EP72 How Adoption Trauma Can Contribute To Substance Use With Guest Beth Syverson

Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
Living While Loving Your Child Through Addiction
EP72 How Adoption Trauma Can Contribute To Substance Use With Guest Beth Syverson

Adoptees are almost twice as likely to develop substance use disorder. That statistic gave Beth Syverson insight into why her adopted son Joey was struggling with substances.  Beth is using her lived experience to help adoptive parents who are coming “out of the fog” and realizing the adoption that created their family also created trauma for their child. Even if you haven’t been touched by adoption this episode will give you insight into the impact of trauma and mental health struggles. 

Learn more about Beth Syverson, the Unraveling Adoption podcast, and APtitude support group: https://www.unravelingadoption.com/


Resources From Heather Ross Coaching

NEW GUIDE ABOUT ENABLING – If you’ve ever worried about enabling, this guide is for you! https://heatherrosscoaching.com/perspective-about-enabling/

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If you want coaching about your child’s addiction or anything else Sign up for a 45 minute $17 call with me using the link below


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This transcript has not been formatted or edited.


I’m Heather after many wasted years, trying outdated, approaches to my daughter’s addiction, that felt wrong to me harmed.

Our relationship and didn’t help my daughter.

I finally found an effective evidence-based approach.


That repair my relationship with her helped me.

Create my own peace of mind and made me an ally in my daughter’s recovery.

I teach you a loving and compassionate approach to help you encourage change.

And create connection addiction impacts the entire family system.


Family recovery is the answer.

Today, you’re going to hear a conversation between Beth cybersyn and I about the intersection of adoption trauma and addiction.


Even if you haven’t been affected by adoption, I know that you’re going to get something out of this episode.

The more challenging experiences that I have in my life and the more I learn about what other people in this world are experiencing the more compassion I have for just The Human Experience in Roll.


And that helps me lead a more connected life because instead of looking at everything with judgment, I just have this Natural Curiosity now.

So I hope it helps you listen to this episode to understand your fellow humans and your child a little bit more and just looking for your similarities.


And these experiences, even if you haven’t been touched by adoption at all, I’ve had Beth on the podcast a couple of Times.

But we’ve it’s kind of blows my mind that we’ve never talked about adoption trauma.

So I wanted to have her, come on the podcast and share that part of her story.


Beth’s Iverson is an adoptive mom of a 19 year old son Joey who has been struggling with addiction and mental health issues for several years.

She struggles with addiction as well.

Down at would the same substances as her son.

This experience has given her empathy for her son’s struggles.


She is He’s walking beside Joey, is he struggles with his recovery while she works on her own personal growth, and healing Joey.

I’m Beth started safe home podcast in August 20, 21 in order to help other families of bori, avoid the pain.


They’ve endured six weeks after it started Joey relapsed, but he gave Beth his Blessing to continue this important work, even suggesting an episode about relapse.

Now the podcast has a new name, unraveling adoption and she is continuing, the work focusing on supporting adoptive parents last fall.


She started aptitude a support group for adoptive, parents facing adoptions challenges, Beth is committed to destigmatize in addiction and mental illness and she wants to help other families touched by adoption to find their own healing path.


I hope you enjoy this episode.

So thanks for for coming on today Beth to talk about unraveling adoption with us.

Thank you, heather.

Thanks for the opportunity and always relish the chance to talk to you any way.

I can so happy to be here.


Yeah, I always I’ve learned so much from you about adoption.

I was pretty ignorant to it before.

I met you and started following your journey and learning as you go.

So you want to share with us why?


You switched gears?

Hours from the safe home podcast to unraveling adoption.

Yeah, so safe home was what Joey and I created in 2021 and we included topics adoption addiction, mental, health and diversity.


So we kind of rotated between those four topics and adoption did come up every once in a while as a main topic or kind of tendon chili, a lot of the time.

But it was really hard to find an audience because it was so spread out between those Or things.


And I just feel so drawn to helping adoptive parents, particularly figure this stuff out, which will hopefully help their adopted children.

And I want to elevate adoptee voices as much as possible.

And I just, I can’t stop thinking about it, I can’t stop talking to people about it and so, I’m like, I’ve got to change the name of the podcast and change my format.


So I now talk about the same for things but adoptions kind of over the top of all.

Of them.

So, underneath adoption is going to be addiction mental health and diversity issues, but all of its going to link to adoption in a new.

And then you podcast which is unraveling it option.



So your son is adopted and that’s really what got you interested in that.

So, and you notice this link between adoption and or adoption trauma and substance use you.


To share more about that with us.

Yeah, I didn’t link it together.

At first, I was super ignorant and even though I was an adoptive parent, I was super ignorant and I just thought what is happening to my son?

I have no idea.

Well I know when it’s really a tangled web anyway it’s not like I have figured it out but an adoptee friend of mine said that is until we adopted, you know, this is after his crisis and he was deep into addiction and suicidality and all that isn’t he adopted?


And like well yeah what does that have to do with anything?

Just her might want to go look into that and she was very nice and she gave me a bunch of resources, a couple of books and the name of an adoption therapist which I started seeing and Joey started seeing her too.

And all of a sudden, the lights came on like, oh he has no sense of self-worth and not just like the regular old no sense of self-worth.


It, a lot of people have but like literally his birth mother threw him away like it is not.

It’s a metaphor it she couldn’t take him and for her side of the story, I don’t know.

It’s probably her parents, it’s complicated.


And no one’s blaming anybody and any of this but that he does not have a Persona before being relinquished when he was born.

Can you imagine that?

I just think God like I’ve had bad shit happened to me, but I can remember before that I have memories of who I was before my Of or so, before some bad accident or whatever, there is a me before that, but for Joey and a lot of adoptees that were born our adopted very early in life, they have no self before and it the memories aren’t really there.


When you’re an infant, your cognition isn’t built in.

Yet you don’t have words.

And so it just lodges in this kind of nebulous space.

It really lives in the body.

If anyone’s read the body keeps the score by Bessel Under Coke.

It’s an amazing book about how trauma any kind of trauma.


It doesn’t live in your frontal lobe of your brain at lives in your body.

And so I, once I started piecing this together, like, oh, and I felt terrible, it’s like, why didn’t I know this?

And then I had to realize, I can’t know what, I don’t know.


You told me that and just giving myself some Grace for not knowing, and then, okay, now that I know, What can I do?

So I’ve tried to find as many adoptees supports as possible.

For Joey sometimes he doesn’t want them, but I just kind of create a smorgasbord here you go.


Joey, I’ve got all these resources for you, you can have any of them, none of them, some of them.

And if you forget, I’ll always have the numbers for you and you can ask me for the numbers again.

So that’s kind of what I’ve what I’ve done and I think it has helped Joey even though it’s extremely difficult to deal with, And Joey, he’s only 19 but I think he has a lot more insight Than People much older than him some adoptees.


Don’t quote come out of the fog.

It’s what a lot of people call it.

When you kind of realize the impact of adoption on you.

They don’t come out of the fog till they’re my age.

So he’s coming out of the fog at 19 but it’s painful it’s like waking up to realizing.


Oh that’s why I want to numb every feeling I have because it’s all just intolerable and this is really heavy.

And Primal, so so so deep for him, so it’s difficult.

So I don’t try to jam it down, his throat or anything date.


You’re traumatized stuff like that, but just I try to offer support and understanding and empathy as much as I can.

Yeah, and it’s interesting that you brought up that Primal feeling and that book, the body keeps the score because I was at, and I started following somebody that you, you know, I I saw through your one of your pages about that that was talking about adoption and I was talking about how like, the baby’s body knows that that is not their mom.


That’s not what they’ve been familiar with and so, like, what that causes to not even have that that connection with that person anymore.

Yeah, and that was the only safe the whole point of infancy is safety.


That’s your whole goal as an infant is to feel safe.

And did not have that even in utero because his birth mother was probably so distraught and stressed out and didn’t feel safe even in utero.

So if you just start off life, not feeling safe.

Well that’s going to manifest itself in all sorts of self-destructive behaviors, no substance.


Use a lot of adopted people struggle, with substances, statistically, I think it’s 43% of adults who are adopted 43 percent, more, adult adoptees have had some Since use disorder in their lifetime than non adopted people, that’s a huge, huge increase and people do all sorts of other self harm cutting that kind of self harm, or abusive relationships, or can’t hold jobs, or just this kind of wandering kind of unsettledness that I see all the time with adoptees, it’s very common.


And of course, of course.

They would, of course they would.

And it’s not some disease, it’s not some disorder.

It’s a natural response to literally, never feeling safe.

Yeah and I was listening to this book about being dysregulated the other day and they were talking about how those all those things that you just mentioned even like self-harm or an eating disorder or like those things that you only see the bad in, but they actually like your body produces opioids, like its own painkillers, which actually kill the emotional pain for them or gives some relief from it.


At least, this is something I never understood before, like, with my daughter, her before, there was a diction there was, although she wasn’t adopted.

She did have a lot of birth trauma before that, there was an eating disorder, which I found out from that that that also releases those natural painkillers and there was self-harm and The more we learn about like how these biological processes in our body, how much it’s connected to that, like so much of it.


It really does make sense and there’s so much easier to drop the judgment about what’s happening.

Yes, if you think about it, like, how brilliant was he?

He dissociated in order to survive that and so Joy’s, flight response, his running away his Numbing out his get me out of here.


Mode is so strong but he had to, of course he did that, you know, if you can just think well how smart of a baby was that he’d Associated so he could survive and unfortunately doesn’t serve a person to stay dissociated your whole life.

I mean that it makes it really tough way to live but you and whatever is causing the addiction.


I think there’s something underneath.

Everyone’s addiction, right?

Behaviors make sense and I don’t know what kind of time anyone’s had but that Person knows somewhere deep inside of them.

They know what happened, maybe it was something that happened repeatedly.

Like neglects is not like a one-time horrible incident, but something that happened and so our bodies and our souls, they figure it out, they figure out how to deal with it.


And unfortunately when you’re like six months old, it might not be the the most highly developed way but you gotta hand it to them they figured out a way to the literally survive.


But I’d like to associate Ation is like all a baby has, right?

That’s all I can do, they are?


They are not that can’t run, they can’t run.

They can’t use their words.

They can’t fight, they can just disappear in their mind.

So, Joey’s gone, most of the time in his mind, whether or not, he’s using substances, totally makes sense.

Yeah, it makes sense in it.


It gives you a lot of compassion.

And yeah.

And I love that.

You’re letting me talk about adoption on your show because I know that not very many people, probably on your show.

That wasn’t your show are adopted or have adoption in their personal life but probably everyone knows someone adopted.


And if anyone’s in any sort of treatment centers, I bet you a million dollars is a bunch of adopted people.

And Foster People in that in that situation and foster kids hoof.

That’s a whole nother layer of more.

Trauma is usually, if you’re fostered, I guess unless you’re both parents died or something, usually there’s something sort of major trauma that necessitates you being removed from The home.


So who yeah that population is is just very prevalent in the addiction World.


I think the more we understand and just look at and are curious about human behavior in general, like some of my greatest lessons like one piece of the puzzle, you know, or some pieces of the puzzle have come from watching your journey and understanding about adoption and opening my mind up about my belief system about that what I went through with Breast cancer.


Like really taught me a lot about, you know, didn’t have anything to do with addiction.

It’s just this common Humanity of understanding people’s struggles, and it’s funny that you brought the book up, the body keeps the score because I was reading that book in the doctor’s office.


The day that I got diagnosed with breast cancer.

So and I loved that book, I was really interested in it, but over, I was talking to a friend about it, like, six months.


I was like I can’t make myself read that book.

I don’t understand, like I haven’t actually read a book.


I’ve listened to books but I haven’t read one since then and we started going through it and I realizing I was like reading the book when the doctor walked in the doctor’s office.

So horse right?

I didn’t even like make that connection with my brain but it’s in there in my body, keeping me from wanting to read.


So I’m like, okay, we’ll just all read again at some point.


So but in before you had that Are sending you might have thought you were lazy or procrastinating or just not not strong enough.

I don’t know.

We make up all sorts of stories about things, but, yeah, that gives yourself so much more self-compassion and we can apply that kind of logic or understanding to anybody that struggling.


There’s a reason that you’re not doing X Y or Z.

Yes, always a reason and it’s not usually be just because you’re bad that I don’t believe that’s true for anybody.


Yeah, and I think I questioned myself.

It was what’s wrong with me and that was going back to.


That was the question.

I kept asking about my daughter to when she first started struggling.

So it wasn’t as charged when I was saying.

What’s wrong with me?

It was more curious, but still even the wording the more I realized the more my curiosity even changes in the less charge.


There is even with those kinds of questions like there’s knowing there’s there’s always something going on underneath the surface.

Nothing is ever really just what it seems.


So knowing what you know, now about adoption trauma because you didn’t know any of that going into it.


When you adopted Joey what do you what would you do differently?

Well, so many things and yeah I had never heard the term before my friends, brought it up when Joey was in crisis.

So what I would have done differently if I had known about adoption trauma, this is what I think I would have done, I would have put him In some sort of therapy.


Not because he was broken or anything.

But to get support.

I think that it’s adoptive parents duty to figure out what our kids is unique needs are because our kids are like, kind of like special needs kids, right?

They have a special need, they were relinquished.


They have this trauma that’s built in and it no matter how great of a parent I am, I can’t overcome that piece of it because that has already happened and has already influenced him quite a bit.

So They have play therapy for like babies and toddlers as so I would find it attachment or adoption competent, play therapist and just provide therapy as needed whenever he’s struggling.


So therapy would have been like at the table anytime.

Oh you want their be here you go.

Here’s some more therapy, whatever you want.

So that would be and I would have gotten myself there be for me to navigate adoption and being an adopted parent, I would have found adoption Competent therapist for myself.


Like I did when much later.

But boy, that would have helped if I had known all that stuff earlier.

I would have done things like, well, I adopted Joey from Japan and Joey’s, dad is Japanese-American but not very Japanese.

His, he was pretty disconnected from his culture but what I would have done is kept Joey connected.


Somehow to his Japanese culture, either learn the language with him or made dishes Japanese food or I made sure he had Japanese people in our friend Circle, and, you know, I offered him to go to Japanese school, but he’s like, hell, no, Mom.


Well, he didn’t say that to me when he was a kid, but his idea was hell, no, I hate school.

Why would I want to go to another day of school to learn Japanese?

But what I’m hearing now, from other transracial, adoptees is the whole family, learns Japanese, the whole family goes, oh now we’re now we’re a Japanese-American family.


All right, we’re a hybrid family.

So we’re going to all learn Japanese.

Wouldn’t that have been great instead of sending him off to school another day of school?

Why don’t we just all take a Japanese class or, you know, learn the numbers together something simple.

You know, what else would I have done?


I would have, I would have just been more alert to addiction being a possibility.

Because like I said, it’s like 40 something percent higher incidence for adopted people.

So I would have been much more on alert.

When at 11:12 do I started acting out?


I would have said, huh.

I wonder if this might be a addiction or substance use and let’s nip this in the bud instead of like my kid would never do that.

Why would you do that?

That’s not something our family does, I was so in denial and just like, no, that can’t be, that can’t be.


So if I had known the incidents of addiction and not to mention suicidality is four times adoptees are four times as likely to attempt suicide.

Side has not adopted people, that’s a huge percentage.

So I would have been much more alert to that.


And when he came home from elementary school with the slit wrists, I would have said, okay.

Stop stop the clock here.

Instead of like, well, that’s weird.

What did you do that for?

But I didn’t realize the amount of pain and later on he’s told me that ever since elementary school, he’s wanted to be dead.


Like he’s always had really bad thoughts of death like constantly so it breaks my heart to think about all the stuff you Around with him but so much.

I would have done differently.

Yeah, there’s so much good stuff in there.

That one thing that really stuck out to me was when you’re talking about, like, instead of sending him to school by himself to learn Japanese that the whole family would learn it together.


Like so, we have this and I it made me think about like family recovery.


TBF this idea that the person who’s struggling should conform.

They need to change but it’s that same principle of the family working together towards unity and change and and not just expecting one person to conform.




What do we tend to do?

We tend to send our kids off to rehab?

Which I’ve done many times.

Here you go, fix it, you go fix yourself, your go over there and they really need like do they have this family rehab recovery places?

You know, like everybody go like Little vacation, except it’s harder work than vacation.


They should make that.

I mean, I think that there are some places that have good family programs that include family.

But I think quite often the family isn’t as included as they should be or rarely included at all.


I mean, the time Selena was in treatment, I think we might have had one or two total family sessions.

Lot of unscheduled that didn’t actually Really happen.

But yeah, it’s so so important that it’s the whole family no matter what it is.



Eating disorder.

Whatever is going on with our kids, it’s not just them.

They develop this coping mechanism within this cycle or system that the whole family is part of, and you can’t just take this person out and expect them to just be good to go.


It’s just unrealistic and it’s not accepting our parts in it, you know, I don’t The same substances is Joey but I use other substances and other behaviors and, you know, maybe he learned that from me, there’s a lot of stuff that that he learned from me that I didn’t intend to teach him, but I did, you know, are things.


I didn’t give him.

So, it’s not anywhere, not blaming anybody.

There’s no one’s fault but we’re all part of it.

Is that your philosophy to am?

I making that up?

Yeah, I mean because if we know better we would do you better?


Like, we’re all just doing the best we can.

And the things that we’ve been doing chances are as what we learned, but it was interesting.

It was like, when I was recording a podcast episode with Helena that we, it had never done.

Don us before that, we both just wanted to be numb.


We just had different ways of getting there.

Yes, I remember that on your podcast.


And when you can find that commonality, I go.


Joy, God.

I No, because I’ve been working non-stop, I totally get it.

I can’t pull myself away.


I understand that.

Impulse to not be able to stop.

I get it and to find those commonalities.

Unfortunately, my addiction is work right now and it’s much more, you know, valued in our society than, and other substances, but it’s the same behavior.


So I think that helps him to know that.

I understand.

I deeply deeply, understand that craving and that it’s so hard to stop.

Yeah, yeah.

And I like what you said before to about all of the education, you would have gotten about trauma and listening to another book about drama and it’s that one with Oprah like what happened to you.


Yeah, I haven’t read that yet but that sounds so good.

It is, it’s really good and she was talking about how they made sure in her school because a lot of the girls that were there came from a background with trauma.

And there was Farm and the the all of the teachers had to be educated about how trauma shows up and like that daydreaming in class is like a necessary Escape for people who have experienced a lot of trauma in their life.


So instead of thinking that, that person isn’t interested, doesn’t care.

Is it motivated?

Whatever knowing like their brain, just needs a break right now.


Yeah, this trauma-informed.

Vacations system is something, I think it’s burgeoning, but there’s so much work that can be done.


And I hate to do this to teachers because they’re already got so much stuff going on, but our education system, they need to get on board with trauma.

I wish they were more educated about adoption as well.

I mean, that would be amazing if teachers were more sensitive about adoption.


I mean, even just thinking about the stupid family tree, you have to draw.

When you’re in fourth grade, how do you think that feels to adoptees?

That’s not fun or bring your Baby picture in a lot of adopted.

In foster kids don’t have baby pictures in, just simple things like that.

That that teachers are people in your community ministers and Sunday school teachers, people that interact with the public, if they can be more aware of trauma option.


Trauma, all these things.

So we can just just be more understanding when people behave in kind of baffling ways.

There’s always something behind it.

Why, why is my kids facing out?

Why Why is my kid not turning anything in?


Why are they get that Curiosity going?

Yeah, yeah, definitely approaching with curiosity.

So and you’ve made a lot of good points about, like, paying more attention to how adoption could affect somebody.

But what are some other things that are like, commonly misunderstood about adoption?


Well, our narrative in the United States anyway, is that it’s option is just great, it’s fixed a problem.

There’s a parent that couldn’t parent and these parents wanted a baby and look, Wallah, it’s all done.

It’s all taken care of now.

But what there’s a couple problems with that one is that no one thinking about how it feels to the adoptee.


Someone suggested to imagine in the middle of the night and alien comes in replaces your spouse with someone else and you wake up to a whole new spouse.

How would that feel?

It’s kind of like how it would feel for an adopted person when they’re an infant and don’t know what’s going on.

By the way, adoptees grow up.


They’re not always children where it’s kind of powder stopping children, but they’re like grown-up adults, and still dealing with this kind of stuff.

So, no one thinks about that.

Also, no one thinks about the birth parents.

A lot of times the birth parents are coerced by maybe their grandparents or maybe by husband or whoever.


So there’s a lot of coercion or like, downright theft of children.

There’s a lot of traffic in like, seriously, especially inter-country adoptions, it’s really Really bad ethical situations in a lot of countries and us is not being very proactive around that.


So it seems like, oh, is this great?

We took a child from an orphanage in China or Korea or whatever.

Aw, isn’t that great?

Well, it’s cool.

It’s very possible that those children would they have parents, they just Rapport and put them in an orphanage while they could make some more money and then their child disappeared stuff, like that happens a lot.


So this happy, you know, corns and butterflies idea of adoption is just very short-sighted and it’s very painful for adoptees to continually have to defend their sadness, like it sucks for the adoptees, for a lot of them, I should say all, but for many of them who are able to really figure it out, it’s very, very painful to be relinquished.


I mean, that’s just painful.

And so to force them to be great.

Oh, aren’t you grateful?

You have such good parents.

It took you in.

They didn’t have to do that or you could have been aborted for God’s sake.

People ask that about adoptees all the time.

How would you like to be asked that?


That’s horrible.

So just to kind of put yourself in an adoptee shoes.

To always, you know, it’s one of the they’re expected to endure this trauma and be grateful for it.

And that’s just not fair, that’s just not fair to put on anybody.

So that’s the main thing and that I work with a lot of adoptive parents and And even if you’re the best adoptive parent in the whole wide world, you’re still going to deal with adoption trauma.


So, the adoption trauma doesn’t necessarily have to do with your parenting.

It has to do with what happened before.

Now adoptive parents, a lot of times make things worse, they pile on the trauma, a lot of adoptees get abused by their doctor parents.

It’s really terrible statistics around that.


A lot of adoptive, parents are very suppressive or repressive or shaming or talk back.

About their birth family.

Oh, they’re just trash there when Jill, they’re drug addicts.

The all this kind of blaming shaming language which is there blood relatives so adoptive parents can Heap on the trauma but even if you’re like perfect, saintly adoptive parents, there’s going to be trauma so that’s what I believe.


Anyway, I do a lot of adoptees would agree with me and if we can go at it looking that way, like okay, what can I do as?

An adoptive parent or as a community member or as a minister or a teacher.

What can I do to make this person’s life?

A little better and help them to deal with this layers of Burden that they were born with.


Yeah, and I know some adoptees who have this grief over a lifetime of feeling so different than the family, their adoptive family, they grew up with and then if they get to meet their birth family and see how they’re so much like them, this.


Period of really grieving not growing up with people who are mirroring who you really are inside, that mirroring is so important.

And we don’t think about that.

If we’re not adopted, we don’t realize that everyone.


We look at a family reunions.

Looks like us and adoptees, particularly transracial adoptees, but every adoptee they just look around ago.


No, it looks like me.

I don’t belong here.

I hear adoptees say, I’m always looking at faces it out in public or when you’re a kid you just look.


Could that be my mother?

Could that be my brother?

Could that be my mother?

It’s just a constant and just it’s a natural instinct whole thing that’s beneficial to a child, right?

To be able to recognize your people who are supposed to be taking care of you.

That’s a natural drive and you take that away and you just feel like you don’t belong anywhere.


And how must that feel?

That must feel terrible.

Yeah, yeah.

And that I guess is one of the You mentioned some of the additional challenges transracial adoptions.

Is there anything else that you want to add on that topic?



So there’s transracial which is it could happen domestically like within the United States, you can have transracial and transracial can also be part of inter-country adoption.

So and every time you add one of those extra layers, you add even more trauma and I didn’t inter-country adoption and I think it’s just fraud.


Thought I think it’s fraught and I just I hope that someday that the United States will will clean up our act and just make it much more ethical and I really feel like ripping a child from their home country and taking them halfway around the world is really not the right thing to do and what I can’t do anything.


Now I’m not going to go return it.

I would never do that, but I just try to let people know maybe, if they’re thinking about adopting overseas, that it’s extremely complicated and it’s really just Not fair to the child and I I’m not anti adoption but I call myself a family preservationists.


So I think our culture, if we took all the money adoption is that multi-billion dollar industry and the US.

So if we took that money and and not to mention inter-country adoption, which is very expensive, take that money and support the birth family, with rehab with mental health, supports with childcare, I don’t know.


Surround Them with the help that they need.

So their child can stay with them then the birth mother and the child will not be traumatized by separation and it will solve these giant systemic issues in the world but it will never happen.

But that would be my dream and and if you do need to adopt, you know, relinquishing adopt out.


Find someone very close geographically, culturally racially, so the child isn’t just swimming and totally Foreign Waters, keep them.

Close as possible.

Preferably a family member, even like a second cousin or something is better than just complete strangers, halfway around the world and now I can see it.


So, clearly back then I wasn’t thinking about Joey, which sounds horrible.

It’s my son and I you would think I was thinking about him but I was really think about our family.

I wanted to build a family and I thought it would be good for him.

But I wasn’t thinking from his point of view, so that’s why I try to put the word out there for other people.


So they can get this quicker or maybe if they’re thinking about inter-country adoption, they can think huh well, maybe there’s someone closer to home that needs help or maybe I could support a family different ways.


As another connection I just made will also sing to you was when you said thinking about it from the adoptees point of view.


And like that’s part of what’s so important with helping our kids with substance use is thinking about things from their point of view.

Like we go To trying to help somebody in the missing link is I mean our heart is in the right place.


But we miss every time because we’re coming from our point of view, we’re not taking the time to see and really be curious about without fixing.

But just to understand the other person’s point of view and how to help them from that perspective.



Yeah, they’re probably not doing it, whatever.

Their addictive behavior is, they’re probably not doing it just to to piss you off as a parent.


There’s probably some stuff by there that if you dug a little bit you could find it out.

Yeah, that empathy is so important.

It’s so hard because it to do that, you have to have some self-awareness and some it takes a certain amount of personal growth have had to happen for you to get to that place.


So, there would be for all Pokemon.

Yeah, we’ve been talking about self-awareness in the invitation to change group.

We just started that section, and it’s so Interesting to me that like, before I started this journey, I consider myself very self-aware.


But the more I learn the more, I realize how unaware I was of myself and didn’t really ever had really taken the time to actually get to Know Myself And what really mattered to me most and what I really valued and and values is something that we’ve talked about in those meetings to and it’s so that cell If awareness like taking a moment to just look into that and in really be open to the idea that you might not be as self-aware as you think.


Yeah, I think that that’s just a growth trajectory, right?

And maybe 10 years from now will think oh God we thought we knew what we were thinking of talking about 10 years ago but oh we were so naive is just we continue to grow.

Hopefully that’s the goal.

I guess continue to grow and yeah, I thought I thought we were pretty good before Joey had Crisis at age 15, I thought we were just going good, you know, using baseball, we were doing the things that people do but we were just scratching the surface and Joey’s addiction and suicidality.


And this journey that we’ve been on for four years has forced me to grow so much and I’m grateful.

I wish it didn’t have to happen that way, but I am grateful because Joey and I are so much closer now.

And I have grown so much and feel so much Much more able to help other people and feel so much more authentic and aligned in myself.


So I’m grateful now, it’s still extremely painful.

I’m not like waking up going.


Let’s do a some more of this heavy stuff today but I’m grateful and I feel like it’s moving me forward more than an easy life could ever have done, right?


The comfortable life.

Yeah, I would have never ever taken the time to In to myself, if I do nothing other than my love for helana, and the pain of a struggle, in our relationship would have made me change like this to change my whole belief system change my career.


Yeah, you you know go way outside of my comfort zone to start a business.

All of that stuff to help other families going through this.

Yeah, I would have never done any of that stuff if it wasn’t for like, learning from Pain.

Yeah, right, right.


If you’re just Comfortable just floating around.

Well, why would you want to dig any deeper that hurts?

It hurts.

But the pain is a good teacher.

I think Joy’s my best teacher ever.

Yeah, I learned so much from him and I’ll keep learning because it’s going to be a lifelong journey.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Helen is my best teacher at she’s still teaching me.

So it’s if we’re willing to let them be our teachers, how much really they have to teach us?


So besides the pod Past.


If there’s anybody listening to this who’s interested in learning more about adoption, or is touched by adoption?

What else are you offering?

Well, I have an adoptive parents group.

It’s open to adoptive, parents foster parents kinship parents, any sort of parents that aren’t the birth parents, but I just call it.


I’d say, adoptive parents, just because it’s easier, it’s called aptitude.

And it is for parents who are willing to go down this path.

It’s not like the lines of butterflies support group.

It is my kids using substances and got kicked out of school.


Now, what do I do that kind of stuff.

People are in the same boat is I was it as I am and some of them have little kids and they’re trying to prevent that, which I am like, oh my gosh, I wish I would have gotten on board.

When I my kid was six months old Bravo so we’re just taking people through the Primal wound, which is that book that I read about adoption.


Trauma we’re taking them.

I bring speakers to them once a month.

Usually adoptees, sometimes birth parents or adoptive parents, and we have a private Facebook group and a database of resources for adoptive parent and that group is free.

You can find it on my website, unraveling adoption.com, and you can set that up.


And I also promote events and things like that.

I occasionally show film.

Screenings like the film Reckoning with the Primal wound, which I just did, which is an amazing film.

Everyone should watch that.

And I do speaking and I can speak to Two groups or teachers, or therapists, or parents.


Or if anyone has a group that needs a speaker, I’d be happy to come talk about adoption.

I kind of feel like my mind is right now is the intersection between adoption and addiction.

Yeah, I love that.

And it’s so so needed.

Like once I saw it but you know that you pointed it out, I started seeing it everywhere and noticing you know, the connection there that how many people were touched by adoption that were struggling with some And zero.


So I’m going to put all of that information in the show notes as well, and I really appreciate you taking the time to come on and share this information with the audience.

Thank you so much.

Heather and again, thank you for bringing this to everybody’s attention.


And of course, thank you for being my life, coach, and helping me turn our family around again.

I know I’ve told you this a million times, but our family would absolutely not be where we are today without you, and I’m so grateful.

For you in my life.


Well it’s been amazing to watch how hard you guys have been willing to work and then to run with it and you’re doing so many amazing things.


So it’s like, this great full-circle moment to get you to do to come back on and talk about this.

So, thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you for listening to this episode.

If you want to learn more about my work, go to Heather.

Ross coaching.com if you want to help other parents who are struggling with a child’s addiction, you can do it two different ways.


First, you can share the podcast with them directly or you can share it on your social media second.

You can leave a review, talk to you next week.