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Adoptees share their experiences through writing

Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Around 7 million Americans are adopted, and just like every family is unique, every adoption experience is unique. When stories are told about adoption, we tend to focus on the experiences of adoptive parents, but adoptees have their own important stories to share.

On this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with two adoptees who have been sharing their experiences. Sara Easterly wrote a book about her life as an adoptee called Searching for Mom and was inspired to create an opportunity for adoptees of different backgrounds to connect and share their voices. Easterly founded Adoptee Voicesto support this kind of storytelling, and she facilitates writing groups for adoptees.

Also in the conversation, Zhen E Rammelsberg is also an adoptee and wrote the award-winning play Black Box: An Adoption Story Choreopoem. She is also the co-host of Sick & Tired 2.0, a health advocacy podcast. Rammelsberg joined one of the Adoptee Voices Writing Groups and has found it to be a powerful experience.

Later in the episode, poet Ko Ko Thett talks about his new book Bamboophobia: Bilingual in Burmese and English.


  • Zhen Rammelsberg, playwright, writer of Black Box: An Adoption Story Choreopoem and Co-host of Sick & Tired 2.0
  • Sara Easterly, founder of Adoptee Voices, author of Searching for Mom: A Memoir
  • Ko Ko Thett, poet, author of Bamboophobia: Bilingual in Burmese and English
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Matthew was a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa