The Elephant in Adoption: What Is The Truth?

An ancient tale from South Asia tells about six blind men who experience an elephant for the very first time. Each one projects his knowledge from a limited perspective to be the whole thing, certain that he knows The Truth about the elephant.

elephant in adoption

The man at the trunk thinks the elephant is like a snake; the man at the leg thinks the elephant is like a tree; the one at the ear thinks the elephant is like a fan. And so on. The men disagree about The Truth of the elephant, not having a common ground of understanding.

Adoption is fertile ground for something similar. From our limited experience of this vastly complex thing — Adoption, — we begin to think we have a handle on it and we know The Truth about it.

But the more we can become un-blind to the parts we don’t experience, the better grasp we have of the whole, and the better we can relate with others who have a differing experiences.

Like our children and their first parents.

Ep 304: Seeking Truth about Adoption via Parts Unknown to Many

I still struggle with being the special one, the chosen one. It’s a lot to live up to.

Janelle Ison, Ep 304 of Adoption: The Long View

Exploring the Elephant of Adoption

This month’s guest brings a double viewpoint. Janelle Ison was adopted as a newborn, and when she was 18 she placed her newborn for adoption. She has spent the last 15 years working for organizations like the National Council For Adoption and the Family to Family Support Network to improve understanding, policies, and practices for all involved in adoption.

So get ready for the elephant to get a lot more interesting.

From Day One, my adoptive parents spoke lovingly about my birth parents.

Janelle Ison, Ep 304 of Adoption: The Long View

Adoptee, Birth Mom, MBA, and Much More

Janelle Ison is a creative and collaborative business operations consultant who empowers visionary leaders to turn ideas into reality, and not only in the adoption arena. Given her unique personal and professional experiences, she has a strong passion for working with organizations that focus on improving the well-being of women and children. Janelle loves learning new things, traveling abroad, and spending quality time with her family and friends.

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

Listen in to hear:

  • What Janelle’s adoptive parents did well for her as an adoptee.
  • What the parents of Janelle’s placed son did well for him as an adoptee and for her as his birth mom.
  • Lessons learned in hindsight.
  • The interplay between loss, connection, and re-connection.
  • The most important thing you need to know early in your journey as an adoptive parent taking the long view.

Show Notes for Episode 304 with Janelle Ison

My son’s adoptive parents embraced me. They wanted me to feel comfortable with everything in their life.

Janelle Ison, Ep 304 of Adoption: The Long View

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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