how to help an adopted child build their identity

Damon Davis: How to Help Your Child Put Together Their Puzzle Pieces

It’s normal — celebrated even — to wonder about and ask Who Am I? After all, genealogy is cited as one of our top hobbies. Witness the existence of TV shows like Finding Your Roots, Who Do You Think You Are? and Long Lost Family. Each helps people answer that fundamental question, all while millions of others tune in to watch those discoveries be made.

For families formed through adoption, we must expand our view of “family,” and we must extend that ability to view things expansively to our children. Chances are high that they, too, will naturally wonder Who Am I?

Why wouldn’t they?

puzzle pieces to help an adoptee build their identity

If I’m going to connect with my biological family, it’s because I’m trying to find a piece of myself. It does not mean I’m trying to replace you.

Damon L Davis, adoptee & host of the Who Am I Really? podcast
Ep 303 of Adoption: The Long View


Who Am I Really?

This is not an episode about genealogy, but it IS an episode that centers on that basic question humans work out about themselves over their lifetimes. My guest Damon L Davis, explores this with his guests on his own podcast, Who Am I Really? — that last word added because Damon and many of his guests are adoptees who share their experiences of pulling all their pieces together. They talk about what drives them to do so — something we adoptive parents should be clued into.

You have to be supportive of the puzzle coming together. Otherwise, your adoptee is going to cut you out of the process. And that’s what you don’t want.

Damon L Davis, Ep 303 of Adoption: The Long View

Damon and his wife are parents via biology and via kinship adoption. I’m so excited to share the April episode of Adoption: The Long View with those who wonder how to help an adoptee build their identity.

Ep 303: Damon L Davis, Host of Who Am I Really?


Damon’s guests have made him the holder of countless stories that answer the question Who Am I Really? – including his own. You’re in for much illumination on what goes on for adoptees as they work out this question during their growing up time with parents (and after), as well as the things parents do that can either help or hinder the adoptee’s quest to form and integrate their identity.

It’s those kinds of disconnects and the absence of information that can be real blockers for a person understanding who they are and how they fit into their own world. It’s really challenging.

Damon L Davis, Ep 303 of Adoption: The Long View

How to Help an Adoptee Build Their Identity

Listen in to hear:

  • How it is that even adoptees with loving parents and strong relationships wonder Who am I?
  • The deep-seated questions adoptees have about their stories.
  • An observed difference between male adoptees and female adoptees.
  • The most important thing you need to know early in your journey as an adoptive parent.
help your adoptee build their identity

Prefer to read? Here’s a transcript (but listening is so much better!).

Show Notes for Episode 303 with Damon Davis

Damon Davis is the host and producer of the Who Am I Really? podcast, where adopted people tell their stories of adoption and share their experiences attempting reunion with their birth families. He has interviewed more than 160 adoptees from a diverse set of adoption experiences. In his autobiography Who Am I Really? – An Adoptee Memoir, Damon shares his journey to becoming an adoptive parent, and his emotions over the birth of his natural son, Seth.

How to Tune In Regularly

adoption the long view

You can find us on any podcast platform and on Adopting.com.

A new episode comes out the first Friday of the month. Thank you for sharing, subscribing, and rating this episode!

guide to living in open adoption

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.

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