Friday, August 31, 2012

Maybe I Should Shut My Mouth Sometimes....

I'm embarrassed.  I did something I despise...and I'm going to tell you about it.  I shouldn't say someTHING but rather, somethingS.   

We're at the park.   My girls are running around like crazy because they are both convinced they own the place.    The other kids just get to borrow the space.     Whatever.

It's a lovely day...finally.  Sunny, nice breeze, 75 degrees.  There are tons of parents and kids everywhere.    I'm standing at the bottom of the twisty slide, trying to keep Baby E from getting completely smashed by older kids, and overhear two women talking.  One is a mom of three, the other is a nanny to two kids.

Nanny:  I've been married nine years and we still haven't gotten pregnant.

Me (on impulse).  I pick up Baby E, hold her up so our faces are touching, smile, and blurt out:   You could always adopt.

Immediate regret. What was I trying to do?  Use my kids as an advertisement for adoption?

So I say:   Not that I'm trying to get up into your fertility business or anything.  I hate when people do that.

Dumb.  Why did I say that?

I move to help Baby E climb up the rock wall.

Nanny's Mom friend to Me:   Are they [my girls] real sisters?

Me:   They are not biologically related.

Immediate regret round 2.   It's none of her bleeping business.    Yet, I did offend her friend by being insensitive about infertility by offering adoption as a happy resolution....so I'll let it slide.

Miss E, standing above me on some equipment, tells the Mom:   We are not SISTERS.  We are BROTHERS.

Me, laughing, to Mom:  I guess she told you.

Regret round 3.  What was that, Rach?   Really?!?

Sometimes I'm just off my adoption-game.   I really expect more of myself.  I write about adoption, I educate others on adoption, I'm active in the adoption community.  And I acted like that?  

This day reminded me...
1:  I'm going to screw up sometimes.  I'm human.  It's ok.
2:  My daughter is listening, now more than ever, to everything I say and those around her say.
3:  I need to be ready to respond to the "real" sisters question.     What I really want to say is:  "Yes, they are real sisters, and I'm their real mom."   
4:  I need to remember that no everyone thinks adoption is super-awesome like I do.
5:  I need to be more sensitive to those who have gone through (are going through) infertility issues.    (We adopted due to my type I diabetes, not due to infertility.  Adoption was an easy choice for us.  It's not for most/many people).
6:  I need to take it down a few notches sometimes.  I might have GOBS of information for people on the journey of adoption, I might be super passionate about adoption, but if I don't bring it up in an appropriate way at an appropriate time, no one is going to care to listen and learn.

Talk to me.  When did you do or say something adoption-related that you later regretted?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fantastic Book List

In a recent issue of Parents magazine, this website was mentioned.   Have fun browsing the book list and finding titles for your children!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby #3: Here We Go!

I've said before, that I used to never want my kids close in age.   Being the type A control freak that I am, I wanted to carefully select the perfect time to become a mom and then to become a mom to another and another.    But guess what?  Adoption isn't like that.  It's as unpredictable as the Midwest weather.

Here's what happened:

About a month or so ago, I was out running errands.  My kids had a sitter.   I was lying in the dentist office chair when my phone buzzed.   I couldn't pick it up, knowing the dentist would walk in at any minute for my exam.   Immediately, as I gazed upon the phone number, my heart started pounding.   REALLY REALLY hard.    I recognized the area code.  

As soon as my exam was over (which I didn't think could be over quickly enough), I raced to my car, blasted the air conditioning, and listened to my voicemail.    It was our adoption attorney.  I immediately called back, with just twenty-five minutes until my hair cut appointment.   I was sweating, my heart was still pounding.

It was A call, but before you get excited, it wasn't OUR call.    The call was for a toddler minority boy.   The attorney wanted to know if we wanted our profile shown.    We didn't even have a profile, nor did we have a current homestudy, nor were we even thinking about adopting again.

But we had discussed wanting to adopt a toddler---the race and sex weren't important to us, though the prospect of having a boy in our house was exciting.

After two solid days of phone calls, we determined that due to our lack of "ducks in a row," we had to turn down the placement.  Our only alternative was to accept the placement and live out of state for several months.  Yeah, right.

I immediately began praying for this little boy and his birth mother and his future parents.  

Insert God laughing (in a nice way).

Turns out, the little guy ended up being placed with friends of ours!   We found out a few weeks later.  I was completely overjoyed.

This experience prompted us to contact our social worker and get the ball rolling on our third homestudy.   We've had our home visit, the paperwork is all filled out, we take our CPR class tomorrow night, and our profile book has been ordered.

So, in a few weeks, we'll be back on THE list waiting for THE call.

As I said, we really weren't thinking about adopting again just yet.   With an almost 4-year-old and an almost 2-year-old, our lives are pretty full.    Miss E is in a new preschool, I just started teaching two classes, Baby E is a bundle of energy and emotion, and my husband is swamped at work.    I'm working like crazy to get my book drafted for review and copy editing.     Life is happening. 

There's never a perfect time to adopt again.    There's no reason to try to control the situation.   After two adoptions (two WHIRLWIND adoptions), I have learned that what will be will be.  

As we wait, I'll be praying for our future child (or children), the child's biological family, for our agencies and attorneys, and for us.

Life really is like a box of chocolates---you never know what you'll get!   

Friday, August 24, 2012

And the Winner Is....

Angel!

I pulled your comment via random.org.

Congrats!  Please contact the Etsy seller, via Etsy, to claim your prize.

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Giveaway!: Brown Girl Art

Hi.  I'm Amy, owner of the Brick House Studio on Etsy.  Brick House Studio is my personal hand-drawn collection of elephants, giraffes, owls, and bunnies - to name a few. My items are designed to add a charming touch to any nursery or children's room.

Children's Art - African American Ballerina, 5x7 Print

This Friday, I'm giving away one 8x10 matted print to one lucky White Sugar, Brown Sugar reader.

Giveaway:  Now through August 24th at noon, Central time.  Winner will be posted on August 24th.  Winner is responsible for contact Amy, via Etsy, to claim her prize.

Item:  8x10 matted print of the brown-girl ballerina.

How to enter:   Each reader may enter up to five times.

1:  Leave a comment stating your favorite print from Brick House Studio.
2:  Leave a comment letting me know you are now a fan of Amy's FB page
3:  Become a follower of this blog, and leave me a comment letting me know!
4:  Become a FB fan of this blog, and leave me a comment letting me know.
5:  Tweet or FB this giveaway, and leave me a comment letting me know.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lazy Days

I feel somewhat guilty when I have a lazy day.    Granted, lazy around here means a light workout for me, lots of free play and movies for my girls, and some chores.  It might me a frozen pizza and cut-up fruit for dinner instead of a homemade feast.  

Society tells us that we must be on-the-go to be considered productive.  

But what is the true definition of productivity?  

Being a stay-at-home mom is incredibly challenging for me at times.   I worked my rear off to get my degree.   I went to school from kindergarten through grad school with no extended breaks.   I took classes all summer (four nights a week from 6-10 p.m.) in 2005 in order to get my Master's degree a semester early.   I got the degree in order to work.

I have what I think is the best of both worlds for our family.  I work outside the home part-time (teaching two classes a semester at a university) and also work inside the home part-time (freelance writing and working on my book) while also doing the most challenging job of all, full-time:  parenting my girls and taking care of our home.  

Part of my issue is that I put pressure on myself:   make homemade meals (because healthy food is important to us.  Thank you, type I diabetes), exercise (type I diabetes, again), keeping the house clean (can't stand it to be a total disaster---hampers my creativity and inner peace---for real), write a book (my dream), coupon (I enjoy it and it saves us money), and more.  

When I'm not doing these things, I feel like I'm not making progress, like I'm not being productive.

But then I realize, I am.   I am playing with the girls.  I am baking something with them.  We're having a dance party in the kitchen, or reading their Bible storybook, or painting, or we're in the pool.

These things are productive.  And they probably mean a whole lot more than the things I actually pretend are productive.  

I want to teach my girls that what the world calls "lazy" I call necessary.   People who don't take care of themselves surround us all (maybe we are even one of them!).   People who don't eat well, because they don't have time.  People who don't exercise, because they don't have time.  People who don't take 30 minutes to sit on the couch and talk to their spouse or child, because they don't have time.  These little choices add up---and consequences arise.

This summer, I started with a list of goals.  Some of them I fulfilled, some I did not.   I have to let go of the "did nots" and realize that the moments I spent doing "nothing" were actually the moments that brought me the most joy, peace, and fulfillment.

I'm honestly not sure where I'm going with all of this.   I guess I'm hoping that each of you MAKE the time to invest in doing nothing, whatever that is to you.    There are endless rewards to saying no to the world's definition of productivity and success.  

I'd love to know from you:

---What is your "nothing" day or hours look like? 
---What changes have you made to slow your family's pace?
---What do want to teach your children about productivity and success?

Share!
  
And for a fabulous article on the subject of slowing down and finding joy, I highly recommend this new article from PARENTS magazine. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adoption Conference: Sign up ASAP!

I just registered to attend the March 2013 session of Created for Care!    Registration fills up QUICKLY for this event, usually in less than 24 hours.    I hope to see you there!

And if you haven't yet, pick up the September issue of ESSENCE magazine and enjoy meeting my family on pages 160-161. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Discounts Continue: Sue Shanahan Studio

My name is Sue Shanahan, and I'm the owner of the Etsy shop Sue Shanahan Studio. I sell prints, posters and books based on my children illustrations. My shop is unique because my art represents all kinds of children. I believe beauty comes in all different shapes sizes and colors. In my illustrations I honor the extraordinarily ordinary kids who have crossed my path.

Sue is offering White Sugar, Brown Sugar readers a 20% discount starting today through August 20.   Use:  HAPPYJULY at checkout.
Love Came Down at ChristmasThere's Nothing Better Than Being Yourself - 5X7

Sweetness And Light 8X10 PrintLittlest Angel 8X10 Print

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Check Out ESSENCE mag: Article on Transracial Adoption

The September issue of ESSENCE magazine should hit stands any second.     On pages 160 and 161, transracial adoption is explored.    We are THRILLED to be a part of this article!   Both my blog, a family photo, and quotes from me are featured.    I'm honored to be a spokesperson for the transracial adoption community, and I hope I've made you all proud.

Monday, August 6, 2012

More Discounts: The Dreamy Giraffe

Eye candy alert!    Miss Kathy's art is colorful, inspirational, and best of all---some prints feature brown-skinned girls!    Get ready...Miss Kathy has twelve pages of gorgeous artwork for sale on Etsy!


Tasha On School Picture Day 8.5 X 11 Art PrintFrog Prince African American Nursery ArtDream Big Art Print With African American Little Girl
Little Red Riding Hood And Little Red Fox Art PrintSweet Dreams Print Nursery ArtGabriella On School Picture Day Print

Meet Kathy:

My name is Kathy Jeffords and I own the Etsy shop The Dreamy Giraffe. I sell colorful and cheerful art prints. My shop is unique because I was a writer long before I became an artist and because of that, I incorporate a lot of my original writing in my work. My big eyed work almost always has a story to go along with the painting and my typography prints feature quotes and sentiments I made up...so you won't find them anywhere else! When I was a teenager, I dreamed of doing what I love for a living in lieu of a "real job"...I always said "anything is possible". Now that I am an adult, doing what I love for a living, I hope that positive philosophy comes through in all my work. I just want to make others smile...and encourage them to dream big dreams. I'm offering White Sugar, Brown Sugar readers 20% off for one week, starting today through August 13th.  Use code:  WHITESUGARBROWNSUGAR.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Staycation

In mid-July, my husband and I planned a staycation to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary.      We packed up the kids, dropped them off with friends, and spent twenty-four hours ALONE.

A staycation can be incredibly lovely for a few reasons:
1:  It's cheaper than staying in a hotel.
2:  It's more comfortable than staying in a hotel.
3:  It's closer (for us) to the kids if something were to come up.

We ate out twice (Thai---yum, and at a local restaurant we were dying to try together---where we ordered drinks, entrees, sides, and dessert!), we walked, we took a nap, we slept in the next morning, we ate ice cream and watched a movie, we drove down a local historical street to house-gaze, we read, and we shopped (drumroll please...) at a dollar store.   

What we didn't do:   clean, wash dishes, do laundry, rush, run errands, talk on our phones, answer emails, or watch crappy tv. 

It was bliss.

It's incredibly easy to put your marriage on the back burner while you raise kids, work, and take care of the house.   I highly recommend a staycation.  The 24 free hours we had was relaxing, fun, and inspirational.    

    
 
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