“To bear witness to injustice is to tell a story about our world based upon firsthand observation of real-life circumstance, fueled by moral outrage, concerned for the common good and promoting social change.”
The Bear Witness Project is a powerful collection of interviews featuring those who have experienced genetic identity challenges or genetic continuity loss due to adoption, assisted reproduction, or a non-paternal events (NPE). This ongoing program operates under the non-profit organizations Right to Know and the National Association of Adoptees and Parents (NAAP). Launched in March 2023 at the Untangling Your Roots Summit in Louisville, KY, The Bear Witness Project was developed to provide a brave and supportive platform for individuals to share their unique stories. The initial response was overwhelming, with countless requests for interviews pouring in. Recognizing the tremendous need for this type of program, The Bear Witness Project was established to accommodate as many voices as possible.
The name “Bear Witness” was carefully chosen as it reflects the profound sentiment expressed by those who were interviewed prior to the project’s inception. They felt unheard and invisible, as if their experiences and perspectives did not matter. The current objective of the project is to continue bearing witness to the realities faced by individuals dealing with genetic identity issues and loss of genetic continuity. All interviews are stored on a secure server and are available for visual access. Additionally, we will offer services such as editing and social media linking for interviewees.
Our goal is to use these interviews to provide education and raise awareness on this importance of knowing your genetic identity and relatives and untangling your roots.
REquest an Interview
Kris Page Swenson is our Bear Witness Project Coordinator. We have volunteers in a few cities and are expanding as we bring on more interviewer volunteers. Please reach out to Kris to schedule your interview, volunteer to conduct interviews, or with any questions: [email protected]
Meet Alicia who grew up in an over-privileged white community, very much the over-indulged, spoiled child. She was close to her father, but her mother
Meet Lorah, one of the 4 million “baby scoop era” adoptees. She learns more than fifty years too late that a birth relative would have
Meet Susan who was told growing up that a recessive Native American gene was responsible for her skin being darker. She embraced this would-be heritage
Becky Conrad Drinnen
Meet Becky who learned at the age of 22 that she was born Laura Harms. She always knew that she was adopted, and her adoption
Meet Cathy, a “baby scoop era” adoptee, always knew that she’d been adopted. Curiosity to know who she looked like, whose nose did she have,
Meet Rick who shares the pivotal moment in his life that sent him on a journey to learn to be the kind of father that
Diana Kayla Hochberg
Meet Diana. She learned at the age of 38 that she had multiple birth certificates, but that was just the beginning of her complicated birth
Meet Carla, she’s a therapist with a long-time love of family history. A DNA test revealed that her “birth certificate father” was not her biological
Meet Debi who was shocked to learn via a DNA test that she’s an NPE with Sicilian ethnicity. Her biological father initially expressed interest but
Peter Capomolla Moore
Meet Peter from Australia who is an avid genealogist and discovered he was adoptee from an over the counter DNA test. He discovered he was
Meet Lynne. A few days after her father died, Lynne’s mother broke the news that her biological father may not be the dad who raised
Lori Wagner Knisely
Meet Lori a baby-scoop-era adoptee who for years unknowingly drove by the building where her unwed mother resided while she awaited her birth. Lori recently
Meet Chris, he’s a California-born adoptee whose date of birth is unknown because the state has no record of his birth. Filmed: 4/1/2023 Untangling Our