Meet Libby Ethridge, our Central PA Office Manager! Her family’s transparency about she and her sibling’s international adoption drives her to spread awareness about the adoption process through the eyes of the adoptee. Read on to find out more about her adoption story and how she helps clients, family, and friends!
Can you tell us more about your personal adoption connection?
I would love to share my adoption story. All three of my siblings and I joined our family through adoption. My older sister, older brother, and I were all adopted from Korea; I was three years old at the time of my adoption. My parents also adopted an infant from Erie, PA a month before they picked us up from Philadelphia! Now, my older sister and brother-in-law are in the process of adopting in Florida and have been matched with an expecting mother. Adoption has marked my whole life, and I am so grateful.
What was it like growing up with siblings who were also adopted?
Having been adopted internationally, there were hurdles my older siblings and I experienced togehter like language, food, and culture; as non-infants, we had memories of where we came from and our life prior to arriving in America. My parents presented being a transracial family as normal; they always expressed how we were a family; all of us.
As someone who was adopted across racial lines, what would you want families considering transracial adoption to know?
I would want them to know that there will be challenges that they and their child will face, but it is truly worth it. When their child faces questions or prejudices from others, they should validate those questions and concerns by listening. I always encourage counseling and gaining as much knowledge from other parents who have adopted transracially as possible.
How did your parents talk with you and your siblings about adoption?
Since we were older during our adoption process, we always knew we were adopted, so that was never a secret or something they hid. My parents were always so proud of all of us all being adopted. We would celebrate National Adoption Day when we were younger, and my parents were proud to share the story of how we became a family.
What advice were you able to pass along to your sister and brother-in-law during their adoption process?
I think that aside from giving advice, I had a deeper empathy for their process because of my work with families through AFTH. Realizing the time, energy, and emotional strength it takes to go on the adoption journey made me want to support them financially, listen as they struggled through uncertainty, and share the success stories to hopefully encourage them.
How has being an adoptee influenced your work at AFTH?
Being an adoptee influences my work here because I understand the longing of our clients to build a family of their own. In my interactions with adoptive parent, it motivates me to give them the best available resources, so their adoption process is a wonderful, strengthening journey. It has also influenced the way I think of our birth parents because I personally know that every birth parent’s story and reasons for placing are different.
Thank you for sharing such a unique perspective on the adoption process, Libby!