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  • Writer's pictureAdrea Tilford

From Mended Man to MNDYRR

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

Adam Starks is an author, speaker and child advocate. He is using the power of his story to affect change.

Adam and I met as freshmen in college at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA. At the age of 18, Adam had just aged out of the foster care system and with very little resources found himself attending the same Anabaptist college I had traveled across the country to attend. We knew each other first as athletes, though we did participate in EMU's freshmen orientation class together. I'm certain I did not share any of my story in that group, and if Adam did share his it is not what stuck out to me at the time. He was a track star. And he'll tell you that education and sports, a prayer that he really meant and a few committed foster parents helped change the trajectory of his life.

Adam’s first book, Broken Child, Mended Man, his memoir that takes the reader on his journey from being removed from his biological family at the tender age of 8 and his ten years in foster care as well as his journey to success and healing in adulthood.

I remember reading his book and feeling so inspired that he would share his story. I was a new adoptive mom and was just at the beginning of talking to God about my story. Adam’s vulnerability and courage were seeds planted for me to do my own work in front of me. I had worked with several children in foster care in my years as a teacher, and Adam's story helped me gain new perspective on the challenges children face when they age out of the system with no consistent, permanent adult in their lives. As I continue to advocate both as a survivor of early life trauma, a mom of children by adoption and an educator committed to serving the children whose voices have been most silenced, Adam's story continues to serve as a light in a very dark story. It takes a WE to help heal and move forward. It is an opportunity of love to join in the healing power of we for a family or child in your community.

In addition to the publication of his memoir, Adam has earned his PH.D, written and published 5 additional books, written a paper on organizational knowledge transfer that has been quoted by over 40 scholars internationally, and launched into public speaking to advocate for traumatized youth.

In this episode, Adam will share some of his story and the learning he’s gained along the way. We talk a lot about his newest adventure, an app he is launching called MNDYRR. He hopes to see this app available to all youth as a wrap-around tool that will help them find and build the community he knows they need to break the cycles of harm that keep children from finding success in society. Adam is quick to credit public education and his community for helping him make it into the 3% of youth who age out of foster care to have a successful contributing story. He (and I) want to help change that incredibly low statistic. We hope listening will inspire you in some way to make a difference too.

You can connect with Adam through a variety of social media locations!

His website is

Find his books at

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