November is National Adoption Month, and a great time to highlight stories from adoptees, adoptive parents, or people who want to better understand what it’s like to be involved in the adoption process.
These 10 podcasts tell stories of people from all across the spectrum of adoption experiences, highlighting traumas and joys in equal measure via honest and vulnerable conversations. Whatever your relationship is with adoption, they can teach you something, point you where to go next, or even just make you feel less alone on your journey.
Adoption: The Making of Me
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In Adoption: The Making of Me, adult adoptees and former business partners Sarah Reinhardt and Louise Browne join forces to delve into all things adoption from their perspectives—both were adopted at birth but their experiences differed from there. They’re building a real community with a book club, reading books that center on adoption with their listeners, and interviewing with the author. These are intimate conversations, but also light and friendly. Sarah and Louise have an uncanny ability to get to the heart of a subject with anyone who crosses their path, and conversations take many twists and turns.
Born in June Raised in April: What Adoption Can Teach the World
On Born in June Raised in April, April Dinwoodie focuses on discussions about adoption, particularly from the perspective of transracial adoptees, as she shares openly about her own, and her guests’, adoption experiences and life journeys as transracial adoptees. April is insightful in her commentary and gentle with her guests. Her personal experiences add depth to the discussions and serve as a launching pad for the stories of others, encouraging listeners to reflect on their own.
Who Am I Really?
On Who Am I Really?, Damon L. Davis steers people through the adoption experience with compassion, curiosity, empathy, and understanding. Through his interviews with people about their own adoption experiences, listeners will feel validated by anything they might be feeling or thinking. Who Am I Really? especially caters to adoptees who are in the process of reunion with their birth families, helping prepare them with insights from others who have been through similar experiences. The show isn’t just for adoptees, but adoptive parents and birth parents, too, offering a better understanding of the adoptee perspective for all.
Pulled By the Root
Heidi Marble is a domestic adoptee/author/speaker born in 1965 who didn’t realize the loss she felt from her adoption experience until later in life. Pulled By the Root collects conversations that elevate, honor and give voice to the issues Heidi, and many adoptees, experience. The title says it all—many adoptees feel untethered, and Heidi’s honest and vulnerable conversations openly tackle the emotional and challenging aspects of adoption. Stories of struggle and healing help listeners on their own emotional journeys, and provide a supportive and empathetic space for the adoption community.
Unraveling Adoption host Beth is an adoptive parent herself, and is willing to not only share her own experiences, but learn from her guests, who talk about the various emotions and experiences of adoptees. Unraveling Adoption strikes a balance between depth and relatability—Beth doesn’t run from uncomfortable topics like adoptee trauma, which gives other adoptive parents the freedom to admit what they don’t know and explore for answers together. It’s not only validating for adoptees, but a helpful tool for their parents.
Hosted by Haley Radke, Adoptees On provides a safe space for adoptees to discuss their feelings and insights related to adoption, as well as unpack the challenges they face. The podcast focuses on the adoptee perspective and brings to light the complexities and emotions involved in the adoption experience. Holly highlights stories of reunification, transracial and transnational adoption, and the impact of adoption on individuals and families. It features real and heartfelt conversations, providing a platform for adoptees to share their unique experiences and perspectives. Getting to hear the unvarnished truth from adoptees can be a real lifeline for people who feel alone.
My Two Dads
On My Two Dads, Sam and Paul focus on same sex and single parent adoption, as well as early permanence and fostering, through the lens of their own experience as dads who have adopted a son together. They interview guests like award-winning author Holly Marlow and Great British Bake Off finalist Christine Wallace about every twist and turn in the same sex and single parent adoption journey, from the moment the adoption dream is conceived to the struggles that pop up for two dads (or two moms, or one dad, or one mom) with a kid.
The Black Adoption Podcast (Black to the Beginning)
Most conversations about adoption are from the perspective of white adoptive parents, and often about transracial adoption. But Black people adopt Black children and babies all the time, and those stories contain their own challenges, steeped in the legacy of “The Three S’s”: secrecy, stigma, shame. On The Black Adoption Podcast (Black to the Beginning,) friends Dr. Samantha Coleman and Sandria Washington, who both discovered they were adopted as adults, center the voices and experiences of Black adoptive parents and Black adult adoptees, one story at a time. By telling these stories, Samantha and Sandria are battling the fourth “S,” silence. Hearing these stories helps Black adoptees and adoptive parents feel less alone.
International adoptee deportation refers to the issue of adoptees lacking citizenship—some people don’t realize it applies to them, or that they stand the risk of being deported, until they have already lived full lives in the United States. UnErased introduces us to some of these people, like Crystal Moran, a mom of five who moved to America when she was just three months old, was deported to El Salvador, and left to fight to get back to her family. Or Susan Williams, who was deported back to South Korea after a troubled childhood and time in prison. These heart-wrenching stories paint portraits of adults who are forced back to a place that’s completely unfamiliar to them, and details a further complication to the adoption process that only increases the trauma and grief that many adoptees experience.
The Adoption tells the story of three-year-old Bethany and two-year-old Ben, siblings who were separated and placed into foster care, and follows the saga of their fractured family via exceptional storytelling. Narrator Jon Manel traces their story for two years, from the moment they were dropped off in foster care with nothing more than teddy bears and pacifiers, to the moment they reach the arms of their “new mummy and daddy.” The Adoption is a window into the complex adoption process, offering parents, grandparents, social workers, and prospective adoptive parents new and challenging perspectives about a story that is sad but also common. (If you’re outside of the U.S., you might have to access it through a VPN.)