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same race adoption

What We Get Wrong About Same-Race Adoption

A Bad First Impression

Welcome to Season 5 of Adoption: The Long View! 2024 is well underway and this month we launch our final season, which will run  through the year.

Today’s guest is someone I made a bad first impression on, at least in my own head, because of an assumption I made about her that turned out to be wrong.

Jennifer Dyan Ghoston, an adoptee, retired police detective, and podcast host, was gracious with me anyway, and in an effort to further explore the blind spot my assumption came from—which may not be unique to me—I have invited her to talk with us about same race adoption—and many other things.

same race adoption
Adoption: The Long View
501: What We Get Wrong about Same-Race Adoption

About Jennifer Dyan Ghoston, a Same-Race Adoptee

Jennifer Dyan Ghoston is a same-race domestic adoptee in reunion with both sides of her biological family. After a 27-year career in law enforcement with the Chicago Police Department, she retired in 2014 as a police detective.

In 2015, she self-published her memoir, The Truth So Far…a Detective’s Journey to Reunite with Her Birth Family. She credits her spiritual journey, which started over 40 years ago, for allowing her path to unfold in unexpected and meaningful ways.

Six years later, Jennifer began hosting hosting the podcast, Once Upon A Time…In Adopteeland as part of her continued effort to be open, honest, and public about her lived experience while holding space for other members of the constellation, primarily adoptees.

Jennifer currently co-facilitates the Adoptee Voices Writing Group created by Sara Easterly.

Ep 501 on Same-Race Adoption

In ep501, Jennifer reveals how the professional life she chose for herself fits with the adoptee life she was handed. She shares her journey from being born Bonnie Upshaw, to a few years in foster care, to her new identity as Jennifer Dyan Ghoston—as well as the adventure in searching, finding, and integrating the various chapters of her life. 

Jennifer Dyan Ghoston on adoptees as detectives

We talk about how people seem to know a lot about same-race adoption when white parents adopt white children, and some about when white parents adopt children of color, but she’s here to shed light on what people often get wrong about same race adoption with families of color.

Jennifer Dyan Ghoston on embracing differences

And Jennifer tells us what it would have meant if she’d had her mother’s blessing to think about and search for her birth mother.

Jennifer Dyan Ghoston on misunderstandings about same-race adoption

Plus, Jennifer reads a passage from her book, The Truth So Far.

Finally, she offers her wish for what adoptive parents knew from Day 1 (or from today). Hear what Jennifer has to say about that!

Show Notes: Jennifer Dyan Ghoston

How to Tune In Regularly

Lori Holden of Adoption The Long ViewYou can find Adoption: The Long View on and on these other platforms.


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

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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2 Responses

  1. Oh, Jennifer and Lori. This discussion about Black same-race adoption is so eye-opening for me. I am neither an adoptee or adoptive parent, but I am in a mixed-race marriage and am so touched by all of this.

    What you, Lori, describe as the need to “see us for who we are” is universal. We can all benefit from that point of view coupled with your ideas, Jennifer, about looking back at our own inner child. I guess that’s “see yourself for who you are.”

    It’s rare that I read or hear something that is so new, so fresh, and can give me new perspectives on healing. Thank you both for taking on the tough topics with love and grace.

    1. Thank you so much, Robin, for taking the time to listen to this episode, even though you are not an adoptee or an adoptive parent. One of the many things I love about you is the way you seek and value others’ perspectives. Doing so offers a source of perfect moments waiting to happen 🙂

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