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Session 207: Transracial Adoptions

The Therapy for Black Girls Podcast is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta, Georgia, about all things mental health, personal development, and all the small decisions we can make to become the best possible versions of ourselves.
Joining us today to discuss the impact transracial adoption can have on one’s mental health is Judith Sadora, LMFT. Judith and I chatted about identity formation and what this might look like for a child who is a transracial adoptee, what it might look like to hold space for both gratitude and grief as it relates to adoption, things to consider about reuniting with biological family, and she shares some of her favorite resources for anyone wanting to learn more.

Resources
Visit our Amazon Store for all the books mentioned on the podcast. therapyforblackgirls.com/amazon
https://www.angelatucker.com/

Where to Find Judith
https://triunehealthandwellness.com/
Transracial Adoption and Racial Socialization Masterclass https://www.eventbrite.com/e/transracial-adoption-and-racial-socialization-tickets-138027928249

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Read Full Transcript

Session 207: Transracial Adoptions

Dr. Joy: Hey, y'all! Thanks so much for joining me for Session 207 of the Therapy for Black Girls podcast. We'll get right into the episode after a word from our sponsors.

[SPONSORS’ MESSAGES]

Dr. Joy: In recent years, we've seen more and more depictions of transracial adoptions in the media. Most notably, we've seen this play out with Randall Pearson’s storyline on This is Us. While the show has done a good job of shedding some light on this experience, there is far more to discuss. Joining us today to share more about the impact transracial adoption can have on one's mental health is Judith Sadora.

Judith is an Afro-Haitian American with west and southern East African descent, and is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Oregon. She completed her Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy and is currently in a doctoral program for marriage and family therapy. She has experience working with individuals, families, couples and parent-child dynamics, and specializes in working with adoptive families, especially within transracial adoption.

Judith and I chatted about identity formation and what this might look like for a child who has been adopted transracially, what it might look like to hold space for both gratitude and grief as it relates to adoption, things to consider about reuniting with biological family, and she shared some of her favorite resources for anyone wanting to learn more. If there's anything that resonates with you while enjoying our conversation, please share with us on social media using the hashtag #TBGinSession. Here's our conversation.

Dr. Joy: Thank you so much for joining us today, Judith.

Judith: Thank you for having me. I'm so excited.

Dr. Joy: Yes, I'm very excited to chat with you. We know that there are so many barriers to adoption, especially in the US, and so it's very common that children will often end up in homes that don't match their racial backgrounds. So I wanted us to have a conversation today just about some of the considerations with that process and some of the mental health impact that can happen with somebody who has been adopted into a family that doesn't necessarily match their racial background.

Judith: Mm hmm, yeah.

Dr. Joy: Probably the most prominent example that we have with this right now is Randall from This is Us. I think it has been really interesting, especially this season, to see them dig a little deeper into the ways that the adoption has played out into his life. And so can you talk about some of the common experiences that people who are adopted into backgrounds that don't match their racial background?

Judith: Yeah, definitely. I want to preference real quick and say that I'm not from the adoption community myself–just a mental health who works with the adoption community and found a heart for it. And so I understand and I know that all adoptees have different stories and so it's not a monolith in regards to the experiences of adoptees and the families that they are in as well, too. And so I just wanted to preference that and also say that some of the things that I draw from are just common thread that I pick up in the work that I've done with transracial adoptees, common experiences that seem to pop up and to be expressed in the work that I do with them. And so that's what I'll pull from.

And some of them are very much in the show as well, too (This is Us with Randall’s story) which I think is pretty awesome. One of the things that I think, and you see that a bit in the show, is this idea of when you have adoptees who are of different racial background adopted into, let's say, a predominantly white family, whether it be siblings or whether it be parents, what tends to happen is the normalization of talking about race and how it impacts the adoptee in any way. There's not necessarily a lot of normalization around talking about race, racism or the cultural experiences of some of these transracial adoptees and so a lot of the work that I've had to do with my families is just centering the conversation.

Because I usually work with adolescents, more so adolescent transracial adoptees, and bringing awareness to some of the issues that they experience in being in their own skin and also not feeling a sense of belonging or familiarity or even representation within their family, and how that impacts them. And so that's one of the common themes that I often have to center in my work with transracial adoptees.

Dr. Joy: Are there other things that have come up?

Judith: Yeah. I think racial identity development, not understanding it. Specifically, white parents not really understanding how racial identity is such an important concept and developmental thing that happens with adolescence. And we all go through some form of racial identity development, no matter what we identify culturally and racially or ethnically, but we all go through it. And so transracial adoptees, they're experiencing it and oftentimes experiencing it alone and so they don't have someone to kind of walk through that process with them, especially if they identify as the only race in their family in a lot of ways and so that can be quite lonely.

Two things can happen. I specifically worked with transracial adoptees in private pay treatment programs and residential programs and so at that point I'm working with families who are in crisis. And so these adolescents they have like acting out behaviors and parents are concerned and so by the time they come to me, it’s having a conversation of like let's unpack what the acting out behaviors actually look like. It's not necessarily defiant behaviors or defiant disorders like those stronger diagnoses. It’s actually more so a problem that's happening systemically within the family system, a problem that's happening even in their identity development–not having a safe space to process some of that, not having a person to go to, to talk to, that is a representation that can help guide them.

And what's happening is that those feelings of pain or that loneliness can sometimes become internalized and then it has to go somewhere (I often say it comes out sideways) and that's where you have maybe some problematic concerning behaviors in that way. And so that's something else that I often have to center, is just really being able to break down and identify what are these behaviors actually saying because there's a story there. And that story is actually pointing to the family as a whole, not just the individual, and so I like to stay away from the individual.

Identifying like one person in a family that's the problem child or the problem–we call that more like identified patient–and shifting that and changing that to like, no, I think this is more of a problem situation here. I think there's more relationship dynamics and patterns in how external factors are affecting the individual and so the system and the external factors have to change and bend and form and be flexible in order to help in the healing process of that individual.

And then another part of it is that realization, when you really notice that you are different. Oftentimes, I talk to transracial adoptees and they're like, yeah, for a good number of time, I just assimilated into my family. There was no other culture and so I assimilated and sometimes that was for my benefit. And then when they talk about that, it's more so like if they are a person of color and they have white parents, the white parents have privilege and so they benefited from some of that privilege due to proximity.

But at the same time, it was very confusing because they were still a person of color. And in that lived experience in their skin, they often had to deal with microaggressions and still racism (whether it be covert or overt) and the family didn't know how to make sense of that. They didn't know, as a teenager or as a child, how to make sense of that and so that's another area we talk about, too. Is just what that's like for them when they're dealing with some of these microaggressions and like covert racism or even overt and they're dealing with it by themselves. How does the family process that? How does the parent process that? That's always a hard conversation to have.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, and I feel like we saw some of this really in the most recent episode of This Is Us with the conversation that Randall had with Kevin. I definitely think this is a special dynamic because they were all raised as triplets, you know, under those circumstances. But it definitely seems like the family, while in some ways made efforts to try to like meet other black people and get questions answered, it also seems like they took the approach of “he's just one of us” without paying attention to some of these very special concerns that he had. And so it's interesting to now see the dynamic and the stories that Kevin told himself about who his brother was, as adults now.

Judith: Oh, yeah, a hundred percent. I often even think of how like there was one episode where it was the first episode of the season and they did a pretty good job at catching the episode up with everything that happened in 2020–with COVID and the murders and Black Lives Matter movement. But I remember when everything was happening, Randall kind of distanced himself from his family. Like he stayed with his family-family (his wife and his kids) and he distanced himself from his adopted family in a way. And when they did not know or understand why is Randall acting different? Why isn’t Randall being Randall of what we’re used to, our version of Randall within our family?

And I remember there was a scene and a moment where he was outside with his sister and then his sister says, “I can't believe what happened.” Like sister’s concerned and obviously expressing her frustration about what was happening with the murders and Randall said, “Really, I've always experienced that. That's always been happening.” And then it shows a clip–because the writers of This is Us are so amazing in the way that they go back and forth. But they show a clip of when Randall was young and he's in his living room by himself, watching yet another murder of a black male on TV and what was happening. But he's by himself, his family isn't there.

And so what's so great about that storyline is that the writers of This Is Us are now starting to integrate these stories, not because they wanted to wait this far but more so because they’re our connection with other writers to say, hey, you're missing a big part in the last few seasons that you've had. We don't talk about the story of the racial part of it, there's not really that much. It's now they're starting to get into it and show it in light of everything that's happening. And so I feel like you're starting to even notice the awakening and understanding and the impact, even from these writers who've had a show on display for several seasons now, which I think is interesting.

Dr. Joy: You’ve mentioned some of the things that you commonly see with the clients that you've worked with. I'm wondering, are there things they should be anticipating and kind of potentially preparing for?

Judith: Yeah, I always say like expectations. What are your expectations with adopting? What's the reason behind it? Of course, there's many reasons behind adoption and one of them being infertility. And then another part of adoption is, you know, our society is evolving and becoming more inclusive and so you are seeing more same sex marriages and partnerships and unions and so there's multiple reasons to why people are adopting. And what I think is super important is to check the expectations, the reasons behind it.

And have you thought about the reality of what adoption entails? What is the experience of the other person, the individual that you are adopting? There's something that I often talk about, is this idea of there is like this ambiguous loss that happens. And so adoption for some parents is an excitement, it's something to be celebrated and there are so many emotions and so many experiences to why it's celebrated. And at the same time, it may be an excitement and celebration for one individual, which is the adoptee family, but what about the adoptee? There is grief there, there's loss there, there's confusion there. There's questioning as well in some ways.

And that's not to minimize it or say that there isn’t excitement on the adoptee’s end, there could very well be there as well. It's this and/both model rather than either/or, but I think it's important to consider just like what's the narrative around adoption as well? How is it communicated? Is it allowing space for there to be multiple meetings where there is grief and sadness in this and at the same time there is some source of joy because we're gathering together as families as well.

There's that. There's also when we're talking about, I think it's equity. It’s super important and if you're looking at the child welfare system and the foster system, there are so many blind spots. And unfortunately, if I can say it as blatantly as possible, but there is a systemic racist mindset within that, that it can be unintentional or intentional in a lot of ways. And so I think if we are as a family or as individuals, we're choosing to adopt, I think it's very important to be aware or at least seek to understand the child welfare system and the systems at play. Foster kids, what’s their process, what they're going through.

There's a lot of kids who are ripped away from their birth parents in a lot of ways if we're talking about domestic adoption as well. There's a lot of gray areas, a lot of things that people don't hear about or don't talk about. What's often talked about in adoption is the great part, the exciting part, the joyful part, but people don't necessarily talk about the sad part about it in a lot of ways. And so I think it's important, as adoptees or future adoptees, to understand the expectations around why you're adopting. What's the reason behind it, like really dissecting that as a family with your partner, and then to really try to seek understanding around how systemic racism and even oppression in some ways have filtrated within the adoption community as well, whether it's unintentional or intentional. Having a mindset around that, I think is super important.

Dr. Joy: You brought up a really good point, Judith, just around making space for some of these more difficult feelings, so the grief and the sadness that can come up for the person being adopted. And I think something else that came up in this most recent episode of This Is Us is this feeling of having to be grateful for having been adopted. You saw this conversation between Kevin and Randall and Kevin is saying like you should have just been grateful like basically that mom and dad gave you a roof over your head. And so I would imagine that there needs to be space made for that too. Because especially if it's a young person being adopted, this conflicting feeling of being grateful that you have a home but also sad that you're not in the home that maybe you were or you're not with your birth family, I would imagine is difficult to navigate.

Judith: Oh, yeah, definitely. I love that. To acknowledge both of those stories. I remember I had one client say to me a narrative and it was a covert narrative within the family (it’s one of those family rules) that my client was saved from something. Just saved. Like I always heard that, you know, we saved you from something so be grateful. And the spiritual context was a big part of it, the Christian community. They're Christian and so, you know, God saved you for something and provides you another place and that kind of stuff. And I remember my client looked at me and said, “I keep hearing that but I don't even know what did you save me from? I don't know what I was saved from.” I was adopted when I was young, it's a closed adoption or it's an adoption that I don't have easy access to information, whether it's not given to me or whatever it is.

So these kids are told how to feel. A lot of times, transracial adoptees are always being told you need to feel this way, you need to have this belief system. Even down to the spiritual aspect of it. Oh, God saved you so God knew this and this is specifically what it was supposed to be. And you're saying that to kids that haven't even had the ability to process the fact that they may experience some fears of abandonment. The fear of abandonment, the fear of loss and how that can perpetuate or that can be seen in all the little interactions that they have with other people and other relationships, based on their attachment style.

And then it depends on what kind of trauma they experienced pre-adoption because a lot of kids do experience a lot of trauma and neglect or abuse in any kind of way. We're learning and we know it impacts adulthood, it impacts your attachment style, it impacts the way that you show up and build connection with adults as you get older. And so if we're telling kids who were adopted that they need to feel, act or see the world or see their experience and their story in a specific way and we're not giving them the autonomy and the space to process everything that they've gone through and things that they haven't made sense of, then what are we doing, right? We're suppressing, we're causing kids to stuff things in and then (again) it has to go somewhere and then it becomes unhealthy behavior patterns.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with Judith right after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: Judith, I want to go back to something that you mentioned because this is something that I've kind of seen anecdotally but you may know more of the numbers on this. It does seem that when we are talking about transracial adoptions, especially those that are international, they seem to be related to like certain church groups. And I wonder then, what is the messaging around like this saviorism like you mentioned. Like saving these kids from international spaces. And, you know, I just really wonder about the dynamic of that and what kind of messaging kids in those kinds of situations might be getting about who they are and the relationship they have with their family.

Judith: Yeah, that's like a whole nother conversation. I love that you brought that up but I'm like, oh, I could be on a soapbox on that one. Saviorism. That is like the center of the adoption community in some ways. The child welfare system as well, too. What I can say is all of that is historical. A lot of that is historical. I do some presentations where I talk about the historical context and there's a linkage. There is a sense of linking the child welfare system all the way back to the start of social services in our history and who they were for.

Social services were not for people of color; they were for the working class European white family. So that's the start of social services in that way. And the idea that if it excluded certain people, then you had predominantly women of color who were impacted negatively by the lack of support. All I gotta say is all of that connects all the way back to the history of our country in terms of slavery, in terms of the narrative of what communities and cultures look like or how they're viewed in a lot of ways. And so that all impacts and infiltrates the ways in which we have our systems, including the child welfare system, and saviorism is one of them.

I think sometimes we think of saviorism like, oh, I just want to save someone and support them and give them like a roof over their head. That's the new version, I guess, of saviorism but it still comes from the old idea of saviorism. Is people are savages, people are this, people are not responding in adequate ways (based off of a norm that's been established within a culture and a society) and so therefore we need to save them from themselves. Like that's what saviorism had looked like–we need to save you from yourself.

And unfortunately, in American history, Christianity was a big weaponized tool in order to do that. And so we are seeing in the transracial adoption community this idea of it's still embedded in it. I've had family say we wanted to do international adoption because we were fearful that the birth family would be involved. This idea of we're going to completely cut off an individual from everything that they belong to. Like the culture, the belief system, family, and we want them to just be assimilated in this. We're saving them, we’re putting a roof over their head or putting clothes on them. Even though it may not look like “okay, we think that they're savages,” sometimes I often wonder what's like the implicit bias there? There’s something there. There's gotta be some implicit bias because we're seeing these little patterns still within that.

Dr. Joy: Yeah. So you mentioned, Judith, that one of the things that can happen maybe later in life or even for young people is there's these traumatic experiences that we can then see show up as things like anxiety and depression. I wonder if there are other mental health challenges that need to be considered or things that can happen if there is not like a solid identity formation. Or other challenges that people may have with the transracial adoption experience.

Judith: Yeah. One thing that I often think about, and I talk about this often, is when I think about the label of Oppositional Defiant Disorder or conduct disorder. Most of the kids that I worked with, their acting out was external. So they act out, externally rather than acting in–which can look like more of, you know, some isolation, depression within, just separating self and things like that. Where the acting out is more so getting into legal difficulties and we have substance abuse in some ways as well (although that can be acting in as well).

But I kind of push against some of that a little bit because I think oftentimes we're quick to label what the behaviors are when really there's something else underlying it and that layer of it. And so I often say like we need to slow down when it comes to conceptualizing and understand what kids are experiencing, especially when it comes to identity. I tend to always lump everything up into identity because I think that's such a big part of human development that we don't pay attention to that.

Our European and American worldview, our logic is about science and mathematical formulas. It's either/ or and that's it. That's our worldview. Where if you look at other cultures, diverse cultures, their worldviews are very different. They're not this either/ or mathematical. It’s more on intuition, it’s more on like this development of interpersonal relationships. And so if these kids from different demographics are coming from that worldview but they're put within a worldview and a family system that is more European and Eurocentric, then there is the dynamic right there that you're seeing, this shifting. So there's more chances to diagnose, to a kid being an identified patient, saying that they're the problem, when really it's the identity development formation that's occurring right in front of us and families don't have the tools and the skills or the ability to support that.

And so that looks like depression and that can look like anxiety. Those are the internalized stuff but the outward behaviors, we have to be so slow at placing the labels. Dr. Beverly Tatum, she talks about this idea of oppositional social identity and I love that. And she just basically said like a lot of times when you have kids who are of color and they live in a predominantly white community, a lot of times they're picking up social inferences since they were young. They're picking up behaviors and how people view them and how people see them, and sometimes their oppositional is they’re actually against the society identity.

They’re oppositional towards the dominant culture in front of them in order to fit in in where they're at. And sometimes it means over identifying with a different culture in some ways, too. And so I think there's just a lot of gray areas when it comes to diagnosis and mental health that we have to be very careful and be more mindful of creating space, to really think about all the little gray areas of identity development and interpersonal relationships and representation in that kind of way.

Dr. Joy: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, Judith, I agree with you like identity is a huge piece. And identity changes over time, you know, so it's not like we do it once and then it's done, so I think that there are important changes to be paying attention to. And I'm curious if there are certain things that you suggest when you're working maybe with parents or even with maybe older people who are transracial adoptees, about racial identity development. Like are there things that you suggest for helping them get in touch with that?

Judith: Yeah. One thing that’s super important is first understanding racial identity development. It's a model. It's not linear, it definitely takes its form, but understanding one's own identity development. It's not just people of color or people of different gender identities or different sexual identities that have this development; it's everybody. Everybody. And so sometimes if I'm working with a multicultural family and there’s a transracial adoptee... We have a really big Ethiopian community here in Central Oregon where I'm at and so sometimes I'm like, okay, we're gonna look at the Ethiopian culture but we're also going to look at the culture of the parents.

It's like white and black is a social construct. In our society and our culture, we know what that was for. That was for identifying who was superior and who was inferior, there's a caste system there. We all comprise of different cultures, different ethnicity, identities, belief systems, languages and rituals and stuff, and so as white parents, if you are just identifying yourself and have identified yourself is just white, then that becomes problematic. Because you're also upholding the narrative that this is the normal culture and everything around it is just an alternative, so even your child's culture is an alternative to the normal culture.

And so if we can break that down, then that gives room for, one, your child to see, oh, there's different cultures even within my family. Okay, great. And also, two, it gives them permission to be able to find out what their culture is as well. I think that's super important, is for adoptive parents to do their own work. Find out who you are, go through your own journey of identity development. What does that mean to you? Because the more you're able to do that, too, the more you're able to actually see what your child needs in some aspects.

The next thing is seeking to learn, getting around communities who are talking about this, who are doing this work. There are many podcasts, there are many adoptees, especially in the last year, who have decided to share their story. That other part of it that's not about gratitude, they're stepping in and saying, hey, I love my parents and it wasn't easy. At the same time, this is what I went through as an adoptee. And so positioning yourself to learn. Learn more stories, learn the experiences of adoptees, what they go through, so you can be open to hearing it. And some of it is not fun to hear, you know. It's hard to hear it but that's okay. Sitting with that because it doesn't change the fact that they've been impacted. They've been impacted in a lot of ways.

Another thing I think is super important is being able to have conversations with family. I think sometimes what I've noticed is adoptee families don't necessarily have really important conversations with other like extended family members. That plays a big part of when you're adopting. Having conversations with extended family members around the reality of like, okay, what does this mean for the family? What is this child going to experience from the external family? What are boundaries that we need to set up from the get go or even right now that we realize that we need to, in order to create a safer space for our adopted kids. And then again, really understanding racism and how it's impacted the field of adoption and some of like implicit bias. Understanding that and doing that. I think there's so many resources, like I can go on and on and on, there's so many resources. It's just really being intentional about learning.

Dr. Joy: More from my conversation with Judith right after the break.

[BREAK]

Dr. Joy: You kind of alluded to this, Judith, about I think a lot of adopted children (and even not children) have this idea of maybe wanting to be reunited with their birth families. And so we saw this in This is Us where Randall didn't even recognize what a hole in his heart there had been left by the fact that he didn't know the entirety of his birth story and how he came to be adopted. And so I'd love to hear your thoughts about people who may be considering like, okay, do I want to find my birth parents? And maybe some of the things to kind of consider around that and maybe some of the challenges they might experience.

Judith: Kids, teenagers and young adults. What I have come to realize is that just because one adolescent is ready to just dive in and learn everything about their birth family and their history, doesn't mean that another kid older than that or their age wants to do that too. And so it kind of goes again back to there's not just one experience for the adoptee community. Adoptees are all different. Some kids I've worked with that decided, no, I don't want to go there, I'm not ready to go there. And that's where they're at in their development stage and that's where they're at in their process, and that's okay.

So honoring that and making space, letting them know it's here if you want to and we're going to give you space to be able to process that and whether you want to. And then there's kids who want to learn more. And one thing that I saw is parents oftentimes say they keep information. There's some information that's kept from adoptee kids because of age appropriateness and their ability to process and understand exactly what that even means. I get that. And I've also seen parents withhold information more so for self. It's because they feel like they know what is best for a child and so they choose to not give the information to the child.

It's like I more lean... and I'm going to say this is my opinion, maybe some other people feel differently. I lean more on it is their right and the respect you can give them is giving them their information about their family. If you need support on how to do that because you don't know how to do that, then definitely search for it. Getting a therapist, someone who can help in the process and having the conversation because maybe it's uncomfortable, you don't know what to say. I get those things that parents feel, but I think that it should be something that should be on the table for kids to have access to. It shouldn't be a secret. That's another thing is when there are secrets happening. That can be damaging to your relationship with the child as well to the development of that child–relationally and culturally and ethnically as well, too. So I think that's super important.

Dr. Joy: The other cool thing that I think that we've seen this season with This is US is we see... Well, we've seen Randall in multiple phases of therapy. He's had a couple of different individual therapists and recently we've seen him join a transracial adoptee support group. And so I'm curious to hear if there are resources for people who might want to find these kinds of things. And what might you be able to expect in a transracial adoptee support group?

Judith: Yes, there are a lot of resources in that. There are some Facebook groups as well, I've noticed and seen, transracial adoptees who offer support groups. One of them is Angela Tucker, she's a transracial adoptee and she centers the conversation in the adoptee’s voice in a podcast. And everything that she does, she's an amazing resource in terms of workshops or reading materials or things like that. For the adoptee themselves, there's podcasts, there are communities online, is what I'm seeing. Since we've all transitioned a little bit more to online services, it's actually widened the resource pool for people to connect with one another.

I'm seeing in Instagram, there are a number of transracial adoptees that are like creating support groups, even just content where you can just scroll and it *[inaudible 0:36:23]. In their stories, there's videos. When they see a video from another transracial adoptee that expresses something that they've experienced their entire life and didn't have a voice to it and then they're pouring on Instagram like, oh my gosh, you have no idea what your post just did for me. And so that, I'm noticing, this online support group has been very significant for a lot of transracial adoptees in that way.

I think with Randall’s situation, I loved he even transitioned from a white therapist to a black therapist, realizing that that's what he needed. Again, it’s his development and his racial identity development, the encounter of things. Encountering more and more of racism and police brutality in the way that they showed it in the show pivoted him to be like, okay, I need to pay attention to this. I need to look at this. I'm realizing a need that I had that I never focused on or realized or even maybe voiced. Maybe it was always there, I just never voiced it. Nor was there anything that gave me permission to voice it. And then all of a sudden it sends him on a trajectory for a lot of things.

One thing I love about the show is that it finally introduced the story of the birth mom. Where previously there was only one story and it was actually a problematic story–you have a black woman who was a drug addict and then supposedly died from drugs, and then that's it. You didn't hear anything else, all you saw was this “beautiful story” between him and his new adopted family. And so this time in this season, they shifted and changed it and started to introduce the birth mom and give life in a story to the birth mom. The birth mom also had a life, also had a story. She was human. It brought some humanity to that part of his story and he starts to go to that trajectory of wanting to know more and more and more. And so I think the best that we can do is just support our teens and adults to be able to do that, to feel supported and not be alone in that process.

Dr. Joy: And I think that was something that I noticed that struck me as so powerful about his experience with the transracial adoptee group. And it sounds like the same thing is happening with these Instagram accounts that you're talking about, is just the importance of the affirmation. Of like being seen in somebody else's story. Like, oh, my gosh, I'm not the only one who felt like that.

Judith: Exactly right. Representation matters in so many different ways. You don't feel alone, you don't feel like you're by yourself. Because, yeah, up until now, it has been just with Randall’s story. There hasn't been a lot of interaction in terms of other people he's meeting that experienced the same thing with him. Yeah, that show is amazing. It just shows the whole process. I love it.

Dr. Joy: Yes, it does run the gamut of different topics. Judith, you have already given us some incredible resources. Are there any other resources that you think are important for people to know about? Like any podcast in particular you can think of?

Judith: Yeah, so I have a PDF on my website that I just put there that people can download and then it has all the resources. It’s podcasts, it’s Facebook groups, it’s Instagram accounts, all the stuff. I can name one right now that is like one of my favorite go to podcasts: it's The Adoptee Next Door podcast. That is probably one of my favorite podcasts that I'm listening to. And that is you're just hearing the stories of adoptees, transracial adoptees and their stories and their experiences. It's amazing and it's hosted by Angela Tucker. And so that's one I would say. But yeah, you can go on my website at Triune Health & Wellness and there's a PDF that has a list of resources as well, too.

Dr. Joy: Okay, so can you repeat your website as well as any social media handles that you'd like to share?

Judith: It’s TriuneHealthAndWellness.com and Instagram handle is @TriuneHealthAndWellness.

Dr. Joy: Perfect, and we'll be sure to include all of that in the show notes. Well, thank you so much for all of this, Judith. I really appreciate you having this conversation with us today.

Judith: Yes, of course. Thank you for having me.

Dr. Joy: I'm so glad Judith was able to share her expertise with us today. To learn more about her and the resources that she shared, be sure to visit the show notes at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/ session207. And stay tuned for a very special part two of the conversation on Friday, when I'll be chatting with Angela Tucker who’ll share about her experiences as a transracial adoptee and the work she does to move the conversations around transracial adoption forward.

If you're looking for a therapist in your area, be sure to check out our therapist directory at TherapyForBlackGirls.com/directory. And if you want to continue digging into this topic or just be in community with other sisters, come on over and join us in the Sister Circle. It's our cozy corner of the internet designed just for black women. You can join us at Community.TherapyFor BlackGirls.com. Thank y’all so much for joining me again this week. I look forward to continuing this conversation with you all real soon. Take good care.