Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dear Sugar: A Time to Be Thankful

Last week, I spent a lot of time making phone calls, attending appointments, and filling out paperwork for one of my kiddos being evaluated for a few therapies and services through the school district.  

I have a chronic disease myself, and I have many friends who are parenting kids with mild, moderate, and severe special needs.   I know how stressful it can be to juggle the many incoming messages, appointments, paperwork, and stress:  but I am just now dealing with it with MY baby.  And this isn't even major stuff, Sugars.  This is what many moms would find basic and normal.

While my child was being evaluated by a speech pathologist, I was in a conference room with the school nurse and school psychologist.    The school nurse was asking me lots of questions about my child's health history.   Now, she knows my children are adopted.  Just the month before, myself and two other moms-by-adoption, facilitated an all-school staff training on adoption (what an incredible experience!!!).   When she got to the question regarding my child's siblings (which pertained to medical history/connectivity), she asked, "Are your three children biological siblings?"

First, she asked in the correct way.

Second, she asked for the right reasons.  It was medical information.

Third, she didn't react one way or the other when I answered her.

And, here's the kicker, she's an adoptee.


This moment has me reflecting on the fact that my family is SO INCREDIBLY BLESSED.  I don't use these words lightly or to get all Jesus-y sounding on you.   Truly, when I look back at the fact that we moved towns when we did, chose the house that we did (which came about during the exact right moment of our house-hunting journey), landed in the school lines that we did, all to have the school principal be a Black woman, the school nurse be an adoptee, and my oldest's daughter's first teacher be a Black woman.....

God is good.

We discovered our neighbors, a Black retired couple, are parents-by-adoption to three (now grown) children.

Then another neighbor:  her sister was adopted.  

Then one of the police officers who lives in the subdivision across the street:  I just KEPT running into him.  Over and over.   I've now chatted with him several times about race, about crime, about talking to my kids, about parenting.   He's been so incredibly encouraging, and it's beneficial to my kids to listen to a Black police officer.  

The web around us just keeps growing.   There are SO many families by adoption in my town!  My LOCAL adoption support group for women (all traid members present) that started as just six women in a church classroom is up to 370 ladies!  370!   My squad!   My village!

And then that time I was at the library, and the librarian says, "Did you know my daughter does hair?"  Hands me her daughter's contact info.    I call.  She's been braiding my girls hair for over two years now.  

And when I called our local university to find a mentor for my girls.  We interviewed about eight ladies.  But Miss J, she was just IT.  Three years now she's been mentoring my girls (and me).  

The one evening I'm reading online postings in Facebook groups, see a post from a woman that I agree with, I message her, and I find out that though it's a national group, the woman not only lives in my state, in my area, but IN MY TOWN only five minutes from my house.  And that woman and I end up writing an adoption book together.  

There are two cashiers at our Target store who ALWAYS come up and compliment my girls on their hair.  They give me hair product advice.  I ask about their lives.  One even found me the other day and gave me a huge hug.   These young Black women just pour themselves out for my family---without judgment.  

It's so beautiful.

The right place, the right time.  So cliche, so true, so blessed.

Sugars, I know sometimes it's not easy to "cry for help."  I know sometimes you feel a little lost and lonely on your adoption and parenting journey.

Today I want to encourage you to do two things:

1:  Make a mental or physical list of what you have to be thankful for so far.   Who is in your life and is making things better?   Who is in your corner cheering for you and encouraging you?  What moments have changed you?   What moments and experiences have given you the boost you needed?

2:  Unfold your arms.   When one of my kids gets really mad and stubborn, the arms are crossed.  We've had talks about body language and UNFOLDING the arms.   Picture meeting someone whose arms are folded across the chest.  It screams defensiveness.   But having open arms, that's being available.  I want you to say hi to people you don't know.  I want you to have the courage to walk up to a Black woman and ask for advice on hair, on parenting, on anything!  I want you to be available to make friends and let things happen to you.    You just never, ever know what a simple HELLO to someone might lead to!  I cannot tell you the number of times someone said HELLO to me and then out came the adoption connection they have.  

Have a great week, make a new friend, and tell me all about on Facebook.  I believe in you!

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