The Modern Adoption Podcast

By Jess & Erin

June 19, 2024

Hosted by Erin Quick (Keaty), adoptive mom and Founder/CEO of PairTree, and Jess Nelson, birth mom and Community Manager at PairTree, our conversations are more than just stories and anecdotes.

We dive deep into the heart of adoption, examining the laws, available technology, and processes that shape the landscape of private adoption. Everything we talk about on this show is in service to modernizing adoption - from modernizing the laws governing adoption to creating modern access to adoption for adoption professionals, and the expectant and adopting families they serve.

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Private Adoption Trends in 2024

with Erin & Jess

Welcome to the Modern Adoption Podcast! In our first episode, we'll discuss some of the recent changes, developments, and perspective changes we've seen in private adoption, such as open adoption, policy changes, and the role technology plays in adoption.

In this episode, we touched on some of the new federal legislation recently introduced. To learn more about these important bills, and how you can get involved and show your support, please visit the National Council for Adoption Action Center.

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Modern Adoption Episode 2


California Adoption Law Recap

with Audrey DeGraaf

Today, we’re joined by Audrey DeGraaf, Director of Family Network Adoption Center in California to discuss some big changes to adoption that went into effect this year.

California Assembly Bill 120 bans adoption facilitators from operating in California and restricts the adoption professionals you can work with in California.

Commonly Asked Questions About AB 120

Hoping to adopt in California? Learn more about Audrey and the Family Network Adoption Center!

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Modern Adoption Podcast Episode 3


Talking About Adoption in Your Home

with Allison Olson, Author of Surounded by Love

In this episode we are joined by Allison Olson. Allison is an adoptee, adoptive mom, and author of the children’s books, “Surrounded by Love" and "Tell Me About My Friends Adoption."

Today we’re talking about love in adoption and how Allison’s books can help you talk about adoption in your home.

You can follow Allison on Instagram at @kidsbooksbyallisonolson and order her books on

If you're looking for the best books to include in your adoption library, check out our Ultimate Adoption Reading List, and Allison's list, An Adoptee's Top 14 Children's Adoption Books.

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The Story of Adoption in Women's History

with Erin & Jess

March is Women’s History Month and we would be remiss if we didn’t talk about the story of adoption in women’s history. This episode is dedicated to the incredible women who have made it their mission to change adoption for the better.

To learn more about the women we talked about in this episode:

Ashley Mitchell - you can find Ashley on Instagram @bigtoughgirl or online at

Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard - you can find Kelsey on Instagram @fromanothamotha and follow her advocacy work here.

(Kelsey & Ashley also co-host Twisted Sisterhood - a podcast by birth moms, for birth moms.)

Gabrielle Glaser - learn more about Gabrielle and find articles she's written or been featured in here.

Gretchen Sisson - learn more about Gretchen and find more info about her research, articles she's written or been featured in here.

Here are the books we talked about this episode:

  • The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler
  • American Baby by Gabrielle Glaser
  • Relinquished by Gretchen Sisson
  • Adoption Unfiltered by Sara Easterly, Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard, Lori Holden
  • The Baby Market & The Children Money Can Buy by Anne Moody

To find more of our must-read adoption books, be sure to check out The Ultimate Adoption Reading List.

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The Changing Landscape of Family Building

with Liz Vaysman, Vaysman Legal

Today we are talking with one of our favorite attorneys, Liz Vaysman, about the legal aspects of family formation and how family building has changed in the last few years.

We cover:

  • Embryo Donation - what it is and could it be an option for your family
  • Alabama IVF case
  • Open Adoption Agreements - do they exist in embryo donation?

Sidenote - we dive into the role of an attorney in the family-building process, and also talk about some of the big changes affecting IVF and embryo donation BUT nothing in this episode should be considered legal advice.

If you're in NY or PA and need an adoption or ART attorney, you can find Liz at Vaysman Legal.

To learn more about NCFA's legislative agenda and how to get involved, check out the National Council for Adoption's advocacy page.

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The Politics of Motherhood with Gretchen Sisson

with Gretchen Sisson, PhD and author of Relinquished

In this episode, we are joined by Gretchen Sisson, PhD and author of Relinquished: The Politics of Adoption and the Privilege of American Motherhood.

We’re going to be talking about Gretchen’s new book, her eye-opening research, and the importance of sharing a real and honest look at the birth parent perspective in adoption.

Gretchen's research and subsequent book have been the subject of numerous articles such as:

  • The Untold Stories of Birth Mothers, The Cut
  • Why is the History of Adoption So Complicated, Dame Magazine
  • Whom Does Adoption Really Serve?, The Nation

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Complexities & Considerations of Prenatal Exposure When Adopting

with Dr. Sara Silvestri, Pediatrician & Founder, the Adoption Doc

In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Sara Silvestri to discuss some of the medical considerations while adopting, specifically prenatal exposure. Dr. Silvestri is a board-certified pediatrician, and adoptive mom of 2. She uses her platform and business, The Adoption Doc, to help educate adoptive families on the medical complexities of adoption such as prenatal exposure, along with birth family medical and mental health history.

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Modern Adoption Podcast Episode 8


The Importance of Self-Care for the Adoption Constellation

with PairTree Adoption Specialist, Laurie Shelton

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and as the month comes to a close, we wanted to take some time and discuss the importance of self care for the adoption constellation.

Adoption is a journey that never ends, for everyone involved, so it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself no matter where you are on your adoption journey. In this episode we’re going to be sharing some self-care tips for adopting families, birth moms, and adoption professionals - from our own lived experiences.

PairTree Adoption Specialist, Laurie Shelton, joins us today to share her perspective as an adoption professional of 25 years and share her journey of learning the importance of self-care and protecting your own peace as an adoption professional.

Referenced Material:

  • Self-Care Tools For Adoption Professionals
  • Self-Care Tools For Adopting Families
  • Knee to Knee Post-Placement Support Groups
  • Adoptive Parent Support Groups
  • Adoption Support Groups

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Jess & Erin Erin Quick is the CEO and Founder of PairTree, and more importantly, a two-time adoptive mother. Jess Nelson is the Community Manager at PairTree, as well as a birth mother. Together, they created the Two Perspectives series to take important adoption related topics and offer both of their perspectives - from two different sides of the adoption triad.