Dawn Davenport: Why Adoptive Parents Need to Be Continual Learners

Adoptive parenting has this in common with regular old parenting: just when you start to feel like you’ve mastered a stage, like babyhood, toddlerhood, tweenhood, or beyond, your child keeps growing and enters a new stage. And you’re back at square one, learning the ropes all over again.

This is why it’s so important, all along the journey, to update and refresh your parenting credential — or at least the knowledge behind it. Sure, you can do this the hard way, as we all do, with the school of hard knocks. But do you really want to start from scratch with every new thing?

I didn’t. I wanted as many heads-ups as I could get. Creating a Family came on my radar early in my journey, and 15 years later, it is still a top resource for me and for others living adoption. For one thing, it offers a wealth of educational content on its website and through its podcast. And for another, it has a vibrant and well-moderated Facebook group that avoids being an echo chamber of similar voices that somehow narrow each other’s views rather than expand them.

An unconscious expectation some adoptive parents have is this:

If we’re good enough parents,
the adoptee will not have an interest in or need to think about their birth parents.

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Rebecca Ricardo: 3-in-1 Genuine Adoption Sage

Welcome to Season 4 of Adoption: The Long View podcast!

I owe a great deal to this month’s guest, Rebecca Ricardo. Earlier in my parenting journey, when my children were 8 and 10, I attended a conference in Richmond, VA, organized by Rebecca, called the Open Adoption Symposium. Not only did I get to learn from experts who delivered the keynotes and workshops, I also got to meet several of my online friends who were also trying to make sense of that still-new thing, open adoption.

So I’m paying the favor forward. Now YOU get to hear from Rebecca Ricardo. Damon Davis of the Who Am I Really? Podcast, calls Rebecca “the adoption constellation in one woman” (shout out, Damon of ep 303!). Rebecca is (1) an adoptee, (2) a birth mom, and (3) a social worker who prepares adoptive parents to enter into adoption with open hearts and open minds.

Some adoptees don’t begin trying to understand their adoption experience until their 60s or 70s. They live their whole life with blinders on. “It’s great! It’s all great.” But it’s a survival skill, right? For a long time, we need to believe it’s all okay, because the other side of that is terrifying.

Rebecca Ricardo, adoptee, in Ep 401 of Adoption: The Long View

Here’s more about Rebecca.

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Winter Solstice & the Dance of Duality

The sun stands still.  And then it reverses.

The stillness happens at 2:47p MT on the day this post is published. I sit at my desk on the morning of darkest day of the year, wanting to root down, to burrow into the dark and shield myself from the cold, to rest and see what may germinate when light returns.

winter solstice, summer solstice

Each summer and winter solstice, I think back to a class I took while I lived in Japan. I filled my weekends that year dabbling in shiatsu, cooking, Japanese language, an obscure martial art that I can’t recall now, and macrobiotics.

I’ve remembered the most about the macrobiotics class. As the sensei introduced us to he way of life (the Tao), he explained a few fundamentals. The one that goes with solstice, in my mind, was this:

When something reaches its zenith, it begins to become its opposite.

This, to me, is profound. We reach the peak of summer, and we then head toward winter. Once the darkest part of the night passes, day advances.

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open adoption expert, educator, writer, podcaster, speaker