During her career as an adoption attorney our founder Celeste Liversidge has repeatedly encountered many of the problems that plague domestic adoption today including ridiculous finder’s or “match” fees, inadequate client support, fraud and broken post-adoption relationships. After 15 years of practice, it became clear to Celeste and her team (which includes an adoptive parent, birth parent and an adoptee!), that “business as usual” is no longer an acceptable approach when it comes to domestic newborn adoption. If ethical and compassionate adoption is the goal, we need innovative solutions which leverage technology and create accountability.
The idea for AdoptMatch began as a way to increase an expectant parent’s accessibility to qualified adoptive parents and ethical adoption professionals, but quickly expanded into much more. AdoptMatch is emerging as a community of adoption professionals committed to ethical and compassionate adoptions, many of whom are frustrated by the “big business” aspect of adoption. We’re hard at work to spread the word about how AdoptMatch is connecting like-minded people who understand the importance of child-centered adoptions.
FOUNDER + ATTORNEY
Celeste is a “justice-seeker” at heart and has been championing various causes since the third grade when she made a formal demand on behalf of her student body that the lunchtime cartons of milk be served cold.
Celeste’s passion for adoption advocacy began when she volunteered as a lay counselor at a pregnancy clinic during her first year of law school.
“I count it a privilege to represent expectant mothers as they navigate the adoption process. Each time I witness a birth mother look fear in the face and commit to an adoption plan, I am reminded of the awesome power of a mother’s love. Being a part of AdoptMatch’s creation over these past two years has been an absolute blast. Positive change is afoot in the adoption world and AdoptMatch is just one more way to give adoptive parents and expectant parents access to the ethical and compassionate adoption professionals who are doing adoptions right.”
When not immersed in her work, you can find Celeste running, enjoying time with her husband Sam (also a rock-star attorney) and three lovely daughters, or planning
her family’s next travel adventure.
Jill’s heart has always been with kids: from organizing Easter Egg hunts for foster kids during law school, to driving kids from the Union Rescue Mission to school each day during a Metro bus strike before starting her work day at the legal aid clinic she ran on LA’s skid row, to teaching Sunday School, Jill’s free time usually involves something
fun, messy, and kid-centered.
“AdoptMatch’s mission of making adoptions accessible, ethical, and empowering to birth parents and adoptive parents alike makes me excited to go to work in the morning and more appreciative of the blessing of coming home to a full, noisy house in the afternoon.”
Jill’s crazy love for her own six children (a brilliant mix from 4 to 22, adopted and biological) highlights the awe-inspiring love and vision required when a mom chooses
to place her child for adoption.
Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, Annelyse moved to the U.S. in 2011 to pursue her Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary. Three years later, Annelyse spotted a very cute, fellow Fuller seminarian, from across a crowded on-campus coffeehouse and two years later they were married. Annelyse’s main gig is youth ministry, but her heart for families led her to her side gig at AdoptMatch, where she keeps the
office running smoothly and efficiently.
“What drives me? My desire is to help young people feel heard, valued and empowered. This desire logically extends to AdoptMatch where expectant parents facing significant challenges can be supported, and adoptive parents stepping out in faith, encouraged.”
Annelyse’s heart for young people keeps her weekend schedule jam-packed with activities ranging from baking sugar filled goods to outdoor movie nights and mission trips, while still finding time for her seminary sweetheart (aka Husband).
Meghan started dancing just before her third birthday and hasn’t stopped since. After growing up in Seattle, Washington, Meghan said goodbye to her family and friends to make the trek to the bright lights and sunny skies of Los Angeles on a coveted dance scholarship. She danced professionally for several years before deciding it was time for her second act: a degree in Psychology.
“Serving others as they navigate the road to adoption has opened my eyes to the beauty, pain, and bravery this journey encompasses. I am honored to work alongside such courageous and passionate individuals who are 100% committed to restoring ethics and love to the center of the adoption process. AdoptMatch is one small piece of the bigger adoption reform that is happening in this country.”
When Meghan’s not working or studying, she enjoys being outdoors (unless there’s a spa day on the agenda). She also loves hanging out with her kitten and baking, but is about as far from being a cat lady as they come. Her all natural, gluten free, chocolate-chip cookies will make you a believer.
Emily loves all things creative and colorful. Her perfect afternoon involves good friends, good food and good conversation, all set to music (preferably, some contemporary R&B).
Emily’s desire to help women going through a difficult time all started in middle school. Her heart ached for the “not so cool kids” who were being excluded by the “cool, but not so nice” ones. She realized then that a simple word of kindness or encouragement goes a long way to lift a girl’s spirits. Emily’s compassionate heart grew exponentially when she herself faced an unintended pregnancy and made an adoption plan for her baby girl.
“I try hard to meet women facing unplanned pregnancies exactly where they are and respond in love, no matter their decision. There is no easy way out of an unplanned pregnancy. Adoption is hard, but the tears can bring healing. I am living proof of that.”
Emily’s mission is to market the heck out of AdoptMatch so that every expectant parent will know she has the option to create a child-centered, open and ethical
adoption plan for her unborn baby.
Megan’s three year, cross-country trek from New Jersey (by way of Virginia and Kentucky) landed her in California where she and her husband, Mike, put down West Coast roots. Although still considered newlyweds, Megan and Mike met when they were just 13, so they already have a long history together. You could say that Megan’s interest in adoption began at birth; she is our resident adoptee and brings an important perspective to AdoptMatch. Megan has a Master in Social Work and has dedicated her career to working with birth mothers and adoptees.
“Adoption has always been a part of my story and has greatly shaped who I am today. During my time with AdoptMatch, I have come to an even deeper understanding of how important it is to keep the child at the center of each adoption. Working in this field has also opened my eyes to some of the not-so-pretty aspects of the adoption industry. AdoptMatch seeks to address those problems head on.”
Mike and Megan are self-proclaimed restaurant aficionados and always on the lookout for a new, local spot worth braving LA traffic for. They can also be frequently heard cheering at Dodger’s Stadium. Go Blue!
Shadalene, aka “Shades,” moved from San Diego to Los Angeles to attend UCLA and has been enjoying city life ever since with her husband, Paul. For as long as she can remember, Shades has been making things. Sewing clothes, drawing, wood-blocking, anyone? She’s never met a creative hobby she didn’t like. Shades’ creativity stems from a deep well of compassion, which has made her the perfect person to express the AdoptMatch vision through design.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to use my design skills to bring awareness to the realities of adoption and the hope of the adoption reform movement. My work with AdoptMatch has instilled in me a newfound appreciation for all members of the Adoption Square (birth mother, adoptive parents, child and adoption professional).”
When not creating, you will find Shades exploring L.A. with her husband, cooking, discovering new music or engrossed in phones-down,
face-to-face conversation with friends.