Adoption Influencer – Meet Ligia Cushman
About Ligia Cushman
Writer and speaker, Ligia Cushman, has both a professional and personal connection to adoption and approaches everything she does with a passion. Cushman has over 17 years of experience in the adoption industry, and currently serves as the Director of Adoptions in Tampa, Florida. She and her husband also adopted their son, Jaden, as an infant almost 15 years ago.
As an Afro-Latina woman married to a white man and the mother of a mixed-race child, Cushman strives to bring awareness to transracial adoption through her blog and other mediums. Her adoption-focused Instagram page, @ligiaspeaks, has approximately 900 subscribers, and her book, “Heard: How Loss Lead Us to Love,” which tells her family’s personal adoption story, has won two literary awards.
The Cushman Family’s Adoption Story
Cushman is quick to describe her family’s adoption journey as a journey of loss. She and her husband chose adoption to help build their family after suffering an emotional miscarriage.
Cushman turned to Instagram to document her adoption journey and experiences as an adoptive mother after publishing a book about her family’s story in 2019. Once she saw how much of an impact their story was making, Cushman realized how much of a platform she had and how much she could teach people.
What You Need to Know about Transracial Adoptions
As a member of the adoption triad in an transracial adoption, Cushman has a lot of experience with both the benefits and challenges of transracial adoption. With all the recent conflict with race and adoption, Cushman tends to focus on the needs of transracial adoptees when creating content, pulling from her son’s own experiences. She tries her best to be honest when writing and not hold back the truth. Cushman admits that her family has had its struggles with transracial adoption, recalling a time when a neighbor called the cops on her for having a lighter-skinned baby. Additionally, many people will assume that her white husband is her son’s social worker rather than his father.
However, in addition to educating people on the realities of transracial adoption, Cushman also strives to address the misconceptions around transracial adoption, such as the idea that black families do not adopt. She notes that there are thousands of black families that adopt, but their stories are never shared. Additionally, when people think of transracial adoption, they picture a white family with black children or a white family with Asian children. However, they never think of black or Asian families adopting white children. Cushman says that it can feel very lonely for families like hers when people don’t acknowledge their story. She finds it very important that adoption professionals remember that all races can choose to adopt, that their stories and parenting matters.
Furthermore, Cushman emphasizes that adopted children need to see them represented in their day to day lives. Taking care of a child of a different race is so much more than hair and skin color. Be sure that your children see themselves in the books you read, movies you see, and relationships they have. Seeing themselves represented allows for your child to have a better grasp of their culture.
Open Adoptions and Biological Families
Besides being passionate about transracial adoptions, Cushman is also a strong supporter of open adoptions and adoptees knowing their biological families, saying that being able to reunite adoptees with their birth parents is one of the best parts of her job. Additionally, Cushman’s son’s birth mother is very actively involved in their life. They met Jaden’s birth mother when she was about seven months pregnant, and Cushman says, “We grew to love her before we even knew him.” Having a connection with their birth parents will provide them with a better idea of who they are.
Cushman believes that adopted children, especially transracial adoptees, thrive when they know their birth families. She acknowledges that as an adoptive parent, there will always be those initial feelings of fear and concern, but not allowing your child to know their birth parents (as long as it is safe) limits your child. By limiting your child’s relationship with their birth parents, you are telling them that they won’t have enough love for you if they love their birth parents – but that isn’t true; there is enough love for everyone. Having a connection with their birth parents allows your child to better grasp who they are.
A Note from Adoption Choices
If you are an expectant mother considering adoption, we hope Ligia’s perspective of adoption has provided the hope and encouragement necessary for you to move forward with your adoption journey. Our qualified staff at Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is equipped to assist you with anything you might need. We will never turn you away because of your situation, so don’t be afraid to give us a call.
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Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is a private adoption agency, licensed by the state of Oklahoma and leader in the adoption community. We have been assisting birth parents, children, and adoptive families in Oklahoma for over 19 years. Our staff members are committed to providing an ethical, empowering, and personalized adoption experience to all involved in the adoption process. If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.
Toll-free: 800-898-6028 | OKC Local: 405-755-1999 | Tulsa Local: 918-447-7777 | Text: 405-310-8790 | Email
Meet the Author: Grace Myers is a sophomore digital media major at North Greenville University. She loves writing and hopes to pursue a career in journalism or public relations after graduating.
An adoptee herself, Grace is passionate about writing for adoption. She especially loves hearing adoption stories and getting to know a variety of people.