30 March 2011

Scripture


Yes, I'm bringing God into this. I am religious and this is my blog. So there.

"God is no respecter of persons." (Acts 10:34)

"The Lord seeth not as a man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7)

I'll post more as I come across them. Feel free to share ones that touch your transracial families' hearts.

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28 March 2011

Black History Books


I wish the title of this post could read just "History Books", but it seems as if there are white history books and black history books, and not ones where they, and other races, are all included. Sure there were some blacks mentioned in my school's history books, but they were only the people who had to do with slavery and/or civil rights like Harriet Tubman or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (See "I Am A Black Mother" for details.)
I will start a black history book list HERE that you can use to help supplement your children's education. Though I have a few years before my children go to school, I am starting to think about this stuff now because I can't teach what I don't know myself. Of course I've forgotten most of the history lessons I learned when I was at school though. Still, never hurts to be prepared. Though I have not read any of the books I will list yet, they will be ones that have received great reviews.

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Black Americans in History

When the babies are napping I sometimes search the internet, click on links, click on links from those links, and links from those links, and so on and so on and yesterday I came across this website: The Genesis Group. Right on their homepage were links to African Americans who should be included in our school's history books. The website states, "There are countless names and faces—and innumerable contributions—for us to learn about, to appreciate, and to reverence. Time and space (and, sadly, sometimes lost information) prevent us from listing all of them here. But take the time this month [Black History Month] to check out the following pages and to learn a little more about a heritage that is nothing less than profound." Then they list seven links: African-American Military Heros, Great African-American Artists, Ten African-American Inventors, African-American Inventor List, Ten Great Novels by African-Americans, Sixteen African-American Firsts, and PBS Offerings For Black History Month. Here are a few examples:
Crispus Attucks led the 1770 uprising against British troops that resulted in the Boston Massacre. It is said that he cried out, "Don't be afraid!" as he led the crowd of protesters against armed British soldiers.
Augusta Savage specialized in portraits of African American leaders—including W. E. B. Du Bois and Frederick Douglass—Savage was a dedicated arts educator as well as a sculptor. She began working with clay at age six, and received formal art training in New York City. After returning to America from several years' study in Paris, Savage opened an arts school in Harlem in 1932. Among her students were painters Jacob Lawrence and Norman Lewis. Savage campaigned for the empowerment of Black artists, petitioning the Works Progress Administration to hire them for commissions. She opened New York's first gallery devoted to African-American art in 1939.
Norbert Rillieux (1806-1894) The son of an engineer and a freed slave, American chemist and inventor Norbert Rillieux revolutionized the sugar industry by inventing a device to remove the water from the juices of sugarcane and sugar beets to produce dry sugar. Rillieux's invention enabled a purer sugar product, cost less money, and was far less dangerous to workers than previous methods.
In 1950, scholar and diplomat Ralph J. Bunche became the first African-American to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Bunche received the award for his role as the architect of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping efforts and for having negotiated the four armistice agreements that halted the Arab-Israeli War of 1948. In 1955 Bunche was named the UN's Undersecretary for Special Political Affairs; in that capacity he oversaw UN peacekeeping operations in some of the most heated conflicts around the world. United States President John F. Kennedy awarded Bunche the nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, in 1963.

I am now in search of a unbiased racially diverse history book. Do you know of one?

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26 March 2011

Are Both Those Kids Yours?

Yesterday at Wally-world an older gentleman asked me if both those kids were mine. I said Then he told me they were beautiful, asked me how far apart they are, then started talking about his grandkids. At first I thought I was going to have to defend my child. Ended up he was just curious and mostly just wanted a reason to talk about his grandkids to someone. Transracially adopting sure does put you on your guard.

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White Dad, Black Son and Raising Kids In A Colorblind World

I found this article on loveisntenough.com, but the gal who writes that blog got it from colorlines.com. I love it. As I commented on it on loveisntenough.com, I feel there is a tricky balance between focusing too much on your transracially adopted child's race and not focusing enough on your transracially adopted child's race. It seems this father has found a perfect balance.

In a previous post I mentioned that I thought the author of loveisntenough.com is too liberal for my taste. I was trying to put a finger on the feeling I had, but wasn't quite able to do it at the time. I think I have now. I think she focuses to much on her children's race and makes it too much of an issue. That being said, sometimes you have to do so in order to get your point across and teach others. I believe she is trying to teach as many people as possible about what it is really like to grow up as a black person in America, among other things.

Here is the article:

"'Whose baby is that?' 'Is that your child?'

"Shortly after my adopted newborn son arrived, whenever we were out in public, we drew frequent stares and questions from strangers. Though we live in a racially diverse neighborhood, I didn’t expect the sight of a middle-aged white man carrying an African American infant peering out from a colorful chest-worn sling to be such an attention grabber.

"When white people looked at us, they often seemed curious about the nature of our relationship, but few would ask questions. The unspoken code of etiquette was feigned “colorblindness,” trying not to notice racial difference. Some genuinely expressed how cute my son was, while others over-emphasized the point, as if to prove their racial tolerance. Some tried to touch my son’s hair, perhaps feeling more license to explore a seemingly exotic feature. I’d quickly reposition my son out of their reach.

"Black adults and children were more direct, questioning whose kid this was and where I got him. Though often abrupt, they seemed sincere in looking out for this child as one of their own. Viewing me with suspicion is justifiable when you look at the big picture, where even well intentioned white people still don’t have the best track record for effectively dealing with privilege, cultural differences or persistent inequality.

"As an educator by profession—and one who leads trainings about racial justice—I approach these interactions as “teachable moments.” They’re also “learnable moments” for me, for each has its own nuances needing skillful navigation. Instead of taking offense to intrusive questions or avoiding difficult conversations, I try to embrace them with patience and openness. I make exceptions when someone’s downright rude, but that’s rare. Sometimes I get things right, but often, I figure out later what I wish I would’ve said.

"Whatever the racial composition of your family, we are all living in a highly racialized society. Parenting amidst a growing pretense of post-racialism poses new challenges that require new consciousness and skills.

""For years, I deliberated over my options for creating a family. I knew the choice of an open transracial adoption of a newborn black child by a single, gay, white dad would involve daily and lifelong learning. Since I wasn’t making choices about just my own life, my concerns provided plenty of fodder for sleepless nights. My hope was, and still is, that we’d find a way through the challenges, all the more wiser and perhaps even closer. I plunged into parenthood, fully embracing the steep learning curve ahead, but still so unprepared.

"As a white person traveling solo, I can go about my business mostly unconscious, unnoticed and uninterrupted. With my son in the same places, a lot changes. I can only begin to imagine him, as a black youth or grown man, traveling these very places on his own. He’s sure to encounter a whole different set of reactions with pedestrians, shopkeepers, teachers, prospective employers, landlords or police officers. These seemingly mundane interactions are connected to a web of cultural stereotypes, media images, biased institutions and unfair laws.

"The way he’ll need to respond will be different than the way I choose to respond. And we have to stay in sync when we’re together. My white skin gets me over in ways his dark skin will not. I’m given the benefit of the doubt that I’m a normal upright citizen doing the right thing. I carry my racial privilege in all routine matters, regardless of how anti-racist or racist I may be. My son won’t be given such a pass and he’ll need to be prepared.

"As my son nears seven years of age, the public interactions are changing. On our last airline trip, a security agent upon noticing our racial difference, looked my son directly in the eye while pointing at me, and asked him, “Who is this man?” Fortunately, my son didn’t joke back, as he’s quite capable of doing. I realized I hadn’t prepared him enough for airport scrutiny, where he could easily be racially profiled.

"Last year, as a kindergartener at the local public school, when my son took another child’s show-and-tell toy and hid it in his locker, he was sent to the principal’s office with a formal disciplinary referral for stealing. It landed him an in-school detention and a call home from the principal. I never imagined I’d have to discuss with school personnel the absurdity of applying zero tolerance policies to 5 year olds.

TO READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE CLICK HERE.


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Just The Same

by Diana Lynn Lacey

Sometimes-
God sends rain
Straight from the sky
To nourish the young flower
and it grows.

Sometimes-
God sends rain from the sky
To the mountaintops,
Then over hills and through valleys
Until it reaches the flower
and it grows, just the same.

Sometimes-
God sends a child
Straight from His realm
Into a mother's arms
and love grows.

Sometimes-
God sends a child
From heaven to another's arms,
Then over hills and through valleys
Until he reaches the arms of his mother
and love grows, just the same.

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25 March 2011

Transracial Adoption Video - My Thoughts

A few posts back I shared a video titled "Transracial Adoption: ColorsNW February Story". I actually watched it before we adopted and thought it very insightful. The first time I watched it I thought it was against transracial adoption. Each time after that I gleaned more and more from it and now consider it to be a good teaching tool for transracial parents and potential transracial parents.

It has made me realize even further how much we need to include people of other races into our daily lives. DAILY lives. Not an African dance concert every three months. Not a book that we read now and then. DAILY lives. It will take time for me to learn how to do this, and I am glad to be able to start when my children are so young. Follow me in my journey.

A big thing that I'd like to do is become friends with a family who has an African American adult in it. That sounds tricky to me. I don't want to become friends with someone just because of their race, but I do want to do what's best for my child. Plus, I honestly know of zero, ZERO African American adults where I live. Occasionally I see an African American adult in a store, but how do you walk up to someone and say, "Hey! My child needs a black role model! Think we can be friends?"

Another thing this video helped me to realize is that I need to be clear about the fact that my children can talk to me about anything, ANYTHING at all. For different children the way I do this will need to be different. For one saying it may be enough. For another I may need to gain his or her trust. For another I may need to be the one to take the time to initiate the conversation. However it needs to be done I need to make sure it gets done.

Then there's the part of the video which brings up how some African American people are against whites adopting blacks and how some African American people view it as cultural genocide. Hmm. May I quote from the library of adoption.com:

"Opponents of race matching contend that the numbers now seem stacked against the possibility of same-race adoptions. Of the estimated 500,000 children in the U.S. foster home system, more than half are minorities. Of those available for adoption, 40 percent are black, although blacks represent only about 13 percent of the general population. What is more, according to the National Adoption Center, which keeps track of so-called hard-to-place children, about 67 percent of such children are black and 26 percent are white, while 67 percent of the waiting families are white and 31 percent are black."

These children need families. Period. There are many, many more non-adopted African American than there are adopted African Americans. The culture is safe.

The Korean girl in the video mentions that she would almost forget that she was Korean and then look in the mirror and be surprised. This should not happen. Do children need to be thinking about their race 24-7? No. Do children need to be taught about their racial background and feel comfortable enough with their race that they accept it and are not surprised when they look in the mirror? Yes. How do we as parents accomplish that? Little things every day that I am still learning about. Learn with me.

The woman who identifies herself as multi-racial mentioned that people expect her to have a knowledge of racial identity and that when you're adopted you go out and learn about it and that sometimes she felt like an impostor. Teach your children. Teach them about their racial identity. There is good and bad to every racial history. They must learn the good and the bad, but focus on the good.

The white mother who adopted three black boys mentions having to teach her kids about racism and how as a black man people will assume certain things about him. This is the truth and it breaks my heart. Reminds me of the white privilege list link I posted a while back. Reminded me of the part of the list that says that basically says a black man cannot go to the store wearing yard-work clothes without people making assumptions about the poverty of his race. How true! how horribly true! How do you explain that to your precious, innocent child?! But we must. I would hate for my child to be confronted with this mindset without preparation. I would hate for my child to be confronted with this mindset at all, but it will happen. In fact, it already has. Another post.

About raising a child of color in a predominately white neighborhood where he or she will be one of only two or three children of color at school. Hits home. I worry about it. I lean on the fact that so many of our neighbors are adopting black children, but I really don't know if that's good enough. She'll still be one of the less than five. I think on it every day. I have not yet decided what to do about it. I agree it is not best.

Good point about young adoptees needing to be in contact with adult adoptees. I'll work on that.

Good point about what if we lived in a community where we were the only white parent in teh neighborhood. It would be tough. Why should we expect our children to do it?

"While love and stability is the core... there is a duty to provide beyond that. It's false to believe that you don't need to provide those things for your children." Amen sista!

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22 March 2011

Technorati

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Just a code that will hopefully help to bring more traffic to the blog.

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Taliah Waajid Enhancing Herbal Conditioner Review


Lots of people rave about Taliah Waajid's Enhancing Herbal Conditioner so I bought a bottle and loved it too. We've been using it for months now. I can comb through her hair with a fine-tooth comb with this stuff in her hair. It's very moisturizing and smells wonderful. Her hair looks beautiful with this in it. There's just one draw back for me. It's not heavy enough. A thicker heavier conditioner will weight the curls down a bit and cause them to lock into ringlets. I love that look. This conditioner treats her hair amazingly, but is not heavy enough to create ringlets. Her hair stays in a beautifully moisturized afro. The curls are defined because it is so moisturized, so it's not a true afro, but it's closer to looking like an afro than it is to looking like ringlets. It's a very pretty look, but I can achieve it with a heavier conditioner if I just comb through the ringlets. While Taliah Waajid's Enhancing Herbal Conditioner is awesome and works great I think I will search for a conditioner that moisturizes just as well but is a bit heavier. That way I have the option of afro or ringlets. Let me know if you have found such a thing.

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19 March 2011

What Is The Best Neighborhood For A Transracial Family?

I google things a lot. I am a gal who loves to find out as much as she can about something then make my own opinion about it or make my own decision about what to do about it. I research. Google is awesome for this.

I googled the question in the title out of curiosity and was surprised to find a fellow blogger who posed the same question. I have been led to her blog through a google more than once, but have gotten the impression that this woman is just too liberal for my taste. I don't mean politically. I really don't get into politics which is admittedly a downfall of mine. Everyone should "get into politics". It's an hard-earned American right.

Back to the gal who posed the same question. Maybe I judged too soon? I plan on investigating further. For now, have a look at the responses she received to this question: Ask ARP: What is the best neighborhood for a transracial family?

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Transracial Adoption: ColorsNW February Story


Click here to go to ColorsNW's website.

"While love and stability is the core... there is a duty to provide beyond that. It's false to believe that you don't need to provide those things for your [transracially adopted] children."

What do you think about this video? I crave your opinions. Mine will be coming shortly. For now, a trip to the grocery store.


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Thirteen Things


I found this post on foreverparents.com and thought it interesting enough to want to share.

Thirteen things to consider before adopting transracially.

"Adopting a child of a different race is not something everybody is comfortable doing. Two of my three children are biracial (african american/caucasian) and and my husband & I are caucasian. My third child is caucasian although she is biologically related to her siblings. Because they came home to us as a multiracial sibling group, they don’t have a lot of the racial issues other people may sometimes have with a racially mixed family. Here’s 13 things to consider before you adopt transracially.

1. Your family dynamics will forever change and you will now be a racially mixed family, not a “caucasian family with a asian (or black) child”.
2. If you have any racists in your family, now would be a good time to have a talk with them.
3. If you live in an all white community, how will your child be treated?
4. How will you feel about your child, this person who is now part of your family, if others treat him/her differently because of their skin color?

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE.

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A Mother For Choco


by Keiko Kasza

I decided to start doing little reviews of the books on my book list. I'm starting with some children's books. There are sites that list adoption books and black hair books and transracial family books, but I never know if the books apply to my child and family. I am starting with this book because it is one of my favorite children's books about adoption that I've come across.

"A Mother For Choco" by Keiko Kasza is a wonderful book for any adopted child. What age the child was adopted at does not really matter. The summary on the back of the book says,

"Choco is a little yellow bird who lives all alone. He wishes he had a mother, but who could she be? One day, he decides to search for a mother. First he asks Mrs, Giraffe, but she is not Choco's mother - she Doesn't have wings like his. Then he asks Mrs. Penguin, but she doesn't have big, round cheeks like Choco. None of the animals seems to be right for Choco. Will he ever find a mother?"

Although mentioned in the summary the book does not focus on the fact that Choco lives alone. It focuses on Choco searching for a mother (which relates to foster care) and mother's saying they can't be his mother because they do not look alike. Then at the end of the book Mrs. Bear hears him crying and asks, "If you had a mommy, what would she do?" Choco then lists some of the wonderful things mommies do for their children. As he lists them Mrs. Bear does them for him (like give hugs) proving that it's what a mother does that counts. Mrs. Bear says she can be his mommy. Choco points out that they don't look alike. Mrs. Bear basically says it does not matter. Then they go home to Mrs. Bear's house and meet her other children. They are all different kinds of animals.

At first I didn't like the fact that other mommys said they could not be Choco's mother. After a while I realized that there will never be a perfect book that matches our family's situation exactly, and that everyone's adoption story is different. Every book we own does not have to be directly related to Destiny's adoption story. It's like learning someone else's adoption story while learning an important lesson.

The morale of this story is that mommy's and children do not have to look alike to be a family.

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When "Beautiful" Means "Different"


There is a post on mybrownbaby.com that really hit home to me. With permission, I share it with you.

When “Beautiful” Means “Different”

By Stacey Conner

" 'Who does her hair?' She asks me gruffly. I look up from the table where I am trying to manage my four young children and squint into the glare of the insanely fluorescent lighting of a local burger restaurant. I rarely take the kids out to eat alone, but day after day trapped in the house have driven us to this corner burger place. The freezing rain taps against the dark window. I try to block it out along with the difficult drive home.
'I’m sorry?' I reply as she registers over the chaos and the demands for fries. She is barely taller than my oldest children with a pretty face around a prominent nose. I notice first the red apron that she wears around her waist and blush at the french-fry explosion under our table. The red glow in my cheeks burns deeper when I finally understand her question.
" 'O-oh,' I stammer. 'I do. They’re only box braids.' I am immediately apologetic and defensive, explaining my short-comings to this stranger who has asked me a simple question. 'I can’t corn row.'
"She touches one of my daughter’s thirty braids and feels it from root to tip with expert hands. 'They look good,' she answers me, 'but they need more oil. They’re too dry. Our hair needs oil every day.' "
"I wince. I know. I have wonderful oils at home. Mango. Olive-infused. I have never been into hair. My own long, auburn locks can be gorgeous, if done by a hairdresser, but I have never learned to style them and I wear a perpetual ponytail with straggly broken fly-away fringe. The foreign texture and baffling care of my daughter’s hair has sapped whatever energy and interest I ever had for primping. We consider our bi-weekly box braiding a mutually endured chore. The oil applications slip my mind sometimes, I am ashamed to admit.
"I nod now, feeling like a failure in a fast food restaurant with my pale ketch-up-smeared boys and my unoiled brown daughter. 'I know, I don’t stay up on it enough.'
" 'I used to do all of the kids’ hair in my neighborhood,' she tells me."

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE STORY.

I too worry that when people say she is "beautiful" what they actually mean is "different". I want her to be complimented, but am afraid she will pick up on over-the-top compliments meaning that she is being treated differently. Oh how I worry about this sweet baby of mine. I want the world for her, and I want that world to be perfect. Since that'll never happen I need to learn how to help her be happy and comfortable living in this unperfect world.

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13 March 2011

I Love My Hair Tee

You may have noticed the "I Love My Hair" Sesame Street video in the sidebar. Cute, huh? Well have a look at this:

Love it! I'll definitely pass on buying this treasure because of the ridiculous price, but oh it's so dang cute!



Click on the picture to be taken to the website where it can be purchased.


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Eye Opener

Recently I got in touch with a reader. (Thank you for reading!) She is a white momma married to a white man. They have one white child and two black children, and they live in the South. This momma was born and raised in the South too, and she says it's easier to have a transracial family in the South than it would be in the West. What? I was intrigued! "Listen" to this:

"Actually, and this is just my opinion so take it for what it’s worth, I think it’s easier to raise a Transracial family in the South! And I say that because my kids are used to being around kids of all different colors. (Mostly black, but there’s also a large Hispanic population here as well.) Hopefully [my black children] won’t ever feel like the 'token black kid.' We have black friends and my kids have had black teachers, so they’ll have role models of all colors.
"I have a cousin-in-law who lives in [the West] who has 2 black teenage sons. One has never had a problem with being a minority but the other one has really struggled with it. [This son] says he has always noticed when he’s the only brown boy and he has a hard time with it.
"Plus I feel like some people who have only ever lived in all- or mostly-white communities aren’t equipped to raise black children. Okay, so that sounds REALLY judgmental of me, but after reading a lot about Transracial adoption (and reading White Hands Black Baby, which I HIGHLY recommend although take it with a grain of salt—the author is hypersensitive about everything so his views are pretty extreme), I know it’s going to take more than just love to raise our black boys our white world.
"Okay, stepping down. Move back to the south!! It might take your husband some getting used to but like everyone else who moves here, he’ll fall in love."

Wow! I have considered it would be easier for Destiny to be around more children of her race, but the fear of racism was so prevalent in my mind that I could hardly see around it to concentrate on any other factors that might affect her. Parenting is a learning experience and being a "black mother" is no different. I am learning.
I have always realized there are many factors to consider when deciding where to raise my kids, but like I said, I was so worried about racism and someone being mean to my babies that I have never seriously focused on other factors. Something to think about for sure.
I also think that people who were raised in an all-white community are ill equipped at raising a black child, but that does not mean that they cannot learn. I was raised in an all-white neighborhood, but went to school and stores and everywhere else with black people, and I don't even think that I'm well equipped to raise a black child... yet. I am learning.
From the description she gave of "White Hands Black Baby" I think I have read that book two or three years ago, but didn't like it enough to recommend it. I too remember the author being very sensitive about black children being raised by white parents and seem to remember thinking him extreme at times. I never recommended it because I felt there has to be other books that get the same point across but in a less extreme and harsh way. I haven't found one yet though.
Thank you, dear reader, for getting in touch with me and sharing a bit about your life. As for where we'll end up, who knows? There will be good and bad about wherever we live. For now, we're staying put.

P.S. Despite the map I have never considered Texas, Oklahoma, or Florida to be a part of the South. Okay, so maybe they are, but they are not Southern.

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11 March 2011

Momma



Momma is an awesome Grandma. I am so proud of the way she has opened her heart to our precious little daughter. I know the idea of having a black grandbaby was hard for her, but from the moment she met Destiny she treated her no different than our son, and has never shown her any less love. I am grateful that my children have her as a Grandma. Thank you, Momma, for being such a wonderful person. I love you.

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10 March 2011

A Different Kind of Racism

First of all let me please say that I am not accusing everyone out here where I live of being racist or having this different kind of racism. It is something I've encountered not a few times since we adopted Destiny and want to blog about. Maybe it's just to vent. After all it's not going to change the world. We'll still get certain comments that make my blood boil. Everyone who's adopted and is reading this already knows what kind of comments I'm talkin' about.
This different kind of racism I will call novelty-racism. It is the attitude that cute little black babies are dolls and collectibles. Okay, maybe the word "collectible" is taking it just a little bit too far, but sometimes with the comments I am forced to listen to I do not think so. No, I am not confusing beautiful baby comments with novelty-racism comments. I do recognize the difference. I mean just look at my boy. He's gorgeous! I got all kinds of comments on how beautiful he was before our little miss joined the family. He still gets compliments, but Destiny usually steals the show now. She is the baby after all.
Also, I don't want people to think they can't give little black babies compliments for fear of seeming to show novelty-racism. I am not complaining about kind words as you will soon see.
Here is an example. I share it over others because it is the worst I've heard so far and will explain my point the easiest.
While in the local "Bull's-eye" store a lady sees me wearing my daughter from several feet away, lets out an "Ooooooohhh" and comes charging at me. I am caught off guard thinking my son is falling out the buggy ( what y'all probably call a shopping cart ) or something. I quickly check my children then look up at this woman wondering what in the world is going on. While I don't remember the conversation word for word, I can remember it pretty closely.
Loud Woman: Oh she's so cute! ( At which point I smile and begin to say thank you. ) Is she yours?
Now let me stop right there for a minute. Though it is not highly offensive to an adopted family may I say that whether the child is adopted or not, yes the child is mine.
Me: She was adopted. ( I said this because I knew what she was getting around at and didn't feel up to educating the woman at the time. )
Loud Woman: Just look at that hair! Oh I want one! Where did you get it?
Yep. She said "Where did you get IT. I was floored. I didn't know how to respond to that. My mouth dropped open. She noticed and tried to back track.
Loud Woman: Oh I've just always wanted to adopt.
Me: ( After a pause to think about what she was saying now. ) Oh, do you have trouble having babies? ( I can relate to that and wanted to be sensitive to her if that was the case. )
Loud Woman: No, I have five kids but they're not adopted. I want a couple of black ones.
At this point I am trying to mind the manners my momma gave me and politely leave the situation before I pop this missus up side her head, but dern her she just didn't want to let me.
Loud Woman: They're just so cute! ( And proceeds to try and touch my baby for the umpteenth time. )
Me: ( After finally recovering a bit from this assault and coming to my senses enough to respond in a somewhat educational way. ) It doesn't really matter what color their skin is all babies are beautiful.
Loud Woman: ( stutters ) Of course, they are, you're right...
I walk away. You know how you always think of the perfect thing to say after the situation? That always happens to me! Now I have what to say firm in my mind so LOOK OUT Loud Woman! You don't want to see me in Bull's-eye again!
Seriously though, I am sure this is the extreme example of this novelty-racism as I call it, and I don't expect to come across another person so ignorant as this woman was again. If you ever find yourself in a situation like this, or I should say WHEN you find yourself in a situation like this, just remember your children are watching and listening, and respond calmly, educationally, and matter-of-factly.
What do I mean by "educationally"? Most people who make unwanted comments about your adopted child( ren ) are simply ignorant to the fact that they have said anything rude. I learned about this when our first child passed away and people would say things like, "You can have another one" or "She's better off where she is now anyway". Most of the time people are trying to say the right thing but just don't know how.
Back to "novelty-racism". I live in a predominately white state and for some reason a lot of these white families are adopting black children. I think it is wonderful! Destiny will have children her race to go to school with. These children are being raised in good homes! However, I have also noticed a couple of people like Loud Woman adopting and I worry for those children. Yes, they are better off in that family than growing up in the family they were born into, as the birthmother obviously also believes, but babies are not pets to groom or dolls to play dress-up with. Babies grow up to be children. These children deserve parents who will learn about what their particular needs will be and who try to meet those needs. I am at the very beginning of this and have a lot, lot, lot to learn, but I am trying and am willing to learn. I hope one day these novelty-racist people will recognize that their attitude toward whites adopting blacks is incorrect.
I did not adopt my daughter because of her skin color. I did not adopt her in spite of her skin color. I adopted her because she belongs in our family.

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Simple Barrettes


No explanation needed. Will just mention that I first put her hair in rubber bands before putting in the barrettes. You can find the barrettes here: http://www.snapaholics.com/pastel-mix-double-sided-bow-barrettes.html. Sorry it's not the best picture. You can click on the picture to enlarge it, but it still doesn't look much better. At least it's an easy do.

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03 March 2011

Where To Live


Months ago I came across an interesting thing. It crossed my mind again and I set out to find it today to share with it you. It's a "Hate Map". Now I don't want to go and make this blog all about racism, but it does play a part in my story of being a black mother so here we go.
Have a look at the hate map: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/hate-map. I grew up in a state that ranks in the top five of states who have the most hate groups. I now live in a state that is ranked in the bottom five of states who have the most hate groups. This map shows hate groups, not groups specifically against blacks. However, tolerance of any racism is tolerance of them all. For instance, I cannot defend my black daughter against a racist comment someone in the grocery store may have made and then laugh at a racist joke an acquaintance made involving Mexicans. A joke like this may seem trivial. but children notice. If your black child sees you tolerate a racist joke or comment about another race that child will then wonder what her parent secretly thinks about her race, and learn to put too much emphasis on race. There are certain acts that speak much louder than words. I am guilty of this and continue to work on it. Thankfully I have time to practice while my children are so young. It is partially the result of being raised in the South, yes, but I am an adult and cannot hide behind that fact. ( Not that I mind having been raised in the South. I love that I was raised in the South. I love my home and would not have wanted it any other way. ) It is also partially, and more commonly, due to the fact that it is uncomfortable to confront a friend, colleague, or family member about an inappropriate joke or comment. It reminds me of what my Sunday school teachers tried to teach me when I was a teen. Just because everyone else it saying it / doing it that doesn't mean you have to too? "If your friends jumped off a cliff would you do it too?"
Well, that went way off course. I started this post for a reason. The reason was to share the desire I have had for the past few years to move back South. My husband and I have always struggled over this decision the entirety of our marriage, half of which we knew at least one of our children would be black. If I would have been honest with myself I would have known the answer to this question of us moving a long time ago. I will always choose my children over anyone and anything else. It goes without saying that my daughter would be much better off here than back home. So, there's my answer right there. Am I saying transracial families should not live in the South? No. I know transracial families who have done it and done it well. It is just fact that a child in a transracial family would have an easier time growing up where I live now than where I was born and raised.
We also want our kids to grow up around family, and Spud's family is here and my family is there. We are not choosing between families any more. We are choosing what is best for our new family that we have made together. Actually, we don't even have to make the choice. The choice is made for us. Our kids will face much less outside judgement and everything that goes with it if they are raised right where we are. When you become a parent you switch to putting your children first instead of yourself. I would love to be selfish and drag my family down to my beloved South to the trees and year-round warmth and people I know and love, but I will always put my children first. I'm not saying, "Look at me, I'm sacrificing for my children. I'm a great mom." I'm just a momma blogging about what being a black mother means to me, and this is part of it. Now where our retirement home will be is a different story.

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Piggyback Piggytails



I saw a hairstyle where the piggytails were split and joined into other piggytails and loved it. I tried it, but little miss' hair just wasn't long enough. So I went for the piggyback piggytail. Her hair was just long enough for that. Did diagonal parts. It took me two days to get this done because she is a squirmer, and just got sick of me messin' with her head after a while. We took breaks, and I finished it this morning. It's not perfect, but for her age and my experience I think it turned out pretty good. I read on a blog somewhere that rubber bands close to the scalp will cause the hair to break. That has not been my experience. I use lots and lots of coconut oil to protect the hair. You'd think it'd make the rubber bands slip out, but it doesn't. Speaking of that I try not to put the rubber bands too tight in her hair. Tight rubberbands has got to be very uncomfortable, and I'm sure it'd increase the chance of the hair breaking, and tight rubber bands have got to cause damage to the hair follicle. Look close at the hairline and you will see a couple of the hair follicles bumped up. ( You can click on a picture to zoom in. Use the back button to return to the blog. ) That means the hair is too tightly pulled. They're called stress bumps. I will go back and try to loosen the rubber bands. If it looks as though the hair is being damaged by me trying to loosen the rubber bands I will probably just take the hairstyle out and consider it lesson learned. Trial and error!
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01 March 2011

Skin Care

The reason I haven't posted anything on skin care yet is because I am not decided on any particular routine or product. My daughter has mild eczema in patches and I have talked with our pediatrician about it. She said any white, creamy, fragrance free lotion would do. We have used

The California Baby products worked okay. They were just too watery. The Aquaphor worked well, but I would not recommend spreading it all over. Just use it for spot treatments. It clogs pores. While we're talking about clogged pores, the same goes for petroleum jelly (Vaseline). Also, never put petroleum jelly on your baby's hair, and make sure any hair products you try do not contain sulfates. Petroleum jelly clogs skin pores and hair pores and promotes slow hair growth. Sulfates are extremely drying to your baby's skin, scalp, and hair. I don't even use it on my white son. Nope! No Johnson & Johnson at this house. Back to skin. The best by far is the Aveeno Baby Eczema Therapy Moisturizing Cream. It is think and creamy and soaks into the skin easily and lasts for two or three days. Two or three days people! That's amazing. With the California Baby I was having to apply it every day, sometimes twice a day. Our pediatrician suggested for eczema spots. We haven't tried it yet because the Aveeno has worked well. I noticed that Vanicream has petroleum in it, but it's not pure petroleum jelly so I'm sure it's fine for spot treatments. Avoid any product with mineral oils. It also clogs skin pores and hair pores. I want to find a good moisturizing cream I can buy in bulk. Sure, you can use your coconut oil! It's works very well, but I prefer to find a cream. I'm sure I could find some good suggestions if I google, and I plan to. I just haven't done it yet. I will keep you updated on my skin care discoveries. I've found my hair care gems. There's got to be a gem for skin care too.


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White Privilege

"White Privilege" - it sounded like a horribly racist term to me when I first heard it. It brought to mind Skinheads and the KKK. I grew up knowing about both these groups. I even had a girlfriend in high school who's daddy was a member of the KKK. ( At the time I was indifferent to racism, but made sure to never meet the man. ) So when I heard the term I thought I knew exactly what it meant. I thought it referred to extreme white racism.
If you google "white privilege" you will get a lot of opinion articles and videos. I am not voicing an opinion here. I am voicing fact. Normally I don't put too much store in Wikipedia since it is written by whoever sees fit to chime in, but I like the way it defines white privilege.
"...white privilege is a way of conceptualizing racial inequalities that focuses as much on the advantages that white people accrue from society as on the disadvantages that people of color experience."
The best way I can explain it myself is to give examples:
Have you ever noticed how the hair and skin care section in any major store has whole aisles dedicated to white hair and skin care and a small section at the end of one aisle dedicated to black hair and skin care? You may say "But black people have their own stores with their own products." Why do you think that is? Because the mainstream stores do not carry what they need. So, they have to have their own stores.
Have you ever noticed how many shades of makeup cosmetic lines carry for white women and how many shades of makeup they carry for black women? You may say "black women are dark and do not need makeup." Think about how many shades of black women there are in the world. There are many more shades of black women than there are white women.
Have you ever shopped for nylons and bought a color labeled "nude". "Nude" for who? Not for a black woman. But it's such a simple little thing? Why should it matter? What if you were born a black woman? Wouldn't it matter to you?
Have you ever tried to buy a doll for a black child?
Have you ever tried to buy educational books for a black child?
Have you ever tried to buy band-aids for a black child?
There are many, many, many more examples of white privilege. Before the transracial adoption seminar I had never really thought of most. And that right there is the true definition of white privilege. White people never really think about it. They don't have to because society is catered to match their needs. It's just plain fact.
So I guess in a roundabout way "white privilege" does refer to white racism, but it is a white racism that most whites are unaware of.
And now my daddy has rolled over in his grave ... again.
For more examples of white privilege click here: http://jimbuie.blogs.com/journal/2007/11/50-examples-of-.html.

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