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The Ever Striding Polka Adoptee: My Conversation With Shelise Gieseke

Did you know that a large number of international adoptees in Minnesota were and continue to be placed with adoptive families in rural communities?  I wonder what kind of interesting customs they pick up?  Czech peasant dancing . . ?

Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Shelise, did you really grow up in a town full of Germans?

Shelise: Yes!  Home of beer, polka and 98.1% white people.  I don’t drink beer, but I do polka.

Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Wow…  When did your husband and you move out to Portland, OR?

Shelise: We moved to Oregon (Roseburg) in 2003 and Portland in 2004.

Land of Gazillion Adoptees: You’re doing some interesting adoption work in Portland.  Could you talk about it?

Shelise: Thanks!  I love to talk about Adoption Mosaic.  We are a small nonprofit dedicated to thinking and talking about adoption in a way no other place does.  We provide adoption-related education, resources and support services to what we call the adoption constellation.  We like to think of adoption beyond the traditional triad and use constellation to be able to include anyone who’s life is effected by adoption.  Some examples of things we do include, “The Adoption Constellation” our quarterly magazine with articles and essays that include the many voices in adoption.  It is truly a publication about the full-range of the adoption experience.  We also have workshops on transracial parenting, attachment and talking about adoption.  We also host a movie/discussion group for adult adoptees and groups for young adoptees to build peer support and normalize their adoption experience.  All this with dreams to do much, much more. We know there is still much to be done.

Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Nice!  What has been the most rewarding part about your job?

Shelise: The most rewarding part has been growing my adoption community.  I love having a group of adoptees I can rely on and relate to and have fun with.  I’ve had the privilege of being the first adoptee another adoptee has ever talked to about adoption.  Wow!  It is such a honor to be able to validate and welcome these people to our awesome adoptee community – including young adoptees.  What a boon it would have been if I had had older adoptees to rely on as a young adoptee, but I’m happy to work to make sure young adoptees have that support now and going forward.

Thanks for listening!

Land of Gazillion Adoptees: And thank you for all of important work.

2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. » The Ever Striding Polka Adoptee
  2. An Iranian adoptee talks socialism, academia, and the adoption crusade: My Conversation With Dr. Farnad Darnell | Land of Gazillion Adoptees

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