Press Release


Media Advisory: For Immediate Release

CONTACT: April Dinwoodie 212-925-4089

New York, March 7, 2014 – The Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) said today that the story of the  “Burger King Baby” clearly illustrates how important connecting with families of origin can be to adopted persons – even when their personal histories may be challenging – while also demonstrating the transformative impact of the Internet on adoption and on the millions of lives it encompasses.

Katheryn Deprill was left inside a Burger King restaurant in Pennsylvania in 1986, when she was just a few hours old. Journalists are telling her story today because she is using Facebook to search for her birth mother, who presumably is the person who abandoned her.

“Both research and experience tell us that the need to know who you are and where you come from is powerful, even when the circumstances of one’s past are difficult,” said DAI President Adam Pertman. “That’s both a significant lesson and a vital context for this extraordinary story.”

Pertman added that Deprill’s search via social media (which was suggested by her adoptive mother) also provides a dramatic illustration of how profoundly the Internet is changing the realities of adoption, making it increasingly difficult to keep secrets while making it far easier for anyone in an adoptive or birth family to search for – and very often find – each other.

DAI conducts research and provides publications on a wide range of issues relating to adoption, several of which provide perspective and greater understanding of this particular case. These include:

  • Untangling the Web I and II. In addition to having published these groundbreaking reports, DAI is now producing the first-ever guide for professionals, families and individuals on how best to utilize resources and avoid pitfalls in adoption-related uses of the Internet and social media.
  • Beyond Culture Camp and For the Records I and II. These reports, respectively, provide insights into how to shape positive identity for children who are adopted, and explain the impact on adopted persons of not being able to access basic information about themselves.
  • Unintended Consequences. This report examines unsafe infant abandonment in the United States and the implementation of so-called “safe havens” that have been created in response.

 About The Donaldson Adoption Institute

The Donaldson Adoption Institute is a unique think tank that is the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. Its mission is to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption by providing leadership that improves laws, policies and practices through sound research, analysis, education and advocacy. Since its founding in 1996, DAI has been the only organization that takes a holistic approach by considering the needs of adopted persons, birth/first parents, adoptive parents, and all their extended families. For more information, please go to