Ted Talk – Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

09 Dec


I loved the Ted Talk below when I first heard it, and intended to do a post on it.  A couple of days ago, I went back and listened to it again, and still wanted to post it,  but not only for the message Ernesto Sirolli has to say, but because it applies to how adoption is now practiced as well.

The entire adoption community, and specifically the ones in positions of power, would be well served to listen to what adoptees have to say, and then make it better.  From understanding that PAL (positive adoption language) does not help the 7 year old who has been told that her “”birthmother” loved her so much she made an adoption plan” who translates that narrative into “being loved means you are given away” or any other variation – all the way to how adult adoptees are treated, and everything in-between including the professionals, who have studies and papers that adoptees struggle in a variety of ways with being adopted.

Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

When most well-intentioned aid workers hear of a problem they think they can fix, they go to work. This, Ernesto Sirolli suggests, is naïve. In this funny and impassioned talk, he proposes that the first step is to listen to the people you’re trying to help, and tap into their own entrepreneurial spirit. His advice on what works will help any entrepreneur.

Ernesto Sirolli got his start doing aid work in Africa in the 70’s — and quickly realised how ineffective it was.


It appears though, that in the case of foster care alumni at least a few people are listening to adult foster alumni – and that makes me incredibly happy.  I do hope they explore every recommendation in Maurissa’s report below.

I want to give a hat-tip to wackyadorablefamily because I might  otherwise have missed the post and report linked below, and that would be a shame (going straight to the link, because I want to highlight the report below as well). 

The post on CCAI Senator Kerry Introduces Bill Based on Recommendation from CCAI Foster Youth Intern is well worth the time to read, but Maurissa’s full report linked at the end of the post is detailed specifically on what can be done to help youth in foster care, and I hope you grab a coffee, and read it to the end.

Both those in foster and adoption would be well served to practice what Ernesto Sirolli learned…


Posted by on December 9, 2012 in Adoption, adoptive parents, biological child


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “Ted Talk – Ernesto Sirolli: Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!

  1. sundayk

    December 9, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Thank you TAO!!!!



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