Our Address:
12200 Fairhill Road, Floor A3
Fairhill Partners Collaborative Campus
Cleveland, OH 44120

JJ Rett, Volunteer Facilitator, Shares How A Name Can Reflect Identity

Adoption Network Cleveland is fortunate to have an energetic core of volunteers. Our General Discussion Meeting and Support Group Facilitators are an especially committed group– they give their time, energy, and spirit to provide support for others through facilitating our meetings each month.

We were thrilled to have JJ Rett join this community of volunteer facilitators on June 1! JJ co-facilitates the General Discussion Meeting held every 1st Thursday of the month. This updated blog post provides additional details on JJ’s journey.

JJ Rett is a Late-Discovery Adoptee originally from Dayton, OH, and currently in reunion. Upon earning her BFA in theatrical stage management, she spent 15 years living and working in New York City. She is one of over 400,000 adult adoptees who gained access to their original birth certificates when Ohio adoption laws were reformed, thanks in large part to Adoption Network Cleveland, and has been a member since March 2015.

Using the Making Contact Guidelines provided by Adoption Network Cleveland, JJ reached out to her birth mother who flew to New York City four weeks later. She then found that her birth father's family was from Harlem, and several family members were living just down the street from her!

Although she goes by JJ now, that has not always been the case. JJ credits Betsie Norris in suggesting the very name she uses today.

“When I was born my birth mother (first mother) named me Jennifer,” she recalls. “I was referred to as Jennifer by her family and, subsequently, by my foster family. When I was adopted at 3 months old my adoptive mother changed my name to Jamie, the name by which most people know me.”

In the ten years since JJ found her biological families and since becoming a mother herself, she’s transformed into a whole new person. She writes: “To reflect my new identity, I’ve chosen a new name, one that honors all of my families and incorporates all of my selves.”

Her first name, JJ, is an acronym for her two given names– Jennifer and Jamie.

Her last name, Rett, is an acronym for the last names of her birth mother, birth father, adoptive family, and husband.

I love and feel deeply empowered by the new name, and I must give credit to my hero Betsie Norris for suggesting this name years ago. For those who don’t know, Betsie is responsible for giving me (and over 400,000 other Ohio adoptees) access to my ‘chapter one’, my story before adoption changed my life, and it’s so beautifully appropriate that she also gave a name to this whole, new person I’ve become.

Today JJ lives in Asheville, NC with her husband and three children. She is honored to join ANC in supporting others impacted by adoption.

Photo: Jennifer on the left, Jamie on the right, and JJ in the middle.

Our Meeting & Group Facilitators
It takes an individual with a patient ear, calming demeanor, and understanding heart to guide others in an exercise of listening to perspectives. For those who have attended a General Discussion Meeting, DNA Discovery Support Group, or Birth Mother Support Group, it can be an empowering and thought-provoking experience. Facilitators provide a safe space to be among those with a shared experience while exploring long-held beliefs about ourselves and other members of the adoption constellation.