NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
James Gritter is a nationally known champion of open adoptions. He became a child welfare caseworker in 1974 in his native state of Michigan and has been practicing, writing, and educating the profession and the public about the issue of open adoption since then. In 1982 he organized the first conference on this issue, “Beyond the Shadow of Secrecy,” in Traverse City, Michigan, bringing together adoption professionals from around the US.
Gritter worked at Catholic Human Services, Inc. in Traverse City from 1976 until his retirement. He has made dozens of presentations and conducted trainings on adoption across the country since 1978.
Gritter received his MSW from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo in 1974. He earned his BA from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1972.
Significant Achievements and Awards
1999: Angel in Adoption Award, presented by Michigan Senator Carl Levin
1997: Baran-Pannor Award for Outstanding Contributions in Open Adoption
Gritter also made several television appearances to discuss adoption issues, including:
1990: CBS Nightwatch, Washington, DC
1988: Sally Show (New Haven, CT) and Giraldo (New York)
1985: 20/20 – Return to Traverse City
1984: 20/20 – They Came to Traverse City
Gritter, J.L. (2009) Hospitious Adoption. Arlington, VA:CWLA Press.
Gritter, J.L. (2000) Lifegivers: Framing the Birthparent Experience in Open Adoption. Arlington, VA: CWLA Press.
Gritter, J.L. (1997) The Spirit of Open Adoption. Arlington, VA:CWLA Press.
Gritter, J.L. (Ed.) (1990). Adoption Without Fear. San Antonio, TX:Corona Press.