Thursday, October 23, 2014

Online Privacy and the Adoptive Family

Recently, I've had several new adoptive parents and adoption and education professionals ask me about online privacy when adopting and parenting children who were adopted.  I've written on this topic several times. 

Check out this Virtually Speaking: Respecting Open Adoptions over at Open Adoption Bloggers, this article over at adoption.net called The Case for Keeping the Private Private, and you can also check out chapter two of my first book, Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent's Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children, where I have a section on privacy.   My views on respecting your child's (and their first famlies') privacy aren't necessarily popular these days, but I have found that holding firm to my standards has worked well for our family.

Happy weekend, everyone!  And check back next week for a coupon code for some pretty fantastic African American art! 



Monday, October 20, 2014

What A Man

A friend captured this moment between my oldest and her dad at our church's fall party.



I'm thankful for my incredible husband for many reasons, but one of the greatest is this:

When I got sick, really really really sick, he was there for me. 

On the day I was knocking on death's door, he drove home from work, took me to the ER, and sat beside me as the nurses took vials of blood from my arms.

And when we sat in the ICU for a few days, and later, in a regular room, and the diabetes nurse educator asked us if we wanted to have kids,

we both said yes, without hesitation.

And when "adoption" grew in my heart, my husband listened as I shared why I was certain it was the right choice.

He got on board.

And now we have three, beautiful, funny, talented, rowdy kids who look nothing like us but are in many ways, mini versions of ourselves.

My husband is the kind of guy who is the only dad chaperoning the field trips or helping at the kids' school holiday parties.  He's the kind of dad who doesn't think twice about changing a diaper, giving a middle-of-the-night bottle to a newborn, playing My Little Ponies, or preparing healthy snacks.  He's the kind of dad who will soothe the little one who is having a bad dream, even if that means spending the entire night in her tiny, toddler-size bed.   He's the dad who tells his kids, "I love you.  I'm proud of you.  You are beautiful."  He's the dad who shows up and pays attention.  He's genuine.  He's affectionate.  He's patient and mindful.  The kids all shared the same first word:  "Dada." 

He's a rock star.  A knight in shining armor.  My Superman.

He's the real deal.

As we approach a season where thankfulness takes center stage, I'm very, very thankful for my guy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Should It Happen, What Would Happen?

This week, my daughters both brought home envelopes from school containing a single sheet of photo paper.  I opened each of them, and my heart skipped a beat each time as I glanced over the paper in my hands.

"Should your child go missing..." it began.

Of course, no parent wants to think about the possibility that their children could wander off or be lured by an abductor.  But it happens.  And we've talked to our children about strangers, about what to do if someone tries to speak to them or lure them into a car, and we've practiced the appropriate ways to respond.

But seeing the instructions and their smiling faces on a card stamped "GIVE TO POLICE" scares me beyond belief.

I am an overprotective mom.  I think part of this is my type A personality paired with the fact that I have three young kids.  I can't let all hell break loose. I have to know where my kids are and what they are doing, and I have to keep them fairly contained.  If I do not, I could have each of them running in opposite directions.

And there's also the race factor.

My kids are more likely than their white friends to be blamed for things they didn't do, suspected by adults and kids alike upon entering a room, and less likely be receive media attention if they go missing.  Thus, the Black and Missing Foundation was created in order to highlight missing black children.

If my one of my children were to go missing, would the police listen to me? Would the media display their photos as quickly, as frequently, as urgently as the photos of missing white children? Would my kid's photos get the same number of shares on social media as the white child's?

Getting the kids' photos and the missing child instructions added "fuel to the fire" of my already heavy heart, anxious mind, and restless soul.  The racial climate here in St. Louis has been simply frightening these past few months.  I fear for my children, and the many children who look like mine.  I feel pending injustices, I listen to unspoken words. 

I cut out the kids' photos, as instructed, and slid them into my wallet.  And I whispered a prayer for their safety---that I never have to use the cards and that my kids will respond appropriately (and as practiced) if anyone ever approaches them.   And I also prayed that as my children get older, and more just-in-case photos arrive year after year, that I don't ever have to use them for another reason: to show I am their real parent or to cry out to the media when one of my baby's is unjustly harmed because he or she is simply Black in America. 

God be with our children:  clothe them in wisdom, discernment, and divine protection.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Ridiculous Questions, Black Girl Power, and Reluctant Family Members

Fall has finally arrived here in the Midwest, and I'm swamped with writing projects!  Here are some of my favorites to read and share: 

Check out my post, Please Don't Ask Me, "Why Didn't You Adopt a White Baby?" over at Babble.

And "The 10 Most Ridiculous Things This Adoptive Family Has Ever Heard" over at Scary Mommy.

I've also been promoting my new book, Black Girls Can: An Empowering Story of Yesterdays and Todays, which came out a little over a month ago.  And yes, Black Boys Can is in the works!  If you'd like to keep up with BGC, check our FB page


Since the release of Black Girls Can, I've seen a resurgence of sales of Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent's Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children.  It's my honor to write for both children and adults!   If you'd like to keep up with Come Rain or Come Shine, check out the FB page.



Finally, if you are experiencing some resistance to your adoption announcement from friends and family, check out these tips on how to deal with reluctant loved ones over at adoption.net

Monday, September 8, 2014

Jacq's Dolls: For Kids of All Colors

Welcome to our newest partner, Jacq's Dolls



 
Meet owner Jacqueline Bryant: 
 
I did not start out as an artist; I am a recovering economist. I worked for a number of years in development, concentrating on west Africa, and then more years as a public health consultant. A lot of my contract work dried up during the recession, however. I had been making art quilts and dolls for a few years, but mainly as gifts. Economic upheaval gave me the push I needed to start my business in 2010. 

The tag line for Jacq's Dolls is "inspired by you." Though I am generally inspired by the sweetness of children, I was specifically inspired by my daughter. When she was about 5, she asked me if I could make a doll for her. Because I made art quilts, it made sense to her that if I could sew a quilt, I could sew a doll. This was not true, and the first doll was only successful because she loved it. I felt compelled then to make better and better dolls, and to have them look like my daughter and her friends. That is why I decided to hand-dye the fabric for their skin; commercial fabrics did not reflect a true range of skin tones.
 
Jacq's Dolls are customizable and come in a variety of sizes. People sometimes email me a picture of the child so that I know who I'm making the doll for. I have even had moms send me an outgrown favorite dress from which to make the doll's dress! Making the dolls is a true labor of love, and I hope that love comes through in the finished product. 
 
Want something you don't see? Email me at jacq@jacqsdolls.com
 
You can find Jacq's Dolls on Facebook and Twitter, as well.
 
White Sugar, Brown Sugar readers...
get 10% off your first order by entering the code SUGAR10

Tuesday, September 2, 2014