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Episode 24

In the non-adoptive world, where people only know of adoption but have not actually lived as part of an adoption story, there is often a romanticization of adoption. Adoption is often sentimentalized and treated as a “happily ever after” story. But anyone living inside of an adoption story knows that adoption is a really complex topic with multiple lifelong ramifications, and there is no single “Adoption Narrative.” And while there is a growing body of work that focuses on transracial adoption and amplifying adoptees’ voices, the unique perspective of Black adoptees and Black adoptive parents and Black birth parents is one that we don’t hear much about. 

Dr. Samantha Coleman and Sandria Washington aim to change that. After years of friendship, Dr. Sam and Sandria both discovered as adults they were adopted. Each quickly learned that Black adoption is an inaccurate conversation that often occurs through the voice of everybody except Black adoptees. They kept asking the question, "If every birth has a story, why is no one telling ours?" In 2019, Dr. Sam and Sandria partnered to create Black to the Beginning, an initiative to amplify the Black adoption conversation. Through videos, interviews, and social media connections using #BLACKANDADOPTED, Black to the Beginning aims to support, connect with, and amplify adoptees in the Black community.

(One thing I’ll clarify before you get into the interview is that I was sitting in a room that got increasingly dark as we were talking and I realized that in my new office, I did not have a lamp or light. I usually work during the day, but we did our interview by Skype at night and by the end of the call, they could barely see me. We had a good laugh about that at the end of the interview, so I wanted to explain so it would make sense when we get to that part of our conversation.)

I loved talking with Dr. Sam and Sandria and I’m so excited about what they’re doing with Black to the Beginning and the community they are serving with this resource, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

Black to the Beginning on Instagram

Black to the Beginning on Twitter

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