Forever Family: fielding skills

I’m a pro when it comes to running interference.  P-r-o.  Got a Nosy Nellie asking probing questions about one of the kids?  I can nip that in the bud without breaking a sweat.  Or a Meddlesome Mindy making (unintentionally) offensive comments?  Yep, I can nip that sh*t, too.  We’re talking NFL worthy skills, baby.

But the kids are getting older now, so my days of running interference are ticking down.  More often than not T-man and Bear are out in the world, fielding offhand comments on their own.  And they’re doing okay…I just wish they didn’t have to hone this skill so early.


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Forever Family: triad perspectives

I’m open when it comes to perspectives on adoption.  About a million years ago (or so it feels) I came into this learning about what they call the adoption triad – adoptee, birthparent, and adoptive parent – but that’s merely an attempt to create terminology for an extremely complex situation.  Often the lines are far too blurred for such simplistic language.

Now, I have to admit my own worldview was overly simplified for years.  We wanted children to be part of our family, for their own reasons the birthparents wanted another family to raise their children, and these two longings merged to create our life.

I wasn’t delusional, I knew not every adoption triad was this straightforward since the possibility for complications is endless.  Open or closed, unrelated or familial, age of adoption, domestic or international…and those are only the ones that come to mind.  But it wasn’t until the last few years that I started hearing more about the anti-adoption movement.

And that, I must admit, came as a bit of a surprise.

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Forever Family: voices around the web #2

Anatomy of a Trauma Trigger: Responding to My Child’s PTSD | Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care

I slept until 11:00AM!  Instant panic on my part.  Was Carl OK?!…Thank goodness my husband was awake to care for Carl in the morning and meet his needs.  It doesn’t matter that Carl is 11 and not 5 anymore.  This can set off the trigger alarm.

You see, my kids come from a home with a junkie mom.  She was an addict.  She had mental health conditions.  She would go to bed and not get up for weeks.  Sometimes she would lock the kids out of her bedroom and let them take care of themselves.  Mary was 4 and Carl was 5 when they were removed from her care during a drug raid.”

Dear Sugar: 5 Questions to Ask When Making Parenting Decisions After an Adoption: white sugar, brown sugar

“Becoming a parent for the first time is overwhelming, but becoming a parent via adoption puts on a whole extra level of pressure, expectations, and dilemmas.  I talk about Super Parent Syndrome in my first book: the idea that since you’re a mom-by-adoption, you need to live up to it (says society, says relatives and friends, says birth family, says yourself and your partner).  But the truth is, you really are JUST a parent: you’ll have your strengths and faults, and living to impress others will leave you deflated and discouraged.  
I want to encourage you, when facing a parenting decision, not to make your choice out of guilt, suspicion, guessing, projecting, or to impress others. Instead, ask yourself these five questions, and you’ll most likely arrive at what is right.”

Let’s Be Brave, White Parents of Future Black Men: Coffee Colored Sofa

“My husband, Matt, is an excellent story teller. He comes alive in every detail of each moment in such a way that his stories can often be longer than the event they’re describing. He’s engaging and people hang on his every word.
However, there is one story I despise hearing from him- the story of how he and his friend Ryan were roughed up by police officers outside of Chicago.”

White privilege, and what we’re supposed to do about it: Rage Against The Minivan

“White privilege is a difficult concept.  It can cause a lot of confusion and defensiveness.  In the diversity class I teach to graduate students, this topic is more heated than any other topic we touch on.  Similarly, this week I’ve seen people pushing back against the idea of white privilege as if it’s an indictment that they are a racist (it’s not.)  I even watched a blogger (who is white) criticize my friend Kelly (who is black) for her suggestion that people confront their white privilege.  The blogger suggested that Kelly called white people “white supremacists”…as if “white privilege” and “white supremacists” were interchangeable terms (they’re not.)  Confusion abounds when we talk about white privilege, and I think it’s confusion that often leads to offense at the term.”

Forever Family: take a peek

Some things go unspoken.  There are certain things we hide away because we believe – no, we know – everyone will think we’re hideous simply for having the thought.  Because what mom would ever think that about her kids?

Then again, some things should see the light of day.

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Forever Family: leap of faith

Everything about adoption screams leap of faith.

Believing with all your heart that this is the right path.  Accepting that the plan for your family includes a great deal of uncertainty.  Understanding that this ambiguity doesn’t dissolve when the adoption finalizes; rather, it will insert itself back into your lives at entirely unpredictable moments.

Holding faith that you will love your children into and through every storm.

Adoption demands the same leap of faith from children.

Believing they are deeply loved for the people they are, not for a perfect image they try to project, then working to strengthen that belief when it falters.  Finding safe space to talk about anxiety buried within, and asking for help instead of hiding fear away.

Holding faith that they are bright, beautiful souls in the world, worthy of love and respect by their very presence on this journey.

Forever Family: odds and ends #4


One of the parts of parenting I struggle with is the spectator aspect.  There’s lots of hands on activity to be sure, but we seem to be in a season of watching our young-ish ones test their wings (aka waiting to see if they crash and burn).  Watching and waiting is hard.  And watching when you know the crash and burn is inevitable?  Hell, that’s the hardest part of all.

And self esteem…oh my lawd, the self esteem.  How is it I know to the depths of my soul the innate worth of these children, but they just don’t seem to get it?  One of mine will go back to kids who are disrespectful and outright cruel over and over, calling them “friends” until they act like turds again.  You deserve better.  You deserve better.

This week brought the delightful moment when I found myself explaining to one of my children why we never, ever, ever joke about how much the other kid cost.  A) We don’t buy and sell people because that is i-l-l-e-g-a-l.  B) We should strive to be our best selves, and that comment is nowhere close.  C) Sadly, it cuts a little close to the bone.

It took about a month but I finally told T-man why I stopped responding to a certain parent’s texts.  I thought I was protecting him, but he’s thirteen and deserves to have all the information when choosing whether to go to someone else’s house.  Be friends, don’t be friends, whatever…but you should know his dad made a comment about shielding his daughter from ebonics, so I’m not feeling real cool about the parental aspect over there.

We shared some John Oliver episodes with the kids this week.  Sure, some of you might be thinking we’re nuts watching a late night comedian who drops the F bomb, but things get pretty real around here.  And it’s been good for them to see an adult stand up on national television and call out what passes for bullshit in this country right now.  The episode Oliver did on the Confederate flag was particularly timely.

On a side note, this isn’t adoption related, but the kids’ commentary on cheerleaders at Wednesday’s pep rally was downright hysterical.  Boobs, a twerking motion, and those ridiculous skirts all came up.  (BrightSide dryly noted that cheerleaders enjoy a rather lax dress code exemption.)

And those are the odds and ends for this week.

Forever Family: voices around the web

After A Traffic Stop, Teen Was ‘Almost Another Dead Black Male’ : NPR

“Alex Landau, who is African-American, was adopted by a white couple as a child and grew up in largely white, middle-class suburbs of Denver…

“I thought that love would conquer all and skin color really didn’t matter,” Hathaway says.  “I had to learn the really hard way when they almost killed you.”

That was in 2009, when Landau, then a college student, was stopped by Denver police officers and severely beaten.”

Adoption Stigmas: A WAP attempt to talk about White Privilege and Transracial Adoption — 2 Peas from Different Pods

“So, what does white privilege have to do with adoption, specifically transracial adoption?  Matt and I stepped into the adoption world extremely quickly.  In fact, it was more like a dive.  I didn’t have time nor did I realize how much I still needed to educate myself.  Basically, I did everything backwards from how I wish I did it.  So for my friends that are looking and in the process to adopt, here are some things I wish I would have known about transracial adoptions.”

parents, please educate your kids about adoption so mine don’t have to: Rage Against the Minivan

“I took the kids to the park the other day, and I was seated just close enough to the play structure that I could faintly overhear a conversation that occurred between Kembe and several older kids.  At first, I had a hard time understanding what was being said, but something about Kembe’s posture caught my attention.  Typically, he’s a relatively cocky over-confident kid with a lot of swagger, even around older kids.  But in this setting he looked . . . almost cornered.  He seemed intimidated and a bit helpless.  As I strained to hear, I though I heard one of the kids saying, “That is NOT your real mom.” “

Continuing on from: Hey, that’s how I’ve always felt… – The adopted ones blog

“Some things are easy to identify with being adopted, things like being little and hiding away crying because I wasn’t kept, and that there had to be something terribly wrong with me that others could see, but I couldn’t.  Those type of feelings that are specific to being adopted are what people not adopted seem able to accept…

What people can’t seem to grasp are the more subtle connections to being adopted that they dance around, try to explain away, can’t accept it could possibly have a basis in that event that happened when we were mere babies.

But it does, perhaps only in part, but nevertheless, it is related to being adopted.”

The “Where’s Your Mom?” Microaggressions: Okayest Mom

“It happened again.

People who know us forgot that I was his mother.

I am white.  My son is Black.  This is a tremendous invisible burden for him.  Being asked to explain yourself or justify yourself as an adoptee is called “narrative burden.”  It’s not fair to him, but it is his albatross.”