Therapy for Intercountry Transracial Adoptees
An interview with Moses Farrow, LMFT on adoption, mental health and the experiences as an adoptee doing adoption therapy. Curt and Katie explore with Moses key aspects of being an intercountry transracial adoptee, implications for therapy, the importance of race and culture and addressing racism. We also discuss the importance of being an adoptee as an adoption therapist and the biggest issues facing adoptees including suicide and what is being done to help.
It’s time to reimagine therapy and what it means to be a therapist. To support you as a whole person and a therapist, your hosts, Curt Widhalm and Katie Vernoy talk about how to approach the role of therapist in the modern age.
Interview with Moses Farrow, LMFT
Moses Farrow, LMFT is a Korean adoptee adoption-focused therapist in private practice. In his capacities as an advocate, program coordinator, and direct service provider, Moses has supported adoption reform, child abuse prevention, anti-racism, and the destigmatization of mental health. Currently, one of his primary interests is to educate and promote suicide prevention among adoptees. As the lead for the mental health team at the Gide Foundation, he is developing projects that bring mental health to the forefront within the intercountry transracial adoptee community. Research has shown that the rate of suicide attempts is 4 times higher among adoptees than people who are not adopted. In recent years, Moses has written about his personal experience including the loss of three adopted siblings who died by suicide. In previous years, he has worked in community-based programs, hospital settings and outpatient practices. He has advocated for adoptees to have access to their original birth certificates and presented nationally on the need for post adoption services. Moses believes in empowering people to speak their truth in order to be seen and heard. It’s about saving lives.
In this episode we talk about:
- Lack of knowledge around adoptees’ mental health and suicide rate
- The process of coming out of the adoptee fog
- Adoption as an industry rather than a way to create families
- Different types of adoption
- The narrative that adoptive parents get, regardless of the demographics of the parents or the adoptee – “Forever Families”
- Internal conflict related to how one is raised and how one looks (i.e., native culture)
- Looking at our own biases and blind spots related to intercountry transracial adoptees
- The importance of educating ourselves about the adoptee experience
- Each adoption experience is unique – there is a range of adjustment, mental health concerns, connection with adoptive family
- Looking at the identity and how does one define oneself when they don’t fit here or in the country where one was born.
- Identity formation when one is an intercountry, transracial adoptee
- Internalized racism, lack of connection to native country, lack of acknowledgment of native culture
- Places to get support with other adoptees facing similar struggles
- Suggestions for working with parents of adoptees
- The history of the adoption industry and why it is problematic
- Ideas for advocacy related to adoption
- The recommendation for adoptive parents to do their own therapeutic work
- The complexity of racism as an intercountry transracial adoptee
- The importance of solidarity with BLM
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We’ve pulled together resources mentioned in this episode and put together some handy-dandy links. Please note that some of the links below may be affiliate links, so if you purchase after clicking below, we may get a little bit of cash in our pockets. We thank you in advance!
Gide Foundation – please note that in the time between recording the episode and when it was aired, Moses Farrow is no longer affiliated with the Gide Foundation.
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Who we are:
Curt Widhalm is in private practice in the Los Angeles area. He is the cofounder of the Therapy Reimagined conference, the CFO of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, an Adjunct Professor at Pepperdine University, a former Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, and a loving husband and father. He is 1/2 great person, 1/2 provocateur, and 1/2 geek, in that order. He dabbles in the dark art of making “dad jokes” and usually has a half-empty cup of coffee somewhere nearby. Learn more at: http://www.curtwidhalm.com
Katie Vernoy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, coach, and consultant supporting leaders, visionaries, executives, and helping professionals to create sustainable careers. Katie, with Curt, has developed workshops and a conference, Therapy Reimagined, to support therapists navigating through the modern challenges of this profession. Katie is also Past President of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In her spare time, Katie is secretly siphoning off Curt’s youthful energy, so that she can take over the world. Learn more at: http://www.katievernoy.com
A Quick Note:
Our opinions are our own. We are only speaking for ourselves – except when we speak for each other, or over each other. We’re working on it.
Our guests are also only speaking for themselves and have their own opinions. We aren’t trying to take their voice, and no one speaks for us either. Mostly because they don’t want to, but hey.
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