Dear Birth Mother
Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister


Chicago Public Radio, USA, 2005
TCF Winners
Family, Parenting, Race
28 44


After waiting for Mr. Right (who has yet to arrive) and experiencing years of fertility treatments, Suzanne, a single woman in her 40s, decides to adopt an African-American baby.

Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister follow her for several months as she attends workshops designed to "teach white people to raise kids of color," goes on baby-shopping trips with Mom at Target, takes part in a critical rendezvous with a young mother at a pancake house, and, finally, a magical night at a suburban restaurant chain. 

Dear Birth Mother won the Best Documentary: Gold Award in the 2005 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition. 


Together with his life and radio partner Elizabeth Meister, Dan Collison produces audio documentaries and song/stories that detail everyday life in America, work that has consistently garnered radio’s top awards. Collison began as a volunteer at a “new wave” radio station in California, eventually ending up as senior producer/editor at All Things Considered Weekend. He founded Long Haul Productions in 1995. He teaches radio workshops, has contributed to books, and was recently named a United States Artists Donnelley Fellow.

Elizabeth Meister quit her job at the phone company to volunteer for public radio show This American Life in 1998, when she started their award-winning website in exchange for a chance to learn how to make radio documentaries. Since then, her income has shrunk, but she's managed to produce and/or report stories for NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Editionand This American Life. She's a roadtripping photographer, muddy gardener, a seeker of good music, and a very proud board member of the Enchanted Highway Foundation.


Hear more audio work on this site from Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister.
Check out their production company - Long Haul Productions.