Real Life Adoption is a podcast of stories from people whose lives have been touched by adoption. The bi-weekly show is written, created, and hosted by Kristin Kalning, a longtime journalist and adoptive mom of two. Each show focuses on a story (or two) illustrating themes and topics such as attachment, the foster care system, birth parents, and more.
’The Fire’s Been Lit’
The murder of George Floyd has forced white Americans to examine their privilege, and their deep-set, unconscious biases. Tina Purdie, an African-American adult adoptee, has never been one to stir the pot. “This is the first time I’ve spoken up in my entire life,” she said. In this episode, she talks about being raised by white parents in a multi-cultural household, and answers questions on how to prepare children of color for a world that does not always view them favorably.
Foster Youth Finds ’Safe Space’ in Beauty Pageants
Jamerika Haynes was five years old when she entered foster care. And she longed for her birth family, through two placements, and her eventual adoption at age 13. Jamerika was determined, that once she turned 18, she was going to be responsible for her life. She turned to beauty pageants to earn money for college, and found a safe space of belonging, sisterhood, and strength. Jamerika is the current Ms. Evergreen State, and uses her platform to advocate for foster youth, and families in crisis.
Foster Care Alumni of America
Foster Care Alumni of America was founded after a study of former foster youth revealed that what alumni most wanted was to know each other. A dozen years later, FCAA has 27 chapters, and around 70,000 members. In this episode, host Kristin Kalning describes FCAA’s work, and impact, and interviews two women who have been deeply involved, both at the national and state level. You’ll hear about their lives in foster care, and how they’ve found strength, purpose, and family through FCAA.
National Adoption Day: ‘It Means I Have a Normal Family Again'
In this episode, host Kristin Kalning shares what she saw at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle on November 22, 2019 — otherwise known as National Adoption Day. The majority of the children adopted that day were foster kids, adopted by their foster parents. And while it’s wonderful that these children now have permanency with their new families, says adoption attorney Janna Annest, it doesn’t erase the first part of their story.
Worth the Wait
Chris Sullivan and Jeff Hebrank waited three years, and worked with two adoption agencies before receiving not one, but two last-minute placements. In this context, last minute means that the birth parents start adoption planning at birth. For Chris and Jeff, it meant dropping everything and rushing to the bedsides of two strangers who had chosen them to parent their children.
It’s Definitely a Safe Place for Everyone
Every August, a group of adoptive families gathers at the Sun Lakes Resort in Central Washington. Adoption Family Camp is a place to relax. Kids don’t need to explain why they look different from their parents. Parents don’t need to worry about second looks from strangers. Everyone gets it. Real Life Adoption host Kristin Kalning took her recording gear to Family Camp this year, to learn why this place, and this community is so important to the people who keep coming back, year after year.
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Real Life Adoption is so great!
The stories here filled with honesty and love. They are beautifully told and will be enjoyed by anyone with an adoption connection or an interest in learning more. What a beautiful showcase of family. Bravo, Kristin!
Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly about your journey. I just stumbled upon it today and my husband and I have been on such a similar path. To me, you are every bit as great as Ira Glass!
Wow, this podcast makes you want to adopt with all the amazing stories!