Category Archives: Guest Post

How to Be a Therapeutic Parent and Make Your Home a Therapeutic Home

Have you ever wondered how to be a more adoption-competent or trauma-informed parent? Today’s guest, adoptive mom Adi Tilford, shares with you how she works to be a therapeutic parent and create for her children a therapeutic home. She has 3 questions that can get you thinking along the same lines.

heart and home therapeutic parenting

Adi Tilford on Therapeutic Parenting

The evening started out like most: kids playing, and a feeling of weekend welcome enveloping the house.

Adrea Tilford on therapeutic parenting
Adi Tilford of

Then our usual babysitter cancelled, cascading our children into chaos. Tired, my husband and I canceled our outing. Instead, we used our COVID date-night trick: the children watched a movie in one room, we had dinner outside and joined them after dinner.

As bedtime approached, one of our children became dysregulated. The child’s concern — ill-timed, unexpected, yet familiar to us — had the potential to escalate into fight or freeze or flight, any of which would shut down communication and connection entirely. In the past I might have spent the night arguing, ignoring or lecturing, locked in an unwinnable battle, failing to read the underlying need.

This time, though, I got intentional about being a therapeutic parent.

What is Therapeutic Parenting?

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Julie McGue Searches for Identity, Family, & Belonging in Her New Memoir

julie ryan mcgue, author and adoptee
Author Julie Ryan McGue

To launch the probe into her closed adoption, Julie McGue first needed the support of her twin sister. They made a pact: Julie would approach their adoptive parents for the adoption paperwork and investigate search options, and the sisters would split the costs involved to locatie their birth relatives. But their adoptive parents weren’t happy that their daughters want to search for their birth parents — and that was only the first of many obstacles Julie would come up against as she dug into her background.

Below is an excerpt from Julie McGue’s newly release memoir, Twice a Daughter: A Search for Identity, Family, and Belonging, which tells the story of her 5-year search for her origins.


The Twins

Lisa gives me a warm hug, and I introduce her to Jenny. “This is my twin sister.”

Jenny laughs and glances over at me. “About a month ago, we learned through DNA testing that we’re identical.” This isn’t a setup. Jenny and I hadn’t planned on bringing this up today.

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Author Jessica O’Dwyer: Why We Wanted Open International Adoption

When deciding which type of adoption to pursue, some would-be parents choose international adoption because they tend to be by their very nature closed. First parents are presumed unknown and not in the picture (which may not always be true). Closedness is part of the allure to some; an open international adoption with birth parents in the mix is rarely possible.

But sometimes an open international adoption is possible. Jessica O’Dwyer is a mom who was determined to find and connect with the birth mothers of her children and cultivate ongoing contact with them over the years. Here’s why and how.

Jessica O’Dwyer on Open International Adoption

Growing up, I didn’t know anyone involved in an open adoption. Granted, I’m old, and back then nobody talked about adoption, much less expanded their family configuration to include first mothers. When my husband and I started the process to adopt our daughter Olivia from Guatemala in 2002, we never discussed reuniting with her birth mother. I hadn’t known it was possible. And even if I had known, I’m not sure I would have rushed in to participate. My thoughts about reunion mostly were based in fear. What if her birth mother said the adoption was corrupt (a possibility in Guatemala)? Would they take my daughter away? What if Olivia loved her other mother more? 

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