“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.”
Wayne Mellinger, Bearing Witness as a Spiritual Practice

Bear_Witness

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. 

We need your financial support to continue offer our services for FREE and advocate for change

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]

Click "read more" to watch the person's video Testimony

Linda & Kyle

Kyle and his birth mother, Linda, share their emotional journey of reunion after Kyle’s adoption. Their video captures their feelings of shock, relief, and happiness at being reunited, as well

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Linda Russell

Linda shares about the adoption of her first grandchild. Linda and her family maintained a limited connection with him, permitted to meet once a year in public places until he

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Jamie S

Jamie shares her harrowing journey as a birth mother during the Baby Scoop Era, a period following World War II up to the Roe v. Wade decision, when many young

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Tom Lux

Tom discusses his wife Candace’s emotional journey surrounding the adoption of her son.  Her son reached out at 18, leading to a reunion, but communication dwindled over time, causing distress

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Lorraine Dusky

Lorraine is a birthmom and an award-winning journalist, editor and author who prefers to write stories that will make a difference. Her controversial memoir, Birthmark, published in 1979, was the

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Marcie Keithley

Meet Marcie, co-founder and vice president of the National Association of Adoptees and Parents and birthmom.  In reunion since 2008, she co-founded Indiana Adoptee Network and testified multiple times throughout the years

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Alicia Williams

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 remained uninvolved and unengaged in

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Lorah Gerald

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 gladly raised her. As the

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Susan Stidd

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 until a 2014 DNA test

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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 was celebrated by her adoptive

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Cathy Koley

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, launched her journey to discover

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Rick Wertz

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 he had not experienced. Decades

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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 story and black-market baby discovery.

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Carla Barnes

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 father. Here’s the story of

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Debi Baldwin

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 very soon the door to

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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 Italian and aboriginal.  Filmed: 4/01/2023

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Lynne Spencer

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 her. Her parents had experienced

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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 discovered a family photo that

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Chris Thomason

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 Roots Summit https://vimeo.com/830289077/25759e5aaa

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