In a few other posts, we’ve introduced you to some of our staff. Today we’ll cover me. My name is Dakota and I am the Chief Content Officer (cool title, right?) for Adopt Connect. I’m in charge of (among other things) writing these blog posts. I also help with marketing and maintaining our website. Of all our staff, I have the least direct contact with clients; I’ll occasionally help with research for a particular case, but usually I’m more focused on producing educational materials and making it easier for people to find us. Still, I’m happy to do whatever I can to help birth families and adoptive families.
Where did you grow up?
Hannibal and Fulton, Missouri.
What were/are the major influences in your life?
My family, Aristotle & Aquinas, drama.
What makes you who you are?
My faith, my wife, my parents, and my brother.
What are your top three favorite foods?
Curry (Thai), Curry (Japanese), Chili (spicy & sweet WITH beans).
Who are your top three favorite bands/musicians?
That’s hard to say; what I like to listen to varies wildly depending on my mood. Maybe: Daft Punk, the Thelonious Monk Quartet, and Camille Saint-Saens.
What are your top three favorite movies?
Also, hard. A Raisin in the Sun, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Seven Samurai come to mind. Those are all in my top 25 for sure.
What are your favorite athletic teams?
The St. Louis Cardinals, Missouri Tigers, and St. Louis Rams.
Why did you start working with adoptions?
My mother was adopted as an infant and that is a big part of her identity, so it naturally rubbed off on me, I guess. My brother and I were definitely raised to understand that adoption is a loving choice that some parents make for the good of their children and that an a relation by adoption can be just as strong as a relation by blood. I’ve always tried to be doing something to promote adoption, and when I had the opportunity to do so full time, I couldn’t say no.
What have you found most surprising about adoptions or the adoption process?
I am still taken aback by how ignorant some people are about adoption. I know that not everyone grew up with it as a feature of their lives like I did, but still, I just can’t understand some of the misconceptions that I encounter in others. I met a few people who assumed that most adoptees couldn’t ever have a “normal” life and would prefer never to have been born. I don’t know what causes someone to think that, but I really pity the person who does.
What is most challenging about your job?
A big part of my job is to make it easier for women considering adoption to find us. That’s harder to do than it seems at first glance. For one, there’s no one place that women go when faced with a crisis pregnancy: some look for help in the phone book, others search online. You kind of need to be everywhere. Another challenge is tone: you don’t want to come across as tacky or, even worse, pushy. I have to make sure that everything we do to get our name out is balanced, so women know that we are there to offer our assistance but that we don’t want to take the choice away from her.
What is most rewarding about your job?
Knowing that something I did helped a woman know what her options really are and make the best decision for herself and her child. It’s crazy to think that some little thing that I write could end up influencing the lives of so many people and so profoundly.
If you could tell one thing to the entire world, what would it be?
Probably, “Slow down and think about what you are doing and why.”