raised…

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Dan Matthews 1920 1280 wordadmin

Dan Matthews

Dan Matthews is a Korean-Adoptee from Southern California, currently based in Los Angeles.  Dan has been lucky enough to work as a musician most of his life, performing as an indie rap artist. Most of his songs are about identity, love, and life – inspired by much of his adoption experience. Dan is also a…

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Eden Alpert 2250 1500 wordadmin

Eden Alpert

Eden Alpert was born in May of 1966 during the Great Baby Scoop era. She was adopted through Vista Del Mar, which was, at the time, an all Jewish Family and Child non-profit service agency. She was blessed to be chosen by a family who knew they wanted a little Jewish girl. Many might think…

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Elisa Nickerson 2250 1500 wordadmin

Elisa Nickerson

Elisa Nickerson was born in Connecticut in 1971. Her relinquishment and adoption were handled by Catholic Charities. All information about her birth parents,original birth certificate, foster care for her first 3 months were all sealed and remained unavailable for most of her life. Elisa was adopted and raised by loving parents who were open and…

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Jeanette Yoffe 1920 1280 wordadmin

Jeanette Yoffe

Jeanette Yoffe is a foster-adoptee from New York. She was raised in the New York State Foster care system from ages 15 months old until 7 years old. It was deemed unsafe for her to remain with her first mother, Celia, due to mental illness and she went to live in a foster home on…

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Jenni Alpert (Cami) 2560 1707 wordadmin

Jenni Alpert (Cami)

Jenni Alpert (aka birth name Cami) is a singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist born in Los Angeles, CA. Jenni spent four years in foster care prior to being adopted into the Alpert family. She started to sing and play piano while in various foster homes and then with the support of her adoptive family, she…

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Krista Cain 1920 1280 wordadmin

Krista Cain

Krista was born January 26, 1974 and adopted out of Children’s Home Society in Oakland, CA. by Robert and Patricia Meinbress. They had one biological son, Eric, but because of Patricia’s type one diabetes, she was advised not to birth another child. Krista had a beautiful childhood on a small farm in Lafayette, CA., with…

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Lois Keller 1280 853 wordadmin

Lois Keller

“Beauty is a manifestation of secret natural laws which, otherwise, would have been hidden from us forever.” Goethe    Nature vs. Nurture is my reality.  I’m an artist, born in 1968,  adopted into a loving midwestern family in 1969.  I am a secret to some, with non-identifying paperwork, yet it’s how I identify myself today. …

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Louise Browne 2250 1500 wordadmin

Louise Browne

Louise Browne is adopted. A Baby Scoop Era baby, she was born Tiffany Lyn in 1968. She spent a few days with her biological mother (age 19), before being relinquished. Louise was adopted into a loving home outside Denver, Colorado and has one older brother who was not adopted. (Louise and her brother are very…

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Magda Rivera 2250 1500 wordadmin

Magda Rivera

Born in Manhattan, Magda Rivera was sent to Puerto Rico to be adopted by a Puerto Rican couple. It was considered an international adoption. Her birth mother had requested she be sent to Puerto Rico where she thought her biracial baby would “blend in.” At 27 prompted by heart condition and living in Los Angeles,…

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Mark Chow 2250 1500 wordadmin

Mark Chow

I was always an outsider – both inside of my home and outside in the world. Raised in the Bay Area suburbs, we were among the first Chinese Families to move into the small suburb of Moraga in the early 70’s. We treaded carefully as we navigated the 97% white community. At about age 6…

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Mindy Stern 2250 1500 wordadmin

Mindy Stern

Mindy Stern was born in 1968 in New York City and adopted through the infamous Louise Wise Agency (Three Identical Strangers). The agency told her adoptive parents that Mindy’s first mother kept her for 3 months before realizing she couldn’t handle single motherhood. In 1992, Mindy began to search for her first parents, but due…

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Nicole Rademacher 2250 1500 wordadmin

Nicole Rademacher

Nicole “Nic” Rademacher is a transcultural (Caucasian American/Mexican) adoptee, artist, and art therapist. She was adopted into the Rademacher family at 2 months and 13 days. When she was 25, she started the search for her biological family. Just 2 months later (and after she turned 26), she found out that her birth parents had…

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Rob Bilensky 2250 1500 wordadmin

Rob Bilensky

Robert Jeffrey Bilensky was born August 21, 1968 in Yonkers, New York. Born into a family consisting  of his two parents, Gerald and Nancy Bilensky as well as an older adopted brother. While still a baby, his family relocated from New York to Moraga, California. Against a seemingly idyllic backdrop of a rural small town…

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Roslin Real 1500 2250 wordadmin

Roslin Real

Roslin Tamsine Real is an actor & trans-racial adoptee living in Redondo Beach, CA. The name on her original birth certificate is Lela Elizabeth Balli, after which her adoptive parents named her Caitlin Elizabeth Staebell. Upon learning more about her multiple birth names later in life, she decided to choose a name that inspired her…

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Santana Dempsey 2250 1500 wordadmin

Santana Dempsey

Santana Dempsey was taken away from her biological mother Sandy at the age of three alongside her younger sister Gala for child neglect and placed into the foster care system. Their biological father Juan Manuel abandoned them months prior and has never been heard from again. Santana spent over three years in a foster home…

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Sarah Reinhardt 2250 1500 wordadmin

Sarah Reinhardt

Sarah was born in 1965 in St. Louis after her first mother’s water broke on the ascent out of JFK, spending the two-hour flight in labor. Sarah would later find out that her first mother, Tilda, was also adopted. Tilda’s adoptive mother was on the plane and when Tilda gave birth, refused to let her…

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Shanta Loecker 2250 1500 wordadmin

Shanta Loecker

Shanta Loecker (named “Pooja” at the Kolkata orphanage), was born in 1983, somewhere in Bengal. The narrative she learned as a child was based on a fill-in-the-blank petition used to buy & sell hundreds of babies by the International Mission of Hope Society from 1977 to 1999. The petition begins, “The child known as [insert…

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Shepherd Frankel 1920 1280 wordadmin

Shepherd Frankel

Shepherd Frankel is adopted.  Raised with other adopted siblings he looked nothing like, he insisted his parents look for his biological parents. As that didn’t happen for young Shepherd, his thirst to find his roots continued to grow and when he was 22 he told his parents he wanted to find his biological parents. They…

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Sinead Phelan 2250 1500 wordadmin

Sinead Phelan

Sinead Phelan is adopted. She was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1978 ,she was given to her adopted parents at 3 months old. She was raised with an older brother who was also adopted, and with whom she is incredibly close. She and her brother knew from a young age. In her teenage years, curiosity…

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Tia Zoldan 2250 1500 wordadmin

Tia Zoldan

Mark Twain quoted- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Being adopted, your life is a mystery, it’s an endless battle of why and how and what really happened. Always questioning, how did I get here and why?  Why did I…

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