Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dear Sugar: 10 Reasons to see Hidden Figures With Your Daughter + Resources for Further Learning

Dear Sugar,

Last weekend, my eight-year-old daughter and I put on all our favorite star-gear and headed to see Hidden Figures with friends.

This movie is EVERYTHING.   We laughed, we teared up, we reflected, we smiled.

The absolute best part?   It opened doors to conversations.

Here are ten reasons why you must take your own daughter to see this movie---NOW: 

1:  Civil Rights
We own so many civil rights books, but this brought this era to life.  You could watch the emotions of the characters, hear about news stories of that time (specifically lunch counter sit-ins), and watch the characters experience racism (and sexism).  
2:  American history
I knew a little about space history and exploration from watching a show that was on last year called The Astronaut Wives Club.  But that was it.   This film presented space/American history in a way that made me want to learn more about a subject I’m normally not interested in.  The film integrated footage from real news stories from many years ago. 

3:  Feminism
Women were disposable, yet they did all the “dirty work.”   Clearly evident in the reports that our main character, Katherine, typed up.  She would type who authored the report:  her superior (white male) and herself; and multiple times, the superior ripped off the cover page with the names on it, not to be included when turned submitted.  

4:  Black Girl Magic
I tell my girls they are magical because they are Black girls.  It's IN them.   And this film demonstrated this truth---beautifully and historically.   

5:  Black Girl Joy
There were such incredible moments of victory for the protagnoists of this film, and there was total Black Girl Joy.   A shriek.  A dance.   There's a moment when the three women are struggling with discrimination, and they decide to cut loose, have drinks, and dance together.  The dancing-together scene is SO beautiful.   

6: Science and Math
STEM and STEAM are all the rage right now, and this movie shows that science and math are not only smart, but they can be cool.   And girls and women who are gifted in these areas should not shy away from learning more and using their knowledge.   

7:  Friendship 
The Black women in this film have each other's backs.   I believe during one part of the film, Octavia Spencer says something about a rising of one woman is a rising for all.   Women and girls are often portrayed as catty, bitchy, and competitive (in superficial ways)---but this movie negates that stereotype.   

8:  Current events.
The opening scene features the three main characters (all Black women) on the side of the road trying to fix their broken-down car.   They’re approached by a white police officer…and, yeah.   It’s interesting how the things people of color face today aren’t always that different from struggles and challenges of fifty years ago.  

9:  Dream.
The women in the movie dreamed of BIG and HARD things for themselves, some that were unheard of and seemingly impossible.  But the goal always starts with a dream.  

10:  Do. 
The women don’t stop at dreaming.  One goes to court to petition the judge to attend a segregated school to take night classes to be an engineer.   Another teaches herself about technology so she is able to climb the corporate ladder.   Another saves the day:  literally.   

I recommend the following for your kiddos if you'd like to farther their interest in HIDDEN FIGURES (and all the beauty it showcases):

First, create a space-themed rice sensory bin.  Instructions on creating a general bin can be found here.   Dye your rice black (using grape Kool-aid and black food coloring), and then add in the following accessories:

Add a star cookie cutter and a glass star bowl from your local dollar store, and voila!    This was my oldest child's birthday gift last year, and she absolutely loves playing in it.   She enjoys hiding and finding the planets, naming the planets, setting up little scenes with the astronauts, sorting the stars by size, etc.

Also, check out these fabulous books:

And these toys/accessories:

And for your little explorer:


-this post contains Amazon Affiliate links

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dear Sugar: Your Child's Story Isn't Yours to Showcase

Dear Sugar,

Recently a reader of mine submitted a new burning adoption question regarding privacy.   Why do I keep my children's names, faces, and stories private?   

In a time when ever'body knows ever'body else's business and divulging increases the popularity of bloggers, why do I stay in the shadows?   What am I so afraid of?  What am I hiding?

I was going to save my response for a new YouTube video on privacy, but when this story came across my newsfeed yesterday, I simply knew I had to tell you NOW why I do what I do, or should I say, don't do.

Here's the video:  

As a mom of four kids, all of whom have open adoptions with their birth families, I feel like we've had reunions on a much smaller (but no less meaningful) scale:  every visit is sacred and special.   Every laugh.  Every question.  Every matching smile (because WOW is the "nature" evident and so beautiful!).

Never.  Ever.  Ever would it be ok with exploiting or broadcasting these moments.

Yet I see it all the time.   The mom posting a pic of her transracial adoptee on IG with the hashtag #HIVCantStopHer.    The hopeful adoptive parent posting a picture of the baby she's matched with...the baby IN UTERO, like yes, in the expectant mother's uterus.   These are just two appalling examples.  And referring to the expectant mom as "our birth mother."  Referring to the baby (the one in utero) as "our baby girl" or "our baby boy."

Though I do share things that happen to our family, such as when my toddler was called a thug by an acquaintance, or when I was referred to, yet again, as my kids' "adoptive" mom, I do not share my children's names, faces, or personal adoption stories.  I don't share the names and faces of their birth families.


Because it's not for public consumption.

Because it's not your business.

Because it's not my story to tell.

Because privacy matters.  Privacy translates to respect.  Respect is a way of loving.

Because I don't trust strangers with intimate things.

Because anything online can never be erased.

Because I want to live a life with as few regrets as possible.

Because I take my job as a mother very seriously.

Because I believe in respecting my children's biological families and their stories.

Because I was chosen to parent my children, and this honor shouldn't be squandered.

Because I know many adoptees and birth families: and listening to them tells me it's better to err on the side of caution and privacy.

Because no amount (fleeting) praise is worth compromising my relationship with my children.  (And I did not adopt to be praised.)

Because I didn't save my children.

Because I am the lucky one.

I have been asked many times to submit photos of my kids' faces, share their names, or allow them to speak on camera or radio.   And my answer is always no.   No, I cannot answer that question.  No, I will not share why my children were placed for adoption.   No, you can't have a photo of my children. No, they won't be speaking on camera.  

Not because their voices do not matter...

but because their voices matter the MOST.   

We are not ashamed of the fact that our family was built by adoption.  But we hold some things sacred---because otherwise, they are thrown like confetti to the masses.  Obliterating their holiness.  
Today, I want to encourage you to think about the potential long-term implications of your immediate choices.  Things like who you share your child's story with.   Things like the language you use to explain adoption.   Things like the questions you choose to answer.  Things like privacy.  The pictures and videos you share.   The things you agree to.

Sugars, you, as your child's parent, have so much power and influence and responsibility.  Adoption and parenting adoptees is NOT about warm fuzzies, fame, personal satisfaction.

It's about raising happy, confident, empowered children.  It's about listening to them.  Empathizing. Learning and applying.  Teaching and guiding.  Leading by example. And that starts on the foundation of trust.

Trust is everything.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dear Sugar: Burning Open Adoption Questions

Hi, Sugar!

Today I'm sending you over to my YouTube channel to learn more about open adoption, and as promised, here are the resources I recommended in the video.  Click on the image to learn more.

Take the Love Language online quiz here.

Hit up the author of The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption here.

Article & Blog Post Suggestions:

Navigating Open Adoption During the Holidays, via Adoptimist

5 Qualities You Need to Embark on an Open Adoption Journey, via

Arc of an Open Adoption, on Lavender Luz

You can submit your burning adoption questions via a Facebook message.  New video answering YOUR questions coming in February!

-This post contains Amazon affiliate links.