Sara Easterly, Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard, and Lori Holden — 'Adoption Unfiltered: Revelations from Adoptees, Birth Parents, Adoptive Parents, and Allies'

The first of its kind—a book co-authored by an adoptee, birth parent, and adoptive parent and informed by qualitative interviews of 50 others


Third Place Books is thrilled to welcome Sara Easterly, Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard, and Lori Holden to our Lake Forest Park store! They will be celebrating the launch of their new book, Adoption Unfiltered: Revelations from Adoptees, Birth Parents, Adoptive Parents, and Allies, which reveals the candid thoughts and feelings of those most directly involved in adoptions: adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents. This event is free and open to the public.

This event will include a public signing; a panel of interviewees and early readers; books, music, and art by other adoptees; local support organizations, giveaways, and more! Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book! For the full lineup of panelists, musicians, authors, and artists, visit

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About Adoption Unfiltered. . .

Reveals the candid thoughts and feelings of those most directly involved in adoptions: adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents. Adoption Unfiltered authors Sara Easterly (adoptee), Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard (birth parent), and Lori Holden (adoptive parent) interview dozens of adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, social workers, therapists, and other allies—all sharing candidly about the challenges in adoption. While finding common ground in the sometimes-contentious space of adoption may seem like a lofty goal, it reveals the authors’ optimistic aim: working together with truth and transparency to move toward healing. Healing isn’t possible, though, without first uncovering the hurts—starting with adoption’s central players: adoptees, who are so often in pain, suffering from what the latest brain science validates as the long-term emotional effects of separation trauma. By encouraging others to vulnerably share their stories, the authors discover that adoptees aren’t the only ones in the adoption constellation who are hurting. Birth parents regularly shut down after being shut out by adoptive parents. Adoptive parents often struggle with unique parenting challenges and hidden insecurity, feeling the need to hide the fact that they are not the Super Parents they led the agency to believe they would be. Across the industry as a whole, misinformed and even unethical practices abound. Adoption Unfiltered models the importance of adults in adoption working together in the spirit of curiosity and empathy—to learn and do better for future generations of adoptees and their first and adoptive families.


Praise for Adoption Unfiltered. . .

"Easterly, Vander Vliet Ranyard, and Holden model beautifully in Adoption Unfiltered the complexities of the Both/And of adoption. As someone who has worked in the adoption industry since 1990 I know firsthand the dedication it takes to sit in community with other members of the adoption constellation (in this case an adoptee, a birth/first parent, and an adoptive parent) with the common goal of creating a body of work that is respectful and empathetic, while also critical and innovative. In Adoption Unfiltered, Easterly, Vander Vliet Ranyard, and Holden show us how it's done!"
—Astrid Castro, adoptee and CEO/Founder of Adoption Mosaic

"Groundbreaking! The rare opportunity to experience an adoptee, birth-mother and adoptive mother communicating honestly and compassionately offers a much-needed model for those navigating the inevitable tensions and joys that exist in adoption."
—Angela Tucker, author of You Should Be Grateful: Stories of Race, Identity, and Transracial Adoption

"Adoption Unfiltered is a powerful book that is based entirely on lived-experience expertise from each triad member, yet centres the adoptee. So much wisdom learned over decades by those who have made mistakes and now know better, covering all the complexities I wish everyone knew—the real truths about adoption. I highly recommend Adoption Unfiltered for anyone but especially for the adoptee and their parents, biological and adoptive—and it should be mandatory reading in adoption education and for anyone considering adoption, as it will help prevent the ongoing trauma we adoptees typically experience in most adoptions to date."
—Lynelle Long, adoptee and founding director of InterCountry Adoptee Voices (ICAV)

Sara Easterly is an award-winning author of books and essays. Her spiritual memoir, Searching for Mom, won a 2020 Illumination Book Award gold medal, among many others. Sara's adoption-focused articles and essays have been published by Psychology Today, Dear Adoption, Feminine Collective, Godspace, Her View from Home, and Severance Magazine, to name a few. Sara is the founder of Adoptee Voices and resides outside of Seattle with her husband, two daughters, and a menagerie of rescued fur-babies.

Kelsey Vander Vliet Ranyard spent several years working in the adoption field, most notably working on public policy issues impacting all adoption-triad members. Kelsey has played a part in the success of state legislation and has tirelessly advocated for current federal legislation. She's a birth mother who is passionate about raising the standards in adoption to better serve the children, mothers, and families affected by family separation. Adoption has been a monumental part of her entire life: Kelsey is the daughter and granddaughter of adoptees. She is also a co-host of the first-ever birth-mom podcast, Twisted Sisterhood. Kelsey resides in Northern California with her husband and daughter.

Lori Holden, a veteran parent of two young adults, writes at and hosts the podcast Adoption: The Long View. She's the author of the acclaimed book The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole (recommended by People magazine in 2021), written with her daughter's birth mom and featured on adoption-agency required-reading lists across the country. She has keynoted and presented at adoption conferences around the US and Canada, and her work has appeared in magazines such as Parenting and Adoptive Families. In 2018, she was honored as an Angel in Adoption(R) by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). She lives in Denver, Colorado.

Want a signed edition of the featured book, but can't make it to the event? Order through our website or over the phone, and write your request for a signature or personalization in the comments field at checkout. Please call the hosting store if you're placing your order within 24 hours of the event.

Third Place Books Events Code of Conduct: Third Place Books is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of event attendees and guest authors, during both online and in-store events. By registering for this event, you are agreeing to refrain from engaging in inappropriate behavior and harassment of any kind throughout the course of this event (i.e. racial slurs, profanity, hate speech, spam comments, etc.). Please note that any participants who engage in inappropriate behavior or harassment of any kind will be immediately ejected from the event.

For media inquiries, access inquiries, or questions about our Covid-19 policies, please email or call our Lake Forest Park store at (206) 366-3311.