There are now over 20 podcasts focused on the topic of child adoption that provide information, education and support to adoptive parents and adoptees. I’ve listened to most of them and here I’ve picked three I found most interesting and useful and which illustrate the range that’s available.
What are podcasts?
If you’re not familiar with podcasts, they’re rather like on-demand radio shows that you can get on your phone, iPad, or tablet. But because they don’t require a lot of expensive equipment to produce and distribute, they can be published by individuals, and small non-profit agencies. Episodes are typically published on a weekly schedule and last around half-an-hour to an hour.
With one or two exceptions, most adoption podcasts originate from the USA. On the one hand this means that some of the information they provide is not directly relevant to us, for example policy issues – although it is interesting to discover how very different the adoption experience is in America for all parties. On the plus side many of the American podcasts discuss, or in some cases are exclusively concerned with trans-racial adoption and inter-country adoption issues and experiences.
Podcast episodes usually take the form of a discussion with either an adoption professional, researcher, therapist, or expert in child development about a particular issue, or an interview with adoptive parents or an adoptee about their life experiences and issues they’ve faced. There’s an increasing number of podcasts that are focused specifically on sharing the stories and experiences of adult inter-country adoptees.
Creating A Family
Creating a Family is an American podcast hosted by Dawn Davenport who is CEO of a non-profit organization that supports infertility and adoption. This venerable podcast has been published weekly since 2007. Approximately half the episodes are focused on adoption issues.
The strength of this podcast is in the presenter, an adoptive parent and self-confessed ‘research nerd’ who tackles complex adoption issues intelligently and presents information accurately and without bias. Episodes are varied, but generally consist of either interviews with adoption researchers, therapists and other professionals, or presentations of information and research. Issues covered include infant adoption, open adoption, foster care adoption, international adoption, attachment parenting, transracial adoption, and special need adoptions.
I listen to this podcast primarily for its in-depth discussions and to stay current with adoption issues and research. There are over 500 episodes in the archive.
The Adoption and Fostering Podcast
The Adoption and Fostering podcast began in 2016 and is produced in the UK and co-hosted by Al Coates (adoptive parent, former foster carer and social worker and a member of the DfE Adoption Support Expert Advisory Group) and Scott Casson Rennie (adoptive parent and Head of Engagement and Delivery for Adoption UK). There are over 70 episodes in the archive.
The focus of this podcast is on adoption policy and post-adoption support for parents who have adopted from care in the UK. Many of the issues covered are relevant to international adoptions too (e.g., access to adoption support fund). International adoption is not dealt with as such, although it has been promised and they are looking for people to interview.
Episodes usually consist of interviews with authors, experts and heads of adoption organizations, as well as interviews and conversations with adoptive parents and activists, interspersed with a fair amount of banter between the two hosts. Recent episodes have covered issues such as trauma and attachment, transitions, child on parent violence, adoption and schools, LGBT families, and reform of the foster care system.
Adoptees On is another American podcast, but this time focussed on the adoptee experience. It’s produced and hosted by Haley Radke, an adoptee herself, who discusses a range of issues in depth with other adoptees (including adoptees who are therapists). Topics include search and reunion, secondary rejection, depression, addiction, anger and trauma.
There’s also a series of 26 episodes specifically focused on healing. What’s good about this podcast is the reflective way in which real, raw, and deep feelings are addressed in the interviews. Adoptees On also curates resources to encourage and educate the adoption community about adoptee issues. There are over 100 episodes in the archive.
How to listen to podcasts
You can easily access podcasts by installing a podcast app on your phone or tablet. Many phones come with the app installed by default. Within the app, use the Search button to bring up a list of adoption podcasts. By subscribing to a podcast you can listen to the full archive of past episodes as well as be alerted to new episodes when they are published. On a computer, search by podcast name or subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or Podbean.