Thursday, March 26, 2015


One of the devotions Madeleine and I include book is on the subject of isolation.

Isolation, Sugars, is dangerous.

Thus, it's a popular topic among mothers.  Because we are smart.  We know isolation's many weapons, and we are trying to fight back.    

I love these two posts on the subject:

Isolation seeks to destroy, tear down, break, and confuse.

Don't let it win.

Don't choose it. 

Realize you do have a choice!  

I cannot wait for you to read our new book. It's full of good stuff.  Real stuff.   Reading it is like sitting down with a girlfriend over homemade blueberry muffins and rich coffee.   It's Jesus stuff.   

It's what we all need, daily, to make it and to not only make it, but to be successful.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reminders of Promise

God once spoke the clearest word to me.  It was a defining moment.  It was permission.  It was direction.  It was promise of hope, of better days.

That word was ADOPTION.

When I was told I had type 1 diabetes nine years ago, I was elated and crushed, simultaneously.  I had been sick for a year and a half.  Diabetes stole.  It mocked.  It taunted.  It confused.  It teased.

I was emaciated, depressed, and hopeless.

While curled up on a hospital bed, barely listening to a diabetes nurse educator talk to me about counting carbohydrates and injecting insulin, I was just me:  broken and sick.  My tiny frame was covered by an oversized hospital gown.  I was covered in wires and tubes and bruises and anger.

But when the conversation turned to family-building, when the nurse asked me if I planned on being a mom, everything changed.

As she went on to talk about diabetes and pregnancy, a word popped into my mind.  A word that changed the trajectory of my life.

God spoke.

I listened.

As I spend this month thinking about my disease and its mysteries and intricacies and tricks, as I think about how far I've come, as I think about the surprising gifts my disease has given me, I notice glimpses of color.  Quiet reminders of how God has used my diagnosis to bless me, change me, teach me.

It's the veggies left on a highchair tray.

It's the ballerina twin-size sheets on top of the laundry heap.

It's the beads in my girls' hair.

It's the scraps of construction paper strewn about, a project half-completed, and abandoned, all in the name of creativity and childhood adventures.  

Reminders of how God sent a rainbow after the rain.  A promise.  The flood was bad.  Devastating. Seemingly endless.  But the rainbow came---gloriously, brightly.

Where is your rainbow today, Sugars?  Where has God placed color to remind you that He's there?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sibling Relationships: Adoption Talk Link Up

----This post is part of an ongoing blogging adventure called Adoption Talk Link Up----

Dear Stranger Who Asks the Real Siblings Question:

You see, when people see my family, I can bet on what questions will be asked of us.  The most common is:

(Or some form of that question, such as "Are they from the same family?")

From the frequency and predictability of this question, I have determined that strangers believe our family is just so interesting.   There must be a back story that we are just dying to reveal to the public. Our story must be a cross between a Disney, Hallmark, and Lifetime movie.  Mysterious.  Magical.   There's got to be a "once upon a time" and a "happily ever after," with a long, winding road of drama in between.

So, naturally, a great conversation starter is to approach us and ask how "REAL" we are. 

Every time, I inwardly groan, draw in a deep breath, and figure out how to respond in a semi-dignified way.

People mean well.

People are just curious.

You chose to adopt transracially, so you chose the spotlight.

Oh, geese!  Don't get offended.  Everyone is so sensitive these days!  


  • We do not have a right to privacy.
  • Our children's very personal adoption stories should be made public for the benefit of curious strangers.
  • We should answer nosy questions in order to not be perceived as rude.
  • We should answer nosy questions in order to educate the public on adoption.

But answering, in a way that appeases the person, comes at a price:

  • Answering teaches our children that their privacy is less-important than how we, the parents, are perceived by strangers.
  • Answering teaches our children that it's acceptable for stranger adults to use their size and age to "bully" children.  
  • Answering teaches our children that they are defined by their adoption, their history, or their "status."  
  • Answering teaches our children that we, as adults, can take from them, instead of giving to them.  

If a nosy stranger could see our children day-to-day---the hugs, the cuddles, the arguments, the making up, the sharing, the smiles, the tears---they would know.  They would know how REAL our family is---how REAL the siblings are.  How authentic.  How genuine.   

But this is not what strangers see.  They see two White parents and three Black babies.  They see the range of skin tones, the different eye, nose, lip shapes, the different body types.  They see DIFFERENCE.   

Now, there's nothing wrong with SEEING difference.  

What is not okay is turning every thought into a verbal question or comment---questions and comments directed at innocent, wonderful, beautiful children.  What is not okay is using your bigger-taller-stronger-older status to demand answers from my babies.  

This isn't an interrogation.  And my kids will not be your prisoners.

The love, the relationship, the trust, the grace---these things are so REAL.  They are real between the kids, between us and the kids, between the kids and their grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. Real between the kids and their birth families. 

What you see, dear stranger, is difference.

But if you would take a few moments to observe.  Observe how when Baby E trips and falls, Miss E is at her side in a matter of seconds, asking in the sweetest voice, "Are you okay, sissy?"  Observe how Baby Z dashes toward an exit, and Miss E and Baby E run after him, grabbing at his hands and telling him it's not safe to run away.   Observe how the kids all try to grab the same toy at the same time and an argument, a real sibling argument, ensues.   Observe how my children say "Mommy" ten times a minute while tugging on my arm, or my pant leg, or my hair---or whatever they can grab. Observe how their father lovingly kisses their hurting places, changes the baby's diaper, and wrestles them while they squeal in delight---all within a five-minute period.  

And remember, my babies are listening and learning.  Please don't hand them ignorance or suspicion or demands.   Offer us a smile or a nod or a "nice to meet you" instead.    

Monday, March 16, 2015

Prisms: How God is Coloring My Gray World


The month that throws dread, disease, and hope into my face: daily.

The month that drags on and on....each day is passing doom.

The month that cannot choose between gray winter and green spring, between taking away and building up.

The month that isn't easily defined; it's unpredictable.

Each March, I surrender to the waves of emotions and memories.  Tears fall more freely.  I readily admit to my agitation and unrest.  I simultaneously reach for hope and grasp at fear, because fear is familiar and hope makes me vulnerable.  I'm most aware of my need for God's grace and strength.

This month, I've decided to do something a little different.  Not to mask the pain.  Not to regress. Rather, to relish in me, for exactly who I am---diseased and victorious and fighting and surrendering.

Coping with personal hardships, past trauma (that revisits), and anxiety is certainly not easy.  There is no prescription that fits us all.  But I know there are things that bring me sprinkles of joy and dashes of peace.

There are prisms:  glimpses of His grace, His peace, His restoration.  They stream in.  Quietly. Gently. Unpretentiously.

Matthew 11:28
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Saturday, March 14, 2015

BOOK #3 is LIVE!

I cannot possibly be more excited.

My newest book, co-authored with the talented and wise Madeleine Melcher, is LIVE ON AMAZON AS OF TONIGHT!

Presenting, Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey: 52 Devotions and a Journal!  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Should A Chick Be a Bunny?

Recently, I was getting a few items at my local Kohl's, when I stopped to browse the Easter towels. And that's when I found this one.

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me if I believed that colorblindness was a claim that negated a person of color's whole self.  Meaning, does a person boasting to be "colorblind" mean that he or she is refusing to see the entirety of a person of color?

My answer was, without a second thought, yes.

You see, when a person looks at our family, the first thing they notice is difference.

This is NOT a bad thing.  It's not wrong to notice what is glaringly apparent.   (What is NOT an appropriate response is to turn your every thought into a question, comment, or stare.)

It's like the Todd Parr book that states It's Okay To Be Different.

What I want those who proudly boast of teaching their kids to be colorblind, or proudly proclaim to be colorblind themselves, is this:

  • It's okay to notice that our family doesn't match.
  • It's okay for your child to point out to you, the parent, that our family doesn't match.
  • It's okay for you to respond to your child, inviting them to further discuss race and ask questions (during an appropriate time and place).
  • It's okay for you not to have all the right words (perfect racial literacy) to talk to your child; the key is to TALK, not shush your child.  You do not want them to believe there is something wrong with talking about race.
  • It's okay for your child to be excited about having a friend or classmate who is a different race; it's okay for your child to express that excitement; it's ok for you to share in that excitement.  
  • It's okay to say that my kids are Black (because, newsflash, they are!).  
  • It's okay to admit that you do not have a completely confident and flawless empathy for people of color; but it's not okay to stop learning and growing.  

My babies aren't bunnies.  They are chicks.  You won't find us trying to pluck bunny ears on their heads.

We celebrate and embrace our children for exactly who they are.  We do not pretend not to see their chocolate brown skin, ignore their history as a Black people, or neglect to prepare them for the realities of living as a person of color in our "post-racial" society. 

So dear colorblind-boasting-parent:  


Chicks are fabulous, too.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Granting Myself Permission

March, as shared in my previous post, isn't my favorite month.  At the end of the month, I will "celebrate" nine years of living with my forever-disease.


My diaversary strikes fear in my heart.  Regret.  Anger.  And tears.  A lot of tears.  Resentment.  Spiritual storms.  A lack of peace.  Joy-stealing.

I was browsing Facebook the other day, and I came across this graphic.   A powerful reminder of what I want for my life.  A powerful reminder of what I can create and live, if I so choose.

I'm choosing.  Today.  Day by day.

March will inevitably arrive each year.

What will I do with it?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Happy Anniversary, Come Rain or Come Shine!

Today marks the two year anniversary of my first book Come Rain or Come Shine:  A White Parent's Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children !  

From the Amazon description:

Are you prepared to adopt and parent transracially? Transracial adoption can be a daunting and exhilarating journey. At times you feel incredibly isolated and lost. However, with this conversational and practical guide in hand, you will be able to adopt with confidence and parent with education, empathy, and enthusiasm. Whether you are new to adoption, a seasoned adoptive parent, or you are an adoptee, birth parent, or adoption professional, COME RAIN OR COME SHINE will enhance your understanding and appreciation for transracial adoption. The book contains extensive resource lists, discussion/reflection questions for adoptive parents, and advice and research from experts in the adoption field. Recommended by MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry: "We had an amazing guest on the MHP show about a year ago who is white and raising black adopted children, Rachel Garlinghouse. I love her book Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent's Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children." (from Jezebel, Melissa Harris-Perry Answers Your Questions, 4/6/14) Over 1,000 copies sold!

To all my book supporters:  THANK YOU!   I'm very proud of the book and thankful for the numerous readers who have shared their stories with me.  Blessings to you as you adopt and parent your children!

Monday, March 2, 2015

March Madness: Why I Despise This Month

Nine years ago this month, I was told the best and worst news of my life.

Nine years ago this month, I spent five days in the hospital, two of which were in the ICU.

Nine years ago this month, I was told my disease had no cure.

Nine years ago this month, I hit rock bottom.

Nine years ago this month, my life changed forever.

Type 1 diabetes isn't the "end of the world," though it very well could have been the end of my life.

I was sick for 1.5 years without a diagnosis.  I saw five medical professionals who failed to diagnose me properly.  I was guessed to have anorexia.   I was depressed, emaciated, fatigued, numb, hungry, thirsty, scared, and angry, particularly angry at God.

The day my husband took me to the ER, I was on my death bed.  I was in a state called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) where the body is essentially being eaten alive by itself:  toxic and deadly.  I was shaking from being cold, I was 97 lbs (I'm almost 5'8" tall), I couldn't drink enough fluids, I could barely breathe.

Upon having my blood tested, we learned my a1c (an average of one's blood sugars for three months) was 16.9 (a normal a1c should be below 5.7).   My a1c was so high, it's not found on any a1c charts. My average blood sugar over the three months before D-day was around 400.  A normal blood sugar is between 70-120.   According to the Mayo Clinic, I was gravely ill.

It was on day four of my hospital stay when I caught a glimmer of hope.  As a nurse talked to me about my new life of counting carbohydrates, dosing insulin, and checking my blood sugar 8-10x a day, she asked us if we planned to have children.  We said yes, and she went on to talk about diabetes and pregnancy.

I stopped listening.  Because a word popped into my mind, so powerfully clear.  Which, after having 1.5 years of blurred memory and serious illness, was a bit of a surprise.  That word was ADOPTION.

You'd think after nine years with this disease, I wouldn't let March take me back there to that dark place of fear, anger, confusion, and hatred for the disease that haunts me daily.   But every March, I find myself feeling anxious, emotional, gray.  I can't shake the seriousness of knocking on deaths door, of the blessing of a second chance to live, and of the reality that diabetes is here to stay.

Ironically, as I was leaving the hospital, Daniel Powter's song Bad Day was playing on the radio:

"You kick up the leaves and the magic is lost/They tell me your blue skies fade to grey/They tell me your passion's gone away."  

Then a few years later, Her Diamonds by Rob Thomas came out.  I cannot listen to this song without bawling.  Thomas wrote the song about his wife who copes with a chronic illness (lupus).    He sings,

 "And she says, oh/I can't take no more/Her tears like diamonds on the floor/And her diamonds bring me down/'Cause I can't help her now/She's down in it/She tried her best and now she can't win/It's hard to see them falling on the grounds/Her diamonds falling down."

There are so many songs that have brought me hope in dark times, these two in particular:

This March, as with every March, I'm fragile.  I'm shaky.  I'm off.  But I remind myself that this disease gave me three incredible miracles, my babies, and God's not finished with me.  Every single hardship has presented me with a springboard to greatness.

And spring is coming.  It's almost here.  I've got this.   

"I'm trying to hear above the noise" 

(Need You Now, by Plumb)