Best of Both Worlds podcast: Foster and adoptive parenting (and our 100th episode!)

Best of Both World podcast with Laura Vanderkam

Families come in lots of different forms. It took me eight years to become a mother of four, but Andrea Walter pulled it off in less than a year!

Walter, a clinical pharmacist in the Veteran’s Administration system, joined us on this week’s episode of Best of Both Worlds to talk about foster and adoptive parenting.

She and her husband planned to start a family the usual way, but when that didn’t happen, they decided to become licensed as foster parents. Foster parents generally care for children whose birth families can’t care for them for a certain period of time. The foster system is designed to reunite families once the situation has improved, though this doesn’t always happen. They planned to get licensed for two children, but the folks doing the licensing said they had enough space for four, so they did the paperwork for that.

In the course of this, they got a call about a newborn who was going to be put up for adoption. Walter and her husband had to decide in a few hours if they wanted to become parents. They decided to go for it. In this episode, she describes their Target trip to get all the supplies they’d need. I know plenty of people obsess about having enough baby gear, and what’s on their registries, but it turns out you can get everything in 24 hours if you need to!

After welcoming their son, Walter and her husband also had the opportunity to adopt three siblings who’d been in the foster system for a while, and who they’d gotten to know. Their foster mother was on the older side, and was happy to place them with a younger family, and take on more of a grandmother role. So in a very short period of time, Walter and her husband became a family of six.

Walter described the joys and challenges of their journey. In the foster and adoptive system, cases aren’t always clear cut. With the infant they adopted, the mother was not going to be able to care for the child, but the father wanted some involvement (as was his right) so for a while they were co-parenting. Children who’ve been in the foster care system have often experienced trauma or frequent moves. Foster parents need to be prepared to see their foster children move on, since the goal is that the original family might become stable enough to be reunited. This can be happy, of course, but also heartbreaking at the same time. Walter was able to adopt the three siblings from the foster system, but this isn’t always possible.

Anyway, I enjoyed hearing Walter’s story. Please give the episode a listen!

Also, we are celebrating our 100th episode! If you’re a long time listener, I’d love to hear about your favorite episode, and any topics you’d like to see covered more (our download stats suggest you all really love hearing about organization and life systems in general!)

11 thoughts on “Best of Both Worlds podcast: Foster and adoptive parenting (and our 100th episode!)

  1. I enjoyed this episode and hearing about unique families and work situations and how they make it work.

  2. As someone who is in the process of adopting children, I found this episode to be wonderful! I’d love to hear you interview more foster or adoptive parents. It is really hard (at least where I live) to find dual-career families who have adopted. In each foster or adoptive family we have met in my region, the mother gave up her career completely to stay at home. So I’m eager to hear more about the “best of both worlds” for such families when both parents have continued to work.

    1. @E – I haven’t seen any stats on the family forms of adoptive and foster parents, so I don’t know what the usual career make-up is. But we definitely wanted to look at adoptive parents in dual career couples, so it was great to feature Andrea!

      1. @E I am an adoptive parent. I adopted solo through domestic adoption. I am obviously all roles 🙂 I’m happy to share my experience if you ever want to know more.
        @Laura Another vote for adoptive stories. I love hearing from other families. I’d also love to hear from a “single mother by choice.” I’m only starting to learn of this community – though I am one! Many women adopt or become parents with donors, ifv etc. Thank you for the great resource and community! I enjoy it all. Always a first listen.

    2. Would love to hear more about families who did this as well. The stereotype I have of families who adopt in my head is of a “traditional” family with a stay at home parent. I know that can’t always be the case. I do know of some physicians I work with who have adopted where I think both parents work, but I don’t know how common that is.

    3. I agree! I am a mom through adoption (two-parent household, both working full-time) and when trying to make connections with other adoptive parents, I have found many (most?) have a stay at home parent (or one parent with a flexible/work from home arrangement)

  3. Just another voice chiming in to say how much I appreciated this episode and how I’d be interested in hearing from more foster and adoptive families, as well.

  4. Fantastic episode! Andrea was a great guest and you and Sarah asked such wonderful questions about her work and her family. Thank you!

  5. In regards to the question on last names, one thing to consider is that hyphen! I don’t know if it is similar to the apostrophe, but my maiden name is O’Brien and practically the best thing about getting married was dropping that apostrophe! My first job included the apostrophe in my email address, which was often rejected by email servers, my sister cannot book flights on Southwest because it says her name is invalid, they could never find my name in the computer at the video store (is that a capital B or lowercase? Space? Apostrophe?) and the list goes on! It caused some annoying issues in my life so just make sure you know what you are up for if you use “special” characters!

    Also, my pastors in college used a combination of their names (Robinson + Payne) to create a brand new last name: Robyne! How fun is that?!?

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