ASCI Presents A Lived Experience Story ft. Dana Cralle

Each month A Second Chance, Inc. tries to share the voices of our kinship families. We are an agency who strives to provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment to children in the care of relatives or close family friends—formally called kinship care. Our goal is to truly understand our kinship families by listening to the irreplaceable insights that the lived experience of caregivers, birth parents, and children can offer to make the narrative authentic, and programming more meaningful. Moreover, as we acknowledge National Adoption Month and American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Heritage Month, we had the pleasure of speaking with current ASCI Family Service Transportation worker, Dana Cralle, who shared with us her touching adoption story and family heritage. 

Dana’s Story

Dana was adopted at two months old through an adoption agency in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At the age of four, Dana’s adoptive parents told her that she was adopted and about her origin. Her adoption was planned as her parents knew that her birth mom was considering adoption when she was pregnant with Dana. Proud of her heritage, Dana shares that her birth mother is Czechoslovakian, and her birth father is of Indigenous and African American descent. Dana is grateful to have been taught about her Native heritage as she maintains this cultural connection, sharing that she has been a member of the Council of Three Rivers Native American Center since she was a child. Her grandmother was also a board member of the Council.  

Although she was adopted, Dana’s family created a strong sense of belonging for her, never treating her any differently. While she never tells people upfront that she was adopted, Dana is not ashamed to say that she was, and uses her own lived experience to empathize with the children and families she’s proud to work with every day.  

She believes that children deserve to be loved no matter who adopts them, regardless of ethnicity, culture, or race, and shares this advice to children in care who are going through the adoption process or have been recently adopted:  

“Always know that you are loved! Regardless of any trials and tribulations they may have gone through or will go through they are loved. Understand that your birth parents (if they know their birthparents) love them, they just didn’t know how to love them the right way. It shouldn’t matter if you are living with grandma, auntie, or mom’s best friend from childhood, Love will always be there. If there are moments when you don’t feel loved, pray to god, and God will guide you.”

Dana Cralle

“Love who you are. If you are not sure who you are, seek those answers to the best of your ability. Whether it is through family members or close family friends, there is an answer to everything. Pray on it, God got you and he will help find the answers. Most importantly, LOVE YOURSELF, you can’t love anyone else until you love you.”

Dana Cralle

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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