Friday, May 25, 2012

Your Adoption Inspiration/Encourager: A Contest!

So, I'm sponsoring my very first contest! :)

Answer the following question in a comment; one comment per reader, please:

Who was your greatest inspiration/encourager when you were considering or waiting to adopt, and why?

Leave a comment between now and Friday, June 1 at noon, Central Time.   I'll choose the most inspirational story, post the name of the winning entrant, and you'll be mailed a few great prizes:   a White Sugar, Brown Sugar tote bag and a copy of Brown Babies, Pink Parents written by my friend Amy Ford. 

(If you see your story posted as the winner on June 1, please e-mail me your address:  whitebrownsugar AT hotmail DOT com). 

The more creative and inspirational your story, the more likely you are to win!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sisterly Love

I am the oldest of three children.  My sister and I, like many, had a love-hate relationship growing up.   But most of it was love.  :) 

I'm not sure what I pictured my family to look like when we started our adoption journey.   We were almost always shown (our profile) to expectant parents who were having white boys.   Go figure.    And now we are the parent of two brown girls who are awesome at being sisterly.

I love when Miss E sings her sister's name---letter by letter.   I love the way they wrestle.    When Baby E gets mad, she slaps her sister across the face, and in response, Miss E holds the baby's chin and says, "No hitting.  Ouch!  Hitting hurts."  She mothers her younger sister, just as I mothered mine.    Miss E will do all sorts of things to Baby E without Baby E's permission---put a dress-up hat on her head, kiss her, hug her, dance with her.   Miss E will take off her sister's shoes when we enter the house.   Miss E will also dump all unwanted veggies onto her sister's high chair tray.  :)

They get jealous of one another.   If I pick one girl up, the other wants to be held.   If I give one girl her food first, the other gets angry.   They want equal (no, more) attention. 

I love when the girls are dressed alike.   It's so sweet to see them in matching dresses.

I know I talk about this often.    Spend a day with me.  You will see that my girls are REAL sisters.

The future is bright.   I think about when someone says something nasty to one of my girls.  Watch out!  Sisters don't tolerate someone hurting the other sister.   I imagine them putting on plays (like my sister and I did many times) in the living room, staying up late at night---giggling, whispering, and talking mean about their parents, prom, weddings.   

I am blessed.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

So Much To Do, So Little Time

I have big ideas. 


I want to have the most amazing house that looks like it came from a magazine called Better Homes and Gardens Pottery Barn Pinterest.   I want my girls to be able to recite Bible verses and Beyonce lyrics and quotes from Civil Rights leaders.   I want to write a book that BLOWS YOUR MIND and makes you have one of those Oprah ah-ha moments.   I want to walk into a room with my husband and everyone looks at us and thinks, "They are so in love.  What a beautiful couple!"  I want to walk into any public place---a park, a restaurant, a store---and people don't ask me if my girls are real sisters, but instead, they smile, say we have a beautiful family, and treat us like we are normal (we really are normal).   I want to exercise with passion and energy, eat healthy foods 99% of the time, and stop thinking about what I don't like about my body but instead appreciate the fact that diabetes is a BEAST and I'm kicking it's rear every day with my uber-amazing woman powers.   I want to read my Bible every day, be the hands and feet of Jesus, and do so with grace, maturity, and down-to-earthness that doesn't make anyone call me Bible Girl.  

It dawned on me the other day that all the things I want, work toward, and strive for, constantly, are probably not the things God has in mind for me.   


Back to the drawing board?

I'm a control freak.  I'm passionate.  I'm always thinking about the next. big. thing.   I'm sharp-tongued too often.    I love sugar.   Love it.  I don't spend enough time with my husband.   I get too caught up in keeping up with chores.  I spend too much time watching Dr. Phil and not enough time talking to Jesus.  I hate my thighs.  Hate them.  I really want to write a book, but I'm not sure I'm good enough, experienced enough, or smart enough.

I'm a mess.

Aren't we all? 

This Casting Crown's lyric is on my mind:

"Nobody knows what we're for Only what we're against when we judge the wounded.  What if we put down our sings Crossed over the lines And loved like You did." 

It's so easy to judge others, but even more than others, ourselves.  We have this idea of who we should be, how the world should see us, and how awesome tomorrow could be if we just dropped 10 pounds, read the book of Proverbs to our kids, and became a superstar wife.   But big plans are just that---big plans.   And nothing, I believe, nothing will come to fruition with any sort of lasting and eternal success without the hand of God.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When In Doubt...Type It Out!

An article I wrote last year for is blowing up the website once again.   Apparently a few people (with many friends?) have been posting a link to the article on their Facebook pages, getting posters riled up about transracial adoption.

I hope you'll visit the article and leave a comment there, letting readers know what you think.

Oh, and while you're reading (instead of sleeping, working, or doing chores), check out this awesome post by a fellow adoption blogger on the whole idea of Mommy Wars and we should really be fighting for. 

Lastily, are you going to enter the Adoptive Families photo contest?   We sure are!  Good luck! 

Friday, May 11, 2012


I'm an Open Adoption Blogger, and we've been asked to write about Mother's Day.   You can read other blogger's posts here.

What I want to say to you today, dear reader, is this:

Birth mothers are REAL mothers.   They deserve to be honored and treated with respect and remembered on Mother's Day.    People often dismiss them because their children aren't physically with them, but I assure you that the children these women placed for adoption are in the hearts of birth mothers EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of every single day.  

Adoptive mothers are REAL mothers, too.   I'm not a fake mommy.  :)  

A child can have two mothers---one by birth, and one by adoption---and that's ok.  If it makes you uncomfortable, too bad.  ;)

Mother's Day is hard for a lot of women---birth mothers, women who have lost their fertility, women who have lost children, women who want to be mothers so badly but cannot at this time, and many, many more women.   Mother's Day is hard for someone who has lost a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend.

Mother's Day isn't all roses and candy and jewelry.   Mother's Day is so much more and so much less.  

God, Thank you for the women who surround me---physically and virtually.  I pray a special blessing upon them today.  Please meet them in this moment and give them what they need.   Thank you for the mothers who gave birth to my children.  Thank you for my own mother who has, despite all the odds and bad cards she was dealt in life, prevailed and continues to prevail, being the woman I can only hope to be.   Love, Rachel

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


As I gradually packed our belongings in preparation for our move, I realized that despite my commitment to purging, donating, and tossing items we don't need, want, or use, my home was too full.   Cabinets and baskets and drawers and shelves were brimming with things I thought I held so dear.   So dear that I often forgot about them...

Less is more.

Our new house is nearly four times the size of our previous home.   I love the openness.   When you're a mom of two little ones, you are being touched, bumped into, wiped on, etc. all hours of the day, which especially happens in a small home.   I joke with my husband that it wouldn't matter what space we were in, it could be a football field, my girls would literally be on top of me.    However, this home does yield the space I craved so often.   My once very clingy Baby E has gradually begun to venture into what we're calling the Art Room and playing by herself.    The moments where she is discovering and happily chatting to herself gives me a few moments to get something done or to catch my breath or to pluck a cup of tea in the microwave to help get me through the day. 


So, in my new found commitment to truly honoring my craving for space and simplicity, I've made a few decisions that have made my home a better place for all of us.

1:  No coffee table.  I LOVE our coffee table.   It's large, sturdy, and beautiful.   However, it eats up space and has corners making it a hazard for two very active little ladies.   The poor table has been retired to the basement for now.   It's replacement has long been an ottoman on wheels that is safe, easy to move around, and versatile. 

2:  Limited accessories.   I LOVE accessories.  :)  Picture frames, little bird figurines, art books, wall art.   But it requires dusting, careful placement, and space.    So I'm eliminating many of these items---either by storing them or selling them.  

3:  More sunlight.   In our great room, we have five windows and a sliding door to the screened in porch.  I'm only covering the dining area windows for night time privacy.   Curtains are a tripping hazard (drapes) and a dust collector.   Sunshine is our friend.  Plus, more sunlight equals less electricity needed to light the house.  

4:  More participation from the Littles.  Now that Miss E is old enough (3.5), she's helping fold washcloths, put her clothes in the dirty laundry, put her dishes by the sink (she's been doing this for over a year), and pick up large amounts of toys.   Even though my type A self wants to do these tasks for her, as I'm much more quick and thorough, I am taking the time to teach her to do these things for herself and not correct it when it's not done perfectly.   I don't want to raise entitled, helpless children.  :)    Baby E (who is going to be 18 months in a few weeks) picks up toys (with A LOT of encouragement and reminders) and brings things to me when asked.  

I see many, many more years of laundry piles, stacks of dirty dishes, and toy tornadoes----all of which comes with mothering kiddos.   I can easily manage these tasks each day.   What overwhelmed me in my previous home was, I kid you not, simply looking and recognizing all the things that were around me---on the walls, on the floor, in the drawers, even the decorations on top of my cabinetry.   All of this was under-appreciated and created more work than pleasure.

I thought I did well with my purging process, but after moving, I realize how very little we need to be functional and happy.   I still love my little bits of decor---but truly, less is more.     What was holding me back before?  My fear that less stuff would make my house feel less like home.   But I was wrong.  We've only been in our new home for a few weeks, and we've had no issue settling in and making it our own, without all the stuff.

As summer quickly approaches and you are no doubt outdoors more with your family, take some time to evaluate your home.  What is around you that is hindering your peace and simplicity?  What is taking more than giving?   What isn't working?   What can you give away, sell, recycle, re purpose, or toss?   What accessories mean the most to you?  (Perhaps give yourself a number that you are allowed to keep or display at one time---and figure out what to do with the rest).    

You don't have to tackle simplicity all at once (too overwhelming!), but trust me that you will find yourself feeling more peaceful with less. 

Friday, May 4, 2012


Summer...a season of possibility.

I'm officially on summer break!    I usually crave this time starting in February or March, but when end-July rolls around I'm so ready to be back at work.    But for now, I'm thrilled to have this opportunity.

First, we have our new home.   I have SO many projects I want to tackle.    I'm making curtains for my girls' art room, I need to get my office organized, there's so many rods and curtains and artwork to hang, and I need to go through several boxes and decide what to keep and what to sell or donate.

Second, and most overwhelmingly, I have my girls all summer.  I'm considering hiring a mother's helper a few hours a week so I can accomplish some tasks, write, run errands, or spend time with friends during the day.   I'm also figuring out what I need to work on with Miss E (keep some of her skills up while she's off school this summer) and Baby E (working a little with her on learning some new things).

Third, I need to come up with a flexible schedule for our family----chores, errands, etc.   I thrive on routine, as do my girls, and it makes life easier when managing a home and a family.

I'm still anxiously waiting to hear if a particular publisher wants my book.  And if yes, I'll spend many hours this summer drafting.  I'm also going to submit articles to a few of my go-to publications in order to generate some income.

I can't wait to see what happens in the next few months.   Oh yes, and enjoy sleeping in every morning!  Miss E doesn't have preschool and I'm not headed to work.   Let the relaxation, play time, and possibility begin! 

What are your summer plans?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hair Products

A reader asked what I use in my girls' hair.   

Like many moms of African American kiddos, I've purchased (and rejected) many hair products.   Part of my confusion came from the fact that it seemed every time I turned around someone was telling me THE product to buy.  So I'd buy it.  It wouldn't work.  

It took me awhile to realize that not all black hair is the same and that trial and error is necessary, for a lifetime, as the child's hair changes and as new products come on the market.

For now, this is what we are using:

We use an organic, raw apple cider vinegar rinse on the girls' hair about once a week.   

For Miss E, I use Kinky Curly products, specifically the gel (Curling Custard) and detangling gel (Knot Today).      I have found that straight up olive oil works really well, but her hair smells like stir fry....

For Baby E, whose hair is silky, thin, and has soft curls, I sometimes use organic coconut oil with a bit of Carol's Daughter Hair Milk (for scent).   

I am NOT an hair expert by any means.   One of my goals for the summer is to do more research on black hair care and learn some new styles for my girls!