ARROW AND ROOT [S4E9]
In this episode of ADOPTION NOW:
Mallory Fogas talks about her company Arrow and Root, her half-adoption experience, and the importance of adoption profile books!
Our featured guest today is Mallory Fogas. She started the company Arrow and Root which creates modern adoption profile books.
Mallory has a passion and heart for all things adoption. She herself is half adopted and she has five adopted siblings with Down syndrome.
This is a story of how amazing it can be to say “Yes” to adoption!
To start, host April Fallon asks Mallory what it’s like to be half adopted.
Mallory states that she has started to share her story a little bit more because those who are half adopted are often under-represented in the adoption community.
When sharing her story, Mallory states that her mother had her when she was 15 years old. Her biological father was absent and her mother met a man that she dated for a few years and then married. Soon, her biological father would sign over his rights to the man Mallory now calls dad.
Mallory explains that she has a lot of the adoptee emotions that accompany the whole experience. She says she has suffered from the same sorts of trauma that are commonly internalized during adoptions.
When April asked Mallory if she thought of her dad as ‘stepdad’ or her ‘adopted dad’, Mallory says that he’s never been anything other than just Dad. April then asks her if she ever knew her biological father.
Mallory says she never really knew her father all that well. By happenstance, she met him while working at a pregnancy clinic. But Mallory says there was too much of an emotional and mental disconnect between them for any fruitful relationship to blossom.
April points out that sometimes you reach out to a biological parent, but it doesn’t work out as you planned it. She says it’s great for closure and for putting together the pieces of your story, but sometimes it’s OK if they aren’t coming over for Christmas every year. Just reaching out semi-frequently can be enough.
Mallory completely agrees with April, adding that she was able to find closure by meeting her biological father. Mallory wasn’t able to maintain an open relationship with him due to safety reasons and emotional distance, but she was glad to have a few conversations with him.
Shifting gears, April asks Mallory what her father and her sisters were like, and what prompted her parents to adopt multiple children.
After gaining a strong desire for adoption, Mallory’s mother prayed and prayed on the topic. Mallory’s father was convinced he did not want to adopt, but after five years of praying and thinking about it, his heart started to change. After special needs adoption was brought up, he allowed it to percolate in his mind. After 7 years of thought and prayer, the crucial moment came!
The moment came while her father was having breakfast at a Waffle House. A man whom he had never met came in and sat down next to him and told him: “James 1:27 ‘take care of the orphans and the widows.’” It was in this seemingly random exchange that her father realized that God confirmed what he needed to do.
He then headed home and told Mallory’s mother that they were meant to adopt a child with special needs. They soon committed to a little girl from Ukraine. As they were in the process of their international adoption, a family contacted them about a local boy with Down syndrome named Charlie. With only two weeks of time to make a decision on adopting Charlie, they ultimately decided to say yes to a domestic adoption and bring him home.
When asked by April about the little girl from Ukraine, Mallory says that her parents regretfully could not adopt her. As they traveled and met her, they soon realized that she had a lot of medical needs that her parents were not disclosed. She would need 24-hour medical care, and her parents couldn’t provide that. This mournful period did open up more opportunities for special needs adoption.
With what Mallory describes as pretty much back-to-back adoptions of kids with Down syndrome, her parents adopted domestically, and when the door opened again they adopted internationally. She currently has 5 adopted siblings with Down syndrome! To end this interview, she talks about her website Arrow and Root .
“I started my company and I feel like this is my way to give back to adoptive families by providing them my knowledge and my skills from my previous work.”
For more on her company and work on making adoption profile books, and much more details on her incredible story, listen along!