Thursday, May 21, 2015

Does Ariel Have a Mother?: Adoption Talk Link-Up

This past Sunday, I was tackling a to-do list, including prepping meals for the week, putting dishes away, and cutting coupons for my upcoming grocery store run.   As I was attempting to accomplish my tasks, my daughters plopped down in their bar stools, my oldest piping up, "Mom, does Ariel have a mother?"

The girls had been watching a childhood favorite of mine, The Little Mermaid.  And to them, it made no sense.  Why would Ariel and her many sisters have a present father but no mother?

Questions about family dynamics comes up a lot in our home.

I think part of this is positive.  We are very open in our home about all topics, not just adoption.  If our kids have a question, we answer it.   And we don't just sit around and wait for them to ask questions.  If we feel they are interested in a topic or might be wondering about something, we prompt them to ask away.   We feel the environment of openness is critical to their identity, our relationship with them, and the demonstration that there is no shame in asking questions, of wondering, of considering, of FEELING.

But part of the question asking, I believe, comes from the constant interrogations from the public about the authenticity of our family.   I know, I know.  I've heard it all.  People are "just curious" and "mean no harm."  (Ahem---the road to hell is paved with good intentions...)  But to me, no matter their intent, what matters to me is what actually comes out of their mouths and the ways in which people demand to know how REAL, how authentic, our family is.   It's disgusting to demand answers from young children.  It's disturbing when adults use their size, their authority, their age to bully children.

My children are constantly subjected to the doubts, insecurities, evaluations, and uncertainties of others.   And there isn't a lot we can do about it, considering our adoption "status" is apparent, the kids' brown skin contrasting our pink skin.    But what I hope is that with the ways we respond to others, with education and grace (and sometimes with a "that's none of your business"), that my children know they can be proud and confident by not giving parts of themselves away to those who haven't earned the trust to hold those things.

When my girls asked me about Ariel's mother, I reminded them that all children have a mother and a father, somewhere, but sometimes the children don't live with their mothers or fathers, or sometimes the mother or father dies.  I don't know where Ariel's mother is now, but she certainly has a mother.

My girls' question surrounded me with conflicting thoughts:

Losing a mother isn't easy.  And gaining a new mother doesn't eradicate the loss of the first mother.

Adoption is complicated.

Family is everything.

Motherhood is a blessing, a privileged, one of life's greatest honors and gifts.

Love doesn't conquer all, but love certainly is the foundation of greatness, of peace, and of possibility.

I know my kids will have a lifetime of questions, some of them surrounding birth, adoption, race, and parenthood.  My responses will always be full of empathy, education, and empowerment.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Adoption Talk Link-Up: Mother's Day Week

Hi, Sugars!

I'm so glad your here.  I know this week can be very difficult for many.   You might be approaching Sunday with sadness, or with anxiety, or with gratitude, or with reflection.   Or, if you are like me, you are dealing with a myriad of colliding emotions.

I wanted to share a few things with you to hopefully inspire you and bring you hope.

For me, Mother's Day is a day of both celebration and sadness.  First, my kids' first mothers are always on my mind, but they are even more so in my heart-space on the kids' birthdays and on Mother's Day.  Check out my recent Huff-Post article called To the Women Who Birthed My Children.

I am ever-mindful that my motherhood came at a tremendous cost to three other women.  In the adoption community, birth/first/natural/biological mothers are often deemed selfless, heroic, and sacrificial.   I'm not really comfortable with these terms, because I feel like none of them envelop the magnitude of the loss, the giving, and the journey of adoption.  

These two quotes, in particular, sum up my thoughts on my kids' first mothers and Mother's Day:

Motherhood is my life's greatest joy and honor, but it is also bittersweet.

Because I'm very familiar with the tumultuous, challenging, and surprising journey adoption is, my friend Madeleine (mom by adoption and adoptee) and I decided that it was time for a book specifically for parents by adoption and parents-to-be (by adoption).   Our book is full of HEART messages.   We wrote the book we wished we would have had when we started our own journeys to our babies.   We pray that as our readers pour over our word, they are, well, as the title shares, encouraged.

However you choose to spend Mother's Day and no matter where you are in your journey, I pray that you are able to find peace, joy, and hope.

I'm cheering for you.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Busy Bee!

Dear Sugars,

How are you, sweetnesses?   What's been going on in your world?  

First, please connect with me on Twitter or Facebook.  I love hearing your stories and learning what's going on in your world.   

Second, for those who have left reviews of my books, THANK YOU!   You've made my heart smile! Come Rain or Come Shine has been selling so well these past few months.  If you've had a chance to order my latest book, a devotional (with journal) for parents by adoption and parents-to-be, I sure hope you'll leave a review on Amazon.  

Third, can someone please tell me that the end of the school year won't always be this crazy?  Field trips!  Spring picture days!  Book fairs!  Permission slips, announcements, and crinkled art projects galore.   Pair this with potty training my toddler son, media appearances, and homeschooling, and I'm about to lose my mind!   I'm so ready for summer:  swimming, sleeping in, and strawberries.  

Fourth, if you've been wondering where my newest articles can be found, I've been writing a lot for Huffington Post lately.  It's been such an honor!  To The Lady Who Called My Toddler a Thug was syndicated on Medium, My Brown Baby, and The Good Men Project (all great websites!).   I'm also writing consistently for Scary Mommy and Babble, and I have a new post up on America Adopts.   I continue to focus on adoption, particularly transracial adoptive parenting, as well as type 1 diabetes.   I also continue to participate in the Adoption Link-Up which allows some of the best adoption bloggers to write on the same topic on the same day.  It's a fabulous project that offers readers various perspectives on the same topic.  

Finally, because parenting my three babies, writing, homeschooling, running an adoption support group, and being a wife isn't enough, I'm currently penning books #4 and #5!  This book-writing thing is addicting!  The truth is, I'm always writing at least ten things at once.  The ideas keep flowing.  The mind is a busy, powerful, artistic thing.  

Blessings to you, wherever you are on your journey!


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Recently Read Favorite Adoption Books: Adoption Talk Link-Up

I'm a huge fan of adoption books.  I've read close to every book that's been released in the last twenty years (and even some vintage adoption books, too!)

I'm asked a lot by readers about resources.  What are the best books on certain adoption subjects? What books are most helpful?   Most readable?  Most applicable?

I list many, many resources in my first book Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parents Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children.   I believe resources open doors to knowledge and empathy, particularly when it comes to learning about the experiences of triad members.

Here are some of recently read favorite adoption-themed books, in no particular order:

The Waiting: The True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing, and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up

Separated @ Birth: A True Love Story of Twin Sisters Reunited

Thursday, March 26, 2015


One of the devotions Madeleine and I include book is on the subject of isolation.

Isolation, Sugars, is dangerous.

Thus, it's a popular topic among mothers.  Because we are smart.  We know isolation's many weapons, and we are trying to fight back.    

I love these two posts on the subject:

Isolation seeks to destroy, tear down, break, and confuse.

Don't let it win.

Don't choose it. 

Realize you do have a choice!  

I cannot wait for you to read our new book. It's full of good stuff.  Real stuff.   Reading it is like sitting down with a girlfriend over homemade blueberry muffins and rich coffee.   It's Jesus stuff.   

It's what we all need, daily, to make it and to not only make it, but to be successful.