The adoption triangle is made up of birth parents, adoptees and adopters. We’re getting a lot better at listening to the voices of adopters, but there’s still a lot of work to be done around listening to birth parents and adoptees.

One of the best ways adopters can learn about some of the issues their children may face, is to listen to adoptees talk about how they felt growing up. It’s so important that everyone listens to what adoptees have to say so that we can provide them with the right guidance and support.

The National Adoption Service for Wales have created a special edition podcast episode with nine adopted young people. In the episode, they talk about their experiences of growing up as adopted people. The link to listen to is is at the end of the article. Please, take a few minutes to listen to it as it’s so important that their voices are listened to.

In a UK podcasting first, a group of young, adopted people have come together to produce and present a bilingual podcast episode, sharing their personal experiences of adoption and being adopted.

Truth Be Told; Adoption Stories’ podcast

In a special edition of the hugely popular ‘Truth Be Told; Adoption Stories’ podcast, made on behalf of The National Adoption Service for Wales, nine adopted people from the ages of 13 to 26, chat to each other about adoption. They talk about how it has shaped elements of their lives, and the importance of putting adopted people at the heart of all services.  

The episode explores a diverse range of experiences and emotions related to growing up as an adopted person.

Charlotte, 26, features throughout the episode:

‘I was lucky that my parents always gave me age-appropriate information, I was always told what I needed to know at the right stage of my life. I was always told important things, even if sometimes it took me a bit longer to understand it all. But, with adoption, whilst you have this new family, you’re also experiencing a loss of birth parents and a whole different family and so everyone processes things differently.’

Through the course of the episode, the contributors discuss common misconceptions and prejudices they have encountered, and highlight the need to continue challenging out-dated perceptions around adoption.

Sarah is 13, and lives in North Wales;

‘Little kids don’t really understand things that well, so they used to say ‘oh your mum and dad gave you away, they don’t love you. These days, people are beginning to understand more about adoption.’

Love who you are t-shirt. Truth be Told adoption stories
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Connected groups

The young people in the episode are members of the Connected group and Connect Youth Council, run by the charity Adoption UK on behalf of the National Adoption Service for Wales.

The group regularly meets both online and in person, and provides a safe space for the young people to participate in activities, connect with other young adopted people, and facilitate collaboration with policymakers across Wales and the UK, including Welsh Government, to advise on adoption processes and support.

Charlotte, touches upon the support she receives from the Connected groups:

‘The groups give me a really space safe to explore my feelings and ask questions such as ‘is this normal? Why am I feeling like this?’ with trained youth workers and that helps massively. I am able to make friends and build confidence.

Some of the things I would never have done had it not been for the group, especially being given multiple opportunities to make sure the voices of adopted people are heard at very important meetings.’

The episode was produced by the young people over the course of a year, supported by staff from the National Adoption Service, dedicated youth workers, podcast production specialists: Bengo Media, and strategic communications consultants: Cowshed Communication.

Truth be Told: Adoption Stories podcast

Development of the episode included webinars, training evenings and collaborative sessions for the contributors, exploring the podcasting industry, practical production skills, editorial considerations, powerful storytelling and confidence building. It is hoped the skills gained through the process will enable those involved to pursue further opportunities in this field.

Charlotte, comments on her experience of producing the podcast:

‘It really does take a team to get a podcast done & everyone at Bengo Media, Cowshed & National Adoption Service for Wales were instrumental to us throughout the planning, producing & recording stages of the podcast. Everyone involved was thoughtful, kind & really afforded us a safe space to talk about our experiences with adoption and I can’t thank them enough. 

My favourite part was meeting everyone from Bengo Media & Cowshed in person on recording day because all the planning had been done via Zoom, so seeing everyone together felt like the puzzle was complete. It was also so lovely to be given the opportunity to talk about the different situations adopted people face and to record a podcast with friends was super cool too!

A podcast microphone. Truth be Told: Adoption stories podcast
Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

I hope that anyone who listens to the podcast does so with an open mind and heart. I know how hard it can be to empathise with a situation you haven’t been through or don’t know much about. But having an open mind and being prepared to listen will help an adopted person massively. We just want to be heard and feel valued in society.’

Listening to adopted young people

Suzanne Griffiths, Director of the National Adoption Service for Wales, says:

“The National Adoption Service is proud of the fact that many of the changes in adoption that have happened in Wales have happened as a result of listening to our service users and responding to what they tell us. We’re therefore absolutely delighted that the young people have had the opportunity to be involved in this podcast and have felt able to share their thoughts and feelings with us in such an open and honest way. Their stories are so important in not only helping us to understand, but also for anyone thinking about adoption to learn what it feels like for the children and young people.”

Ann Bell, Director of Adoption UK Cymru, says:

‘We are in awe of the wonderful young people from all over Wales who have taken part in the podcast. It is never easy for them to share their stories as it can be traumatic and exhausting.

One of the young people, Keira May, is looking forward to sharing the podcast in her school assembly. She hopes it will help others learn about adoption and what it is like to be adopted.

We are immensely proud of the CONNECT service and the way they have supported the young people to participate at every stage.’

To listen to the podcast, or for more information on adoption in Wales visit the NAS website here.

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