Meet our Founder
Debbie Murray spent 20 years searching before she found her birth parents in 2008. While her search ended with an amazing story, lasting relationships and a lot of questions answered, she understands the emotional journey adoptees travel. A psychology major in college, Debbie left behind her psychology degree in order to pursue a business career as a Technology Consultant and Leader, but always felt drawn toward finding her true purpose in life. After meeting her birth parents at age 40, Debbie started researching adoption-related issues and reading adoption stories.
Each story was compelling. Some were joyful, many were painful. All were heart wrenching.
Read more about Debbie's Story
Read more about Debbie's Philosophy for arch
Read more about the case study for the need for arch
Books on the psychological impact of adoption and eventually her own spiritual healing path, inspired Debbie to launch Adoption Reunion Healing Centers across the Globe specifically geared toward the unique challenges of the Adoption Community. The mission of the center is to provide a beautiful, safe, healing environment for all those impacted by Adoption. The goal is to be able help anyone who is struggling to find their truth, to heal past wounds, to nurture complex relationships with children they have given up, or with two sets of parents. To find truth, forgiveness and understanding where they might not have been able to find it before. To understand feelings of shame and abandonment, to understand how to get help resolving issues which will lead to a healthier life and more loving relationships.
Her philosophy of the center is to be able to meet each person exactly where they are, knowing every person carries their own opinion and their own pain and their own unique path toward healing. Our goal is to help you get a little closer to your own light.
Debbie has always thought the meeting of one's birth parents is the single most impactful and emotional days of her life. And it seemed to her that this should not be done at an airport or in a coffee shop. It brings you to your knees. It touches you to your core. At arch we plan to build centers across the country and eventually the world where these reunions can take place. Neutral, safe, nurturing environments that will have a staff to support you, no matter what the outcome. Oceanfront views, stone fireplaces, soft couches and time and space to understand your story.
In addition to reunions, arch centers will be places for weekend retreats, workshops, and conferences. Authors, Therapists, and Healers will be invited to share their knowledge, work with all members of the adoption community.
In addition to the vision of creating centers across the globe, arch realizes that the need to provide support and knowledge needs to reach every state. There are many, many grass root organizations and non-profits that are doing fantastic work across the world. There is a community of activists changing laws, a community of search organizations staffed with angles that are finding those that are lost. And they have been doing amazing work for decades. Arch foundation's goal is to have us all learn and grow with each other.
As each year passed, more and more reunions were taking place, state laws were unsealing birth records, and birth families and adoptees were finding each other. Mainstream media was telling stories in movies like Philomena and Lion. But what was missing was a place of support for those that had been impacted by adoption. Each state has various grass root organizations that formed, doing great work to change laws. Emotional support was freely given, search angels around the world volunteer their time to help reunite those that have been separated. DNA sites like 23 & me and Ancestory.com were doing DNA matches for $99.00. People were searching. People were finding. Some people were healing, some people were hurting. That is when Debbie decided that there needed to be as much social services and support 20 years after an adoption as there are available at the beginning of adoption. And while social stigmas have changed, the emotional scars of being adopted, or having relinquished a child remained in the hearts of millions. Decades of shame, and lies to cover teen pregnancies uncovered women who had never forgotten and never recovered. Birth Fathers appeared to be forgotten in the mix, and yet their suffering has been buried, impacting their lives. Adoptees have as many mixed feelings about adoption, as there are people. Adopted parents, who longed for a child of their own, are now in unfamiliar territory as their adult child searches and reaches out for their birth families. Adoption is an epic journey.
The case study for why arch sanctuaries are needed:
There are well over 6 million adult adoptees in the United States, which mean there are over 30 million people who have been immediately impacted by adoption that include birth mothers and fathers , adopted mothers and fathers. When you include the impact that this one life decision as on grandparents, siblings and other relatives, the impact could be well over 100 million people in the United States with ties to an adoption story.
Adoption is a very complex emotional human experience that was exasperated by the social practices and perceptions of post-war America. Unwed mothers were often sent away, and shame was a pervasive feeling that stayed with many of the young girls. Birth fathers were often not included in the decision to place their child for adoptions, and oftentimes were unaware that their child had been born. Adopted parents were promised confidentiality, and adoptees were told varying degrees of the truth, but as was standard practice, they were rarely told who their birth parents were.