An Inside Look at the Experiences of Two Adoptees at Visitation


Picture of Katherine Jones (left image) and Isabel Schleper (right) via VSCO.

Sadie Grunau, Staff Writer

Visitation is a space where people of many backgrounds find the ability to thrive. It is a place where one’s life experiences can freely determine their worldviews and push them to have insightful and strong opinions. To honor the variety of backgrounds found in our school, I had the privilege of interviewing two adoptees that are now both seniors at Visitation. Isabel Schleper and Katherine Jones come from different backgrounds but both experienced adoption at a young age. 

Isabel was born in Guatemala in 2002 and her birth mother decided that she could not provide Isabel with the life she hoped for her daughter. Therefore, she set up a closed adoption with Isabel’s loving and kind parents. Isabel has three brothers here in the United States, two were born of her parents here and one was also adopted from Guatemala. Isabel says she does not think about her adoption often. There are times, though, that she wishes she could find her birth mother to see what she looks like and simply ask her questions about the whole experience. When asked if being adopted is a large part of Isabel’s identity, she said no. She rarely tells people that she is adopted or talks about being adopted because she believes it is a personal matter and prefers to keep it to herself. Isabel’s world views were affected by being adopted because she now knows that she wants to adopt one day and give a child the life their mother always wanted for them. She says that there are so many kids in orphanages and the foster care system who need our help and love. Finally, when asked if her adoption creates personal interest in her birth parents or anything of that sort, Isabel responded by saying that every once in a while, she wonders what her birth parents are like. She asks questions such as “Do I look like my birth parents? Do we share the same laugh? Or do I have any siblings?” Isabel closed the interview with a few insightful words. She says “I am forever grateful for the life my birth mom gave me. I think for anybody, giving up their child is probably one of the hardest things ever, no matter the circumstances.”

Katherine Jones was born in the United States in 2002. Her birth mother was extremely young when Katherine was born and decided to give her a better life. Katherine now has two loving parents and leads a wonderful life. When asked if she thinks about her adoption often, Katherine shed light on the fact that she has never known life any other way. She shared that she often forgets about her adoption and does not think about as much as others may expect. Katherine says that being adopted is part of her identity, as it has shaped some of her beliefs, but she does not see it as the biggest part of her identity. Katherine states “I think it makes me unique, but it doesn’t define who I am as a whole person.” Katherine’s adoption has heavily shaped her views on current issues and controversies in our society, such as abortion. Katherine respects all points of view on every topic, including abortion, but due to her adoption story, she cannot see her opinions on this topic ever changing. Katherine does have many questions for her birth parents that only they can answer. She does know a fair amount about her birth mother, as her parents have had some contact with her, but she wonders about her birth father and where he is, what he is doing, and if he would ever want to talk to her.

Through interviewing two adoptees with different adoption stories, I learned an immense amount about adoption as a whole. Visitation fosters many different types of people and allows their stories and differences to shine. It is through these different backgrounds and life experiences that we, as scholars, can learn and grow in our own beliefs and values.