Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where This Road Leads, Only God Knows

I have long been adamant that my children won't be close in age if I have any say in the matter. Many of my friends and family members have or are parenting children whose birthdays practically overlap with less than a year or two between them.

I'm Type A, a planner, and someone who thrives on moments of peace and quiet. I have had that so far. My daughter is predictable and seemingly also enjoys the environment of steady bliss that radiates in our home. Cozy. Easy.

Society speaks one message but lives another. Society speaks that women CAN have it all---a full time job, a ever-happy marriage, great relationships with their children, a clean home, extracurricular activities, a stellar spiritual life/understanding, and more. But the reality is that this isn't possible---that something's got to give. The most we can have is 100%, and the division of efforts is never equal or balanced among all the categories or roles a women has.

Society also speaks that women can be blessed with loads of children and be truly happy---thus the infiltration and popularity of shows like 18 Kids and Counting and Jon and Kate Plus 8 (which yeah, didn't turn out so well, did it?). But those shows just give me anxiety, not a baby itch.

Despite the happy-happy facade that brims from celebrity magazines (another person having twins?) and mommy "how to do it all" manuals, the truth is that if the kids have it all, the woman loses something---either her physical health, her mental stability, her marriage, her career, her emotional balance, or something else.

So knowing what I've seen, and knowing my own personality, I long ago took a stand: I wouldn't have multiple children close in age. Call it selfish (I want time to write, to work part-time, to enjoy each child in the stage he or she is in) or call it crazy (don't you want to just have a ton of kids and get the diaper stage over with?), but I call it reasonable and smart.


Last week I got a text from a friend asking if I was watching the adoption special on television. I didn't know anything about it but I am always up for a good adoption special. :) We turned it on and watched the remainder of a one-hour special called A Home For the Holidays. Much of the show was scripted and honestly, hokey, and I have also been long determined to only adopt infants, not a child stuck in the foster care system. But after watching the special, I dashed to my office and found a national photolisting of children available for adoption. There are 100,000 children ready to be adopted in the United States.

I searched a few times based on age, race, and state. Sometimes I would click on a photo and up would come not only that child's photo, but the photos of the child's multiple siblings. Understandably, children do not want to be split from their siblings. But we live in a three bedroom ranch with no indication of moving soon.

Then I found her. Little R. A three year old residing 1000 or more miles away. Her eyes penetrated mine. Her profile description made my heart leap. Could this be our child?

I sent an information request. The next day, Christmas Eve, I received a phone number for R's social worker. I called but just got a voicemail. After we returned from a long holiday weekend, I called again. Voicemail. I called an hour later. This time the social worker picked up.

She could tell me very little about R due to confidentiality laws. But she said I could send in a copy of our homestudy for review. If the "team" (whoever they are) decided we might be a good match for R, we would be provided more information.

Honestly, this is scary stuff. Domestic adoption through a private agency, which is what we did with our daughter, is completely different. This is state-stuff. The government. Traveling 1000 miles away. A homestudy update.

As I write this, I am very conflicted. Last night I wrote a short letter to the social worker, complied our homestudy and homestudy update, and typed a fax cover sheet. At this moment all the documents are with my husband at work, ready to be faxed.

I didn't sleep very well last night. I can't figure out this ball of emotions, rational thoughts, irrational thoughts, and God's plan.

What I know is that adoption is NEVER smooth sailing. There are always bumps in the road. A friend suggested that it wouldn't hurt just to send in the homestudy and get more info. A nurse we know said the medical needs R has do not sound severe at all. Another friend suggested to pray our way through each choice, and whatever God wants will work out.

I feel strongly drawn to this little girl. Perhaps that means she will one day be ours. Or maybe it means we'll open our hearts to adopting from foster care. Or maybe it just means I need to pray for her and that's as far as this will ever go.

I'm confused. I don't know what to do. I want to send in the homestudy. I want to know more. But I'm not sure that is right.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Odd Conversation...

So last week one of my gym friends tells me that a man asked her about me (and the babe). He said that the baby was pretty, and was she mine? My friend said yes, that I adopted her.

(This man has only been coming to our gym for about a month or so. He's a very tall, African American man, in his sixties.)

Then the next day I'm in the gym hallway (holding the babe) chatting with a few friends and the man who asked about Ella and me walks by. He says to me, "Are you babysitting?" Um, did he not just ask someone yesterday if Ella was mine or not? So I said, "No, she's my daughter." I then say, "Can't you tell? She looks just like me." As a joke, of course. He then smiles and walks away.

Then a few days ago I walk into a step and weights class to hand something to one of my friends. The guy is in the class and says, "Aren't you the girl with the baby?" I say, "Yes, I have a baby." He says, "A girl?" I say yes.

Then, on my way out of the room, I stop to talk to another friend. The man comes up, interrupts us, and asks if he can talk to me for a minute. We step to the side and it goes like this:

Guy: Now, I'm sixty-nine years old.

Me: Nod.

Guy: Is that your baby that you bring here?

Me: Yes.

Guy: Where is she?

Me: In the nursery. (Um, where else would she be? Swimming by herself in the gym pool?)

Guy: I'm in my sixties, and I'm not used to this. (Ok, so are you trying to justify being so nosy/ignorant/rude/invasive?) Did they not have any [babies] of your own [race]?

Me: (Did he seriously just say that?!? I don't know whether to laugh, walk away, or respond. I respond.) We were open to the child God had for us.

Guy: Thinks for a moment. Was your husband, was he ok with that?

Me: (No, I adopted her secretly, and my husband has yet to notice she is black). Yes.

Guy: Well, it's nice to know some people are colorblind. (Obviously he's not....)

Odd. Really odd. I don't know what to make of it.

Is this a test? I was confident and not at all embarrassed or ashamed. I was slightly annoyed, though. How many times is this guy going to ask questions? And why does he assume that we adopted because we are colorblind? Who is colorblind/race-blind (besides people who are really, physically blind)? And why does he think stating his age is going to make me feel better? Well, maybe it makes him feel better.

I guess I admire the fact that he had the guts to talk to me. It sure beats a stare or a whisper. But those are few and far between. I mean, does this guy live under a rock? We live in a metro area full of interracial families.

Despite the odd, nosy conversation, I recognize that these questions and conversations (which rarely happen anymore but when they do, I'm ready) are opportunities to educate other people about adoption. It's sort of what I signed up for, I guess.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Road to Somewhere

I remember two Christmases ago. I was certain that soon we'd be chosen to adopt a baby. We were showered with gifts that year including a homemade "baby G" bib from my mom and a stack of farm and animal themed board books from my future brother-in-law who is a country boy, through and through. We spent the following months getting the nursery ready, talking about baby names, and imagining ourselves pushing a stroller through the mall along with all the other moms and dads. We were so ready.

We waited 11 more months. Little did I know that the Christmas I was anticipating a baby, my child wasn't even conceived yet.

I make a lot of plans in my life, and I am determined that the goals are met with precision and timeliness. I do what I can to scoot things along. It's in my blood. It's who I am.

But adoption was totally out of my control. I could put certain marks on the dreaded checklist (the one adoptive families get that states what they will and won't and might accept in an adoption situation). I could check my cell phone twenty times a day for a message from the social worker (don't want to miss THE call). I could reorganize the nursery closet every other week (which I did). But nothing would put me in the driver's seat of our adoption. And that's a good thing.

Some of the best things in life come from a road to somewhere....a road where we cannot see around the next curve or beyond the forest. We know we're headed in some direction to some destination, but most of it is a mystery. And it's not in our power to decide what happens when, where, how, or why. Thank God.

I have learned that I can't plan blessings, and that simplicity and surprise far surpasses plans and productions.

Christmas reminds us of this. Jesus came into the world in the most humble of ways. Though most storybooks paint a serene winter evening with a stable full of clean hay, smiling animals, and a glowing Mary, what really might have occurred was nothing like a Hallmark movie. It was supposedly summer---so probably hot. The animals probably smelled a little ripe. Mary was surely exhausted from traveling and then giving birth in a barn. Here's Joseph delivery his firstborn child with no medical degree. How humble and non-ideal is that? What woman today would give birth in a place and situation like that?

But the simplicity of the situation described in the Bible is its beauty. And the lack of control that Mary and Joesph had is equally as interesting and appealing.

Life is full of roads that lead us here and there. I hope that each turn leads you somewhere better and more beautiful than you ever could have planned or controlled. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

How Much Do You Share?

"How much do you share?" This was the question brought up on the adoption message board I frequent. Here's my personal belief and my response to the woman's question:

I share the following with almost anyone:
where she was born

that we stay in touch with her bio mom

how old E is

the agency we used

why we chose adoption

that we plan to adopt again

what I do not share with people we don't know well:
anything else not listed above

what is only shared with a few very close friends and our parents and siblings:

her birth name

select information about her bio mom such as her first name and age

personal information about our adoption experience

There are a few things we haven't shared with anyone simply because it's not necessary. It's not about being secretive as it is being respectful of my child and her bio mom.

My philosophy on this stems from my relatives who adopted, shared too much too soon, and their child was teased because of this information. They warned us not to share too much. Once info is out there, you can't take it back. And I want to be the one to tell my child information as it is appropriate for her age and understanding---not the neighbor or her grandparents or friends.

My advice---don't hand out information like candy on Halloween. I am not ashamed of any part of my child's adoption; however, I am also not going to give out information simply because people are curious. I have learned that it is OK not to answer questions!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Balancing Act

Is it possible to balance the joy I feel for my daughter's adoption and the sorrow I feel for the woman who gave her child to us?

It seems like the scale is always tipping in one direction or the other----that there never is a balance because the two emotions are not equal.

Adoption is presented as win-win by most agencies. The mom finds a family for her baby when parenting "just isn't possible," while the adoptive couple, many of whom cannot have children biologically, becomes parents. But the truth is, there is loss all the way around.

My first focus when we entered the world of adoption was our gain---we filled out some forms, created a profile, paid some money, waited and then got a baby. WIN! But truly, getting to that place of an adoption decision wasn't and is never easy. Many couples face years, even decades of infertility treatments. In our case, we faced my life-altering diagnosis of diabetes, one that changed our life plans forever. Other couples face cancer, or genetic risks. There's always a loss that leads couples to another door: adoption.

As I began to learn more about birth parents, who are also called biological parents, first parents, or natural parents, depending on who one asks, I began to slowly realize that there is a losing side to adoption. That my gain is someone else's loss. And that birth parents to not "get over" or "move past" the loss of their children. That these parents will always have an ache in their hearts for their children. Even when they truly believe they are at peace or "did the right/unselfish thing"---there is nothing or no one who can fulfill the place that is designated, by nature, for their child.

I am now slowly learning more about the adoptee perspective. When I first started the process, I was thinking only about getting the nursery ready and holding a sweet baby while sitting in front of a Christmas tree, or imagining myself pushing my baby in a stroller in the spring air while listening to singing birds. Yeah, total Hallmark movie, right? But I'm learning more what adoption might mean for my daughter. It's scary stuff, this new information, yet I crave it. I want to be prepared to address her concerns and questions.

No matter what I've learned presently and what I didn't know in the past, I have always wanted to do the best and right thing. Any parent does. My situation doesn't just include a parent, me, and a baby, her, but also the person who birthed my daughter, who carried her inside of her for thirty-nine weeks. (When my daughter turned nine months old, I realized that this milestone was "outnumbered" by the amount of time her first mother had carried her. Wow.) And how do I put all that together and "do the right thing"? And is it my job to do this?

Don't get me wrong. I am thankful for my child and for the woman who chose us to parent her baby. I am thankful that God's hand was in our adoption situation. I am thankful for every day that I get to spend with my daughter and the never-ending access I have to God to pray for my child's biological mother---which I do...daily.

But inside me, there is always a conflict, one that won't stop. It isn't out of guilt---I didn't choose my baby; my baby was chosen to be placed with us. It isn't out of obligation---because people can brush aside or forget about obligations. It isn't out of feelings---because feelings come and go.

It's really out of the fact that I know. I KNOW. The education, the knowledge, is powerful. Ignorance is far more blissful, and it's also wrong because ignorance is a chosen behavior in many cases. Sincerely. I believe that after one knows and understands that adoption isn't a win-win or a perfect solution, that there are dark places and dusty corners, that joy from one parent and sorrow from another are forever and intricately intertwined, that one has a responsibility to carry that knowledge, to refer to that knowledge, and to take some sort of action, whatever that may be in each person's situation.

The balance of the overwhelming joy I feel every single moment I am with my child and the sorrow I feel for the woman who is without those joys is altogether difficult and never-ending. I'm not sure I'll ever go back to that win-win-happy-go-lucky attitude toward adoption. And I'm not sure I want to.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adoption is the Best Option

I am quite tired of Christians promoting the idea that "adoption is the BEST option" for an unmarried, young (or youngish) woman who finds herself pregnant and often alone. What Bible did they pull this idea from? And what gives any person the right to tell another what she should be doing with her own flesh and blood?

I am convinced...

that young mothers and single mothers can be good mothers. But they often need support to do so.

that adoptive families aren't perfect, and behind the Disney vacations and four bedroom homes, they have issues, too. We aren't saints. We are just people.

that, as a friend recently said, adoption has become the "Christian abortion." (In my humble explanation, and PLEASE read the comments below this post for more discussion on this statement/idea, Christians promote the idea of young women NOT aborting because if they really don't want their babies, which is a whole different argument/discussion, they should give them to families who "can't have their own.")

that adoption and abortion do not go hand-in-hand. They are two totally separate issues and decisions.

that adoption and abortion both create a lifetime of loss and grief.

that just because someone had sex outside of marriage doesn't mean the baby automatically should go to a "good family who can't have children."

that a baby has needs NOW, and that those needs must be considered...not just the feelings of the bio parents and/or the adoptive family.

that a mom who wants to parent her baby isn't selfish. She's a mother who wants to keep what is hers because she loves that child with all of her heart.

that a baby isn't a gift to be given away.

that all birth parents aren't courageous and unselfish for placing their babies. Perhaps they are just scared and pressured.

that the birth parents will eventually get over or "move past" the loss of their child through adoption.

that adoption is a loss, for everyone involved.

that my gain, as an adoptive parent, comes at a high cost to someone else.

that my baby is a wonderful blessing, no matter what.

that I am a "real mom" with "my own child."

that my daughter has two mothers. And that is OK.

that my child will experience joys and sorrows associated with her adoption.

that Christians need to offer an expectant mother support, not uneducated advice based on stereotypes and personal feelings.

that adoption can be a beautiful thing, but it isn't perfect or pretty.

that I will never stop thinking and praying for my daughter's biological mother.

that God can orchestrate an adoption situation even when humans are relentlessly attempting to screw it all up.

that this whole adoption thing is complicated beyond words.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Kwanzaa: What Do I Know? What Do We Do?

Kwanzaa---something I knew nothing about until last year. And even now, I do not know much.

First, is it something many, most, or some black people in the U.S. celebrate?

Why is it important?

Is Christmas for white people, Kwanzaa for black people? Or is Christmas for all, and Kwanzaa for some?

Will my daughter miss out on an important part of black culture if we don't celebrate Kwanzaa?

When I Google Kwanzaa, am I getting accurate information?

Is Kwanzaa in line with, against, or unrelated to the Christmas traditions? The Bible? Current black culture?

Does our family, made up of two white people and a black little girl, fit into Kwanzaa, or are we just impostors?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ready, Set, and Then What?

I cannot tell if the questions and comments we get have slowed down or if I'm just better prepared to answer them.

When someone asks if E is my daughter, I say yes. Without hesitation, without feeling like an impostor, and without offering up more explanation.

When someone asks if E is adopted, I say yes, for all of the reasons mentioned above.

I was recently told by a friend and fellow adoptive mom that when I am approached by other questions (where is her real mom? how much did your baby cost? are you babysitting?), I can always say, "That's a very personal question." And leave it at that. As one who likes to talk and often says too much and not the right things, I have been rehearsing this statement in my mind. I am armed and ready to use it.

I am not ashamed of my daughter's adoption story, of her first mother, or of the fact that adoption is expensive. However, I am growing into a woman and adoptive mother who realizes that I do not have to accept or entertain impolite, nosy, and bad behavior, in the form of questions, from others.

I guess because my black daughter is a baby, people feel more free to approach us---for both good (to compliment her) or bad (to ask inappropriate questions). I wonder as the months and years progress, if we'll be approached more or less, if the same old questions will be repeated, or if people will come up with newer, more awful questions.

Do I prefer stares? Not really. Being ignored after a first glance? Awkward. Nosy questions? Depends on my mood at the time.

What I'd love is to just be treated like a family with a beautiful baby. I don't mind talking about adoption---but when I look at my daughter every day, I don't think about the fact that she is adopted. It's as if the questions coming from strangers bring me back to reality. My daughter is just my daughter. She came to us in a unique and complicated way. That in itself is beautiful. But it's not the world's business.

I wonder if when we adopt in the future and our baby is a black male, if things will get more complicated. White people generally fear black males. Maybe other races do, too. I'm not sure. White people think saggy pants, hoods up, and loud music equal criminal. Top that off with dark skin and statistics and the media picking and choosing whom to feature, and there's a lot of fear. I wonder what will happen to the questions we get if and when a little black boy enters our lives. I wonder if I will be able to combat the stereotypes and statistics surrounding black men and raise a son who is responsible and respected.

I'm not sure what I will say the next time I am asked a question about adoption or race. Some things in life can't be planned out because circumstances are unpredictable. I never know when someone will snake up behind us in line at Wal-Mart and then muster the audacity to ask if E's mom was on drugs or if I'm babysitting. I never know if a stare means my baby is cute or if it means how dare you? I can't figure out if the person telling me my baby is "SOOOO CUTE!!!" one time too many to be comfortable is trying to cover up her own racism or really thinks my daughter is cute or both.

I would like to think I will be able to remember and then deliver (with clarity and confidence) my rehearsed answer, if appropriate, but I'm pretty sure there will be many more times of fumbling before I get it right.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful---simply, fully, purely.

I have a husband who loves me without conditions. Who gives me what I need, exactly when I need it. Who provides for our family without complaint. Who would do anything to make his family happy.

I have a daughter who lights up my life with everything she does. When she says, "MAMAMAMA" she breaks my heart. When she is crying, she is beautiful. When she is smiling, she is beautiful. When she laughs, I laugh, too. When she lays her head on me, I melt.

I have a God who forgives me time and time again. He sacrificed His son so that I could be free. He blesses me beyond measure, and much, much more than I ever deserve.

I have parents who raised me to be the woman I am: independent, strong, determined, focused, enthusiastic, and capable. I have parents who love God and believe His will for my life is much greater than mine.

I have siblings who are funny, joyful, brave, and convicted. They always make me laugh. I am so proud of the people they are.

I have a church that pushes me to reach for the bar, not try to manipulate God to lower the standards. My church is beautifully diverse, generous, and willing to change for better days.

I have a disease that has enabled me and compelled me to reach out and inspire others. My diabetes has forced me to become healthier and stronger. Without it, we wouldn't have our daughter through adoption.

I have two jobs that inspire me and educate me. To write is my dream and now, my accomplishment. To teach writing was never my first plan, but has become part of my heart.

I have friends who encourage me, make me laugh, and know when to be serious. I am lost without them. They anchor me.

None of these blessings come to me through my own doing. They are enhancements to my life, gifts from God.

May you take time today to reflect on the many ways God has blessed you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

HO HO HO, little white kids!

We always struggle with what to buy a few relatives each Christmas. These few never truly need anything, and though I am creative, I am stumped year after year. And really, how many framed photos of my daughter can I give someone without being a: boring, and b: narcissistic?

This year I came up with the idea to donate money to our adoption agency which is connected with a local maternity home. I thought we could find a small figurine of an African American baby to symbolize the donation and remind those few relatives to pray for the mothers and their babies.

So I began an Internet search for AA baby figurines. I wanted to limit the cost of the figurine in order to give most of the gift money in the form of the donation.

My search lasted several hours over the course of a few days, and I came up with basically nothing. The figurines were either very cheap looking, too expensive, and mostly, just not available! I had a difficult time finding anything featuring an AA baby.

Determined, I decided to look at some local stores: Hallmark, Big Lots, Hobby Lobby, and Everything's A Dollar.

First stop was Hallmark. I figured that surely there would be a Willow Tree Angel that would fit into my stipulations. Nope. Nothing. There was ONE AA figurine, a woman with dreadlocks.

Second stop: Hobby Lobby. The store was CRAMMED with holiday decor and people. As I said "excuse me" two hundred times as I made my way down the cramped aisles, I felt my pulse quicken and increased aggravation. There was not a single ornament or figurine featuring an AA person, let alone an AA baby. Next step, non-Christmas decor. I found an employee who said there was one tower of AA figurines at the front of the store. I felt slight hopefulness, but mostly skepticism. As I approached the tower, I found that the figurines were not African American---they were solely African and were about twenty inches tall---African people carrying baskets and animals.

Meanwhile, my husband was at Big Lots. As you guessed, nothing came of that stop.

Fourth and final stop: Everything's A Dollar, one that I often see AA people coming in and out of, so I figured that surely they would have some sort of merchandise featuring the race of the people who shop the store. There were some AA angels; however, they were, as anticipated (I mean, if it's going to be $1...), terribly cheap looking and nothing like what I had envisioned.

I couldn't stomach another stop and another disappointment. We headed home.

My mind is reeling now. I can't shut it off. Why the inequality? Why the domination of the white race today, still, in 2009? Why is my daughter's race not only left out, but the Hispanic population, the Asian population, the Indian population, etc., too? What about the kid in the wheelchair? What am I to tell my daughter when she asks me why none of the ornaments look like her? Why are they all pale, rosy, smiling babies? Why is there only ONE black Santa or ONE black angel? Why is black Santa at the mall one afternoon, while the white Santa is there everyday?

These things anger me. For so long, as a white person, I was at the center of the proverbial universe...that is until I adopted a black little girl. I realized that I was thrown into some sort of "other" category with her. Though I realize I will never know the "black experience," I am beginning to see what it's like to be an outsider in my own racial culture in subtle ways, like what we experienced when we were shopping.

Before we even ventured to AA figurine stop #1, we went to Toys R Us to buy some snacks for our daughter and to try to find an AA Cabbage Patch doll. Stuck behind four CP dolls with blond hair and blue eyes was an AA CP doll stuck in a smashed, torn box. How sad. Foreshadowing, I guess, of the shopping experience to come.

White parents of black children, at least the ones I know, get really excited when there is one little glimmer of hope, like the Old Navy t-shirt I found for my daughter featuring a little AA girl with puffy pigtails or the doll from Carter's (now clearanced out and never to be seen again) whose skin, hair, and eyes indicated some sort of racial identity other than white. I cling to these items and hope that I can combat everything that isn't there that tells my daughter her race doesn't matter or isn't important, that white is the only race that really matters and is worth depicting in advertisements, on Hallmark cards, on t-shirts, and on toys.

So if you see a white woman this Christmas who is vigorously shoving aside the white baby dolls in toy aisle three at Wal-Mart, you'll know it's me, or another adoptive mom, trying to find something for our sweet children, something that tells them their skin, eyes, and hair is beautiful, that black is beautiful, and that they matter.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Photo

In my daughter's nursery is a photo of her birth mother, my husband, and me on the day we all went to court last year. That court date was one of the hardest days of our lives. Ella's biological mom was there to officially terminate her parental rights. We were there to obtain custody of our soon-to-be daughter.

In the photo we are all smiling---but I can only imagine all the thoughts running through each of our minds and the heaviness and anticipation in our hearts.

That day was a tremendous beginning and simultaneously, a devastating ending.

This photo is now held in a lovely, multi-colored, striped frame and is placed on one of the walls in my daughter's nursery. The three of us appear to be friends meeting up for coffee---but truly we are strangers who are joined together with a common goal: to do what we believe is best, in that moment, for a little baby girl.

One evening when my husband was out of town, I had one of my girl parties. This time it was for my girlfriends from my health club---a diverse pack of women, mostly in their forties and fifties (I'm the spring chicken of the bunch), who love to laugh. We had some food, wine, and great conversation. One of my friends came into the nursery with me to while I changed my daughter's diaper. She spotted the photo and asked if that was E's mom in the picture, and I said yes. Soon my other girlfriends came in one by one to look at the picture. I suppose they were curious. As each woman entered and exited the room, she was quiet. I'm not sure what that means or what I should think about their silence, or if I should even dare to think about it.

A few times a week, I will point the photo out to my daughter and we will say hello to her first mother. It's a sweet, careful routine. I want my daughter to know who her birth mother is. I want her to be familiar with her face. I already tell my daughter her adoption story and that her first mom loves her very much and always has and always will.

People very much misunderstand birth parents. And we cannot lump birth parents into a category or box. I cannot even begin to tells you how my heart aches when I hear someone say, "Are you afraid she'll show up on your doorstep?" or asks me, "Was she on drugs?" The worst question I have ever heard is, "Why didn't she want her baby?"

I should respond, no, I'm not afraid of her showing up at my house. If she did, I would open the door, let her in, and welcome her. Are you on drugs? Oh, and of course she wanted her daughter. What do you think placing a baby for adoption is? A hateful choice from someone who doesn't care one ounce about her own flesh and blood, the baby she carried for forty weeks?

I will tell you right now that I love and will protect the privacy and dignity of my daughter's first mother. This woman gave my daughter life. This woman is on my heart, my thoughts, and in my prayers every single day. And she's a real person. She is not just the image in the photo in my daughter's room, and she's not the assumption anyone makes.

Like many adoptive moms, I am determined to do what is best for my child, and I'm forever defending and educating. Adopting transracially has created a situation where I'm not only facing adoption stereotypes, but racial stereotypes as well.

God orchestrated our adoption situation, the birth of our child (a child who belongs to two families---in different ways), and hearts that love her---including her first mother's. I wish people would stop and think for a moment before opening their mouths in judgement and assumptions. I wish, like my girlfriends did, that silence and reverence were practiced more often.

I am honored that my daughter's first mother chose us to parent to baby. It is a privilege to raise my little girl. And the photo hanging in my daughter's nursery is a constant reminder that adoption is complicated, beautiful, and most of all, indefinable.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Possibilities, Probabilities, and Privileges

"Every human being has the possibility, probability, and really the privilege of inspiring someone else. Everybody, whether you know it or not, or recognize it or not, you are a teacher. There are people watching you."
Maya Angelou
The Today Show
November 9, 2009

I will be quoting Maya at the diabetes conference tomorrow in an attempt to motivate my fellow PWD (people with diabetes) to take their role in this life seriously. We can educate and inspire others! We can stop the wrong and promote the right.

The same with adoption, particularly transracial adoption. I can take the nosy questions as either an opportunity to educate or an opportunity to tell someone how I really feel---which isn't very nice sometimes! I always try to choose the best answer that will A: protect the privacy of my family while B: teaching someone something "right" about adoption.

By the way, I cried as Maya recited some of the words from "Phenomenal Woman." Please take a few minutes to watch this video clip. Celebrate these women with me.

What can you do to inspire someone today? Remember that whether you know it or not, you are being watched. Make a difference!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Baby Discriminates?

When you have a good twenty minutes, check out Newsweek's article See Baby Discriminate. I was skeptical of the initial claims---but the research and examples provided by the authors opened my eyes.

Particularly, I was interested a few ideas. The first, is that language of happy-happy-racial harmony isn't working:

"It was no surprise that in a liberal city like Austin, every parent was a welcoming multiculturalist, embracing diversity. But according to Vittrup's entry surveys, hardly any of these white parents had ever talked to their children directly about race. They might have asserted vague principles—like "Everybody's equal" or "God made all of us" or "Under the skin, we're all the same"—but they'd almost never called attention to racial differences.

They wanted their children to grow up colorblind. But Vittrup's first test of the kids revealed they weren't colorblind at all. "

I don't want my child to be colorblind---because to me that is disrespectful of her racial makeup which should be, in my opinion, celebrated and embraced. But where to draw the line between everything being about race and nothing being about race...

Next, the fact that ...

"Children naturally try to categorize everything, and the attribute they rely on is that which is the most clearly visible."

(As concluded from experiments discussed in the article---a must read!)

So again, trying to promote diversity, which many parents do, ironically, by promoting color blindness, will naturally not work because of each child's tendency and natural ability to categorize in many ways, including physical color (not recognized as race for a few years).

Brings me to my friend C's son, K, who upon first meeting my daughter when he was two and half years old, said, "Why her brown?"

His mom replied, "That's how Jesus made her."

He liked this answer, accepted it, and continued playing.

What most surprised me...

"How do researchers test a 6-month-old? They show babies photographs of faces. Katz found that babies will stare significantly longer at photographs of faces that are a different race from their parents, indicating they find the face out of the ordinary. Race itself has no ethnic meaning per se—but children's brains are noticing skin-color differences and trying to understand their meaning."

This confirms why my daughter stares intently as my friend A, who is Guatemalan-American. My friend always said, "She wonders why I look like her." I never thought much of it. But come to find out, maybe A has some good points! My daughter recognizes that A looks different (brown skin) from her white mom and dad. Hmmmmm....

I just love the controversies, the questions, and the information that this article brings to light. I encourage everyone to read it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Interview: Meet J and Family!

I would love for my readers to get to know transracial families. So here is the first of many interviews I'll be sharing with you all.

First up, J and family...

Please state your name, age, occupation and race.
J, 28, SAHM used to be an elem. teacher, so white I'm almost clear!

Tell me the names, ages, and races of your children and spouse.
C (husband), 29, white AKA translucent
E (bio daughter) 4, white AKA see-through
L (son, adopted) 15 months, aa/ca AKA latte

Share with me how you became a transracial family (and/or parts of your adoption story if applicable). Feel free to share if you plan to add to your family in the future.
Adoption was always something I wanted to do. So when I mentioned it to my husband, I was glad to hear he was not opposed. I also knew that I wanted to adopt a child of another race. Again C was on board. We thought it would be WAY down the road though, maybe our 3rd or 4th child. Strangely enough we ended up having fertility problems. So we then began looking into foster care. Of course then we found out that I was pregnant with our first child. So we put adoption on the back burner. We began the adoption process soon after she turned 2. We waited 9 months...coincidently it was the same 9 months I had been pregnant with our daughter. Our little L-man was born on July 28th, 2008 and he is such a blessing. His bio-mom is white and his bio-dad is black. So we now are a transracial family!

Share with me a joy or two that you’ve experienced as a transracial family.
This is a hard question to answer because the joy we have really doesn't have anything to do with being a transracial family. The joy in our family comes from our love for each other and God's love for us. Our son brings joy to us daily, no matter what race he is. But ok, I will tell you this...I love being different. I love that our family isn't "normal". Having a transracial family makes me smile because I always wanted a rainbow family and we are on our way to becoming one.

Share with me a hardship or two that you’ve experienced as a transracial family.
Well our son is only one, so we haven't really had to deal with too many issues yet. I know they will come as he gets older. I try and prepare myself. I guess that is a hardship, knowing I have to be prepared for questions and comments I myself have never even thought about or had to deal with. I have yet to have a rude comment from a stranger, but I'm sure that will come in time as well.

Add anything else that might benefit my readers.
Being a parent is hard no matter what race your children are. The hardest part about being a parent, for me, is the constant worry. So my motto is basically this...fear is from satan so don't let it in. And we all know the verses that teach us about fear. That's what helps me get through each day as a mom...a mom of two...a mom in a transracial family.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Questions---A Race-Related Rambling

These thoughts run through my head.

What will I teach my daughter about slavery? When? How?

What will I say when she asks why someone is making comments about the color of our President's skin?


Why is only one month of the year Black History Month?

Why do our national holiday's focus on white men? (Columbus, Washington, Lincoln, Pulaski)

Black or African American or African-American?

The N word. What do I tell my daughter about that? When? How?

Why does it seem like most crimes (as reported by the media) are committed by black males?

Why are black people told they are "white" or "Oreo" when they speak standard English?

Why are there rankings of skin color, even if everyone being "graded" is black?

Why do nearly zero percent of advertisements, children's picture books, Hallmark cards, and stock photos feature multi-racial families?

Why do some people still say "colored" when referring to black people?

How do I introduce my child's culture to her without being stereotypical? And is stereotypical bad? Good? Helpful? Hurtful?

How do I celebrate race without down-playing or up-plaing it's significance?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Name Game

Like many of my mommy friends, I get excited about names. I have spent an embarrassing amount of time on Nymbler. I have a growing and ever-changing list of baby names tucked away in my mind.

When my husband and I decided on adoption, we spent the long drives between our home and our parents' houses discussing baby names. My husband, I'm sure, would have preferred to discussing something else, but I was enthusiastic and adamant that we have the crucial baby name conversation time and time again.

Girl names came easily to me. Boy names not so much. I'd throw out a name only to have it rejected. My husband would throw out a name only to have me laugh or tell him that I had a student with that name who drove me crazy. (I've been teaching for five years and teach two to three classes per semester---so, that's a lot of names).

The conversations grew more complex as we tried imagined the races of our future children. I asked myself, "How would this name I choose affect a child who is black? Who is white? Who is Hispanic?" (By the way, our last name is SO white....)

We've all heard that employers will statistically select the resumes of white sounding individuals, based on their names, over individuals whose names indicate that they are of another race.

We hear white people remarking and sometimes poking fun at the odd sounding, hard to spell, or hard to pronounce black names. Or I've heard white people snort (literally) at names like Precious or Princess that AA women give their baby girls.

I once posted on an adoption message board about my conflicting ideas---how to name a child of another race? I remember some women getting very upset that I would even think that I had to be careful about how I named my child because he/she might be black or Hispanic or Asian or another race.

I didn't want to name my daughter Shaniquia simply because I wanted to help my child affirm my child's blackness. And then, how stereoptyical of me to even think of a name like Shaniquia and align that with any sort of indicator of how black my child would be perceived as. (How's that for good grammar?) I didn't want to be desperately trying to make up for the fact that she has white parents. As if a name could "make up" for that. As if I need to make up for anything.

The truth is, I want my daughter to be proud of her name and her family. The two very well have no connection. Or maybe they are connected, intricately, deep down, somewhere. I don't know.

The story continues now, a year after we adopted, because we call my daughter a shortened version of her first name. However, I find myself sometimes introducing her to people of her same race as her full first name because it sounds more black. Because I want the approval of strangers. It's bizarre. On one hand, who cares what anyone else thinks? On the other hand, the approval of the AA community (which I feel through individual encounters) matters to me. I don't want my daughter to be the white-black girl. She's black. And I'm out to prove that to the world. Stupid mommy.

Before you yell "shame" on me, please be patient. I'm trying to do the best I can. I'm trying to figure this whole adoption/transracial/parenthood thing out. It's going to be trial and error, like with many things in life.

Proverbs 22:1
"A good name is more desirable than great riches [. . .]"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Please Don't

It kills me when I hear people tell stories and they just have to say the race of the person involved when it has NOTHING to do with the story. It's usually white people who have to say that the person in the story was black. White people never say that the person in the story was white.

Drives me up the wall.

For example, someone (white) was telling me a story today about a neighborhood. She said, "There were two rough looking black guys sitting in their front lawn." The fact that these men were black has nothing to do with the point of the person's story. Yet it was said.

I had to hold back---because I had and still have no idea how to respond. I could be snarky (maybe rightfully so) and say, "What did you state that the people were black?" Or, like I did, I said nothing and then mentally milled over the statement over and over and over in my mind and then cursed at myself for not saying something.

Oh, and when white people say "black"---they look around the room to make sure there is no black person around and then they whisper "black" anyway.

Black is not a bad or dirty word. It doesn't need to be whispered.

It also doesn't need to be in a conversation that has nothing to do with the person's race.

Because what I find is that "black" is used from one white person to another to say something about the character of the person in the story. Like we are supposed to take white-person-stereotypes of black people, heard the person in the story is black, and then apply those stereotypes to that person. (Am I making any sense here?)

Does anyone else get really annoyed by this?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

check out my newest publication....

My piece called "Organized Parenting?" is featured on Diabetic Parents right now! Please leave a comment.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Clothing, Bedding, Books---Oh My!

I'm over thinking everything. Maybe it's because I'm trying to be sensitive. Maybe it's because I'm trying to be thoughtful. Maybe it's because I don't want to purchase a single item that might somehow harm or enforce the racist portrayals of black people. I don't want to miss something or deem one of these purchases as "no big deal" and then be reprimanded in word or look from a member of my child's race.

Here goes....

I love Gymboree clothing. I used to, before I became a mom, be a loyal Carter's customer. But I have discovered that Carter's clothing shrinks about 25%---meaning I have to buy my nearly 12 month old size 18 month clothing. It's a guessing game every time I shop for her.

When I discovered Gymboree while on vacation in Tennessee, I instantly fell not only in love, but into obsession. If you've ever shopped there, you will understand what I mean. The clothes are not only adorable, but they are also made well and do not shrink like cheaper children's clothing.

The only downfall to Gymboree is that they have limited lines of clothing in their stores each season. These lines are always theme-based: candy, kittens, polka dots, etc. If you don't like a particular line of clothing, you just have to wait it out until the next season (or, shop the outlets!).

This summer there were two lines dominating the little girl's department: the monkey line and the watermelon line.

Hear me groaning?

Who comes up with these lines, and do they not think that someone other than a white girl might want to wear Gymboree clothing?

Or maybe the designers figure that it's the 21st century and we are well past racial stereotypes.

Or maybe they didn't think twice about any of this while stitching the tiny black seeds on watermelon decals or affixing cutsie monkeys to capri pants. Yes, monkeys and watermelons are fun and adorable, aren't they?

As I walked around the mall with some of my adoptive mom friends, their black and white children trailing behind and between them, we had a lengthy discussion on this topic. One of the moms had her children (both white and black) in the watermelon clothing; she didn't care what the stereotypes were because the clothing was cute. One said she would NEVER put her black children in clothing spotted with monkeys. She shared that her friend donated several baby outfits to her, and unfortunately she had to put aside all of the monkey clothing because she just couldn't fathom putting a pair of monkey themed pjs on her newborn, black son.

One of my friends recently decorated her (black) son's bathroom. Her son loves monkeys, so she went with the monkey theme. The bathroom was gorgeous---chocolate brown walls, lots of jungle-themed accents, and of course, a monkey shower curtain and bath towels. The room looked like it came straight out of a magazine. Beautiful. Before we entered the bathroom, my friend warned me that she felt slightly sneaky or embarrassed to choose a monkey themed bathroom for her black son. I understand why.

My mom has begun the process of converting my old bedroom into a guest room, complete with a queen bed and my old crib. She discovered the crib bedding was far too warn to use, so she purchased new bedding---a set featuring browns, blues, and tans. The design? Zoo animals: giraffes and birds and yes, monkeys. Gasp! Dare I let my daughter sleep on such bedding? What does that mean? What would someone else say if they saw it?

I would love to throw all caution to the wind and say, who cares? White parents would breathe huge sighs of relief if those they fear would say, it's ok.

White parents do wonder what their choices would or could mean to their children. But really, it's more about what other people think. The six week old baby doesn't care if his pjs are sporting baseballs or bugs or monkeys. My daughter doesn't care if one of her books shows a baby's brown hands grasping a juicy slice of watermelon. Children are children---happy, free, ready to explore the world----monkey grunts and dripping watermelon slices included.

I don't know who exactly we fear. Black people? White people? Politically correct people? Racist people? People who say they aren't racist but are really harboring racism?

Is it best to ignore or put aside what has passed and embrace a future where black babies can sport monkeys on their clothing and watermelons on their bedding? Is it better to recognize that some people will never get past these symbols of racism and avoid these symbols altogether?

I don't know. And neither does anyone else.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I am not....

a hero.

a saviour.

a do-gooder.

I'm white; she's black.

I'm an adoptive mom.

I'm a mom.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who's That Child?

We are used to stares, comments, and questions regarding our family. At first we were uncertain how to respond as strangers would approach us and nosily interrogate us. My daughter is eleven months old, and though I don't think these times of questioning have necessarily become less frequent, we are better prepared on how to handle them.

This past weekend we met friends for dinner to celebrate my husband's birthday. They arrived first and got us a table. We came a few minutes later and settled in. Soon the waitress appeared, a young woman, perhaps twenty-five. She set my friends' appetizer on the table and then looked at us and asked what we would like to drink. We both ordered water and started to return to the conversation with our friends when the waitress asked us, "Are you babysitting?"

I replied, "No."

She asked who the baby was. I said, "She's our daughter."

She then asked, "Did you adopt her?"

I said yes, thinking duh.

The waitress paused and then burst out at us like grand-prize-sweepstakes-winning confetti, "OH THAT'S SOOOOO COOL. THAT'S AWESOME! SHE'S SOOOOOO PRETTY!!!"


Listen. We are just a family. I don't wake up every morning, go to my daughter's crib, swoop her up and say, "You are black and adopted! That's soooooooo cool! That's awesome! You are soooo pretty!"

No. I'm like every other mom in America. I go to her crib. I wonder if she has a dirty or just a wet diaper. I greet her with smiles and kisses and a "good morning, baby!" I change her diaper. I get her some breakfast.

Adoption isn't necessarily "cool." I think God's hand can be clearly seen in our adoption situation. We are blessed to have our daughter. We love her, find so much joy in her, and love the family we have together. Oh, and we do think she's beautiful----but not because she is black or because she's adopted. She's just beautiful. Period.

Some people don't know what to say so they just stare. Some people don't think and rattle off personal questions that are never appropriate...but somehow because our family adopted, we should be open to answering anything. Some people just want to touch her hair. (She's not an animal at the petting zoo!). Some people tell us that she's soooooooooo cute (multiple times until it's uncomfortable) because they don't know what else to say. The babysitting question? That's a new one.

I want to respond with confidence while asserting our privacy. As my daughter gets older, I fear the questions that will hurt or embarrass her. As her mother, I'm fiercely protective of my daughter and her adoption story. It's my job.

No one prepared us for the questions, comments, and stares. However, we're holding our own , happy to just be us, to be a family.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good (Black) Hair

Chris Rock has been promoting his new film, a documentary, entitled Good Hair. I saw him on Oprah, Good Morning America, and The View--just in the past three days. I believe the movie previews this week.

Oprah commented on her show that the white women in the audience and at-home viewers have no idea what she's talking about when referring to the difficulties, complexities, and energy that goes into a black woman's hair. Then she laughed along with Chris Rock.

She's wrong.

Many white women do "get it." I am friends with many women who are parenting black children. And my sweet husband, he gets it, too. He's often the one combing, detangling, and moisturzing our daughter's hair as she attempts to crawl away to a better adventure.

We strive every day, sometimes multiple times a day, to tame, style, and moisturize our children's hair. We search relentlessly for the best shampoos, conditioners, brushes, combs, barrettes, rubber bands, moisturizers, stylers, etc. We are squatted down in the aisles of beauty shops and departments stores and discount shops, looking odd as the only white woman in the store in the ethnic hair care section---which is always in the back corner and has the least amount of shelf-space.

We want our black children to have good hair because we know that we will be judged. We first attract attention because of the color and race difference between us and our children. We know that next comes a critical evaluation----a test. Our children's hair. If it looks good (moisturized, curls defined, properly braided), we will possibly pass the test. But if it looks bad, which is very easy to accomplish, we will fail. And I feel that often we are deemed as not good enough to parent these children if their hair looks bad.

I have been known to go to Wal-Mart or the grocery store in unattractive clothing---t-shirts, baggy capris, my gym shoes. My hair is usually in a messy ponytail or knot. I don't wear makeup on these days full of errands. I don't care what other people think about me. At least I didn't until we adopted a black child.

Every time we go somewhere outside of our home, my daughter's hair is combed, moisturized, and styled. Sometimes it's also accessorized with a bow or two puffs on top of her head. She almost always looks nice. Even if she's spent the day sticking half-chewed Cheerios to herself or trying to eat grass from the front yard. When we go out, she's cleaned up, dressed up, and yes, her hair is done.

I'm not sure why black women take such pride in their hair and why hair is so important. I'm not saying this critically. I'm stating my ignorance in this area of my daughter's culture.

All I know is that my child is black and to neglect this part of her racial culture would be some sort of damnable sin. So I take care of her hair, as best as I can, and I keep educating myself on how to improve.

Because for one of the first times in my life, I realize that appearances very much matter.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Once Upon a Time (not so long ago)

Before I delve into past and present transracial family adventures, I want to share with you our story---the story of how we went from a white couple to parents of an African American baby girl.

So, here goes.

Once upon a time, we were newlyweds. We lived in a townhouse---the beginners love shack. I was in grad school and teaching freshman English courses as a TA. My husband was working for one of the big four accounting firms---climbing up the corporate ladder. We had closets and cupboards full of wedding gifts----fluffy towels, rimmed china, and several of homemade blankets. We were on our way.

During Thanksgiving break of my first grad school and teaching semester, I got a stomach virus and was violently ill. I felt the pain not only physically, but somewhere else, somewhere deeper. I knew something had changed but I couldn't figure out what.

Over the next year and half, I continued to plow through graduate school, pressing toward my goal of graduating a semester early. I was ready to be finished with school and begin my career as an English teacher and soon, a freelance writer. Nothing could slow me down. Or so I thought.

As graduation approached, my health began to rapidly decline. I was never without my water bottle---drinking gallons of water, juice, milk, and tea every day. My weight dropped from 125 to 97 lbs. I was exhausted, depressed, and though I was so light in weight, I constantly felt weighted down. My vision was blurred. My bones were protruding out my skin. My size zero jeans were too small. I had chronic sinus infections and a leg injury that wouldn't heal.

I wasn't irresponsible. I desperately sought help from medical professionals---five in total---a dietitian, a general practitioner, my gynecologist, my optometrist, and a sinus specialist. I scoured the internet for answers. A few weeks before the day that would change my life forever, my gp implied that I had anorexia. No one believed that I was eating 3000, 4000, even 5000 calories a day. Nothing would quench my thirst, my hunger, or my desperation.

In March of 2006 I was diagnosed with type I diabetes while lying in a bed in our local emergency room. I was later told it was a miracle that I lived as long as I did----one and half years without a diagnosis. None of the staff could believe I wasn't in a coma or dead. But there I was.

The next year consisted of many ups and downs, but mostly ups. After all, the burden I had been carrying for a year and a half, the burden of unexplainable dread and fear, had been lifted. I had an answer! Granted, I didn't want a forever-disease; however, I was finally diagnosed with something that I could manage and begin to understand. I went from insulin injections to an insulin pump, learned how to count the carbohydrates in my food, and much, much more.

After a year with my disease, my husband and I started talking about how and when to start a family. We always knew we wanted to be parents. But diabetes complicated those plans. The list of possible pregnancy complications was frightening and numerous. And not only was I putting my own life in danger by carrying a child but I was also putting that child's life at risk.

I began to investigate adoption. My husband agreed to attend an adoption informational meeting hosted by a local Christian agency. We were both nervous as we walked into the meeting. The minute the presentation was over, I was ready to start the adoption process. My husband, as always, needed more time.

We joined the agency in April of 2006. In August, after paperwork, fingerprinting, check-writing, and interviews, we were officially on the waiting list for a child. We decided to adopt an infant domestically.

We were asked to fill out a seven page checklist of the characteristics and situations we would and wouldn't accept. This included health or mental problems in the child's birth mother to the race of the baby. Most issues were clear to us. Race was one of these. We just assumed we would have a child who "looked like" us---just like many other adoptive couples. So we checked "Caucasian."

Then we waited. For a year, we waited.

During that year, something inside me, another something I couldn't explain (much like the pre-diabetes diagnosis feeling) and couldn't shake was marinating in my soul. I soon determined what it was---I felt strongly convicted that our openness wasn't what it should have been. By only being open to a healthy, white infant, like many adoptive couples are, we were narrowing our chances of being chosen. And I wondered if God hadn't allowed us to become parents yet because He was waiting on us to open up to the child He had for us. I quickly began to examine my conviction, and I realized that I didn't want the baby that I hand picked---I wanted the baby God had for our family.

I began to ferverently seek information on transracial adoption. I talked to transracial families. I read books. I stalked online adoption forums. I found myself starting at the black babies with their parents at Wal-Mart. I couldn't read a magazine without dreaming of holding one of the brown babies in the advertisements.

My husband was more resistant. He wasn't sure he would be good enough for a black baby. He had valid points. Raising an adopted child is complicated. Compound that with raising an adopted black child in an all-white family? More complicated. He also worried about people's stares, comments, and questions----how would these things affect our family? How would our families feel about us parenting a child who didn't mirror our skin tone? All valid points.

But none of his concerns could sway me from my convictions. I knew that God wanted us to be open to all races. And I also knew that in my heart, I wanted to parent a black baby. No matter what I did or where I was, I couldn't stop thinking about a baby. A girl. A black baby girl.

After months of discussions (very late night discussions), meeting with transracial families, praying, examining our pasts, dissecting our attitudes, and reading literature, my husband and I informed our social worker that after one year of waiting, we were ready to update our homestudy to include our new openness: all races.

We weren't magically placed as I thought we might be---because yes, part of me hoped that if we did the right thing, we'd be quickly rewarded. We continued with our lives---going to work, celebrating holidays and birthdays, enjoying the end of summer and soon, the beginning of fall---and we entered our fourteenth month of waiting for a child. We worked on our home, including my newest project----painting the kitchen and dining area. But despite the busyness of everyday life, the possibility of getting THE call was always on my mind. Whenever I entered my home, I always made a beeline for the answering machine. Then I would double check my cell phone and my e-mail account....just in case.


I spent a few weeks tossing around color combination possibilities for the kitchen and dining room painting project----ahhh, something, ANYTHING, to divert my attention from the empty crib. And then finally one week the paint gallons went on sale (just $13 a gallon!), and I had the paint mixed. I chose a light yellow and a deep blue. The colors contrasted beautifully, though one wouldn't necessarily think of them being a good combination until seeing them together. I was happy to be moving forward on the project.

We got started mid-morning on a Saturday. My husband, as usual, painted the tricky areas of the room---the tops of the floorboards, the corners, above the cabinets. You see, I'm a sloppy painter. I merrily worked on the bigger (and safer) areas----big, blank walls, ready to be colored with my brush.

Our project continued well into the afternoon, though we tried to hurry because that evening we were going to see a play. We picked up our pace---each working at opposite ends of the room, singing along to the songs on the radio.

A little before 5:00 my husband's cell phone rang. He didn't recognize the number. I think I prompted him to pick it up anyway, as I usually do. He talked for a few seconds, looked stunned and confused, and said, "I'll let you talk to my wife."

On the other line was the social worker from our second adoption agency, the one we joined after eight months of waiting with just one, our first, agency. The social worker said they had a baby girl born that morning and the baby's mom wanted to look at profiles of adoptive parents. Would we be interested in having our profile shown?


Two hours later, on our way to the play, our stomachs in knots, the social worker called us back. We had been chosen. We needed to contact a lawyer and make plans to head out of state.

We were shocked. Overjoyed. And scared.

A few days later...

The baby girl did become ours. She not only made us a family but a transracial family.

Our daughter is black. We are white. Just like the contrasting colors on our kitchen walls, our family of one color became a family of two colors.

Let the adventures begin.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Third Time---My Charm?

Hello and welcome to my newest blog. Yes, I said newest. I have three. THREE! One is about diabetes and food. Diabetes was the start of our family life; it's the reason we chose adoption. The second blog is about my adventures in domesticity which stemmed from my eight months of being a stay-at-home-mom. Then an idea came to me today---what about a third blog, one specifically focusing on the adventures of being a transracial family?

So here it is.

Why not?

I have so much to share with my readers. And I have so much to learn.

I'm blooming with ideas---quotes, movie reviews, book suggestions, experiences, interviews. So please check back often, leave comments, and share with me what you'd like to know more about.

I hope I can inspire and inform you about the beauty and the challenges of transracial family life. I look forward to learning from you, too.