AMP S3E3: Nontraditional Adoptions - Brandy Shioyama, Gerardo Yañez, & Kanya Carlson

I say in the podcast intro that every adoption story looks different, and that is obviously very true, but some adoption stories look WAY different and come about in wild and crazy ways. That’s what this episode is all about! I got to interview 3 different adults who have 3 very different adoption stories.


First, I want to introduce you to the amazing and dramatic story of Brandy Shioyama. Brandy was raised partly by her mother, partly by foster parents, and partly by who she considers now to be her parents. She was never formally adopted while she was living in their house, but in an amazing turn of events, she got to become legally theirs as an adult.


Photo Credit: Alyssa Bogard

Photo Credit: Alyssa Bogard

Next up, I got to interview Gerardo Yañez, who is a big part of my real life too! After providing a pretty rough upbringing, Gerardo’s parents moved back to Mexico after he graduated high school. While he still considers them to be his parents, he had to grow up pretty quickly when he turned 18 and suddenly had no family around. Instead of becoming distant and a loner, so to speak, he had a select few friends’ families take him in and consider him their own. He attributes much of the way he has turned out to their making him feel like he belonged and was wanted.

Above are photos of some of the couples that Gerardo considers his adoptive parents.

Finally, I get to showcase Kanya Carlson. Kanya and her husband Ty are high school sweethearts have 4 kids of their own and are occasional respite parents for their foster parent friends. Kanya is also the Children’s Ministry Director at her church, so she gets to help raise lots of kids in that capacity as well.

Kanya was never formally adopted by who she considers to be her parents, but they helped raise her and “adopted” her in the midst of one of the hardest seasons of her life. They are now her kids’ grandparents and continue to stand by her as she rides out adulthood.

Kanya with her adoptive family.

Kanya with her adoptive family.

I can’t wait for you to hear all of these amazing stories! Be sure to tell me which one resonates with you most!

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  • Kanya on Facebook. Kanya on Instagram. Kanya as a Childrens Ministry Director.

  • Gerardo on Facebook. Gerardo on Instagram. Gerardo is a travel agent! Buy a vacation from him here!

  • Brandy on Facebook. Brandy on Instagram. Buy Jewelry from Brandy here!

  • Grace Haven Ministries offers support and services for adoptive families in the trenches. I can say this from personal experience. We were at the end of our rope with this business and Grace Haven's director of counseling services was at our house within an hour... FO FREE. She talked us off the ledge and provided us with some great resources for moving forward. Seriously, reach out to them with your concerns and struggles TODAY. Visit their website here and their Facebook page here.

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PodcastBryan Fittin