coming out of the adoption fog

Sara Easterly on Coming Out of the Adoption Fog

I’ve been always told that it was a gray market adoption.
I never really knew what that meant.

— Sara Easterly, adoptee, author, daughter, mom

When the entire approach to a societal issue is steeped in shame and secrecy, we end up with lots of opaque-ish words like fog and gray market — and worse. When it comes to adoption, if you start scrounging around in a thesaurus you can find even shadier words like dirty and impenetrable, words that sometimes apply to policies and practices.

Many adoptees and first parents, especially those from the Baby Scoop Era, can attest to this opacity and to problems that germinate in darkness. People then either suffer in the dark or find their way into the light — or maybe both.

Sara Easterly is one who did both. She has been coming out of the adoption fog for years, and now carries a flashlight to help others living in adoption. Her insights are especially helpful for adoptive parents to hear.

sara easterly on coming out of the adoption fog

I’m excited to say that Sara is the latest guest on my podcast, Adoption: The Long View.

Episode 6: Coming Out of the Adoption Fog with Sara Easterly

In this episode, which dropped at the start of National Adoption Awareness Month, Sara covers:

  • What coming out of the adoption fog means and why it can be so painful for an adoptee (not to mention for others).
  • Then, why so many adoptees tend to have an extended adolescence.
  • On becoming a mother and confronting the buried belief that mothers are replaceable.
  • Is a “good adoptee” necessarily a healthy person?
  • Also, what can lie behind “you’re not my real mom!” and how its utterance can be used for connection rather than disconnection.
  • A deeper look into simplistic messages about adoption from the church and viral videos and adoption agencies, and how they can be hurtful to adoptees.
  • Sara’s best piece of advice for adoptive parents (asked of all guests).

I know you’ll enjoy this fascinating conversation with Sara Easterly. She held me captivated from start to finish.

Prefer to read? Here’s a transcript.

You’re going to love hearing from Sara and the other fascinating guests I have lined up for Season 1. I can’t wait to hear what you think.


Sara is an adult adoptee and the author of Searching for Mom: A Memoir, a gold medal winner of the Illumination Book Awards. She has contributed two posts that went viral here: “I Want My Real Mom!” and 8 Dynamics to Consider Before Oversharenting Your Adoption Story.

Sara is on staff with the Neufeld Institute, which studies attachment and child development. She is mom to two tenacious daughters and daughter of two amazing moms—both her adoptive mom and her birth mother.* Sara enjoys supporting mothers in their journeys and has a passion for helping the non-adopted better understand the hearts of adopted children.

* a previous version read one by biology and one by biography but was returned to Sara’s original wording.

Show Notes from the Sara Easterly Episode

Shareable images below courtesy Clemencia Deleon.

Ways to Tune In to More Episodes

Podcast for Adoption: The Long View

Expect two episodes a month when you subscribe. My partners at Adopting.com release a new episode on the 1st and the 15th of each month, each one around 30 minutes long. Not too much, not too little. Just right.

Along These Lines

  • Interview with Leah Campbell around adoptive parenting and living in open adoption, even when it’s hard.
  • Shifting from shame and secrecy to truth and transparency, an interview with Rich Uhrlaub
  • Interview with Carolyn Savage, telling her inconceivable story about pregnancy, adoption, and surrogacy
  • Interview with Ashley Mitchell regarding a birth mom’s perspective and the necessity for better adoption education.
  • On being wedged between the pain of one set of parents and the joy of another, an interview with Angela Tucker.
guide to living in open adoption

Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen 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 of Adoption Institute.

3 thoughts on “Sara Easterly on Coming Out of the Adoption Fog”

  1. “She is mom to two tenacious daughters and daughter of two amazing moms—one by biology and one by biography. ” This idea that adopted people have two mothers, one by biology and one by biography, is a frequent theme in many of your posts.

    One woman creates a child who is a clean, blank slate, and the other woman writes the story of the child’s life on it. This is Locke’s philosophy of Tabula Resa, that children arrive as blank slates to be written on by those who rear them.

    Is the blank slate philosophy still widely embraced by those who adopt other’s children?

    1. Hello, Marilynn. Thanks for visiting.

      Where did you get the idea of a blank slate from this post or the podcast?

      It is a coincidence you brought it up, though. I just recorded an interview with an adoptee in which we do address the idea of babies as blank slates. But not in this episode.

  2. I loved this episode. Such an important conversation. I think you are a great interviewer! I loved Sara’s raw honesty and her laying out of the long term impacts of adoption and adoption language on adoptees. A good, if hard but necessary sometimes, listen.

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