RISK! Podcast
  • Episode:#1152
  • Date:September 21, 2020
  • Run Time:1:08:36
  • Download: MP3


Henry McMillan, Laura Ford and Sheila Arnold share stories about penile problems, foster parenting, and Black history.

Song: RISK! Theme by Wormburner and John Sondericker

Song: Tondo by Disclosure & Eko Roosevelt

Live Story: Snip Snip by Henry McMillan

Interstitial: The Cinch and the Swell by Taj Easton

Radio Story: Heartbreak by Laura Ford

Song: Suit of Armour by Danika Smith

Livestream Story: Taming the Fire by Sheila Arnold

Song: Happy Birthday by Stevie Wonder

Buy the RISK! book now wherever books are sold, or at TheRISKbook.com. The RISK! book features 37 of the best stories that have been on the RISK! podcast and brand new stories as well. RISK! book storytellers include Kevin Allison, Michael Ian Black, Marc Maron, TS Madison, Aisha Tyler, Jesse Thorn, Dan Savage, Paul F. Tompkins, Mollena Williams-Haas, Ray Christian and more! Learn more at TheRISKbook.com.


  1. Heartbroken after listening to Laura Ford’s story. Can’t help but think how Manny and Jay must have felt when social workers picked them up and told them they will never see their ‘new’ parents again. Why is it not better to meet them and have a talk and give them closure? I can’t stop crying thinking of these poor boys

  2. I loved all the stories, as per usual. And Sheila, your story was so wonderful! God bless Ms. Elliot!!!

  3. It was troubling to hear the story titled ‘Heartbreak’ by Laura Ford. As an adopted person, I felt that Ford never acknowledges the trauma that the children she is attempting to adopt have suffered and that the behavior of the older boy could have been remedied through therapy or other community support. She is constantly focused on her own feelings and needs. So often, adopted/fostered kids get a bad rap for being ‘troubled.’ Ford furthers this narrative with the unfounded accusation that a ten-year-old boy is making her feel unsafe in her own home. Being adopted or fostered is a traumatic experience in and of itself, one in which society constantly says ‘you are different – how you came into your family wasn’t ideal.’ For example, when someone finds out that I am adopted their first question is “Have you met your real parents?” I don’t think they realize how insulting this is to me and to my adopted parents who are my real parents. I feel so sad for these two boys and so frustrated by the narrator’s selfish actions and assumptions. I have a lot of feelings about this story but something that really disturbed me was when Ford states at the end that one of her requirements for adoption had something to do with no property damage. When will we, as a society and culture, realize that property is not more important than human life. The older boy was acting out because of the very real trauma that he had gone through in the foster system – something Ford clearly couldn’t relate to and did not even acknowledge when telling this story.

  4. Hey folks. The episode called READJUSTING has been revised and can now be re-downloaded or re-streamed in its new, expanded form.

    It includes a follow-up to the story Heartbreak by Laura Ford. Myself and RISK! story coach Cyndi Freeman had a conversation with Laura in which we reflected back on the story. Laura gave us some further context. And we discussed some of the issues that came up in listeners’ reactions to the story.

    You can find this new material in the episode at the 50 minutes and 42 seconds spot in the episode. — Kevin

  5. I can’t pretend to know what it feels like to walk in these shoes so I am genuinely trying to reserve judgement, however as a person who survived a traumatic childhood it is heartbreaking that these boys had to go through yet another rejection. I work with developmentally disabled children now and some of my most difficult cases are the ones that every other therapist gives up on. They will test you to your core, and I really do understand not being able to stomach it. I guess where I am confused is where the storyteller thought they would get these two boys that had been in the system for such an amount of time and have an expectation of them NOT having issues. I hope the social worker that is placing the boys learns to be upfront with potential fosters and waits to find the “right family” for these two boys.

  6. Laura is an amazing story teller. The ups, the downs conveyed evoked many emotions.

  7. My wife and I just finished listening to Laura’s story. What a beautifully vulnerable story. Wonderfully told. Thank you for sharing your truth, even when it must have been scary/painful to do so. This is why I love Risk.

  8. I can not help but feel extreme judgement toward Laura Ford. As a survivor of childhood trauma, as the mother of a behaviorally challenged autistic son, I am nothing short of disgusted. When you commit to adopting a human being, you commit to major baggage. You don’t give up, you love harder. If you don’t have the capacity to do that, you don’t deserve the privilege of letting a child into your life. Those poor boys didn’t deserve that, and she doesn’t deserve a platform.

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