Human library event in Saskatoon uncovers the many stories behind adoption


Shana Mohr’s life changed forever when she adopted her daughter in 2009.

“I’m an adoptive parent, but at the end of the day, I say I’m just a mom. She’s my daughter and we celebrate that,” Mohr said.

On Sunday afternoon, Mohr was an open book on the topic of adoption, sharing her story with others at the second annual human library event at Rusty MacDonald Library.

Mohr’s daughter lives with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

“If people are inquiring about adopting a child who has been prenatally exposed, then I can help shed some positive light on lots of the misconceptions and misunderstandings about taking on kids who have FASD,” Mohr explained.

Instead of pulling a book off a shelf, the human library allows readers to have a conversation with eight human “books,” each with their own story. Participants selected one of the human books, followed by a 15-minute one-on-one conversation.

The event was hosted by the Adoption Support Centre of Saskatchewan, with the goal of creating more awareness around adoption.

“There is a very big lack of understanding around adoption today. Things have changed a lot in the world of adoption, and I think everyone benefits when they understand more, because it does impact a lot of people,” said Leah Deans, the centre’s resource director.

“There’s so many different sides to this story. I think it’s valuable for everybody to hear the other side of it, whether you’re the adoptive parent or the birth parent,” said Shawna Jardine, one of the human books at the event, who is also an adoptee and an adoptive parent herself.

The Adoption Support Centre estimates six out of 10 people will be connected to adoption some way throughout their lifetime.

“It really helps to create an environment where people can learn,” Deans said.

“It can help to dispel myths and minimize stigma.”
For Mohr, it’s a way of giving back something she wishes she had access to when she was going through the adoption process.

“I remember calling and saying [that] I would love to talk to someone going through the same experience. I didn’t have that, so I think that’s why I’m pretty open with our story,” she said.

“If I can bridge that gap for someone else and show them it’s not a scary thing — ‘This is what you can expect and look at the outcome’ — I think it’s pretty amazing.”

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