505: The Many Facets of Adoptee Math

Biracial adoptee and adoptive mom

We all know from 1st grade math that a half plus a half equals 1. But for adoptees, the math doesn’t always add up the way we think it will.

At one time I thought that if I could just incorporate my children’s first families into ours, then Tessa and Reed having access to both their halves – all their pieces – would make them feel whole. I even subtitled my first book along those lines: The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole.

But the more I listen to adoptees, the more I understand that there is not just one time the math doesn’t work, one split…between the family of origin and the family of experience. There are a lot of splits in which an adoptee needs to span distances, lots of ways an adoptee feels like they are not enough on either side – no matter what we adoptive parents say to them.

There are also times for adoptees in which a plus and a minus don’t zero each other out. The easy emotions, like love for one’s adoptive family, don’t simply take away the harder emotions, like the loss of one’s birth family.

This is what we’ll talk about today with Torie DiMartile, a biracial and interracial adoptee and doctoral student who has been in an open adoption since her very beginning, more than 30 years ago. I know you’re going to want to hear about how Torie is bridging all these gaps, and the ways she coaches parents to support their adoptees in doing so, as well. So let’s bring in Torie DiMartille.

Show Notes


Read Full Transcript

About this Podcast

Lori Holden (The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole) brings to you an array of articulate and thought-provoking guests with lived experience in adoption, each with valuable insights to share about the all-encompassing journey of parenting an adopted person from babyhood to toddlerhood to school age to teenage -- and ultimately to adulthood. Join us as we explore Adoption: The Long View.

Named a Top 25 Adoption Podcast

Lori Holden