How to Be the Adoptive Parent Your Child Needs You to Be

Adoptive parents don’t always realize that raising an adoptee comes with this extra layer of emotional work that you’re going to have to do.

Katie Biron, STAR Adoptive Parent group facilitator —

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Adoptive parent support professionals Katie Biron and Kara Andersen are my guests on this new episode of Adoption: The Long View. Both are absolutely amazing in their abilities to coach adoptive parents with wisdom and compassion.

What Adoptees Really Need From Their Parents

I worked closely with Katie and Kara, along with Angela Tucker (Ep 105) to create a new tool — a short animated video — that helps adoptive parents understand what adoptees really need from their parents.

The four of us recently unveiled our video courtesy Amara, a Seattle-based nonprofit that focuses on the needs of children within families formed through adoption.

Listen in as we:

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How to Avoid Being Gobsmacked by your 18 Year-Old Adoptee

I’ve long advocated for openness in adoption for the sake of the adopted person, the baby/toddler/tween/teen/adult who is gradually building their identity, their relationships, and their patterns for how they will move through the world.

But, as an advice column in Slate shows, openness can also save the adoptive parents from a world of hurt. Namely, of being gobsmacked by their son’s/daughter’s “sudden” interest in birth parents.

The Either/Or mindset that we inherited from the Closed Adoption Era is so strong and so prevalent. As a result of it, some parents cling to the hope that, to their child, they are the only parents. As if to confirm their bias, they assume that if the son/daughter isn’t talking about birth parents, that they aren’t thinking about them.

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Gabrielle Glaser on the Impact of Harmful Adoption Practices Then & Now

The agency branded these premium babies
that would go to premium parents.

But behind the scenes…none of those things
[the agency said] were true.

In fact, the agency routinely kept babies for at least six months in order to conduct a series of really horrific experiments on them, in order to produce the same matching I described earlier.

Gabrielle Glaser,
journalist and bestselling author
of American Baby

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Think of the Closed Adoption Era as the “Good Old Days”? Think Again.

“Closed” means a lot of things when applied to adoption. At its heart, it means that things were done in secret, realities were not faced, records were closed to forever separate original and forever families, and hearts and minds had to cauterize (close) around an unacknowledged wound.

My guest in this month’s podcast, Gabrielle Glaser, has written brilliantly about all of this in her new bestselling book American Baby.

With this Season 2 opener of Adoption: The Long View, Gabrielle and I talk about the various effects of closedness. During the Closed Adoption Era, adoption professionals were able to operate behind closed doors, in secrecy, wielding unchecked power in the dark.

Bad things can happen to vulnerable people when powerful people have that much cover.

Who Is Vulnerable in Adoption?

Certainly the “unwed mother,” cast out from her family and social circles.

Also the adopting parents, who so desperately want to build a family, often after being thwarted by infertility.

In both cases, desperation makes a person easy prey for a predator.

But perhaps the person most vulnerable in adoption is the newborn baby at the center.

Continue reading Gabrielle Glaser on the Impact of Harmful Adoption Practices Then & Now

adoption, parenting, mindfulness, open adoption