Monday, October 29, 2012

Interview and Giveaway: Transracial Adoption-Themed Book for Kiddos

Just in time for Halloween!!!  

A FB post brought my attention to a fabulous adoption-themed book which will engage children who love mature cartoonish-illustrations, a suspenseful storyline, and a happy ending.     The best part of this book?  It features a transracial (well, trans-animal) family formed by adoption! 

First, let's meet the author, Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen:

I am a former PhD candidate from Caltech who had a couple kids and took a sharp left turn on the path of life and went from scientist to parent and children's author. I have three beautiful, brilliant, active biracial children now who both keep me inspired to write and too exhausted to write!

Being a mom to three kids is a pretty full time job, but I do consider myself a full-time writer. But don't think that means I spend my entire work day writing new books! (I used to have that misconception as well!) As a writer, I have to prepare and give presentations to kids at schools, to educators, to parents, and to other writers (which need to be prepared, practiced and revised), and I have to promote my current books by doing signings, appearances, interviews, etc. After all that, I have to find time to write. It isn't always easy.

And speaking of not easy, finding time for hobbies? Does laundry count? :-) It's incredibly hard to find "me time," but as many moms will tell you, you are a better parent when you keep yourself grounded. So I do try. I take a kickboxing a couple times a week (both fitness and stress relief!). I try to go out to dinner a few times a month -- I'm a foodie and I like to see what fabulous chefs are doing to try to inspire my own culinary efforts. I'm a huge New York Giants fan, so the fall is spent following football rabidly.

When asked about her inspiration for Quackenstein Hatches a Family...(emphasis on the text is from me):

Honestly, I didn't necessarily set out to write a book about adoption, and I totally understand and admit that QUACKENSTEIN is not necessarily a "resource book" on adoption. But I did want to write a book about a parent's fears and worries -- and how those sometimes lead to silly decision-making -- and I wanted to make a play on "Frankenstein" using a duck. Because every book is better with a duck. Once I had the Frankenstein theme, I knew the "creation" had to be a platypus -- because no other animal looks so much like it was crafted out of leftover parts than the platypus! But how do you create a family with such seemingly different parts? Adoption seemed to be the easiest way. My hope is that the book gets across the message that no matter how a family is put together, and no matter how different it is from you expectations, that families who truly want to make it work find ways to do so. If you think about it, whenever you have a relationship, whether it is a friendship, a romance, or a parent-child relationship, you really never know what you;re going to get. The person you care about may turn out to be different that you expected, hoped for, wanted, etc. But true love looks past the differences and focuses on what you want to do for the other person. And eventually you learn that it is the relationship that is important.

What can we expect from you in the near-future?

Thanks for asking! I have number of projects going right now. There are several books that are under contracts that will release soon -- in 2013 alone there will be two new picture books, SNORING BEAUTY and ORANGUTANGLED. I'm going to be launching a series of chapter books called THE SPECTACLES OF DESTINY in 2014 -- and I'm still actively working on (read: writing!) those books. And, of course, I'm working on finally cleaning my bedroom -- the goal on that is completion by 2015.

Sudipta has kindly offered one lucky reader a copy of her book Quakenstein Hatches a Family
 
Entry period:  Today through Nov. 2 at noon (Central time).
 
Ways to enter:  You can enter this giveaway up to six times; the winner will drawn at random on Friday.  The winner's name will be posted on Friday.   The winner is responsible for contacting me via e-mail (whitebrownsugar AT hotmail DOT com) within three days with his or her name and full address.    ONLY THOSE WITH UNITED STATES ADDRESSES MAY ENTER.  Each entry must be in a separate comment:
 
1:  "Like" Sudipta's Facebook page; leave me a comment telling me you did so.
2:   Subscribe to Sudipta's blog; leave me a comment telling me you did so.
3:   Become a follower of my blog; leave me a comment if you do!
4:  "Like" my book's Facebook page; leave me a comment if you do!
5:  "Like" my blog's Facebook page; leave me a comment if you do!
6:  Leave me a comment telling me what your little one(s) will be for Halloween this year.  
 
Good luck! 

Friday, October 26, 2012

My Plate is Too Full, and I've About Had It!

As I reported Wednesday, I'm just feeling agitated this week.  Tired.   Flustered.  

This is the time in the semester when life goes from hectic to downright crazy.   This week I conducted approximately 35 student conferences ranging from 10-20 minutes each.     In a few weeks, I'll receive 35 papers ranging from about 5-12 pages each.    After I grade and return those essays, I will grade 16 more papers from one class, plus 35 presentations.   

Here's the thing:  I love teaching.  I do.  I love learning about the students, I love embracing their passion for their research topics.    I learn about their families, their hobbies, their future careers, their struggles.    Writing is often intimate, and it's always a messy process.    But it's fabulous.     The best part of my job is seeing a student go from uncertain, confused, and down to confident, clear, and upbeat.  

The downside is that teaching involves grading.  Lots and lots and lots of grading.    Most of my work is done at home:   replying to e-mails, administrative odds-and-ends, prepping for class, posting documents to our course management system, and, yes, grading.   (Did I mention grading?)

So I'm teaching two classes, finishing my book (MY BOOK!!!), managing my home, caring for my daughters, running errands, and trying to be a decent wife, friend, daughter, and sister.  

Too much part-time stuff is going on. 

I used to believe that working part-time was the best of both worlds.  I'm both a stay-at-home-mom and a working-mom.  I can relate to women in both "camps."    I don't have to be either or, I get to be both.   Straddle the fence.

When my girls go down for their afternoon nap (and thank God my nearly-four-year-old still naps), I frantically begin to get done as much as possible:  grade, do some chores, make necessary phone calls, respond to student e-mails, read my devotional, take a shower, revise my book chapters, check all my online accounts (e-mail, Facebook, etc.).    

But all I really want to do is take a nap.  Or sit and read a magazine.    Or sprawl out on the grass and soak up some sunshine.

But I can't.   I won't let myself chill out.

DESPITE the fact that I know, I KNOW, how important it is to my health (to any person's health) to spend time doing nothing.   Because doing nothing is actually doing something...it's giving your body the rest, the peace, that it needs to live, not just survive.

Right now I'm questioning if continuing to work part-time is not only unrealistic when baby #3 arrives but even next semester if we haven't adopted again yet and I have my two girls.     I'm just tired of feeling divided, and I know when I feel this way, something has got to give or else no one gets the best of me, myself included!

It's the age-old battle:  stay at home and make no money (except off book royalties) or work (make money) and feel a constant level of stress (sometimes low, sometimes moderate, sometimes high) which impacts every area of my life.

And it's even harder for me to decide because I love my job.   But the requirements are getting to me, especially the grading.

I don't want to brush off my girls.  I don't want to answer their questions while my eyes are tied to a computer screen, trying to respond to another student's e-mail.    I want my girls to know that when they respond to someone, eye contact and listening ears are essential.     I'm modeling some pretty crappy behavior right now, and I know it.

I can take a year off work and not lose my seniority, I recently discovered.   I had planned on taking a semester off when we get our next child, but a year....a year?      In a year, I could promote my book, spend hours playing with my kids, chill out some, learn to coupon better, exercise more, begin writing articles again, and do so many things that are on my "someday" list.

This is one of those posts where I'm really not sure where I'm going or what I'm trying to convey.   I'm writing this for my own benefit----I'm trying to sort things out.

I'd love to hear from you.   Where are you at in your life right now?   What needs eliminating?   What choices are you struggling with?  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Adoptive Mama Thoughts

Today while I was getting my daily dose of encouragement (via reading a fab book, checking out recommended Bible verses, and praying) the thought crossed my mind that it's quite likely that somewhere there is a woman who is pregnant with our baby.

Adoption is always on my mind.   This weekend we watched The Avengers followed by October Baby.     What do the two films have in common?

Well, in The Avengers, one character is discussing his brother with a group of friends.  One character mentions the brother's faults, and the initial character says, "He's adopted."    GRRRR!    Adoptism!

October Baby is a film about an adoptee who discovers, as a young college student, that she was adopted.  She tries to find her birth mother.   I don't want to say much else and spoil the film for you, but unlike most Christian films, this one really wasn't corny or cheesy or obviously low-budget.   I found it to be fairly accurate and moving. 

Last week I also stopped pumping (see last post), I've been e-mailing the social worker about our homestudy, and I've been cleaning out and organizing our adoption paperwork from past adoptions.

Whew.

Honestly, this week I've been off my game.    I feel agitated, impatient, and a bit, well, just off.     Tired.   Anxious.   

When I start to put the focus on myself (my feelings about adoption, for example), something inevitably happens that reminds me to stop.  Breathe.  Think.

There's another person out there, someone who is facing an extraordinarily difficult choice:  parent or place.      

That someone is the birth mother of our future child.

She may be pregnant right now, or not yet, or she may have already had a baby she's going to place.

So many unknowns.

But what I know is this:

I'm incredibly fortunate that we can afford to adopt.

I'm incredibly fortunate to have the children I do.

I'm incredibly fortunate that I have the privilege of praying for a mother and a baby I have yet to meet.

And I'm incredibly selfish to put the focus on myself. 

----

What are you thinking about today?  Any humbling adoption thoughts?  Emotions?  Where are you at today, friend?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Adoptive Breastfeeding

UPDATE:    Well, my internet has been funky all day, so I'm just now posting this.   I pumped for two and half days.   Then I learned the extent of the FBI and DCFS contract conflict in our lovely state of Illinois, which means it might be longer than expected for us to be able to adopt.     So the pumping is on hold.

Here's what I want to say:

1:  Please read the original post below.     I stand by everything I said!

2:  My consultant made a great point:  Breastfeeding is about a relationship, not about milk.    I stand by this as I put the pumping/breastfeeding on hold for now.

3:  I am not willing to pump for months on end with no due date, no end to this state nonsense, and with no match.     It's time-consuming, and to be perfectly honest, I am SO tired from staying up until 11 p.m. to pump and then getting up at 3 a.m. to pump.

4:  It wasn't painful to pump at all, and my consultant says pumping or breastfeeding shouldn't be painful.  If it is, you need to get help on fixing the issue.  

5:  I encourage you, if you are tinkering with the idea, to give it a whirl.    If it weren't for all this legal drama, I would probably continue.

I continue to welcome your comments and thoughts!  You all have been a tremendous blessing and source of encouragement!

-----


Arguably, adoptive breastfeeding is one of the most taboo topics in the adoption realm.     I think this is the case for a few reasons:

1:  Some just think it's outright strange.  Breastfeed a child who isn't biologically yours?   

2:  Some think you haven't earned it.  If you can't conceive, or go through 9 months of pregnancy, or give birth, then why do you think you deserve to breastfeed?  Earn your right to breastfeed, sister.

3:  Some think breastfeeding in general is gross/unnatural/strange/inappropriate/inconvenient, so adoptive breastfeeding.....

4:  Some don't know it's even possible, so when they hear of it, the initial reaction isn't positive.

5:  Some people are uncomfortable with anything that isn't within their own experience.

6:  Some people believe that birth parents would be deeply hurt knowing that their child is being breastfed by the adoptive mother.    Some also believe birth parents should be involved in the decision of the adoptive baby being breastfed or not.  

7:  Insert your own thoughts here.

I have contemplated breastfeeding for over four years now.  I didn't vocalize it much, because I wanted to avoid judgement (which is funny since we adopted transracially, and I don't care if someone has a problem with it).  

There is only one fairly-current book dedicated to adoptive breastfeeding:   Breastfeeding an Adopted Baby and Relactation.     Many breastfeeding books touch on the topic, but generally, very lightly.    There's also the Newman-Goldfarb method where the mother is encouraged to take certain medications and follow a particular set of techniques to induce lactation.    This book on attachment and this book on breastfeeding are also helpful.    (Note: Martha Sears, wife of Dr. William Sears, is an adoptive mother and breastfed her adopted daughter.)  Finally, my own breastfeeding consultant, Dee Kassing, published a fantastic article on a bottle-feeding method that supports breastfeeding.   (My sources say that many adoptive mothers do not make enough milk to exclusively breastfeed, so these moms have to supplement with alternative ways of feeding, be it bottles or an SNS).     

Here's what I've learned, in a nutshell:

1:  Inducing lactation, even if you've never been pregnant, is probably quite possible, but it can be extra challenging.

2:  Breastfeeding, even if NO milk is produced, is still beneficial for the mother and the baby.

3:  If you're adopting, you are already in the realm of "abnormal," so don't worry about what other people think and do what you want with your baby.  :)    (Get some inspriration here.)

4:  There ARE people who will support you.  The first person who needs to support you, if you go the breastfeeding route, is your partner.  The second person is your consultant (be it your doctor, a LeLeche leader, another lactation consultant, etc.).   Finally, you need others (friends and family---some, not all) to support your choice.  

(Note:  The best advice I got from a fellow adoptive mom when we were waiting to adopt transracially and needed to tell our nearest-and-dearest that we were open to a child of any race was this:  Tell with confidence; don't ask permission.     I think the same can be applied to adoptive breastfeeding.   You want support, so you may say, "We are choosing adoptive breastfeeding, and I hope I have your support."   Offer resources if prompted or if you think it would be helpful).  

Here are my personal fears:

1:  My diabetes.  Always.  My diabetes.  (Did I mention my diabetes?)

2:  Having two small children in the house already.   Is it possible to effectively breastfeed and care for two other children?  I also worry how fair it is to give a new baby so much mommy-time (more than I would having bottle fed) when I already have two children who need my attention.  And my husband generally did many of the middle-of-the-night feedings with our first two; will he be missing out on his bonding time if I snatch so much of the baby's time? 

3:  Sleep.  I don't just love to sleep.  I NEED to sleep.  People who sleep well weigh less, are overall healthier, and are more productive.  Oh yes, and they are in better moods.  :)

4:   Convenience.  I know, I know.  The age-old argument is that you don't need a bottle; just whip out the breast and feed the kid.   But it's likely I'll need to do both (breast and bottle feed), so it's almost extra inconvenient.  And I love convenience.  I hate time gaps, driving long distances, waiting.  basically, I'm impatient and demanding.   Though I've grown a bit better with time, I'm still me.

What I know is:

1:  I really want to do this.   I have wanted to for four years.  I don't know how many kids we'll adopt, but I don't want this chance to pass me by.

2:  Breastfeeding will force me to bond with my new baby quicker than if I (or any nearby person who wants to help a desperate mom of three) pop a bottle in the baby's mouth (perhaps propped up by laundry-waiting-to-be-folded). 

3:  It's healthier for the baby than formula.  (I know, I know.  Formula has come SUCH a long way; it's healthy; babies across the world are fed formula every day and are fine.)     My oldest daughter received milk from my sister-in-law for the first month of my daughter's life.   I strongly believe this great start has helped my oldest daughter continue to grow up healthy.    Maybe the breastmilk helped her with the potential family allergy issues?  I'd like to believe it did! 

4:  Babies grow up SO fast.   There's only a small window of opportunity when adoptive breastfeeding is possible for any given child.  (THIS IS THE THING I KEEP REMINDING MYSELF OF.....)

5:  I don't carry much at all about what other people think.   I'm confident in my choices.  If someone has a problem with my decisions, he or she is spending too much time focusing on me and not on himself or herself.     (I did consider NOT blogging about this.  Is it TMI?   Will anyone care?  Will I lose readers if I start throwing around the b words like breastfeeding and breasts and bras?)

6:  There are always options.   I'm not up for taking any drugs to induce lactation.   Some mothers swear by it, but I'm incredibly picky about what I put into my body (thank you, diabetes!).   My consultant has shared with me that by pumping, along with some other natural procedures (hand expression, herbs, along with my own belief in positive thinking and visualization), it's possible to produce milk.  (BIG SIGH OF RELIEF).      And again, even if I don't produce anything, it's ok! 

I'd love to hear from you.  What do you think about adoptive breastfeeding?  Have you done it?  Considered it?  Researched it?   Why was it (or why wasn't it) for you?   

For more inspiration, check out these articles found on Adoptive Families website:

How I Was (Sort of) Able to Breastfeed

What You Need to Know to Breastfeed Your Baby

Nursing School

Nursing Matthew






Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wanna Share? : Submit Your Guest Blog Post Idea

Friends,

I want to invite you to submit your guest blog post idea to me, via e-mail, for consideration.   I love hearing your various perspectives, and I know we all benefit from the village we create!

So, send me an e-mail (whitebrownsugar AT hotmail DOT com) with "guest blog post" as the subject line.   Give me your first name, location, and status (adoptive mom of three, for example).  (Birth parents, adoptees, and adoption professionals are welcome to submit, as well as family members of birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents.)    Let me know, in a few lines, what your proposed guest blog post topic is.    I'll let you know if the topic is a good match for my blog.

Topics of interest:

---hair
---toys, games, movies for brown-skinned kids (even extensive lists of items, such as dolls for children of color---which would be great in November right before Christmas!)
---tips on adopting transracially
---open adoption
---adopting for the first time
---coping with school projects
---dealing with those who are naive about adoption (perhaps your child's teacher, for example)
---celebrating diversity
---coping with a child's adoption struggles
---special needs adoption


Topics that won't be selected:

---long, personal adoption journey stories
---posts promoting unethical adoption practices
---posts promoting particular agencies or other adoption professionals
---posts promoting religious beliefs that contradict general Christian values

The more narrow your topic, the more likely your blog post will be selected.

If your post is chosen, you can include a short bio (including a link to your adoption blog, FB page, etc.).    

You won't be compensated for your contribution, besides the warm fuzzies you get.  ;) 

I look forward to your ideas!  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Worthy?

Any adoptive parent knows that the journey isn't easy.  First, you have to get to the point where you wait for a match/referral.   This means you have to be deemed "approved" through a series of "tests."    Fingerprinted like criminals, for example.    Then once you are waiting, you are anxiously facing times where you may not be chosen by a prospective birth parent or when your agency doesn't match you with a particular child.   You might see those around you getting matched or receiving referrals (or other friends getting pregnant)...and you think, "Why them?"  And, "Why not me?"

I have scolded (nicely) other adoptive parents in the past for saying, essentially, "Woe-is-me." 

Here's my reasoning:

1:  The adoptive parents' biggest adoption hardship, waiting, disappears once the child arrives.  (Yes, I recognize that adoption struggles do not end once a placement occurs).

2:  Adoptive parents are the "winners" among members of the adoption triad.  Bio parents lose their child to adoption, even when it's voluntary; the loss never subsides.    Adoptees have no choice.  They do not choose to be separated from their biological family members (and even though this separation might be warranted, due to abuse or neglect, for example, it wasn't, still, the adoptee's choice).

3:  Adoptive parents get to become parents and "move on."    Though there is usually loss that leads adoptive parents to the adoption decision, birth parents can never FULLY "move on" because a piece of them is always going to be missing, even in the most positive of adoption situations. 

Basically, I believe that if God leads a person or couple to adopt, an adoption WILL happen.   There's end in sight for these individuals and couples.

It's so easy, as adoptive parents, to put the focus on ourselves.  WE want a child.  WE paid for a very expensive adoption process.  WE have been "through the ringer" (paperwork, home visits, etc.).  WE have been suffering from infertility/miscarriage/disease/disability/etc. for years and years.   WE are tired of seeing all of our friends have biological babies (maybe even three or four kids) while WE have none.   WE are sick of people asking us when we'll have or adopt a child.

Now, before you write me a comment telling me what's up....hear me out.

I'm guilty of doing what I despise---putting the focus on me and my feelings.

Since we've been waiting to adopt, which has been about four weeks now, we've been presented with three potential adoption situations.    One we didn't agree to be "shown" for, one we said "yes" to being shown but a birth family relative stepped in to parent the baby, and the last one, which happened very recently, resulted in a different family being chosen.

I found myself thinking, why weren't we chosen?   Isn't our profile book good enough?  Maybe we should play up my disease sob-story a bit, because that really is why we are adopting.     Maybe there should be more emphasis on the fact that though we have two kids, we value each child individually, not just as "one of the flock."  Maybe I should be more clear that I stay at home 95% of the time and my job is just a very small part of my life...

How do we combat rejection?  How do we not feel somehow unworthy of being chosen?    How do we take the spotlight off ourselves?

I'm mad at myself for "going there."   For putting any focus on myself.   

So how do you combat the rejection? The worthiness or worthlessness you might be feeling?

1:  Remember that it's OK to get mad, be confused, feel hurt, be disappointed.   It's OK.  In fact, it's normal.   BUT, it's only OK to be this way for a short season.    Don't let your feelings dominate your heart or take over your mind.

2:  Step back and reflect on the situation.    But don't think you'll ever truly understand why what did/didn't happen did or didn't happen.    It's really not necessary that you know.

3:  Put the focus back on the family you do have----be it your spouse and other kids and parents and siblings.     Don't put your life (your thoughts, your emotional energy, your time) into "what could have been" or "what if."     Your family deserves better.

4:  Take some time to veg and re-group.   It's fine to take a few days to get yourself together.   Treat yourself to some Starbucks or a glass of your favorite wine, watch a movie, read a good book (NOT an adoption book!!!), buy a trashy celeb mag, go out with friends, etc.  

5:  Get re-focused.    I quickly realized, with our most recent situation, that I'd forgotten something I learned and committed to long ago.  Sometimes my involvement/awareness of an adoption situation occurs solely so that I can be in prayer for the bio parents, the baby, the agency, and the chosen adoptive family.    

This very popular Bible passage is what I need to focus on today, and I hope you will take a moment to read it and apply it to adoption.      Love isn't limited to the child who will be ours.  Maybe we need to love those we don't even know.  Respect the choices biological parents make, even when it's not in your "favor."    Trust that God has a child for you.    Take time to take advantage of these moments when there isn't a new child in your family.    LOVE your way through the journey.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Learn More about Our Family's Journey

Special thanks to Howard University for interviewing us on transracial adoption!   Listen here!

Monday, October 8, 2012

More Random Goodness: Bedding, Food, and Support Groups

Is it just me, or could this new fabulous bedding from Land of Nod be considered brown-girl worthy?   Too bad the quilt is $189....

I'm interested in cooking up some soul food for my fam, but being a bit of a health nut and food snob, I'm struggling.   I did find this fabulous book at my local library, plus this book from my own collection.  Perhaps there's hope? 

Finally, I was recently asked by one of my readers, Gaby, about the support group I facilitate.   What happens at a meeting?  How do we coordinate it all?

I'm writing this from the prospective of the group facilitator speaking to a future group facilitator. 

Here are the basics:

1:  Find out how many people might be interested. 

2:  Get them connected in one place such as an email list or a closed (private) FB page.

3:  Ask when the best time to meet is.   Based on the responses, pick a meeting date and time.   (My group meets once a month on a Sunday night at dinnertime). 

4:  Pick a place to meet.  Due to the delicate nature of discussions, choose somewhere with privacy.  If it's in someone's home, make sure there's a quiet, kid-free zone to meet.  If it's in a restaurant or community facility, meet in a private, closed-off area.  (My group meets at a local cafe).

5:   Find out what group members want from the group and who can be invited to meetings.   Do you want to have speakers?  A topic-of-the-meeting?   Do you want to have a membership fee?   Officers?  Who can come to meetings?  Those adopting internationally?  Domestically? Via foster care?   Those simply interested in adopting?  Those waiting to adopt?   Family members who wish to offer support?  Birth parents?  Adoptees?   (My group has guest speakers a few times a year, but mostly, it's open-conversation and eating.   Any female who has adopted, is waiting to adopt, or is interested in adopting may attend.   Adoptees and birth parents are welcome).

6:  If you want to get the word out about your group, do so!   Use "business" cards, fliers, online posts, blogs, etc.     Let local adoption agencies and lawyers know about your group.  

7:  Be open to change.    Some members will come and go, some will come once and not come back, and some will be there for the long-haul.    You may need to change where you meet, when you meet, and how you meet.   

What goodness have you come across recently?  Send me suggestions at whitebrownsugar AT hotmail DOT com.




Saturday, October 6, 2012

Set your DVR for Tomorrow Night!

Steel Magnolias is my favorite movie of all time.  It's Southern, it's about a type I diabetic, and it's about friendship.

And now, the film has an all-Black cast in the re-make which will be on tomorrow evening (Oct 7) on Lifetime.  Set your DVR and support this fab cast actors! 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Let the Christmas Shopping Begin (or Continue)

I recently received a catalog in the mail from Personal Creations, a company that sells items that can be, yes, personalized.     Some of their items feature Asian, Hispanic, African American, and Caucasian options!

Here a few of my favorites:

Sweet Angel's Mug

Ballerina Backpack

Rag Doll items

Dancer Ornaments  (although, I note that it's funny how the African American ornament options are the hip hop dancers.....sigh)

Professionals Ornaments

American Girl has a new Just Like Me Doll who is brown-skinned with dark brown hair that is textured!  Yay! 

Pottery Barn Kids is once again has stockings featuring kids of color

Talk to me!  Where can you get Christmas goodies featuring kids of color?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Whispers of Grace in Times of Anxiousness

I grew up in a Christian home.  We were at our church two to three times a week, sometimes more.   From very early on in my life, I was taught to memorize Bible verses.   Like many kids at summer camp, I rushed through the process to earn my camp t-shirt, truly caring less about the meaning behind the verses I recited to my cabin counselor. 

As an adult, it's amazing how what I used to believe were meaningless, red-tape assignments from Jesus-minded adults has paid off.  

A few weeks ago, I was feeling rather anxious about something (can't remember now what it was), and I distinctly remember hearing a gentle whisper in my heart that went something like this...

Don't worry about tomorrow.   Focus on today.

(Yep, you Bible scholars...that's from Matthew, 6:34 to be exact).

When I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with all this adoption education, I remember reading a Bible verse where one Biblical figure was commanded to...

Write in a book what I've spoken to you.

(Looking it up, I found it in Jeremiah 30:2).

There are countless moments like this in my daily life, and I can hardly articulate them in a way that my readers will find intriguing, but I share these few moments to say this:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  Nothing renders me more dependant on God than adoption.   Nothing.   Not even when I was laid up in a hospital bed coming back from the dead.  Not even when my grandfather died unexpectedly.   Not even when I was waiting to hear if I'd been accepted into graduate school or selected to become a teaching assistant.  

Becoming a mother SHOULD be a big deal.    :)

I don't wish to minimize the anxiousness that comes from becoming a mother biologically.   I'm sure there's plenty to worry about.  The health of the baby, delivery, adjusting siblings, the health of one's marriage.   But adoption does add additional, unpredictable, and burdensome (at times) layers to parenthood.   

I write all this to say that there are definitely moments when I feel quite anxious about adoption, despite already having adopted twice, despite running an adoptive mom group of thirty women, despite having read hundreds of books and articles on adoption, despite speaking at local agencies on adoption topics, despite knowing that I am a capable, good mother.

Will we ever be chosen to adopt another baby?  We already have two.  Won't an expectant parent want a young, infertile couple over us?   I wonder how many other couples are waiting to adopt.  What do their profile books look like?    How long will we wait?  Will we experience a failed adoption?   Will I take a semester or two off or keep working?   How will I handle three kids under the age of four?   Will our next adoption be open like our first two?  What if it's not?   Will this adoption be transracial?   What if we adopt a child who develops special needs?  Am I ready to get up every three hours at night for months on end?   I hope our marriage doesn't suffer.   Who will want to babysit three children under age four?   What if we can't agree on a baby name?   I hope my kids adjust well to a sibling.  

I cling to that which I was taught many, many years ago.    I am thankful that despite my bad or wrong attitudes, that adults took the time to instill in me that memorizing Bible verses is rewarding and essential to personal peace.    I'm thankful that even though all the times I attended church camp or VBS or Sunday School or a mission trip didn't seem to matter all that much in the moment, that I participated in them.  

I never know what verse I will hear next or when.    But these whispers of grace ease my anxiety about anything, adoption related or not, better than anything else.  

Friends, take a moment today to stop, breathe, and listen.   There are jewels waiting for you.




 
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