Hello, adoption community. I have a confession to make. I’m actually kind of embarrassed to say this. I am very behind the times. I thought I was staying caught up with all the latest trends and the best ways to absorb information. I was wrong. So wrong. Guys. Podcasts. I love them.
Podcasts have been a thing for a while now. But have you ever thought about why they are called podcasts? They’re called that because you could download and play them on your iPod. (Does anyone still have a working iPod? Mine died. It was very sad. My kids think it’s an old cellphone. They are literally confused by a device that is only for listening. But anyway.) I hadn’t ever thought about it before someone pointed it out the other day and it blew my mind. Like I said, I’m behind the times. I think podcasts started being a thing in the early 2000s. I am old. Well, not old, but for sure older. I’ve lost my train of thought. Where was I? Right, podcasts.
Anyway, podcasts. I am just now catching on to how awesome they are. Why? Why are they awesome? Why do everyone and their brother host one? Why should you even listen to strangers do an updated version of talk radio? I’ll tell you why. Because they are fun, useful, and free entertainment.
I understand your hesitation. I do. But hear me out. They’re like audiobooks that are up-to-date on current events and research. At least, the ones I listen to are. Though I won’t lie and say I don’t listen to comedy podcasts or other nonsense. I do. Look, I’m getting off track again. That’s what happens when I’m excited about something.
Let me tell you my favorite reason for listening to podcasts. It’s this: I can economize my time. I hate wasting time and I feel like I’m always busy. School drop-off alone takes me over an hour since I have to stop at three different schools. The ride with the kids is always accompanied by some sort of pop music or a kid request. As soon as they are out of the car, it is “me” time. I listen to podcasts when I’m driving, working out, or cleaning the house. If I pop in my headphones, I feel doubly productive. I love being able to absorb bits of other people’s knowledge and wisdom while I get something else done as well.
What I didn’t realize was how many podcasts there are out in the pod-verse (I’m mostly certain that’s not what it’s called, but we’ll go with it for now) Anyway, since adoption is my jam (Kids still say that right? I’m still a cool kid? Wait…I was never a cool kid. Dang it.), I searched for adoption podcasts. There are so many great ones., it can feel overwhelming. At least, it felt overwhelming to me. There are podcasts from all different perspectives on adoption: birth mothers, foster parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. There are probably hundreds, but I’ve narrowed it down to five so you don’t have to work so hard. I mean, you are free to do what you want, of course. Obviously, my tastes are going to be different than yours. But here are the adoption podcasts I love, and I hope you give them a shot.
1. The Honestly Adoption Podcast
This podcast is by Mike and Kristen Berry. They’re a couple who aren’t afraid of sharing the sometimes difficult parts of adoption. It is nice to hear that if life is going sideways, you aren’t alone. That’s one of the many benefits of listening to the Berrys. These people are the real deal, and they offer some practical advice My husband has been to events with Mike, and he is as kind in person as he is on the blog or in his books.
They are an adoptive family. They are also authors of several fantastic parenting books, most related to adoption. Guests on the podcast have included counselors, birth mothers, and their own adopted kids. I’d tell you about my favorite one, but I couldn’t choose one because they are all pretty great. There are plenty of episodes to work through if you’re like me and want to start at the very beginning and listen to all of them. The upside is that they are plentiful and interesting. The only downside is that the episodes can be on the long side. If you need something to last through, say, a long car ride (especially one where you’ll be alone so no one can watch you cry), this is the ticket. I’ve listened to this podcast when I have a long bike/hike/run planned, where I don’t want to be in my head the whole time. I am most likely to listen to this podcast when I have an exhaustive list of housekeeping to catch up on. It distracts me from my self-hatred over the mountain of laundry I let accumulate.
2. Birth Mothers Amplified
I discovered this podcast after getting assigned to write about it once upon a time. Then I got hooked. It is produced by the Gladney Center for Adoption and is hosted by Muthoni and Emma, two birth mothers who chose adoption for their babies. As an adoptive mom, I was actually afraid of what this podcast would be like. I imagined them badmouthing adoptive moms, or talking about how adoption ruined their lives.
To say I was surprised is an understatement. Their candor and compassion are amazing. It was eye-opening for me as an adoptive mom to hear a birth mom’s perspective about adoption. I am ashamed to say I had never given a lot of thought to how difficult it might be to choose adoption and hand off your baby to someone else. I can’t imagine it. However, these women did it.
Their guests are other birth mothers, and their camaraderie and respect are refreshing and inspiring. I find both women delightful to listen to, and if you watch the videos on YouTube you can see the hosts and the guests interacting over their computers. I love their energy and I love their messages. I love so much that they are giving birth mothers a voice. I highly recommend this one.
3. The Adoption Connection
The hosts are Lisa (who is both a birth mother and an adoptive mom), and Melissa (who is an adoptee and an adoptive mom). They offer hope and insight to the adoption community. Lisa is also a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practitioner who helps families with “kids from hard places.” Melissa is an Empowered to Connect parent trainer who helps families build connections.
Some of the episodes are mentor episodes, where they answer listeners’ questions. I love the idea of taking time to gather questions from people in their communities and answering them in this format. Both hosts have multiple adoptive and biological children and know what they are talking about, though they freely admit they get it wrong as often as they get it right. Check this one out.
4. ReModel Parenting
Spoiler alert: this one isn’t actually an adoption-specific podcast, but it is so good I had to include it anyway. It is related to adoption, though. Host Deena Shelton has a Ph.D. in psychology, and she is a psychologist, professor, and active community member. Having met her in person, I can tell you she is great. She’s creative, engaging, and humble. Her children are adopted from foster care. She knows her stuff. The episodes are “bite-sized” (18-35 minutes usually) which is perfect when I don’t have a long drive but want to listen to something besides music on the radio. She discusses common parenting misconceptions and ways to build healthy relationships with your kids.
My favorite episode was on how to get your kids to be curious instead of judgmental. She talked about how her neighbors were cooking flatbread and laying it out on their driveway. Her son said, “Eww. That’s weird. How gross.” Instead of agreeing or trying to distract him, she said “Do you want to go find out what they are doing? Are you interested in asking them about it?” Since her son knew the neighbors, he was eager to go ask questions. They found out they were cooking a type of flatbread that needed to dry, and the driveway was a good place for it since the ground was so hot. Then she and her son were invited to dinner and got to experience new foods. I loved that. I have started telling my kids, “Let’s be detectives,” like she suggests, and it has de-escalated so many potential misunderstandings. I really appreciate her personal insights about what it means to parent. I also appreciate her honesty in saying that just because she knows all the right things to do doesn’t mean she does them right all the time.
As a person who reads a lot of books and articles to try and learn the “right things,” I found that to be comforting. I know a lot about how I’m supposed to parent, but sometimes my baggage gets in the way of doing it right. It’s good to know I’m not alone. I really love this podcast because this woman really knows her stuff, both as a mom and as a psychologist. This is also the one with the shortest episodes, so if you don’t have a lot of listening time, this one is for you.
5. The TBRI Podcast
I am a TBRI fangirl. I have no shame. I have posters from the TBRI institute all over my house reminding me of how to act if my child is freaking out. If you don’t know what TBRI is or you are interested in learning more, check out this podcast. They are pretty new, but they are the real deal. I love any parenting method that focuses on how the child feels and what the child needs instead of getting the kid to do what you want. TBRI is just that.
TBRI is especially effective for adopted children who struggle with making connections because of their history, but it works well for most kids. It has helped our daughter go from being diagnosed with an attachment disorder at 4 years old to being a cuddly, loving, attached little love at 7. I don’t know where we would be without having that training. This was a long process, but using the methods we have learned in multiple TBRI trainings, it was possible.
These methods are scientifically tested at the TCU Karyn Purvis institute, and the practices are being taught worldwide in adoptive communities, foster communities, and orphanages. Families have gone from having a child who can’t stand being in the same room as them to a child who is affectionate, feels safe, and can learn. We don’t always get it right, but that isn’t the method’s fault, it’s ours. Anyway, check this one out. You will not regret learning this information (though you may regret having not learned it sooner.)
What Adoption Podcasts Will You Choose?
Those podcasts are my top five. As I said before, there are so many more. There are podcasts that focus on the adoption community as a whole and those that focus on specific topics, like international adoption, domestic infant adoption, foster care adoption, adoptees, birth mothers, and interracial adoptions. So many choices and they are super accessible. It’s fun to try different podcasts out to see what you like and it’s easy to find more to listen to if you get bored. It is as easy as clicking subscribe and downloading new episodes to your device. Happy listening!Are you and your partner ready to start the adoption process? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to begin your adoption journey. We have 130+ years of adoption experience and would love to help you.