Adoptee Elena Hall on Both/And in Adoption

When I was very new at being an adoptive mom, and upon hearing from several adoptees how painful an Either/Or mindset was to them in their own adoptive families, I began to embrace what I came to call a BothAnd heartset. It has become a key principle in how I conceptualize not only adoption, but life — becoming expansive enough to span opposing sides of something.

So imagine my delight when Elena Hall reached out about her children’s book, Adoption is Both.

Elena is not only an adoptee, but she has also been licensed as a master social worker (LMSW). She shares her thoughts on adoption and Both/And here.


Elena S Hall: Life comes with disappointments & joys. There is a natural duality every day between good and bad or happy and sad. 

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“Don’t Split the Baby!” Race, Sexual Orientation & Conflict in Adoption

Conflict in adoption serves no one. Not the adoptive parents, not the first parents, and certainly not the adoptee. Adoption can pit people against each other, create winners and losers, and present impossible-to-span rifts.

Who suffers most? The adoptee is the rope in any deliberate or accidental tug of war.

Tony Hynes, an interracial adoptee, was at the center of a case that reached the US Supreme Court in the 1990s. While his case was knocked down to a lower court, Tony Hynes’ adoption ended up in a rare arrangement – joint custody between his Black birth grandmother and his two white adoptive moms.

I felt uncomfortability around the idea of me
and who I belong to most,
who I could be most loyal to.

Tony Hynes in Ep 307 of Adoption: The Long View

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What I Want to Say to the 1 ⭐ Reviewer

I discovered a 1 star review of Adoption: The Long View on a popular podcast platform. It was left the same day as Dominic’s funeral (a date which has nothing to do with this and yet everything to do with everything).

what I wish i could say to the 1 star reviewer

Doesn’t click
I don’t know what it is, but this podcast does not click for me. As someone hoping to become a parent through adoption, I find the tone of this podcast to be…honestly, depressing and discouraging. Somehow the podcasts make me feel like I’m a bad person for wanting to adopt. Adoptive parents are selfish, they cause trauma. I am eager to grow my family through adoption, and I’m eager to learn how to do it the right way, but it’s hard being made to feel like a villain for everything I’m going through to try to give a loving home to a child who needs one.

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adoption, parenting, mindfulness, open adoption