Rare as a unicorn would be the adoptive family who never heard You’re not my real mom! from their child, or Are your children related? from a nosy stranger. Or who never tried to explain to a child why they were adopted. Or who hasn’t had to figure out what to do in any number of awkward, delicate, or tricky adoption situations. Adoption-related parenting matters tend to come up when you least expect them, when you’re not ready to handle them.
To kick off Season 3 of Adoption: The Long View, we’re addressing these and other issues that — anyone would agree — being prepared for makes a HUGE difference. Not only in your confidence as a parent, but also in your child’s confidence in you, that you’ve “got it,” this parenting gig.
Here to help with tricky adoptive parenting situations is my long-time friend in the adoption online space, Barbara Herel. Barbara is a hoot, so get ready for a very light-hearted jaunt through some very serious situations.
↑ Listen right here! ↑
9 Awkward Adoptive Parenting Situations You Need to Be Ready For
Category 1: What happens between you and your child
Listen in as we help you prepare for:
1. “You’re not my real mom!” (or dad)
2. “She loved you so much she gave you to us.”
3. Isn’t it confusing to have so many parents around? Why can’t we keep it simple and closed?
4. When do I tell my child they’re adopted. And how?
5. How do we include birth parents in our child’s daily life, whether they are present or not?
6. What do you do when one child has more birth parent contact than the other?
Category 2: What happens between you and others
7. People ask questions with complicated answers, like “Does she have any brothers and sisters?”
8. People ask probing questions, like “Are they related?”
9. How to find the line between sharing and oversharing your child’s story with others.
Things get more complex as the kids get older and you share more information. So you really do have to get comfortable. You have to do the work from the beginning. That’s going to save you so much anguish.
— Barbara Herel,
Adoptive mom of a teenager and
long-time participant in cross-triad spaces,
in Ep 301 of Adoption: The Long View —
Prefer to read? Here’s a transcript (but listening is so much better!).
Show Notes about Awkward Adoptive Parenting Situations with Barbara Herel
Barbara Herel is the founder and host of Every Family’s Got One, a storytelling show – and now also a podcast – devoted to true family stories. She’s also a writer and blogger, mother and wife, and a recovering middle child (you bet she has stories to tell). Barbara’s writing credits include, Adoptive Families magazine, Scary Mommy, and Motherly. She is a contributing author to the parenting anthology Tick Tock: Essays on Becoming a Parent After Forty, and was a writer on a project very close to her adoptive mom heart – the Navigating Adoption Podcast: Presented by AdoptUSKids.
Your baby is not an extension of yourself.
Although we originally start out feeling that she is.
— Barbara Herel, Ep 301 of Adoption: The Long View —
- Instagram: @everyfamilysgotoneshow
- Facebook: Every Family’s Got One
- Twitter: @everyfamilysgot
- Barbara on Adopting.com: 4 Lessons I’ve Learned as an Adoptive Mom
- What My Adoptive Parents Could Have Done Differently by adoptee Pamela Karanova (relevant)
- Why Do We Suck at Adoption Telling? (mentioned)
- How to Avoid Oversharenting (mentioned)
- Creating a Family Cross-Triad Facebook Group (mentioned)
- When There’s No or Little Birth Parent Info to Share (relevant)
How to Tune In Regularly
You can find us on any podcast platform and on Adopting.com.
- Apple Podcasts
- Amazon Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- YouTube Channel
- Search for “Adoption Long View” on your preferred podcast platform.
A new episode comes out the first Friday of the month. Thank you for sharing, subscribing, and rating this episode!
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.
Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.