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About The Adoption Paradox

‘The Adoption Paradox: Stories of Loss, Love and Healing Told by Adoptees, Parents and Birthparents’ is an ambitious book started by Jean Widner, an adult adoptee, to explore the current and historical culture of American adoptions through the lens of different perspectives. She has cultivated interviews with adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents and provides perspectives on the good, the bad, and the everywhere in between. Yes, it is a collection of stories, but it is this country’s truth when it comes to how children are treated and raised, as well as sexual suppression and its revolution.
A paradox means that there are seemingly opposite and dual realities. Adoptees are rescued, repaired, loved, rejected, celebrated, abandoned, made to feel special, made to feel less than. Adoptees are both grateful and angry. Adoptees are different from everyone else, and yet they are the same.
Over the centuries, adoptee children have been stolen, sold, loved, wanted, abused, made into indentured servants, used as farm hands, and honored with wealth, education, and opportunities that their native birth families could never have afforded them. This isn’t simply my story. This is our story. This is where American adoption started, evolved – and yet failed at the same time. It’s the truth of select people doing the best they can in life, some seeking answers – others seeking healing – and many who simply want their voices heard. This book isn’t as much my story but the truth of many…

Jean Widner was born at the Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital for Unwed Mothers in Spokane, Washington. She graduated from Central Washington University in 1987 with a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Fashion Merchandising.

With a background in retail, Ms. Widner owned two successful e-commerce retail companies, which she sold to pursue her passion for writing and living a larger purpose than just selling ‘stuff’. Widner amplified her e-commerce knowledge and created an online content and marketing services company while also developing, a social-based website that is Southern Nevada’s prominent small-town news source.

Developing her reporting skillset paired with her love for writing and creative content creation, Ms. Widner quickly became the “go-to” source with for news verification relating to government affairs, public interest stories, and special events within Boulder City, Nevada. Additionally, she launched a local authors series which fosters a publicity platform for independent books.

She currently lives in Boulder City, NV, when she is not traveling with the love of her life and her two golden retrievers. Further, her ambitions have left her with a love for education. She aims to share her expertise in marketing with other local entrepreneurs wherever possible and apply those same skills into the marketing of this project.

While Ms. Widner is now a seasoned media member, her book “The Adoption Paradox: Stories of Loss, Love, and Healing Told by Adoptees, Parents, and Birthparents” will be her debut piece. 

She is currently a member of the Boulder City Sunrise Rotary, Lions Clubs International, Boulder Business Development, Boulder City Chamber of Commerce, Henderson Writers Group, and Southern Nevada Writers Group.


The book is heavily researched through the help of two amazing young ladies who share the author’s vision for the storytelling structure within the book. Stories make things real. But behind the topics in the book are real pressures that touch on politics, economics, and the struggles between race, class, gender roles and the conflicts both within the United States and beyond. Their help is and continues to be invaluable. Meet them below: 

Alana Bayless Researcher Adoption Paradox

Alana ‘Zhen’ Bayless

Alana “Zhen” Bayless started working with Jean Widner on ‘The Adoption Paradox: Stories of Loss, Love and Healing Told by Adoptees, Parents and Birthparents’ in August of 2022. Zhen conducts literature reviews and research on various topics associated with “The Adoption Paradox.” Topics she extensively researched include the psychological impacts of adoption for adoptees and birth parents, state adoption laws and court cases,  U.S. adoption history, late discovery adoptees, and re-homing adoptions. Currently, Zhen is a senior at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas. She will be graduating in the Fall of 2023 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. Zhen’s post-graduation plans are to pursue a Master’s in Social Work and become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She aspires to provide counseling services to communities of color to help them heal their past traumas and break generational curses.

Sadie Hinson

Sadie Hinson is entering her senior year at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Political Science. Since childhood, Sadie has loved answering complex questions and has had a passion for research. She has worked with children for over five years in various contexts, most within the nonprofit sector. Her academic and professional experiences have drawn her strongly to children’s advocacy, particularly surrounding the foster system. Researching for The Adoption Paradox has allowed her to utilize her skillsets, knowledge, and passions to help elucidate an incredibly complex topic.