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!

xoxoxo


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

Isolation

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.  



Monday, March 23, 2015

Reminders of Promise


God once spoke the clearest word to me.  It was a defining moment.  It was permission.  It was direction.  It was promise of hope, of better days.

That word was ADOPTION.

When I was told I had type 1 diabetes nine years ago, I was elated and crushed, simultaneously.  I had been sick for a year and a half.  Diabetes stole.  It mocked.  It taunted.  It confused.  It teased.

I was emaciated, depressed, and hopeless.

While curled up on a hospital bed, barely listening to a diabetes nurse educator talk to me about counting carbohydrates and injecting insulin, I was just me:  broken and sick.  My tiny frame was covered by an oversized hospital gown.  I was covered in wires and tubes and bruises and anger.

But when the conversation turned to family-building, when the nurse asked me if I planned on being a mom, everything changed.

As she went on to talk about diabetes and pregnancy, a word popped into my mind.  A word that changed the trajectory of my life.

God spoke.

I listened.

As I spend this month thinking about my disease and its mysteries and intricacies and tricks, as I think about how far I've come, as I think about the surprising gifts my disease has given me, I notice glimpses of color.  Quiet reminders of how God has used my diagnosis to bless me, change me, teach me.

It's the veggies left on a highchair tray.


It's the ballerina twin-size sheets on top of the laundry heap.


It's the beads in my girls' hair.


It's the scraps of construction paper strewn about, a project half-completed, and abandoned, all in the name of creativity and childhood adventures.  



Reminders of how God sent a rainbow after the rain.  A promise.  The flood was bad.  Devastating. Seemingly endless.  But the rainbow came---gloriously, brightly.

Where is your rainbow today, Sugars?  Where has God placed color to remind you that He's there?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sibling Relationships: Adoption Talk Link Up


----This post is part of an ongoing blogging adventure called Adoption Talk Link Up----


Dear Stranger Who Asks the Real Siblings Question:

You see, when people see my family, I can bet on what questions will be asked of us.  The most common is:


(Or some form of that question, such as "Are they from the same family?")


From the frequency and predictability of this question, I have determined that strangers believe our family is just so interesting.   There must be a back story that we are just dying to reveal to the public. Our story must be a cross between a Disney, Hallmark, and Lifetime movie.  Mysterious.  Magical.   There's got to be a "once upon a time" and a "happily ever after," with a long, winding road of drama in between.

So, naturally, a great conversation starter is to approach us and ask how "REAL" we are. 

Every time, I inwardly groan, draw in a deep breath, and figure out how to respond in a semi-dignified way.

People mean well.

People are just curious.

You chose to adopt transracially, so you chose the spotlight.

Oh, geese!  Don't get offended.  Everyone is so sensitive these days!  

Translation:

  • We do not have a right to privacy.
  • Our children's very personal adoption stories should be made public for the benefit of curious strangers.
  • We should answer nosy questions in order to not be perceived as rude.
  • We should answer nosy questions in order to educate the public on adoption.

But answering, in a way that appeases the person, comes at a price:

  • Answering teaches our children that their privacy is less-important than how we, the parents, are perceived by strangers.
  • Answering teaches our children that it's acceptable for stranger adults to use their size and age to "bully" children.  
  • Answering teaches our children that they are defined by their adoption, their history, or their "status."  
  • Answering teaches our children that we, as adults, can take from them, instead of giving to them.  

If a nosy stranger could see our children day-to-day---the hugs, the cuddles, the arguments, the making up, the sharing, the smiles, the tears---they would know.  They would know how REAL our family is---how REAL the siblings are.  How authentic.  How genuine.   

But this is not what strangers see.  They see two White parents and three Black babies.  They see the range of skin tones, the different eye, nose, lip shapes, the different body types.  They see DIFFERENCE.   

Now, there's nothing wrong with SEEING difference.  

What is not okay is turning every thought into a verbal question or comment---questions and comments directed at innocent, wonderful, beautiful children.  What is not okay is using your bigger-taller-stronger-older status to demand answers from my babies.  

This isn't an interrogation.  And my kids will not be your prisoners.

The love, the relationship, the trust, the grace---these things are so REAL.  They are real between the kids, between us and the kids, between the kids and their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Real between the kids and their birth families. 

What you see, dear stranger, is difference.

But if you would take a few moments to observe.  Observe how when Baby E trips and falls, Miss E is at her side in a matter of seconds, asking in the sweetest voice, "Are you okay, sissy?"  Observe how Baby Z dashes toward an exit, and Miss E and Baby E run after him, grabbing at his hands and telling him it's not safe to run away.   Observe how the kids all try to grab the same toy at the same time and an argument, a real sibling argument, ensues.   Observe how my children say "Mommy" ten times a minute while tugging on my arm, or my pant leg, or my hair---or whatever they can grab. Observe how their father lovingly kisses their hurting places, changes the baby's diaper, and wrestles them while they squeal in delight---all within a five-minute period.  

And remember, my babies are listening and learning.  Please don't hand them ignorance or suspicion or demands.   Offer us a smile or a nod or a "nice to meet you" instead.