In this episode, I talk with Dr. Colleen Warner Colaner. Colleen is an associate professor in the Department of Communication, and co-director of the Institute of Family Diversity and Communication at the University of Missouri. Her research examines how communication shapes and sustains relationships in complex, diverse, and modern family structures and experiences. Colleen is the founder and owner of Adopting Communication, a family communication education organization that serves to provide families with communication strategies to promote cooperation and connection. Colleen’s work has been published in Communication Monographs, Communication Research, Sex Roles, Journal of Family Communication, and Adoption Quarterly in addition to regional and specialty journals. Recently she contributed a chapter to Neither Here Nor There: The Many Voices of Liminality titled “Adoption and Cross-Cultural Parenting.”

Colleen describes some of the issues and challenges that adoptees face, including the experience of “permanent liminality.” Colleen shares some of the methods that have been found helpful for adoptive parents. She also describes what children mean in our lives and the tendency for parents to view their child as a “mini me.” Together we talk about the nature of family and the importance of extended family networks. Finally, we talk about raising awareness around adoption and adoption issues, including the need to remove lingering cultural stigmas around adoption.

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