American RadioWorks |
Having slept poorly the night before and arrived to a cold classroom Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School student Irvin Kingbird, a senior, curled up with a blanket and pillow in the corner of the resource room to rest and get warm Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2014, at the Bug High School in Bena, MN.   Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune.

Exposing Conditions at Native Schools

There are 183 federally-run Bureau of Indian Education schools in the nation, and about a third of these are in poor condition. Some students at BIE schools deal with poorly-insulated classrooms, holes in the roof, rodents, and other issues on a daily basis.

Recent Posts

  • 04.29.15

    Green Teachers

    A generation ago, if you walked into an American classroom, you’d likely find a veteran teacher who'd been on the job for 15 years or more. Today you're more likely to find a brand-new teacher – someone who's been the job for a year or less.
  • 04.22.15

    The First Gen Movement

    Over the past decade many elite colleges have taken great strides to admit low-income students, but there are unanticipated financial and cultural barriers to fitting in on campus that can’t easily be solved by merely giving students a foot in the door. Questions of class differences have spurred a nationwide movement of “first generation” student clubs on college campuses.
  • 04.15.15

    The Lost Children of Katrina

    In the year following Hurricane Katrina, 30 percent of displaced children were either not enrolled in school or not attending regularly. Today, Louisiana has the nation’s highest rate of young adults who are neither in school nor working. And researchers are starting to ask: could the widespread gaps in schooling after Katrina be the reason?
  • 04.08.15

    Saving a Women’s College from Closure

    Last month the board of Sweet Briar College announced that the school will shut its doors at the end of this term, due to financial difficulties. The announcement was made abruptly, sending the campus community into a state of shock... and then activism.

American RadioWorks |
Having slept poorly the night before and arrived to a cold classroom Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School student Irvin Kingbird, a senior, curled up with a blanket and pillow in the corner of the resource room to rest and get warm Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2014, at the Bug High School in Bena, MN.   Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune.

Exposing Conditions at Native Schools

There are 183 federally-run Bureau of Indian Education schools in the nation, and about a third of these are in poor condition. Some students at BIE schools deal with poorly-insulated classrooms, holes in the roof, rodents, and other issues on a daily basis.

Recent Posts

  • 04.29.15

    Green Teachers

    A generation ago, if you walked into an American classroom, you’d likely find a veteran teacher who'd been on the job for 15 years or more. Today you're more likely to find a brand-new teacher – someone who's been the job for a year or less.
  • 04.22.15

    The First Gen Movement

    Over the past decade many elite colleges have taken great strides to admit low-income students, but there are unanticipated financial and cultural barriers to fitting in on campus that can’t easily be solved by merely giving students a foot in the door. Questions of class differences have spurred a nationwide movement of “first generation” student clubs on college campuses.
  • 04.15.15

    The Lost Children of Katrina

    In the year following Hurricane Katrina, 30 percent of displaced children were either not enrolled in school or not attending regularly. Today, Louisiana has the nation’s highest rate of young adults who are neither in school nor working. And researchers are starting to ask: could the widespread gaps in schooling after Katrina be the reason?
  • 04.08.15

    Saving a Women’s College from Closure

    Last month the board of Sweet Briar College announced that the school will shut its doors at the end of this term, due to financial difficulties. The announcement was made abruptly, sending the campus community into a state of shock... and then activism.


Adoption stories


Jean Erichsen
The Woodlands, TX

Birth Country: Colombia
Decade of adoption: 1970s

My husband, Heino Erichsen, and I were the first to adopt a baby in Colombia and to pave the way for thousands of singles and couples to find children in Latin American countries.

During our personal quest to adopt, we had to think on our feet: we battled our way through the adoption process by figuring out the state and foreign adoption laws and puzzling out the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Service.

Our two months of frantic effort culminated in the placement of twin baby girls at Casa de la Madre y el Nino in Bogota, Colombia. A Colombian friend of mine had located the babies; the agency sent us their names and birthdates, but nothing else. We didn't even know what the expenses would be or how long we would be abroad. Yet we "bonded" to that bit of information and made plans accordingly. Our friends and relatives told us we were taking too many risks and shook their heads. As I look back at it now, I'm glad we threw caution to the winds and followed our hearts.

One of the most memorable days of my life was when the ladies at the orphanage brought gorgeous Spanish/Indian babies dressed in long christening gowns. They cooed, smiled, and stole our hearts. The process was far from done at that point; we still had to get through the Colombian court system and U.S. immigration. My husband and I were nervous wrecks, fearing that something would go wrong. Our protective maternal and paternal instincts were maxed out until that wonderful day when our plane was in the air and headed for Miami.

Our personal mission to adopt became a mission to help others. I could never forget the faces of abandoned children, some as young as two, trying to earn a living on the streets of Bogota. For the next six years, my husband and I shared what we learned about the process with others, as volunteers for adoption agencies in Minnesota. In 1981, we opened the first international adoption agency in Texas, Los Ninos International Adoption Center. Since we began serving families throughout the United States, we have placed over 2,600 children.

Today, one of the twins is the Executive Director of the agency and we have direct adoption programs in Asia and in Eastern Europe as well as in Latin America. My husband and I are still involved as consultants and continue to develop new programs and write adoption information. Both of us feel great satisfaction in the knowledge that a lot of children have loving families, thanks to our efforts.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks |
Having slept poorly the night before and arrived to a cold classroom Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School student Irvin Kingbird, a senior, curled up with a blanket and pillow in the corner of the resource room to rest and get warm Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2014, at the Bug High School in Bena, MN.   Photo: David Joles, Star Tribune.

Exposing Conditions at Native Schools

There are 183 federally-run Bureau of Indian Education schools in the nation, and about a third of these are in poor condition. Some students at BIE schools deal with poorly-insulated classrooms, holes in the roof, rodents, and other issues on a daily basis.

Recent Posts

  • 04.29.15

    Green Teachers

    A generation ago, if you walked into an American classroom, you’d likely find a veteran teacher who'd been on the job for 15 years or more. Today you're more likely to find a brand-new teacher – someone who's been the job for a year or less.
  • 04.22.15

    The First Gen Movement

    Over the past decade many elite colleges have taken great strides to admit low-income students, but there are unanticipated financial and cultural barriers to fitting in on campus that can’t easily be solved by merely giving students a foot in the door. Questions of class differences have spurred a nationwide movement of “first generation” student clubs on college campuses.
  • 04.15.15

    The Lost Children of Katrina

    In the year following Hurricane Katrina, 30 percent of displaced children were either not enrolled in school or not attending regularly. Today, Louisiana has the nation’s highest rate of young adults who are neither in school nor working. And researchers are starting to ask: could the widespread gaps in schooling after Katrina be the reason?
  • 04.08.15

    Saving a Women’s College from Closure

    Last month the board of Sweet Briar College announced that the school will shut its doors at the end of this term, due to financial difficulties. The announcement was made abruptly, sending the campus community into a state of shock... and then activism.