2022 Adoption Vanguard Award

Adoption Knowledge Affiliates, 2022 Adoption Vanguard Award

Recently I was presented with the Adoption Knowledge Affiliates 2022 Adoption Vanguard Award. Below are my brief remarks about the honor of recognition, and the purpose behind the “Who Am I Really?” podcast.

Thank you!

Thank you to April Dinwoodie, Marcie Purcell, Shannon Quist and the leadership and conference committee of Adoption Knowledge Affiliates (AKA) for this 2022 Adoption Vanguard Award (AVA)! Fun fact – I got the email conveying the good news before my 50th birthday so this is both a huge honor and a wonderful birthday gift!


I know that AKA provides education, connection, and support to the adoption, foster, birth family, adoptive family, and adoption adjacent communities so your recognition of my work is truly heart warming for me. Most podcasters start their shows out of a passion for something meaningful in their life and my lived experience as an adoptee and an adoptive parent are at the core of my passion. I’ve often told the incredible story of my reunion : finding Ann working two blocks away and surprising her on her birthday and, finding Bill completely accidentally on Ancestry DNA. But it was the conversations I had with other adoptees who hadn’t lived the fairy tale, very fortunate reunions I had that made me realize there are a lot more stories to tell from the adoption experience and they aren’t all great.


Damon Davis, 2022 AVA winner

Serving The Adoption Community

I set out to give the adoptee community a chance to share their full story from where each person started out to where they are now. My goal is to let everyone be their authentic self, vulnerable and honest. My joy comes from the adoptees that write to me after our interview and say how cathartic it was to share their hole journey with an empathetic listener. It makes me so happy when the occasional listener who reaches out to say the show has gotten them through a dark time, helped them navigate a part of their journey, or that a story my guest shared resonated with them.


After nearly 190 episodes I’ve learned so much about adoption than I didn’t know before this adventure started. I’ve learned adoption can be horrifically ugly and incredibly beautiful. I’ve heard how adoption can make a person or break them down. I know now that adoption is flawed but in some instances it is the best option for everyone. I know that adoption is incredibly complex and I wouldn’t be the man I am today with out it.


I’ve been lucky that other podcasters have trusted me to help them start their own shows to lift their communities voices. Jennifer Dyan Ghoston and I chatted often about her show “Once Upon A Time In Adopteeland“. D. Yvonne Rivers reached out after she heard my call for a birth mother to start what she has created, “Birth Moms Real Talk“. And I’ll support anyone else who feels called to come into this space of creating a platform for others to share their adoption journey.


Going Forward…

As the show goes forward I hope to hear from more adoptees, people of every color and faith, folks of every gender identity, and adoptees from countries around the world. I’m so grateful to this community for how we support one another. I feel so lucky that I’m trusted to bring adoptee stories to light.This is some of the most fulfilling work I have ever undertaken and I can’t thank you enough for supporting my little project of passion.

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