We’ve spent the last year trying to figure out a way to honor our late friend, Anna James.
We adopted our children from abroad and those experiences wove us together. Each of us, and so many others, have used our lived experience to help others who had also adopted internationally. There was no guide book. We relied on each other. Anna’s work connecting adoptive families and birth families in the former Soviet Union countries was pioneering. She touched many, many families.
We talked with others who knew Anna and her work, and we decided to offer this simple celebration of life memorial during November 2020, Adoption Awareness Month. Not only do we want to celebrate Anna for forging the way for others, but to also give a forum to others to say something or more broadly let others know about her passing. We also want for her family and friends to know about her important work and the quiet way she touched so many.
The last time Beth spoke with Anna, they talked about the book Anna had wanted to write for a long time. Anna founded her birth family search agency in 2002. There are hundreds of families she helped, and they had stories they wanted to share. She wanted to have others recount their adoption searches for themselves or their children. She knew first hand the emotions and challenges of adopting and being adopted. Importantly, she knew the power of a person speaking from learned experience. So, instead of a book of stories of challenge, joy and pain, we are presenting a forum for others to write down what they would like to share about their adoption birth family search journeys with Anna or other searchers.
Please join with us as we quietly, respectfully, and intentionally honor Anna James, our friend, by adding a comment on this memorial page. Karen is carrying on Anna’s dream for others. In honor of Anna, we will be launching a fund in Anna’s name to help those adoptees who would like to search for birth parents but do not have the means.
With every family we learn about who you helped, and we stand even further in awe of all the lives you touched, Anna. We miss you. We, your international adoption parent friends, are taking the baton forward in new ways to help others. Your important work will continue.
Beth, Terry, Amy, Karen
Statements from Adoptees who have received grants from the Fund :
I don't know how to express to you our gratitude for your help in getting Vitaly reconnected to his birth family. Thank you. Truly!
Vitaly has spent most of today exchanging messages with his sister and brother and I have never seen him look so light. He has seen a picture of his birth parents for the first time in 26 odd years...he looks just like his Dad! Our daughter looks just like Vitaly's Mum. It's so emotional, happy and sad but mostly we are grateful to you.
What an incredible gift.
Thank you again and forever for your and Anna's hard work. Thank you!
I just checked my email and am reading through the report right now! Thank you so so much, this is truly the best gift I've ever received ♥️♥️