“I Am A Work In Progress”

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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I saw it happen. Not live, but minutes after. I watched the full unedited version through an Instagram account I follow. The "Slap" seen around the world, on stage, at The Oscars. Maybe not the greatest night in television history but, now, certainly the most infamous.

I need to pause for a moment, and share a disclaimer. I’m not writing this post to drive a point home about who did what right, who was at fault, who was justified, why they were justified, what repercussions should take place, or to get into the weeds about anything that has transpired since this incident shocked the world (we’re all on Meme overload!).

After all, this is The Honestly Adoption blog. We’re not a blog about pop culture. The closest we’ve come to this is reviewing movies with adoption and foster care themes and overtones. That’s it. It’s not our niche. I leave pop culture reviewing, debating, and fodder to the pros who know how to muse and quip about that sort of thing.

I want to talk about Will Smith’s apology, which he issued via his Instagram and Facebook accounts on Monday.

(Screenshots via Will Smith Instagram account @willsmith)

I read this on Monday night, while sitting with my oldest son at an NBA basketball game. It was way past my bedtime, the arena was dull and unexcited, and my eyes were heavy. I paused on Will Smith’s post, momentarily, as I mindlessly scrolled through social media. Our home team was losing badly and both my son and I had mentally checked out and begun to scroll. That’s what you do when you’re bored in 2022!

I read the apology. Suddenly, I felt a mental jolt as I read those last words: “I am a work in progress.”

Aren’t we all, I whispered.

All I could think was, how often have I failed in my life? As a person, as a friend, as a man, as a father, as a husband? How often have I allowed my emotions, my feelings, my fears, and my triggers to get the best of me? How often have I overreacted, snapped, hastily moved to judgement, or behaved in a way that was embarrassing, unbecoming, or unprofessional?

Too many times to recount.

Will Smith’s apology spoke volumes to me. If you know me, you know how big I am on taking ownership for one’s actions. We all fail, miserably sometimes. It’s about how we own our actions and work to make things right. That is of utmost importance.

If there’s any audience in the world, who understands exactly what happened with Will Smith on Sunday night, it’s us. And if there’s any audience in the world who understands the value of taking ownership, making amends, and declaring that “I am a work in progress” it’s us. That’s us as caregivers. That’s our children. That’s this journey.

How often have we allowed our emotions as caregivers to get the best of us, and overreacted or said something (or did something) we did not mean, to then feel crushing guilt and shame afterward? How often have we witnessed our children melt down, function from their basement brain, and act impulsively, only to later feel remorse and shame upon returning to their re-regulated state?

Yes, we, are all a work in progress.

I read a piece published by Inc. on Smith’s apology. The writer points out that “What Smith experienced wasn’t just a poor lapse in judgment. It was an example of what psychologists refer to as an emotional hijack, or an amygdala hijack. When it comes to higher level executive functions, such as the capacity to think through a decision or exercise self-control, we typically engage the frontal lobe(s), the largest part of the brain. But when we feel some type of emotional threat, the amygdala, an almond shaped structure found deep in the brain, hijacks the process. This often results in a fight, flight, or freeze response.” (Inc.com feature on Will Smith and Chris Rock

Total, 100% identification. For myself first and foremost, but also the journey of parenting children with a trauma history.

Will Smith’s apology means a lot to me as a human being. He owned it. He didn’t make excuses or shift blame. He told the truth and he took ownership. That’s what a work in progress does. Fail, yes. We all do, and we all will. But choose to fail forward.

I am a work in progress.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.