Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dear Sugar: Don't Let the "Rules" Suck the Joy Out of Parenting

Dear Sugar,

Sometimes I gotta take a break from reading about race and adoption and the combination: transracial adoption.   And here's why:

When you read about something TOO much, when you don't walk the line but go OVER the line and beyond, well, you begin to drown in it all.  And that's NOT good for your parenting.

Plus, you begin to feel like you can never be enough AND your parenting becomes legalistic in nature.

It's sort of like faith.   I'm a Christian, and what you need to know about Christianity is that it's a relationship-based faith, not a rule-based faith.  You see, a Christian is someone who accepts Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and opts to become "saved" and "redeemed."  This is ALL based on what Jesus did and can do, not anything that a person can do or did.   (I was reminded of this recently...since we humans love to turn things into "do better" and "try harder.")  

You see, when you're parenting a child by adoption (whether it be special needs adoption, transracial adoption, foster care adoption) there are "rules" you are to follow to be considered a good/educated/empowered parent.

Now I'm all about being and staying educated.  I'm about listening to triad members and members of your child's racial community.  I'm all about celebrating our kids for who they are and encouraging them to become who they want to be while being accepted into their racial community.



there's a point in which a parent can become simultaneously prideful and uncertain in parenting when trying to follow all the rules.  You begin to drown rather than swim.   You scramble rather than soar.

And it's not healthy.  It's not good for you, it's not good for your child, it's not good for your family as a whole.

This often happens while being sucked in to too much social media.  Listening to strangers in online groups, constantly seeking a stamp of approval or an award.  Becoming a bit paranoid that everyone's eyes are on the parent...and then it becomes not only prideful but self-serving to always be ON IT.  To be the best.

This isn't authentic parenting.  This is about caring more about what everyone else thinks instead of doing what Madeleine Melcher (adoptee and author) tells parents:  to BE the parent and to LISTEN to the child.  

You were chosen to adopt your child by the child's birth family or by a social worker or other professional.  You were chosen for a reason.  Do you remember why?  Likely it wasn't that you were perfect (no one is) but that you were what that particular child needed in a mother.  

If you find yourself scrambling, trying to prove yourself (to yourself or to that really matters...), get back to basics.  Find that beginning.   Find the beauty.   Ask God to open the right doors for you versus you trying to barrel through walls.

Today I want to stop trying SO hard.  Today I want you to know that yes, you should always seek to learn and listen, but that you should remember your priorities and with whom you allegiance, your time, your attention, and your heart should lie.

Also, in my experience and opinion, do not forget or neglect to have an in-person village around you and your family.  Social media can be very helpful in connecting us with resources and people, but nothing, nothing replaces face-to-face, authentic, call-me-in-the-middle-of-the-night-if-you-must relationships.

Today, I want you to take a breather.   There's a great book called The Hands Free Life to encourage you if you need to know HOW to break free from always being ON IT.

Dear Sugar, none of us is perfect.  None of us have it all together.   We aren't meant to.  We're beautifully flawed mothers raising children.    That is enough.  That is ok.  


For more encouragement along your journey of adopting and parenting, check out the book I co-authored with Madeleine Melcher



  1. I started following you on fb and I'm only just now checking out your blog. I love your grace! following some of this transracial social media groups can feel worrisome, and though I'm always appreciative of the education, sometimes we just need grace and get back to basics. Thanks for your post!


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