About Deb

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Deb’s writing explores the complex ways that people belong to (and separate from) their families. Her essays, op-ed and fiction pieces have appeared in New York Times, The Life Sentence, Foster Focus, STIR Journal, The Oregonian, Portland Tribune, Portland Upside, Manifest-Station, and Clackamas Literary Review. Her essay “Mr. Potato Head’s Secret Life” was selected for Portland’s inaugural Listen to Your Mother show in May 2014, and her essay “Skipping Stones” is included in The Truth of Memoir: How to Write about Yourself and Others with Honesty, Emotion, and Integrity. Deb’s essay “Waiting at Windows” appears in Blended: Writers on the Stepparenting Experience, edited by Samantha Ducloux Waltz.

Deb has been a birth, foster, step, and adoptive parent to over thirty children, and a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for another two dozen abused and neglected kids in Oregon foster care. She has extensive experience in student, staff, and community engagement; interagency collaboration; and program and conference development. She has twenty years experience providing training to child advocates, social workers, and parents. Deb has been a government bureaucrat and an electrician’s apprentice, had her voice silenced by fists and bolstered by applause. She has felt responsible for a child’s birth, and a child’s death.

She makes a decent enchilada and a mean apple pie. The truest thing that has ever been said about her was by her fourth grade teacher, “She talks too much and wanders about, out of her seat.” Deb leveraged her habit of minding other people’s business into work that has improved countless lives of Oregon’s most vulnerable children and families.

Deb finds family for those who’ve died and for whom medical examiners have been unable to locate next of kin. You can read more about her efforts at Finding Family. To inquire about Deb’s services providing family history research services for biographers, next of kin searches for attorneys administering estates, or family genealogy, please contact Deb.




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