How old are each of you?
Louise is 52, Sarah is 55.
Where were each of you in your lives (personal and professional) before transitioning to a new career and new cities?
Sarah: After selling the business Louise and I owned, The S’Cream Truck, I wrote for a marketing company and also went back to writing my own projects. Right before the pandemic hit, my son, who was in Dallas for college, told me he’d taken an internship (subsequently he graduated this year and is now working full-time at that job!) and wouldn’t be coming home for the summer. Empty nest had been hard for me. I realized that this was permanent — I was no longer an “active” parent. Then quarantine hit, and I had a string of losses — my longtime home and my job, for starters. I realized that it was time to be closer to family and closer to my son, so I moved to Kansas City. I was raised in Missouri but hadn’t lived here in 40 years so it was a big move right before my 55th birthday — leaving behind friends and familiarity and a place I genuinely loved. Shortly after moving, my dog of more than 14 years died. Needless to say, that was a blow.
Louise: After we sold The S’Cream Truck, I went back into a career of being an EA for different CEOs and for the last three years I have worked for an exciting Fintech startup in Los Angeles. I went from the EA role to an Executive of Operations role and I am currently still in that role. My son is grown and living in Los Angeles. In 2018, I married a man that I grew up with and went to high school with. We have been together for the last ten years. I lost both of my parents in the last several years and during the pandemic we decided to make some bigger changes and leave the city, just shy of my 53rd birthday. It has been an exciting move because my husband remodeled our current house himself, but a hard move: leaving my son, friends, and life in LA where I lived since moving from my home state of Colorado in 1986.
“That was our initial bond when we met in 2008 — that immediate connection that adopted people feel when they meet”
What did you transition to and why?
We both had moved — Louise to the Central Coast, Sarah to Kansas City. After we sold our business, we stayed connected as close friends and spoke often about side projects we could potentially start together. We had landed on doing a podcast and were discussing what it could be about when we had that “aha” moment: hello, we should be talking about adoption. That was our initial bond when we met in 2008 — that immediate connection that adopted people feel when they meet. We’d spent many hours on our ice cream truck having long discussions about our pasts, our childhood, and how adoption impacted us, so this was a natural fit to start this podcast. We approached it with immediate creativity and tenacity, as we did our truck. We jumped in and started discussing a format, a name, and how we wanted to tackle the topic of adoption. We set up shop in our closets and started our passion project. We learned what we needed to know about podcasting and just began. It has felt right and authentic since day one.
What was your process in starting the podcast? Did you have challenges to overcome?
Our process in starting the podcast was first deciding to do it. We had each moved out of LA, and doing any kind of business together wasn’t really on the table. I, Sarah, had been wanting to do a documentary that involved driving around the country and meeting all of my biological relatives, but that became not possible. Louise called one day to talk about starting a podcast together and it just all fell into place — the subject matter was something we both knew intimately.
Getting started included a lot of YouTubing and watching tutorials, and then we just decided to go for it. We bought a mic, headphones, made our closets into our podcast rooms, and started recording on Zoom.
What were some of the new challenges that you faced?
Of course it was challenging to figure out how to do a podcast when we were both engaged in our own work worlds and had no clue about how to do it, but we both had this burning desire for more meaning and we were determined to make it happen.
The biggest challenge, once we figured out the logistics, was worrying about how our families, both adoptive and biological, might feel about putting our “stuff” out there. Each episode we discuss a chapter of The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier — who, by the way, was a recent guest — and there’s some content that could be potentially hurtful for family members.
Also, now that we’re six months in and coming out of, as the adoptee community calls it, “the fog,” it brings yet another layer of working through issues and feelings that we didn’t even know existed. Peeling back the onion, as it were.
“Change, as we all know, is hard but it is rewarding in ways that you can’t even anticipate”
What advice do you have for someone who may feel stuck in a particular position in their personal or professional life? How do you gain the confidence to pivot in midlife?
You’re not stuck! That’s an untruth that you need to get past. It’s a narrative you have the power to change, even if you think you can’t. Take one tiny step each day towards your goal/passion project or anything in life that you want. Find a friend to be accountable to — someone who will remind you of who you are and where you want to go. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People actually do like to help, especially when it’s so clear that it’s the right thing for you.
There are resources everywhere, lots of free resources; utilize those, even if it is uncomfortable. Change, as we all know, is hard but it is rewarding in ways that you can’t even anticipate. Don’t listen to naysayers; tune those voices out.
For us, the confidence thing came with just putting ourselves out there and again, tuning out negative voices. As trite as it is, you do fail forward. We had some serious ups and downs both in our personal lives and our business lives. Also, there is something greatly freeing about being over 50, finding your voice, and not giving a f***k.
You both are in new cities. How do you build supportive communities after moving to a new place? What’s next for you two?
Yes, we’re both in new cities but, after starting our podcast, our new community is the adoption community and now we’re voices in that community. We get daily messages from all over the world thanking us, asking for advice, and wanting us to continue the conversation. People want to hear stories and tell their stories, or even just have someone who’s been through it and can lend a compassionate ear.
We’re very aware of our role now, and that we have a platform in a community that hasn’t necessarily been publicly understood. We’d like to help change the narrative about adoption and maybe find new ways in which adoption is handled and talked about — through lawmakers and community organizations and, ultimately, look for ways in which profit can start to be taken out of the equation.