Triads and Triangles

Hi friends, family, and future baby,

This post will be published April 13, 2021. We’ll have been working with our agency for a year and a half and have spent 6 months as an actively waiting family.

These informative posts serve a few purposes. We didn’t know how much we didn’t know when we started this process! There is a lot to consider within the adoption community. As members of our own community, if you are interested in growing alongside us and supporting us and our future child with some of this knowledge, I want to empower you to do so. I also totally understand this may not be most people’s preferred method or time to get this information. We’ll all grow together through the years.

A typical adoption involves three primary groups: the adopting family, the birth family, and the adopted child. These three groups form what is called “the adoption triad”. Each adoption is composed of its own unique triad. As the adopting family, we hold the most power in the relationship and are responsible for building and nurturing a healthy triad. In my head, I’ve always pictured it as delicately balancing a triangle.

Image description: A cartoon person is delicately beginning to create a house of cards by attempting to lean the tops of two cards together, forming a triangle with the table underneath. They are sticking out their tongue to show concentrated focus. Image sourced from:

You can certainly have an adoption where one or two pieces of the triangle are not given equal balance. I’ll write more in a later post about our hopes for an open adoption, but that decision is not just ours to make. If the birth family wishes for a closed adoption, part of honoring the triad is honoring that decision and helping our child navigate it. That wouldn’t be enough. The triangle is only well-balanced if all three parts are represented. Even if we had a closed adoption, we would find ways to expose our child to the perspective of other birth families and demonstrate respect and honor for our child’s family of origin. If we want to promote a healthy culture around adoption, we need to honor all voices and experiences equally.

Image description: A cartoon person has created the foundation for their house of cards by standing three pairs of cards next to each other, each leaning against their partner. They are smiling and holding their hands up as if they are cautiously celebrating their success. Image sourced from:

The idea of the adoption triad is fairly new. Until recently, there were not many adult adoptee voices sharing about their experience. This is connected to the history of adoption, which I may get into the weeds about in a future post. Maybe not. Regardless, now that we are able to hear from more adult adoptees about their experiences we are learning how we can do better going forward. Recognizing and honoring the triad is one step.

John and I have attended classes and panel discussions, listened to podcasts, followed groups, and read articles to hear more voices from the other two parts of the triad. Like any community, there isn’t one voice or message that represents everyone’s perspective. We’ll keep learning and growing. We’re attending a Birth Father panel discussion in June that we’re pretty excited about because birth fathers are not someone we’ve heard much from in the past. I might share some of what we learn then here, but, if you’re interested, the best place to learn about a community is from members of that community. Here are some options if you’d like to hear more:


Untold Stories: Voices of Adoption

Adoptees On

Born in June, Raised in April

Two Good Mums


Transfiguring Adoption

How to be Adopted

Adoptee in Recovery

The Adopted Life

Musings of a Birthmom

Little Georgina

Bonafide Birthmother

Thank you for continuing on this journey with us. Our child will be stronger because of the community you generously provide.

Image description: A cartoon person has completed a four level card tower. They are smiling and look proud. Image sourced from:

With love,


Image Description: Photo was taken on New Year’s Eve 2017, but it’s one of my favorites. John is holding Jeb and about to play a card in Jamaican Salsa. The Christmas tree is lit in the background.

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