How did I go from writing my first short story in crayon to living inside the biggest plot twist of my life (and trust me, God has written me into some BIG ones these first 40 years of life)?
I knew from an early age that books, words and stories would always be my saving grace. I remember when my parents separated and the lights got turned off in our house after my father moved out.
Me and my mother would walk to the library and she’d let me check out a stack of books. There wasn’t any time for me to be sad; I was too busy reading and making up my own stories.
Like many little book lovers of the early 80’s, I was a school spelling bee winning-Chicago Young Authors writing-Scholastic Book Fair anticipating-Book It! Pizza Hut personal pan pizza eating scholar.
By the time I arrived on the campus of U of I, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I minored in English and received my B.S. in Advertising. My post-college professional career has been....interesting.
I’ve been an editor, advertising account executive, freelance writer, blogger, corporate communications AVP, and an entrepreneur.
In between all of this I’ve been a theater and film actress, award-winning natural hair model, radio personality, event curator, and certified yoga teacher - just to name a few! As my friends often like to remind me, “Sandria is a whole mood!” I can’t argue.
As a creative I like to take the scenic route in life and I love a good backstory. I believe everything I’ve lived through and the tools I’ve picked up along the way - particularly the sudden death of my mother in 2011, a 20 year practice of journaling and being a student of yoga - helped prepare me for April 2, 2018 and the call that would change my life.
On the Monday following Easter Sunday and April Fool’s Day, standing in my kitchen, I finally made the call to my aunt that I’d been putting off for months. “Is it true that I’m adopted?” Her confirmation set in motion a search not only for my backstory, but the untold stories of other Black adoptees.
HELLO, I'M SANDRIA WASHINGTON!
𝘏𝘰𝘸 𝘥𝘪𝘥 𝘐 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦?
"My story doesn’t start with adoption. Black to the Beginning, for me, means going back to my true origin story - God’s purpose for creating me."
DR. SAMANTHA COLEMAN
Is the word "therapist" stuck to my forehead?
Apparently, it has been - from the cradle. Ironically, the name “Samantha” accurately means “God Heard” or “Listener.” So you see, I have been empathetically engaging with people and their stories for years without fully knowing my own.
At the age of 26, my mother divulged to me that I was adopted, which completely shifted my own narrative. Who would have thought that the organizations that I had worked so closely with as a professional were the ones entwined in my humble beginnings.
I invite you to use this space as an opportunity to speak and be heard, to laugh and to cry, to work and to play, to hide and seek, to search and reveal your most authentic self. I will listen to your stories with one goal in mind – healing.
On a personal note, I’m a Capricorn, an INTJ (Myers-Briggs) and a D/I (DiSC). I can drop the mic right there. I am married with two children – a girl and a boy. I enjoy a good book in my rare instances of “free time.” I shamefully indulge in reality tv whenever I get the opportunity to watch it.
Cycling is by far my favorite form of physical activity, but admittedly I have a love affair with good food and good wine. Exploring and traveling are good for my soul, and each day I am inspired to live life to the fullest and trust the process.
Dr. Coleman is currently the Director of Student Experience and Academic Advising at Adler University. She is also Core Faculty in the Department of Leadership and Applied Psychology. She is a course designer and Instructor for the University of Chicago, teaching conscious leadership and team management. In addition, she is an Executive Coach for the Center for the Creative Leadership. Dr. Coleman is the owner and Principal of a leadership coaching and consulting firm that focuses on personal and professional mastery. Her motto is “do you, but better!”
Black people adopted by Black families aren’t a silent population. We are a silenced and invisible population, within and outside of our families.