Tag Archives: podcast

How to Talk Open Adoption with Young Children

It’s National Adoption Awareness Month!* I can think of no better way to honor it than to listen to an adoptee, especially one who is also raising an adoptee.

We always talked about adoption. It was normalized in our household.

Allison Olson in Ep 309 of Adoption: The Long View

Our guest was adopted and grew up in the closed adoption era and is now an advocate of open adoption. As she tried to figure out how to parent in a way she herself was not parented she was dismayed by the lack of early reader books about open adoption. When she didn’t find what she needed, she decided to fill that gap.

In so doing, children’s book author Allison Olson is set on changing the adoption narrative from the “lucky” child to the “loved” child.

How to talk open adoption with your young child ? Here are practical tips for you — and a storybook to go with them.

* This is why you’ll see adoptee voices represented here all month, including Allison’s. Subscribe so you get notified when each amazing guest essay is published.

how to talk open adoption with young children allison olson
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The Peculiar (and Normal) Challenges of One Transracial Adoptive Family

If I ask you to imagine a transracial adoptive family, what image comes to your mind? What race is the parent? What race is the child?

This month’s guest is a transracial adoptive mom (or “interracial,” a term that previous guest Tony Hynes told me he prefers in Ep307). Lynn Brown‘s two daughters were placed with her through the foster care system with the intent of reunification with the girls’ birth family, but it turned out that wasn’t possible. Eventually, the adoptions were finalized. 

Now compare my guest’s reality with the image I asked you to conjure of a transracial family. Lynn Brown is Black. Her daughters are white.

I admit it. When I think of a transracial adoptive family, I think of white parents. I think about the extra things these parents need to do to bring their children’s heritage to them and to try to better understand their children’s culture themselves. Clearly, I hold some assumptions about who adopts and who gets adopted. So when I met Lynn at an adoption camp recently, I wanted to know more about her story.

Here to talk about transracial parenting in general and her situation in particular, is Lynn Brown.

309 Adoption The Long View Lynn Brown, head of a transracial adoptive family

I would hear: “Are you the nanny?”
I used to justify and overshare.

Now I have this resting bitch face and people don’t approach and question me as much.

Lynn Brown in Ep 308 of Adoption: The Long View

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“Don’t Split the Baby!” Race, Sexual Orientation & Conflict in Adoption

Conflict in adoption serves no one. Not the adoptive parents, not the first parents, and certainly not the adoptee. Adoption can pit people against each other, create winners and losers, and present impossible-to-span rifts.

Who suffers most? The adoptee is the rope in any deliberate or accidental tug of war.

Tony Hynes, an interracial adoptee, was at the center of a case that reached the US Supreme Court in the 1990s. While his case was knocked down to a lower court, Tony Hynes’ adoption ended up in a rare arrangement – joint custody between his Black birth grandmother and his two white adoptive moms.

I felt uncomfortability around the idea of me
and who I belong to most,
who I could be most loyal to.

Tony Hynes in Ep 307 of Adoption: The Long View

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