12 December 2011

Please, Baby, Please

by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
illustrated by Kadir Nelson

"Go back to bed, baby, please, baby, please. Not on your HEAD, baby baby baby, please!...
"From moments fussy to fond, Academy-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, producer Tonya Lewis Lee, present a behind-the-scenes look at the chills, spills, and unequivocal thrills of bringing up baby!
"Vivid illustrations from celebrated artist Kadir Nelson evoke toddlerhood from sandbox to high chair to crib, and families everywhere will delight in sharing these exuberant moments again and again."

Another beautiful book. The illustrations are amazing. The book follows a normally crazy active toddler through her day. "...You share that ball... Don't eat the sand... Now hold my hand... It's time to go... Don't be so slow... Please eat your peas..."
It's not a book about adoption or transracial families. Every person in the family and in the book is African American.
I love the illustrations in this book, but it's not my son's favorite. He doesn't ask to read it that often. I think it's because the words "please, baby, please" are repeated on every page in one form or another. Also, it's taught him to eat sand, but I still like it.

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05 December 2011

Our Satin-lined Winter Hat













A few posts ago I wrote about the need for a satin-lined winter hat for African-American hair. (Find that post here.) I want to share the winter hat we decided on. I picked one from etsy.com. The name of the shop is Mustard Seed Creations. The hat is handmade and high quality. Not to mention just dang cute. There is plenty of room for a hair style and there is elastic around the inside bottom. We love this hat. What a talented gal! Thank you!

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30 November 2011

Jesus & Santa, Black or White

There are some beautiful images of African-American Jesus Christs all over the internet. I wanted to post one of my favorites, but I couldn't find one that is copyright free. While I celebrate the right of religious freedom, including Christians worshiping whatever race of Jesus Christ they wish, Jesus was not a black man. However, he was also not the pale white man in most artist's depictions of Him either. Jesus was born Jewish. While the modern image of a Jewish person may be varied, the image of a Jewish person around the time and place Jesus was born is fairly predictable - vaguely being olive skinned with wavy or curly, dark hair. I searched for an image of this type of man and found one. It is called "1st Century Semitic Man" by Donato Giancola. Click here to view it. All this being said we must remember that Jesus' Father is our Heavenly Father. Do you know what He looks like? Was Jesus, as our modern language would say, biracial? Besides, does Jesus look the same now as He did when He was on Earth? To me these are questions that need not be answered. I support all religions (well, ones that do not pose a threat to my family, but that's a whole other can of worms), and I support Christians worshiping whatever race of Jesus their family chooses.

Now Santa is different because I know Jesus Christ is a real person and Santa Claus is not. Since Santa is imaginary I believe he can be any race anyone wants him to be. I've heard that he's magic and can change to look like the people in the house he's visiting at the time. Well, that won't work for our family since we don't all look the same.

I am a Christian. I have struggled with whether or not to tell my children that Santa exists. I have thought long and hard about it and in the end I decided Santa will be a part of our Christmas', but not a large part. This post is not about that particular parental decision.

Since I've decided not to boycott Santa I have to think about Santa's race. His race may not be an issue this year, but I feel I should make this kind of decision in advance so I don't have to make spur-of-the-moment decisions later. I want to have clear in my mind what I will say. As far as how often my children see an image of Santa, I own the old Christmas classic TV shows I watched as a child, but am leaning toward not showing them any longer in our home. I have talked to my almost three year old son about Santa, but am starting to regret it. I don't have to make the choice as to what race(s) the images of Santa will be in our home because I do not want images of Santa in our home. They are, however, in every store we go into, in other people's homes, in outdoor decorations we pass, and almost everywhere else we look in December. So the question of Santa's race may come up. As of right now I honestly do not have a clear answer in my mind as to what answer I will give my child(ren) if or when they ask. I am still thinking on it. I know it's not a serious subject, but I still want to know how I feel is the best way to answer the question of Santa's race, and I do not know that yet. Have you made a decision? If so, and are willing to share it, what decision has your family come to?

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Taliah Waajid's Children Products



In my Hair Care tab at the top of this blog I mention that I do not use shampoo and just scrub her hair with my fingers while her hair is under water and then condition with Taliah Waajid's Enhancing Herbal Conditioner. (Click here for my review of that product.) I read somewhere that the scalp is like any other skin on your body, and you wash that with soap, so of course you should use soap on your scalp too. I figured I'd try that out. I LOVE Taliah Waajid's Enhancing Herbal Conditioner, so I stuck with their products to look for a shampoo for baby girl's hair. I found out that they have children's products HERE. I ordered them - the Kinky, Wavy, Natural Berry Clean Three In One, the Kinky, Wavy, Natural Herbal Style & Shine, and the Kinky, Wavy, Natural Easy Herbal Comb Out.

The Berry Clean is a shampoo. I love it! It cleans her hair beautifully without drying it out, which makes no sense, but it really does. Her hair feels and looks "squeaky clean", but doesn't feel dried out somehow. The Herbal Comb Out is a conditioner. It's amazing too. I run my fingers through her hair upward to get rid of all the loose hair and my fingers slide easily. At first I lightly rinsed it out, but after a few weeks I decided to just leave it in. It coats and moisturizes well, but I am going back to the Enhancing Herbal Conditioner. The Enhancing Herbal Conditioner coats even better and seems thicker and is available in more of a bulk size. The Style & Shine is for styling. It's not my favorite. It's thick and smells great and a little goes pretty far, but it's very near too thick and doesn't dry clear if you use just a bit too much. Though the Style & Shine may be a better treatment for my daughter's hair, I'm going to stick with using Aussie's Moist Conditioner (also mentioned in my Hair Care tab) for styling for now.

So I need to update my Hair Care section. I now wash once a week with Taliah Waajid's Kinky, Wavy, Natural Berry Clean Three In One, leave-in-condition twice a week with Taliah Waajid's Enhancing Herbal Conditioner, and style with Aussie's Moist Conditioner.

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Winter Hats

This is my family at our church's trunk-or-treat. Besides showing off how cute they are, I wanted to talk about winter hats. This fleece hat sucked all the moisture right out of my baby girl's hair. I started looking around the internet for solutions. We live in a state that has cold winters. a winter hat is a must, even though her hair is thick. Her ears will freeze! We tried ear muffs, but she just wouldn't keep them on. I found that most mothers of African American babies and children use winter hats lined with satin. Some buy hats and line them themselves. Some make the hats from scratch. Some buy them online. The place I've found the most variety of these satin-lined winter hats is etsy.com. Happy shopping!

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Muscley / Question For You


My baby was a chubby baby, which I loved. 'Round about her first birthday she started thinning out. Not only that, but she became muscley! I see a bit of a six pack! Also, this girl is strong! Now a days when I hold her and she's squirmy her body feels hard with muscles and I can barely keep her in my arms if she's determined to get loose 'cause she's so strong.

I have a question for you! I've heard some people say my baby is muscley due to her race, but I'm more inclined to think it's genetics, as in it runs in her biological family. What do you think? Know? Have any links to articles, etc. that answer this question?

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Puffs!

I guess they're not really puffs since I try to keep her hair so moisturized it's usually curly, but it's the same style.
Pretty self-explanatory. I used Proclaim rubberbands from Sally's that won't damage the hair, and put in a couple bows.
Her hair was long enough to stretch into puffs, but it didn't last long. By the end of the day the back of her hair had fell out and was fuzzy. So since then I've been doing four puffs until her hair gets a bit longer.
Here's my beautiful girl.


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Lulu's Busy Day

"A perfect first picture book."
by Caroline Uff

"Come and spend a busy day with Lulu - in the park with the ducks and home again for playtime, dinnertime, and bedtime."

This is a cute little book perfect for young children. It is one of my son's favorites. It follows Lulu through one of her normal busy days. It's not about adoption or transracial families. The reason I post about it is that it shows friends of different races playing in a book for very young children. Lulu could be Caucasian or Hispanic, and she meets up with her best friend in the park who could be Hispanic, but looks African American to me. My two year old has it just about memorized, the words are so little kid friendly. "High high, up in the sky. Lulu plays on the swings with her best friend." Great, great book.

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01 November 2011

Adora

You might remember THIS POST where I shared with you pictures of the Disney princess doll I bought for my daughter. It's no secret I dislike Disney princesses, but since this doll was a younger and more modest version of Tiana, and was so cute, I decided to get it anyway. Right before my daughter's birthday I changed my mind. Just couldn't do it. So I returned the thing. Yeah, she might get to lovin' Disney princesses no matter what I do, but I can put it off as long as possible, right?

I went to The Patty Cake Doll Company's website and looked around. I fell in love with a few dolls and had a hard time deciding on which one to get. In the end I got the one that most looked like a baby that my daughter could play momma with. I aim to get the other couple of dolls I fell in love with every other year or so.

So, without further ado, here is the baby doll my girl got for her first birthday:



I love her facial features.



I think my baby loves her baby too.





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02 October 2011

Transracial Adoption and Religion

Though I am far from perfect, the area of my life that I most strive to be perfect in is parenting. Being a momma is the one thing I have always wanted and so is most important to me. At times I lose sight of this, but ultimately I always come back to this realization and reexamine my parenting techniques.

Parenting a transracially adopted child brings on many more parenting challenges. It's undeniable. I am still in the infancy stage of learning the best way to handle these additional challenges, but every day I strive to learn more. Every day I observe, research, think, conclude, and sometimes share with you. The next day after learning or thinking about something new my conclusions may change. In my opinion the best parent will always be able to consider the thought they are wrong, or at least not completely correct, in their parenting techniques and explore other techniques.

This being said, I am a Christian. I believe in Jesus and His teachings. While I am not the type of Christian who prays and leaves the rest up to God, but rather prays and then does my part to help God help me, I do believe that after all I can do God will do the rest. I also believe that though teaching my black child about black history, culture, etc. is very important (something I need to do better at), that teaching her about our Heavenly Father and His gospel is a number one priority (something else I can do better at). I believe if I do my best with parenting my children, including my transracially adopted daughter, that our Heavenly Father will help with what I am unable to do if I ask.

Due to my religious beliefs, I also believe that "God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34). He does not look at a transracial family any different than a family that all share the same race. He has the ultimate eternal perspective which does not include race and the earthly stereotypes that go with it. And one day, should we live His commandments, we will live with Him and none of these transracial issues will exist. Skin color will not matter. (Yes, yes, I know we are not there yet and so it does matter right now, but that is not what I'm currently talking about).

Lastly, I believe that though people may have a problem with transracial adoption, that God does not. People may say that children should be adopted into a family of their own race, but God does not. People may say that a child transracially adopted cannot grow up well adjusted, but God does not. I tend to believe God over man.

"And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when He had taken him in His arms, He said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in My Name, receiveth me..." (Mark 9:36-37).

Art: "Christ and Children" by Del Parson

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29 September 2011

San Diego

Recently we went to Sea World in San Diego, California. I don't know if it's just San Diego, or maybe just the part of San Diego we were in, but I was surprised to see hardly any black people. I thought most big cities are diverse. Maybe we weren't far enough into the city. I don't know.

Another observation is that our transracial family got no extra attention. No one paid us any more attention than any other family. No one stared or took a second look. No one said how great we were for adopting Destiny, or how cute black babies are, or anything. It was wooonderful. We were treated as a family, not a different family. It made our vacation even more enjoyable.



Another observation: not everyone loves Shamu.

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13 September 2011

What NOT To Say to an Adoptive Parent


Thanks to a friend for sharing this blog post on Facebook. It's all about what NOT to say to an adoptive parent in a comical yet honest way.

Taken from the post:
Single Dad Laughing’s Guide to Adoption Etiquette.
  1. Never, ever, ever, ask how much a child costs. This includes the phrase, “how much did you pay for him?” First of all, it’s none of your business. Second of all, if you’re interested in adoption, research it through the appropriate channels. Speak with an adoption agency. Adoptive parents don’t purchase children. They simply pay legal fees and agency fees. Just like biological parents pay hospital and doctor bills. Don’t turn the child into nothing more than a commodity.
  2. Never ask if a celebrity inspired the adoption. Believe it or not, Tom Cruise, Connie Chung, and Angelina Jolie did not convince me one way or the other in the biggest decision of my life. Are you serious?
  3. Never ask “where is his real dad?” Forget the fact that it will hurt my feelings. How do you think it will affect my son’s feelings to feel like I’m not a real dad to him? Adoptive parents are real parents. The term you’re looking for is “birth mother” or “birth father”.
  4. Don’t say things like, “as soon as you adopt you’re going to get pregnant” when you find out somebody is adopting. First of all, there are usually many, many years of pain and financial burden strapped to infertility, treatments, and heartache. Do you really think that what you’re saying will help them? Secondly, while it is funny when it happens, it’s rare.
  5. Never say, “why did she give him away?” Do I really need to explain why this one would hurt a child? The proper term is “placed”. A birth mother and birth father place their child for adoption. And again, it’s personal and none of your business, so don’t ask if you aren’t my BFF.
  6. Don’t say, “it’s like he’s your real son”. This is similar to number three, but worthy of mentioning. He is my real son, damn it.
  7. Don’t say, “do you love him as if he was your own?” Ummm… probably more than you love your little terror, that’s for sure. And again… he is my own, damn it.
  8. Never say things like, “you’re so wonderful to adopt a child”. I am a parent. Just like anybody else with kids.
  9. Don’t start spewing your horrible adoption stories. “This one time, my friend’s sister’s aunt’s dog’s previous owner’s niece adopted a baby and the real dad came back and they took the baby away after they had him for two years.” First of all, it probably isn’t true. Second of all, how would you feel if I told you about all the ways you could lose your child. Adoption is permanent. And in the extremely rare circumstances that something like that happens, it’s not something you should spread because the hurt that exists for all the parties involved must be immeasurable.
  10. Don’t say things like, “is it hard for him to be adopted?” Well, it wasn’t, until you asked me that right in front of him you freaking idiot.
  11. I don’t want to hear about your second cousin who was on a waiting list for twelve years and never got a baby. Granted, this one was much more annoying when we were going through the adoption process. Nobody wants to know that some people never get chosen. Show some kindness. Even to ugly people.
I love this article. To read it in its entirety click here: How Much Did YOUR Kid Cost?

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03 September 2011

People Touching Black Hair


A fellow, and much more talented, blogger of mine has written "An Open Letter to People Regarding Touching Chocolate Hair", and it is beautiful. I could not help but share it with you. I wish I could print out several copies and give them out to those who reach for my daughter's head.

"Dear People Who Have, or May, Come Into Contact with My Daughter,

Thank you so much for your interest in my daughter’s hair. Yes, it is beautiful, we both appreciate your compliments. Yes, she’s very patient and has no problem sitting to have her hair done. She’s been getting her hair done since she was very small and knows of nothing else; her hair regime is a fact of life and she doesn’t see it as the burden that you do. Nor do I.

While asking me about my daughter’s hair, please do not start touching it. Just because I am a vanilla parent this does not mean that you have an “in” to touch chocolate hair for the first time. I have had too many people tell me, “Oooh, I’ve always wondered what their hair felt like,” while pawing my daughter. She’s not an animal, she’s a human being.

We teach our children that strangers touching them in inappropriate ways is wrong and that they should tell an adult immediately. In our opinion, anytime a child is touched by anyone who feels that they have a right to do so, against the child’s wishes and without the child’s permission, is inappropriate.

You see, every chocolate/jam/cheetos handprint on her hair from other children and/or adults is a mark on her dignity. She is small, but she does have personal space and a sense of self-worth. When you invade that space without her permission you are telling her that she has no rights to her body; that her desire to be left untouched is not as important as your curiosity.

Even if your hands are clean, they still leave a an invisible mark...."

For the complete letter please visit her blog Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care.

You can find the t-shirt on zazzle.com.

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02 September 2011

First Box Braids







As I first started looking into black baby hair styles, even before our daughter came home, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that "box braids" are just braids. I can do that! Now that baby girl's hair is getting so long I attempted it. Didn't turn out too bad! A few notes: The snaps on the ends are too large to wrap the hair around the hinge and snap close. They just fell right out. The other ones you've seen me use (ie HERE) are too small. Even with the little bit of hair at the end of her braids they would not snap shut. So, I rubberbanded the ends, after making sure they were rubbed with coconut oil to protect, and snapped the snaps on top of the rubberbands. In the first picture the white snap on top almost didn't hold because there was too much hair in the rubberband. It came unsnapped a few times during church, so I just took all the snaps out when we got home and let her have just rubberbands for the rest of the week. I purchased both these snaps from Snapaholics. Another note, her baby bald spot is still growing out in the back so the hair next to her neck is very uneven. I slathered it in coconut oil to protect and put a rubberband next to her scalp, then braided in two spots. You can see one in the picture, bottom right. The second picture is just a fun picture showing what her hair looked like when I took the braids out. Needs more oil!

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Simple Banded Crown, Piggyback Style

She wasn't too impressed with the kiddy pool. Actually I think it was the lifevest that was buggin', but her hair sure looked cute.

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Sandy Beach

I knew that sand is hard to get out of black hair so I put this hat on her. Plus, it protects from the sun. Black people may not burn as easily as white people, but they can still contract cancer. We also used sunscreen. Back to the hair and hat, it worked well. I didn't yet want to buy a swimming cap for her, and didn't know if I could find one small enough anyway. This little sun hat did great. Ended up tucking the hair in the front, and back, into it and there was no sand in her hair when we got home. Plenty in her tummy though, as you can predict from the photo.

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Father's Day

Dear Hubby,
Thank you for being the best baby daddy I could ever ask for. I love you.
Love, Peach

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Conditioning

The first two are in the bath and the last two are after bath.

With the conditioner in her hair I comb it through with my fingers to get the loose hair out.

Here it is just about dry. You can see the frizzy areas that she sleeps on.

The top of her head stays curly until she pulls on it, which is a habit of hers.

After a coating of coconut oil it's ready for styling or just to sit pretty as it is.

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Baby Crown with Triangle Parts






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29 August 2011

Gender vs Race

My son just turned two and a half years old. Recently, when I read books to him he points to a boy and says "brother like me", and points to a girl and says "sister like [Destiny]" no matter the race of the children. He will point to a black boy and say, "brother like me", and point to a white girl and say "sister like [Destiny]" even if they are in the same picture side by side. I do not know if it is the same with all two and a half year olds, but clearly he identifies more with his and his sister's gender than he does his and his sister's race at this time.

What prompted me to share this is an example that further proved this to be true. This morning he asked me to read him a book that had a picture of two babies on the back. They seem to be right about the same age, about one year old, but one was white and blonde, like my son, and one was black, like my daughter. Both were in diapers and gender wasn't easily identified. He studied the picture for a moment. I knew he was trying to decide which was "brother like [him]" and which was "sister like [Destiny]". He had a short struggle. I thought it was mostly due to the races of the babies. The baby who was white and blonde looked more like a girl and the baby who was black looked more like a boy. However, the black baby had the same round face and same length hair as my daughter. I was sure he'd pick that baby as being "sister like [Destiny]". I was wrong on both accounts.

He chose the black baby who looked very similar to my daughter, but had more male features than the white baby in the picture, as being "brother like me", and he chose the white baby with blonde hair who seemed to have more female features as "sister like [Destiny]". Then I realized that his moment of thought was not about the race of the babies. It was about the gender. He was trying to decided which baby was male and which was female. As usual, race wasn't even a consideration.

Brought to mind a well known Bible verse: "And verily I say unto you, Except ye... become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3.

Image shown is not image mentioned in post.

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10 August 2011

My Mom Wants One

Every time we go to any store my little miss gets complimented left and right. Hard to tell if it's sincere or because she's black. My mind will always wonder. If you're a transracial parent you know just what I mean and the struggle you have of wanting to believe every compliment is sincere. Reminds me of a previous post of mine.

Overheard an extremely frustrating comment in the local bulls-eye store a couple days ago. A mother was shopping with her daughter and her daughter's friend. The girls looked to be around eleven years old. They see my daughter and the girl says to her friend, "Look! That's what my mom wants - a black baby."

Uuuuugh! How can people not know how racist that is and how can people not teach their children better than that?! Feel blessed you have a child/children! Why does color matter? You don't seek out collecting one of each color! What in the world do people really mean when they say they "want a black one"? I still don't understand it. What does their being black have to do with it? They are children not pets!

This kinda crap makes me feel like I gotta get my kids the hell outta this state.

So what did I do? Admittedly I gotta get better at my reactions. I want them to be educational responses, but I am the type who most of the time cannot get a word out and thinks of the perfect thing to say later. I hope I'll get better with time. I stopped my grocery buggy with my children in it, swung my neck around, and gave the woman and her child the most outraged and shocked look I could. Best I could muster at the time. Better than ignoring. I want to learn to react with words. I caught the mom smiling at her daughter's words until she saw me stop and give her that look. Her face became flushed.

Some people will say that by choosing to adopt transracially I have invited these comments. Ridiculous. You choose to drive a car does that mean you are inviting people to run into you? No. You know it may happen, but you are not asking for it. Besides, I firmly believe that my children - the ones I have and the ones who may yet come - belong in our family. How they come to our family is not up to me.

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Southern Say-Sos


We have long been back from our three week trip back home to the South. Given past experiences, I thought for sure I'd have at least one interesting story to tell about how people reacted to our transracial family. We got stared down by a few old folks, but who expects less from them, really? We got a few eye rolls from some white people, but no one said anything out loud. The only people who were vocal were the black women, and they had only compliments for our little girl. They commented on how big her thighs are and how big her cheeks are called her "juicy". "Ooooo dat baby so jUUUUsaay!" Well, she is. Beautifully juicy. Yep, that's my girl.
So yay for no rude comments (except from the old fart at church who always finds something "negative" to say about everyone and who everyone ignores). My overall impression is that most people who have a problem with transracial families are in the older generation and that people are finally starting to grow out of it. I sure hope I'm right.

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18 July 2011

Adoption Project

To all members of the Triad,

I am putting together a project and was hoping you would want to be a part of it. I am working with a partner of mine to create a book for adoptees. Each page of the book will include a member of the triad. It would include your bio, where you are from etc. Then the next portion of the page would be your message to adoptees speaking from your experience. Something you wish you knew growing up about adoption(adoptees), the frustrations about adoption, etc.(adoptees, parents) A love letter to your adoptee, the real story and feelings behind relinquishing a child, a love letter to your child(first mom and dads).
We want this to be inspiring but at the same time real. We want it to be positive but also we want to share the reality of adoption.

Please feel free to forward names of anyone you think might be interested especially first Moms and Dads.
We are also looking for everyday and very well accomplished adoptees to show adoptees we are out here and we are successful.
I tear up thinking about what life this book will speak in to the lives of adoptees.
Lastly, we are looking for people from all over the world. So don't limit it to just the US.

If you choose to be involved you can forward your bio and submission to me @ Kevin8967@sbcglobal.net by August 1, 2011.
Kevin
http://www.kevinhofmann.com

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14 June 2011

Up To?


Still workin' on that basement family room after the pipe leak. Walls painted, carpet mostly down, trim painted and will start to be put up this evening. Planning on having it all done by Friday (minus the one part of carpet that still needs to be laid on the landing), and then Monday we are having the carpets in the rest of the house cleaned since they look so bad compared to the new caret. :) Sooo, Next week I should have time to get back to blogging, right? Hmm. Well then I will be getting ready to leave on a three week visit with the babies back home in my beloved South. I'm sure I'll find things there to blog about. Then of course I'll be gone for three weeks and Momma's house is in the middle of nowhere and can only get dial-up. Yeah. So I probably won't be blogging much there. Point is it may be a bit before I return, but I WILL return. I love this blog and I love the subject matter, and I love sharing it with you. Until then, HAPPY SUMMER!

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30 May 2011

Do Cultural Celebrations and Heritage Events Do Enough to Help Form an Identity?

"Culture keeping is a source of great anxiety for me: Am I doing enough to connect my internationally adopted children with their roots? Am I doing the right things? I struggle to avoid comparing myself with other adoptive parents who seem to do more culture, and try not to judge those who seem to do less."

This is something I've been thinking a lot about. I mean A LOT. How in the world am I supposed to do what's best for my transracially adopted child - connect her with her heritage? I do believe that the adoptive family's heritage becomes the adoptee's heritage, but to ignore their original heritage is damaging to the child. Most African-American people do not celebrate their own African heritage so why should you? Don't think African Americans have a culture/heritage you can share with your child? Maybe you think they do, but you are not sure how to go about finding it.

"When the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's 2009 study of nearly 500 adult adoptees, Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption, touched on similar themes, the findings hit home for me. Their research revealed that although attendance at heritage camps and ethnic festivals is certainly worthwhile for adopted children, these activities aren’t enough. What did the authors find to be more beneficial? Having ongoing relationships with others who share their ethnicity and frequent and sustained involvement in cultural activities."

So attending an African dance concert once a year does not let you off the hook. I've never thought so, but it's good to see there was a study done on it. Actually this is one of many studies. So what do you do as a transracial adoptive parent? Well, to tell the truth I'm not entirely sure. I know that I want to include my daughter's heritage in our lives DAILY, but am at a loss as to how.

My son (biological) gets his heritage daily without much effort on our part. There's no though to it because his heritage is also OUR heritage. I would love it if one day I had learned enough to be able to include my daughter's heritage daily in our lives with as little effort as I do with my son's. I aspire.

Click here to read the whole article quoted.

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28 May 2011

Gotta Have The Green Stuff?

It's no secret that most people who adopt through an agency have more money than most. It's just a fact because it takes a lot of money to adopt if you're not gonna go through foster care. When we started looking into adoption we were surprised, a bit shocked, intimidated, and even a little hurt at how much adoption fees are. We knew we were meant to adopt but just didn't know how in the world we were going to be able to afford it. Now don't get me wrong. I am not "poor-mouthin'", as Momma calls it. I'm just sharin'. Back when we were starting the adoption process I would have loved to have read about a middle class family having to sacrifice to pay for adoption fees, but who were still able to do it. That's what I'm doing here. I'm gonna tell you how we're doin' it.

Spud's not one for fundraisers. He thinks it's begging for money, and of course no husband wants others to think he cannot provide for his family. Me, with the personality I have, wanted to do anything I could to help raise the funds. I found it nearly impossible. In fact, I just recently found two fundraisers that we both felt comfortable with. Money can be such a huge issue in a relationship. You cannot let it be. Okay so now I'm jumping around. Back to how we are handling the adoption fees.
We had to pay with credit. No other way around it. We felt our daughter was coming soon, and felt that she was coming through a certain agency, and had no time to plan to pay the fees any other way. Even if we would have had time I don't think we would have done things differently. We used the equity in our home and opened a second credit card account. Spud hates, and I means despises, debt. We had to change our views and look at it as something unavoidable for our family, like a house payment. No way you can pay cash for a house. For our family, adoption was a definite just like having to have a house. It's a wonder what something as simple as changing the way you perceive certain things can do for you.
So we made a payment plan (paying way over the minimum payments each month), and every day we make sacrifices to pay off the adoption fees ASAP. I'm not saying we go without food and other essentials. I'm saying we eat cheaper groceries, go out to eat less, make clothes last a little longer, use less gasoline, and other things like that. It's the same things other people sometimes do when they buy a new car. Just "tighten the belt" a bit. We could probably do even better at it.
Point is, it can be done. Do not be discouraged as we were. It'll take time and sacrifice and planning, but it can be done. You may have to move to a smaller home. You may have to drive an old car. No matter what you have to do please know you will look back and not regret a thing! You will be happy for the sacrifices you made. Family sacrifices are good for a family! What a learning and growing experience! And when the fees are paid off you can buy a new car, go to Disney Land for a week, or do whatever you weren't able to do for the year or two or three it's taken to pay off the fees. Then you can adopt again!
Let us discuss the tax credit. It's currently just over $13,000. You have to assume the debt initially until you can get the credit. You can only claim it in the year you finalize the adoption. For example, our daughter was born last year, but the adoption was finalized this year when she was six months old. So we couldn't claim it on 2010's tax return (the one we submitted this year). We are claiming it on our 2011 taxes (next year) and will get the credit in 2012 (on our next tax refund). A $13,000 tax credit will pay for almost half of a private adoption agency's fees. It depends on the agency, the birthmother's needs, and, sadly, the race of your child. For some it will only cover about a third of the cost.
If, even though you've moved to a smaller house, drive old cars, tighten the budget, and still cannot see how your family can afford adoption fees, then, to me, that means your child will not come from a private adoption agency. I believe the children that belong to your family will come in a way your family will be able to handle. Maybe your child is coming to you from foster care? through the state? through an acquaintance? I am one to believe that our children already belong to our family and we have to figure out how to get them here. (Not that I'm forgetting birthmothers. I would never do that. I have high respect for birthmothers. Another post maybe?) I do not know how our next child will come to us. It could be any of these ways or some completely different way. We're working on figuring it out.

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22 May 2011

Free Adoption Webinar

International or Domestic Adoption?
A LIVE Webinar hosted by Lifetime Adoption Center

Your FIRST adoption decision
will affect the outcome of your adoption.

If you're thinking about adoption you may be weighing the options you have between international and domestic adoptions. You may have become filled with questions about how you'll decide which to pursue.

For many, deciding to adopt internationally or within the US may be one of the hardest decisions along the adoption journey.
Join us Tuesday, May 24th at:
  • 7pm Pacific Time
  • 8pm Mountain Time
  • 9pm Central Time
  • 10pm Eastern Time
This FREE Adoption Webinar is easy to attend and will allow you to interact with the hosts during the call, if you attend ONLINE.
When you register you will receive details about how to attend LIVE this Tuesday. You can attend online or by phone.
This information will impact your adoption!
Register to reserve your spot today!
We hope to meet you there!

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19 May 2011

This Stuff Really Coats!


I did a review on Taliah Waajid's Enhancing Herbal Conditioner a while back. You can fin it HERE. I have something to add.

I ran out of conditioner for my hair so I grabbed my daughter's bottle of Taliah Waajid Enhancing Herbal Conditioner. It felt a bit weird in my hair. It didn't feel like the thick fluffy conditioner I'm used to. It felt more like rubbing orange juice in my hair. NOT a bad thing. Just different. Then I tried to rinse it out. This stuff really coats! Whatever kind of oil(s) is in it really works 'cause I couldn't get it out. After several minutes of rinsing I felt like it was as rinsed as it was going to get and actually thought most of it was out. I was wrong. After drying my hair (I know hair dryers are evil to hair, but sometimes you gotta do what's quicker) it felt greasy. I looked in the mirror and was shocked! My hair still looked wet at the roots this stuff works so good!

Moral of the story, or lesson learned is this stuff works amazingly! I had to promptly rewash my hair so it wouldn't look as if I never do, but think about what that means for my daughter's hair. Her hair is getting moisturized and protected with some amazing natural oils and stuff that is real hard to get out - just what her hair needs.

Have you found another conditioner that works this good? I can't imagine that you have.

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18 May 2011

Hair Pretties SALE!


The gals at Snapaholics are having another sale. I've gotten some awesome things from them including the snaps used in the most recent hairstyle posted. Just use the coupon code "almostsummer" and you'll get 25% off! Happy shopping!

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16 May 2011

Upwards Piggyback Piggytails Baby Crown

It's hair fixin; time again. Here's little miss chillin' while momma plays around with her hair to get an idea of what to do.

Ended up making some piggytails and piggybackin' 'em upwards in the shape of a baby crown.

Her hair is all brushed out and afro-ed here. Isn't it beautiful?


The next morning I styled it by spraying it with water and leaving in a handful of .



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10 May 2011

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