30 April 2011

"This Is Me!" Giveaway


Roberta, owner of , has donated an item for my next giveaway!

From Roberta: Adopt Shoppe "was created to fill an online void. I wanted to build a shop for adoptive parents to find items of usefulness, value, and beauty that wasn't easy finding anywhere else, if at all. Over time, I've developed some resources myself. I also continue to network with other like-minded adoption entrepreneurs and skilled artisans." To read more about this awesome gal click here: About Us.

Adopt Shoppe is a source for all things adoption. Roberta carries flags, maps, cooking items, and books for internationally adopted children. There is mother and birthmother jewelry (Mother's Day is coming up y'all), clothes, music, cards, and even cross-stitch and quilt patterns. She also offers gift cards.

This giveaway's item is an adoption memory journal and photo album titled "This Is Me!" "This Is Me!" is a beautiful baby/memory book for any adopted child. My favorite thing about this book is the hidden posts that allow pages to be removed or added to the book. There are pages to fill out about family, the "first time you met me", "on the day I came home to stay", "how did you choose my name?", adoptive family and birth family trees, adoption finalization ceremony, "on the day and year I was born", "cherished firsts", activities, favorite things, and more. There are a few sections about foster care (that can be removed for a child who was not in foster care). The book covers the first through eighteenth birthdays, and pre-school to twelfth grade. There are sections for health information, medical information, immunizations information, allergies, dental health, etc. Several blank pages and two page protectors are included for personalization. The pages are very cutely decorated in multi-colored handprints that match the cover theme. You can read more about the book here: Adopt Shoppe: This Is Me!

If you wanna enter this giveaway here's what ya do:
-leave a comment on this post briefly sharing how adoption affects your life (i.e. my twin boys were adopted)
-put your email address at the end of your comment so I can contact you should you win
That's it!

Chances for extra entries:

-go to Adopt Shoppe's website, click on "like" in her Facebook box, and leave an additional comment here telling me you did
-follow I Am A Black Mother and leave an additional comment telling me you did (if you're already a follower leave an additional comment telling me you are)
-subscribe to I Am A Black Mother and leave an additional comment telling me you did (if you're already subscribed leave and additional comment telling me you are)
-become a Facebook fan of I Am A Black Mother and leave a comment telling me you did (if you're already a fan leave a comment telling me you are)
-follow I Am A Black Mother on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you did (if you already follow leave a comment telling me you do)
-Facebook about this giveaway and comment telling me you did
-Tweet about this giveaway and comment telling me you did
-blog about this giveaway, include the link, and comment telling me you did
*Each entry must have it's own comment. Comments are numbered and a number is chosen by random.org to determine the winner.

Entries will be accepted until Friday, May 6th at 11:59 PM MST. The winner will be announced and emailed by Monday, May 9th, and will have three days to claim his or her prize. If after three days the winner has not claimed his or her prize a new winner will be selected. Winners are chosen by random.org.

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28 April 2011

U.S. Adoption is Increasingly Crossing Racial and Ethnic Lines BUT...

"...'colorblind' childrearing may not be the way to go".

Today I would like to share with you an article from usatoday.com. As you can guess from the title the article addresses raising children, especially transracially adopted children, to be colorblind.

"'Colorblindness actually creates discordance,' Samuels says, because parents set their children up to believe that race doesn't matter — until the children find that often race is an issue in the real world and they aren't prepared for it."

I could not agree more. As I mentioned in a previous post, I cannot fathom having to try to explain to my innocent child that people will judge her and possibly not like her only because of the color of her skin. It makes me cringe and tear thinking about this imminent discussion, but I know it must be done. It is better for her to find out from her loving mother in a loving way than to learn about it from a racist someone in a hateful way. It is better she be prepared and taught how to react and deal.

"'Adapting and understanding of equality doesn't require sameness, so for family members to be able to relate to one another, we don't have to be the same,' says Samuels, who is part black; her adoptive mother was white. 'We can be racially different and we can see the world and experience the world differently.'"

Yes, "we can be racially different and we can see the world and experience the world differently", but we have to teach our children about the world they live in and prepare them for certain encounters and situations so that they have tools to assist them in their experiencing the world so it will be less damaging.

Click here to read the article in it's entirety.

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As Of Late

If you're a Facebook fan of I Am A Black Mother then you have somewhat of an idea why I've been absent lately. I've mentioned that it's been busy at our house, but I haven't said how. Well, there's been a car accident where no one was hurt, but our family car was totaled. We've been dealing with the other guy's insurance company for two weeks or so and that's finally over. Then there's been a dead phone, a busy fun Easter weekend, sick babies, and a few other small things that became large things with all this other stuff mixed in.
Then there's the fact that it's Spring. Spring is a wonderful time of year, but for me it is mixed with sadness. At this time of year when life springs anew I am reminded of the life that was taken from our family. This is not her blog though so I will not elaborate here.
Point is I have not forgotten my journey of learning what it means to be a black mother. I have been taking a brief respite. Sometimes all a person needs is a bit of time to one's thoughts. Despite the business as of late I have had this time. It has done me good.

I have returned with good news! The promised giveaway, though delayed, is coming soon! In fact, the donated item is on it's way to me as we "speak" and the giveaway will begin the moment it arrives! Stay tuned!

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19 April 2011

Teaching Children About Racism


"...Equally important is to consciously and directly provide children with a repertoire of responses to the racism and prejudice they will encounter and explain why people are prejudiced. People have always feared what is different. The unfair experiences that minority children are likely to encounter must be discussed openly if children are to be prepared not only to deal with the experience but their feelings of anger at the unfairness, as well. For example, children of color need to know that if they are loitering in a convenience store they will be treated differently than white children loitering in the same store. They need to know how to communicate that they are not threatening , and how to handle a confrontation with the store owner that may arise. They need to understand that an outraged attitude by a white person accused unjustly will be viewed differently than a similar attitude by a person of color.

"What stops parents from discussing this, is not only their own lack of experience with it, but their aversion to destroying their child's innocence-especially when having to lose this innocence is itself unfair. Parents want their children to be free of such worries and to view others, especially adults, as helpers in their world rather than as potential victimizers. They want their children to have enough awareness and skills to keep from being a victim. When it comes to racial issues, parents would like to believe that their child will be evaluated on her own merits rather than on her skin color. Parents need to understand that the attitude that says life is good, life is fair, and if you are the best you can be people will judge you appropriately is more true for a white person than for a person of color and therefore may not serve their children.

"Parents should also be concerned that their children will begin to approach life with a "chip on their shoulder"-believing people will discriminate against them as the result of a quality they cannot change and may not want to change, and that their children will use this as an excuse for not doing their best. Even highly successful minority business executives have had to learn survival skills for interacting in a racist society. Children of color must learn to recognize situations in which racism and prejudice may occur. "Protective hesitation," is an ability to observe a situation for clues that racism may be involved or a potential conflict may develop. Children must also develop a sense of "selective confrontation" and "selective avoidance"-that is, knowing when to back off from a situation and when to deal with it directly. Once they decide on a confrontation, they must also learn various appropriate ways of confrontation. Children also need to know their legal rights and institutional resources available to help them when they are the victims of racism, including the courts and community organizations."

Click here to read the article in it's entirety: Families Supporting Adoption.

I agree that a child "of color" needs to be taught about racism and how to deal with it. Right now, thinking about my precious and innocent baby girl, I cannot fathom having that discussion with her. I do believe it must be done. I dread it even more than the "birds and the bees" talk. How unfortunate that racism is one of those just-the-way-things-are subjects that we have to discuss with our children. How horrible.

We live in a time when our country has newly adopted equal rights. If I stop and think about it it did just happen in my parents' generation. Not that long ago at all. Society has come a long way since then, but not far enough. Not far enough that my husband and I don't have to have this discussion with our child. All because of the skin color. Ridiculous. Annoying. Infuriating.

Have you thought about having this talk with your child? Have you had this talk with your child yet?

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18 April 2011

Racial Identity and Coping Skils

"...While these children will not have the same sense of racial identity or approach to racism that they would have if they were being raised by Black parents, they are not necessarily doomed to be racial "misfits" or powerless victims of racism. White parents can help their children develop a positive racial identity and can prepare them for the realities of being a minority in our society. It isn't easy, and parents who adopt transracially must understand their responsibility to educate themselves, and change some of their attitudes and perhaps even their lifestyle, to meet the complex needs of a transracial adopted child.

"Parents must admit racism exists, and understand how it can be encountered as well as that the purpose of racism is to obtain power and control. Most adoptive parents start our "color blind," believing that the appropriate way to counter racism is to adopt the attitude that race doesn't matter. While well-intentioned, it denies the actual experience of people of color. Eventually adoptive parents see that while they may be color-blind, other people are not. When their child is the victim of racial slurs, gets turned down for a date because of race, or is treated more harshly by the police than white youngsters in the community, parents begin to recognize that race is important and they they cannot protect their children from racism.

"Children who are not prepared to encounter racism, both through the development of good racial identity and survival skills, are at risk of poor self-esteem and self-hate. When children who have been raised not to notice color or the effects of color in society are confronted with negative stereotypes of their own race, they have little option but to accept that stereotype and feel bad about themselves. They end up feeling alienated from the white culture they grew up in because others don't see that they belong there, as well as from the culture of their own race because they don't feel that they fit in there-or may not want to because they see only the negative stereotypes. Parents need to counterbalance negative role models with positive role models and tell and remind their children over and over again they they can be or do anything!

"...From the moment a family adopts, regardless of the race of the child, they begin to deal with identity issues. Adopting puts the family in minority of it's own. The parents become hyper-vigilant, they over-identify, and they must be careful not to over-react. The goal for parents who adopt transracially is not to raise a "chameleon"-a person who can blend in so well with people of his own race that no one would be able to tell he'd even been with a white family. The goal is for the child to appreciate that aspect of himself enough to want to explore and develop it. This goal is generally beyond the means of white adoptive parents to accomplish alone. No parents can be all things to their child. Consequently, adoptive parents have to provide their child with surrogate systems and models for their child-religious, educational, social, artistic, and spiritual experiences with families, organizations, churches, and institutions of the child's own race. Parents may be uncomfortable being involved in situations in which they are the minority, but they must find a comfort level if they are to help their children. Between the ages of 12 and 15 years, the transracially adopted child will have to pick where they belong-they will gravitate to where they are accepted.

"There is a difference between exposing a child to these positive influences and allowing a child to participate in them. Adoptive parents may find it difficult to allow their child to become involved in these cultural experiences because they don't understand them, or are dealing with their own fears and stereotypes.

"...The best way for transracially adopted children to learn about racial identity and ways to cope with racism in the same way other children of color do-through contact with older generations who can pass on what they have learned. To do this, members of the majority culture must admit to themselves that the group viewed in our culture as powerful and dominant cannot help their children. The people who can most help are from a group who have been discriminate against and viewed as second-class."

Click here to read the whole article and for references: Families Supporting Adoption.

One of the best, most to-the-point and concise article I've read yet on how to parent a transracially adopted child.

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17 April 2011

Look What I Bought

You're gonna laugh.
Yep, a Disney princess doll. I know I just got finished sayin' I didn't want my girl to get into the Disney princess thing, but this doll was just too cute. Oh well. She's the little girl version of Tiana and has on a modest dress instead of that Barbie no strap thing. It's a beautiful doll with beautiful hair and eyes. Besides, Destiny's too little to know what a Disney princess is yet. She'll just like the princess crown. She's also too little to play with the doll you say? Well, yeah. I'm savin' it for her. Do one year old little girls play with dolls? My boy carried around stuffed animals at that age. I'll just wait and see what kind of things she likes. It'll either be for her first birthday or for Christmas. Found it at Walmart by the way. Was pleasantly surprised.

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16 April 2011

What I Like About Me!

A Book Celebrating Differences
by Allia Zobel-Nolan, illustrated by Miki Sakamoto

The summary on the back of the book reads, "The kids in What I Like About Me! are as different as night and day. And guess what? They love it. Some adore the fact their braces dazzle and gleam. Others feel distinguished when they wear their glasses. Still others wouldn't trade their big feet for a lifetime of free video games. This fun-loving book proves to kids that, in a world where fitting in is the norm, being different is what makes us special."

This is not a book about adoption or transracial families or any of the kind. It is a book "celebrating differences" in children. The book show many different looking children, points out how they are different, and how each child likes this different feature of theirs. The book mentions spiky hair, curly hair, being short or tall, having a uni-brow, having big ears, freckles, braces, glasses, different lunches of a burrito, sushi, or curry (and showing a picture of a Hispanic, an Asian, and an Indian child), big feet, and funny shoes. The last part of the book reads:

"We are all different, certainly.
I'm not like you. You're not like me.
That's why we think that life is great.
So join us as we celebrate."


My son loves this book. He calls it "children" and asks, "read children please?" I like it too. It's fun to read and is well written. It'll be a regular in our home.

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15 April 2011

"Growing Up Black In White" Giveaway Winner


Congratulations Debbie! You have won a signed copy of "Growing Up Black In White"!

My next giveaway begins on Thursday, April 21st!

All entries are assigned a number the winner is chosen by random.org.

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14 April 2011

What Would You Do?

While reading The R House I came across a post about an episode of a TV show called "What Would You Do?" They put fake situations in real world and record people's reactions. I've seen parts of the show before and frankly I don't care for it. This episode was interesting though. On this episode there was a white woman who adopted a black child and they were meeting with a white friend of the white woman who hadn't yet met the child. The friend is opposed to transracial adoption and is vocal about it. You see the real reactions of those around these people in this fake situation.

In this part of the episode the two women are black and the child is white.

Though the situations are fake the reactions are real. It's good to see that overall the reactions were positive. I do wonder what city this took place in though.

Have you ever been in a situation like this? What do you think about these videos?

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13 April 2011

Adoption-Related Themes in Disney Movies

I found an interesting article on Adoptive Families Circle. It specifically focuses on the new Disney movie "Tangled", which I have not seen yet. I don't yet have a little girl that demands to see every princess movie. Honestly, I hope I never do. I grew up watching them and I have to say they gave me quite a twisted view of love and the world. But all little girls love princess movies. While we're on the subject, I'll mention that I'm disappointed in the sleeveless, strapless, scoop-backed dress Tiana from The Princess and the Frog wears. I just don't care for Disney princesses. I hope my little girl(s) won't be too drawn to them. Though I'm sure they will. Anyway, here's part of the article:

"...I actually don't hate having my daughters watch those Disney princesses quite as much as I thought I would, back before I became a parent and thought only about the negative effects they might have on girls. Rapunzel, in her Tangled reincarnation, is spunky, smart, and, well, fun. Not such a bad role model, all in all.

"Mother Gothel is another story. You know, Mother Gothel, the one who steals Rapunzel from her real parents and raises Rapunzel, who all the while believes that Mother Gothel is her true parent. This raises a huge red flag for me, even though my girls have yet to notice any parallels between this fiction and our own decision to adopt. Jeremiah, I suspect, thinks that I'm overreacting. Although I got teary at the depiction of Rapunzel's birthparents, the King and Queen, releasing a lantern each year in memory of their lost daughter, I'm much more concerned with the depiction of the adoptive mother, who, in this case, is completely evil.

"I know this isn't an adoption movie. It's a story about a girl who is stolen and who fights to return to her roots. But there are similarities between the Tangled story and our family's adoption journey, and I have no idea how to explain the nuances in these differences to any of our three children (our two daughters and the son we're waiting to bring home from Korea), if and when they start to notice.

"Rapunzel isn't the only Disney princess who is raised by someone other than her birthparents. Setting aside the many, many princesses with deceased mothers and single fathers, there is Sleeping Beauty, for example, who is raised by her three fairy aunts when her birthparents decide they aren't able to safely parent her because of the threats of an evil fairy in the kingdom. This story doesn't worry me—at least, not as much—because Sleeping Beauty's story is, by and large, a pretty happy adoption-type story. Rapunzel's story, which ends with the death of Mother Gothel and Rapunzel's return to her birthparents, is much more violent and upsetting...."
To read the article in it's entirety click here.

There are some very interesting comments on this article. I just have to quote a bit of one:
"
Anastasia (orphan girl grows up, learns she was Russian royalty, and finds her grandmother)
Angels in the Outfield
(boy in foster care deals with his biological father giving up his parental rights, but ends up being adopted by baseball coach)
Barbie’s Island Princess
(separated from her family by shipwreck, Rosella grows up with forest friends, but ultimately finds her human mother, a Queen)
Cinderella
(father dies, leaving her to cruel step-family, fairy Godmother helps her meet the prince, and she leaves her step-family to marry her love)
Hercules
(baby boy stolen from natural parents/gods, “adopted” by normal earth parents, reconnects with his biological parents, but chooses to remain mortal)
Jungle Book
(orphaned baby boy adopted by wolves, then rejoins human village)
Meet the Robinsons
(orphan boy goes into the future, seeing the family who will one day adopt him)
Pete’s dragon
(orphan boy adopted by cruel family, rescued by dragon, then finds new family to adopt him)
Prince of Egypt
(based on biblical story of Moses – baby adopted by Pharoah, then as an adult he learns of his true roots and leaves, later connects with his biological siblings and ends up having to fight his adoptive brother to free his people)
Rescuers
(orphan girl is kidnapped, rescued by mice, then adopted)
Snow White
(evil step-mother tries to kill the princess, she escapes to live with 7 dwarfs, step-mother dies, & Snow White is rescued by her Prince)
Tarzan
(orphaned baby boy adopted by gorillas, meets Jane, and together they choose to stay with Tarzan’s gorilla family)"

So, I still want to see it because almost everyone says it's a great movie, but I don't think we'll be buying it. You know, just in case. That is until my little princess demands it, huh?

I repeat the questions in the article: Have any of you had experiences with adoption in children's media with negative associations? If so, how have you handled it?

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12 April 2011

Positive Affirmation and Positive Association

If you've got a friend who forwards emails or "shares" everything on Facebook then you've seen this video:


Recently I've been contemplating learning more about this positive affirmation way of life, and then happened to see an episode of Modern Family called "Two Monkeys and A Panda" where the parents of an adopted child clapped and cheered every time they said the word adoption. Even during an argument about adoption they still stopped and clapped and cheered every time they used the word then went back to their argument. It gave me a good laugh.
Though I laughed I thought that learning more about positive affirmations would be helpful in raising my children, and especially raising my black baby in a predominately white area. I just remembered this curiosity again today and began my search.
First thing I came across was a post from a blog that I already know and love, Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care. The post is called "The Power of Positive Affirmation". She even mentions the same episode of Modern Family! Ha, too funny.

"...So what does this all have to do with hair? Very simply, we've employed the same word association methodology with regards to her hair. Since day one this is exactly the type of positive affirmation that we've used with Boo. We used clapping, sing-song voices, and "yays" when using the word "hair" just like we did with the word "adoption," and we've done it from the very beginning. Again, filling her library with books about her hair type and how wonderful it is, we continue to help reinforce that positive association.
"I think back to the all of the times I've seen parents using the "airplane" on a spoon to get a stubborn kid to take a bite of food (the sound effects, the funny faces, etc.). It's amazing what weird hoops we're willing to jump through to get our kids to do something. However, if they produce the happy results for which we are looking, I'm all for being a little "weird." So with all of the positive affirmations coming her way regarding hair, by the time Boo was six months old any time she heard the word "hair" her little face would light up in excitement...."

Click here to read the whole post.

This, and what the parents did in Modern Family is actually POSITIVE ASSOCIATION. The little girl in the video above is using POSITIVE AFFIRMATION. Though related they are a bit different.

Oddly enough I wasn't able to find much else discussing adoption and positive affirmation or positive association. I did, however, find lots about children in general and positive affirmation.
Here's a bit from Children Lights:

"'I can do this. I am smart,' I heard my four-year old say as he was intently focused on building a new puzzle. I smiled knowing his positive self-talk would help him accomplish his goal. A few minutes later, I heard an enthusiastic, 'I did it!'...
"Affirmations are positive statements about who we are, and what we can become and experience. They help us focus on what we want. The key in using affirmations effectively is to have them evoke positive emotions within us..."

The article then goes on to provide five guidelines to creating affirmations:

"CREATING AFFIRMATIONS
1. Empowering affirmations are always stated in a positive way. For example, 'I am smart.' Instead of, 'I am not dumb.' Stating affirmations in the positive puts our focus on what we want, rather than on what we do not want.
2. When making affirmations, write and say them as if they already exist. For example, 'I am a fast runner,' not 'I will run fast.' When we state in the present, we start creating the outcome now. Alternatively, when we say, 'I will,' we are expecting to receive what we are stating some day in the future...
3. We can make affirmations especially powerful when we put emphasis on the words 'I AM.'... Encourage children to use esteem-building 'I am' statements like 'I am creative.' 'I am helpful and caring.' To reinforce 'I am' statements when talking to your children, you can substitute 'I am' for 'You are'. For example, 'You are creative.' 'You are helpful and caring.'
4. Keep affirmations short, simple and clear. The shorter the better because this makes it easier to remember and repeat.
5.Evoke positive emotion. When affirming, imagine a specific scenario related to the affirmation; involve as many senses as possible until you really feel good inside."


Then it lists several affirmations for children that include, "I am beautiful.", "I am good at...riding my bike, math, science.", "I am unique and valuable.", "I believe in me.", "I am blessed.", "I listen to my heart.", "I am loved.", "I am friendly.", "I am healthy.", "I love my body."
Click here to read the whole article.

It does go into some "At an energy level, the vibration of our emotions makes the universal Law of Attraction work for us, attracting experiences with similar energy vibration to ourselves." mumbo-jumbo (in my opinion), but I don't plan on getting into it that far. The basic principle of positive affirmation is good enough for me.

So then I looked up "positive affirmations for African American girls". I didn't find many articles, but found a few book recommendations:

I'll probably add these to my book list that I'm currently going through and reviewing.
One article I did find came from another of my fav websites Afro Puffs and Ponytails. The gal who owns this website is openly religious and shares a sweet message:

"Our Father in heaven loves you dearly. He loves you more than you know. He wants the best for you and is always eager to hear from you. If you have tried everything else and it has failed, try the One who can never fail. Seek to know Him and He will make the way clear and possible for you to do so. Try building a relationship with Him and you will be amazed at how much easier it is to experience peace and joy."
To read the article in it's entirety click here.

Some of the best positive affirmation you can give your child is that God, the all-powerful, the almighty, the Father of all loves him/her individually, personally, and immensely.

So, what does all this mean for an adopted child? Well, you as the parent get to decide. At our house we will be implementing Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care's way of positive association with "hair", starting to incorporate Children Lights' list of positive affirmations, keep reminding our children that they are children of God, and maybe pick up a book or two.

How do you plan on beginning with positive affirmation and positive association in your home? Do you do this already? If so, how?

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11 April 2011

First Flat Twists







I've been thinking about a new way to do baby girl's hair, and thought I came up with this great idea only to find out it's been done since forever. Silly me. I even found a video of it on one of my fav black hair websites Keep Me Curly. So from now on I'm just gonna look around on my fav black hair websites for hair videos and just do what they do. Much easier than racking my brain for no reason. Mercy.

My flat twists didn't turn out as tight and pretty as they could have, but maybe that's because I'm doing them on a wiggle worm baby. A gal at church asked me how I get Destiny to sit still and I said, "I don't. I move with her." It's quite funny to watch. Will have to get hubby to video a bit of it one Saturday night. I usually do her hair once a week, but I'm not sure my flat twists are good enough to hold that long. If, or should I say when, they get loose in a couple days I'll just redo them since I already have the parts in place. Parts are tough to accomplish on my baby.

I didn't attempt cornrows because it takes longer and I knew little miss just wouldn't sit for it. Besides, I don't think her hair is quite long enough for an inexperienced momma's fingers to work with. One day. For now, I really like these flat twists. If you watch the video start at 3:38 to see the flat twists instructions.

Oh, and I just had to get a pic of her mohawk that happened while I was parting her hair. (First pic.) Too cute.

The next to the last picture shows off her two brand new teeth. She worked hard for those things!

The last pic is just before church Sunday morning. Now you know why I chose bright green and yellow hair pretties - they match her dress! I bought the hair snaps from Snapaholics.

No my carpet isn't dirty. That's just where it has been pushed the opposite way by passing feet and created shadows. Had to mention it.

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10 April 2011

The Rebel Flag



In the South you see them (almost said "her" 'cause that's how I was raised) everywhere - bumper stickers, t-shirts, belt buckles, bikinis, hats, baby onesies, can coozies, socks, stuffed animals, clocks, jewelry, jackets, bed spreads, camping chairs, dog collars, cell phone cases and covers, trailer hitches, license plates, throw blankets, floor mats, and on and on.
But what does it mean?

Some of these images come with phrases like, "I don't wear this shirt to p**s you off, but if it does that makes my day", "It's a Southern thang. Yanks'll never understand.", "It's not a Redneck thang, it's the RIGHT thang", "Heritage, not hate", "Never apologize for being right", "The South will rise again", "If this flag offends you, you need a history lesson". But what does all this mean?

There are bits of history pointed out on both sides of the to-fly-or-not-to-fly argument. I looked around on the internet and found lots of versions of the "pro" argument. Here's one that I thought was clearly stated from associatedcontent.com:

"...First of all, the Confederate flag, in some people's eyes, is a symbol of hatred towards African-Americans. This is completely incorrect. The Confederate States of was not formed because of slavery. Anyone that wanted a slave owned one. What history fails to mention is that in the South, the title was slave, but in the North, they became "indentured servants." This is merely a way to soften the cold, hard truth that the North owned slaves. The harsh treatment of slaves was incredibly wrong. However, history also will not tell you that the percentage of mistreated slaves was incredibly low. A slave, by today's standards, could cost anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000. How many people pay this much money to have something to starve and beat until dead? Actually, the real meaning behind the secession was taxes.
"The North was incredibly rich due to one reason. Congress only allowed the sale of the South's main goods such as cotton and tobacco to Northern factories instead of shipping to other countries. Did the South get any of this back? Well, of course, if they could pay the added tax that the finished products had slapped on them for resale to the South. Oh, by the way, if you think that heavy taxation and no one being there to represent the taxing party is a horrible way to start the war, think about this: That's why the Revolution was started. Those brave men that began knew this. The South remembered this.

"The Confederate flag is a symbol of the ultimate bravery. These men committed treason against something they knew was wrong. This happened in the Revolution, and wrote the history. In the Civil War, the North wrote the history and shed some very bad light on the South. It would be a much different history book if the South had won...."
For the whole article click HERE.

An African-American woman wrote in response:
"..As I read the piece and appreciated the history lesson though, I felt compelled to explain why African Americans "in general" find the flag so offensive..
"As Chris laid out in his article, the history of the flag had nothing to do with what it has come to mean. I knew nothing about the history of the flag before reading Chris' article. In it, he states that the flag stood for bravery because southerners rebelled against what was in essence 'taxation without representation.'...
"While the flag's history may have a noble beginning, the meaning of it has been twisted into something else altogether.
"As one of the commenters noted so eloquently in her response, 'I understand that some people have used the flag or it's likeness to mean hatred. Did you know the swastika is seen as a symbol of hatred, but it was the Egyptian symbol for peace? The flag itself is not the problem or have any true meaning here - it's the hatred in people's hearts or the love in people's heart that makes something MEAN something.'
"The displaying of the flag to us, African Americans, means that you subscribe to a certain ideology. An ideology that is against who we are as a people.
"Just like you'd ascertain that someone sporting a Nazi swastika is not a fan of, for example, Jewish people, African Americans assume that if you proudly display the rebel flag, then you're probably not someone who is looking to become our friend.
"Now, maybe that's our wrong perception, our "bad." BUT, at some point, perception becomes reality. Why? Because if you've had 100 experiences with something and 99 of those times it's not positive, why would you assume that it's going to be different the 100th time?...
"The author writes, 'The harsh treatment of slaves was incredibly wrong. However, history also will not tell you that the percentage of mistreated slaves was incredibly low.'
"This sentiment is an oxymoron as far as I'm concerned. When you are enslaved - no matter how 'well' you're treated, it is mistreatment.
"Imagine not being able to go when and where you please, having your family sold off, not being able to start a business if you so choose, someone telling you IF you are able to marry the person of your choice.
"Beatings are just the physical brutality of slavery - the mental and emotional scarring are everlasting...."

Click here to read the whole article.

Honestly I see both points of view. Some fly Irish flags. Some fly British flags. Some fly African flags. Some fly state flags. Why shouldn't Southerners who believe the Confederate flag is a symbol of bravery be able to fly it without judgment? However, there are very few flags that are associated with hate and racism. The Confederate flag is one of them. Why even associate yourself with something that stands for hate and racism to a whole race? I could go back and forth all day as many people do.

I was raised with Southern pride instilled deep in my heart. I still have it and am glad for it. I love the South. I adore it, and I am proud to have been born and raised there. I tear up just thinking about my beloved South and just how much I love it. If I had my way I'd "live and die in Dixie". However, I no longer wear or display the Dixie flag.

For me the Dixie / Rebel / Confederate flag shows pride in being Southern. It shows pride in being from the South. I wore it. I bought bumper stickers with it on them and put them on my truck out here in the West. I brought little rebel flags home for my husband's family once when we were back home visiting. I even hung one in the nursery when we were expecting our first baby, Angel. I was, and still am proud to be from the South, but I don't show my pride by displaying ol' Dixie any more.

Why? Well I always knew black people don't like it. That's about all I knew. Well, I knew it was because slavery was a big part of the Civil War. But that's not why I displayed it. It was the "heritage, not hate" point of view. A couple years ago, yes just that recent, I came to the realization that no matter how I view it, it offends a whole race of people. It deeply offends and is a slap in the face. I decided I can give up displaying a flag to show my "brotherly love". I can give up a symbol for a much greater cause - goodwill.

I will admit that I genuinely miss waving Dixie. It truly just means Southern pride to me, and Southern pride is something I have a lot of. However, I choose not to fly her. This is my personal decision, and I stand by it. For me and my family, flying Dixie is not right... and it pains me to say so.

Thoughts? I'd LOVE to hear them.

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09 April 2011

Over The Moon

An Adoption Tale
by Karen Katz

The summary on the front inside of the dust cover reads: "'Your baby has been born! She is wonderful. Come quickly and get her.' This magical, reassuring story of one adoptive family's beginnings, told in words and pictures that are just right for the youngest child - an ideal story to share with families everywhere."

On the back inside of the dust cover is a blurb about the author. I will share part of it here. "Ms. Katz says the inspiration for Over The Moon came after she and her husband went to Central America to adopt their daughter, Lena."

This is a beautiful book. The words and pictures are beautiful and touching, and the summary is right - they're just right for the youngest child. A child of any age would love this book. It talks about how a woman and her husband dreamed about a baby, how everyone kept asking if the baby is coming soon, and how they got a phone call that she had been born. It talks about all the different baby things they packed, how they "jumped" into the car and drove to the airport, and flew "to a faraway place where their baby was waiting". It talks about how they got to the hotel and unpacked and got the room ready for their new baby, how excited they were, and how they finally saw her through the window "carried by the kind people who had taken care of her". It talks about how happy they were to finally hold her, how nervous they were because they had never taken care of a baby before, how they told her "the story of how she came to be their little girl", and how they flew back home and the baby was welcomed by everyone.

"That first night the parents lay their baby down to sleep and said, 'Forever and always we will be your mommy and daddy. Forever and always you will be our child.' And they kissed her good night."

Though the baby is meant to be Hispanic (there is a picture of Lena on the back inside dust cover) the baby looks like my African American baby. It does not specifically say where the baby was born. Just mentions a sea, and mountains, beautiful violet flowers, and colorful birds.

I love this book. I adore it. Very sweet story, very well written, beautiful pictures.

Is this book in your home? Do you and your kids love it too?

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08 April 2011

The R House Couture

Have you visited The R House yet? If not you're sure missin' out. Mrs. R is a wonderful blogger who covers any and every subject to do with adoption. A couple weeks ago I entered one of her giveaways and won! Here's the prize:
The FOUNDATIONS Necklace
As a thank you I'm giving a little shout out for her business, The R House Couture:


Thanks, Mrs. R! I simply adore my necklace.

Don't forget to enter my current giveaway HERE!

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07 April 2011

"Growing Up Black In White" Giveaway

My first giveaway! You have no idea how excited I am about this.

I received a comment on my post "Transracial Adoption Video - My Thoughts". The comment reads,
"Great to see you tackling some difficult subjects. I am a tranracial adoptee, author, and speaker and encourage TRA families to talk about the tough stuff.
You can find out more about me and my book, GROWING UP BLACK IN WHITE, my memoir of my experience growing up as a transracial adoptee.
I also write a blog to adoptive and TRA families @ http://kevinhofmann.com"

I was immediately intrigued. I promised myself to find out more about this person and his work. What a treasure to learn about transracial parenting from someone who had been transracially parented!

From amazon.com:
"Growing Up Black in White is author Kevin Hofmann's gift to the American public seeking answers to so many questions about what it is to be raised in a racially diverse household. Born to a white mother and black father in Detroit in 1967, only weeks before the terrible race riots that brought a major city to its knees, the author was taken to a foster home and then adopted by a white minister and his wife, already the parents of three biological children. In this fascinating memoir, Hofmann reveals the difficulties and joys of being part of this family, particularly during a time and in a location where acceptance was tentative and emotions regarding race ran high and hot. Hofmann shares with readers the pressures and joys of being part of a family that navigated through tumultuous waters, and came out the victors in an old and oft-fought battle. This is a book that offers insight, humor, and plenty of hope. "

Mr. Kevin Hofmann also has a great blog transracial adoptive parents should read, share, and subscribe to: My Mind On Paper. Check it out.

On April 28, 2011, 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM, Mr. Kevin Hofmann is hosting a webinar titled "Transcultural X: The 10 Essentials For Successful Transcultural Adoption".
"One could argue that all adoptions are transcultural since simply coming from one family environment to other is a journey from one culture to another. With that in mind it is important we understand the dynamics of transcultural adoption.
In this lecture/ open discussion workshop you will learn the 10 things all transcultural parents and professionals should know about adopting transculturally. Some of the topics we will discuss are: Preparing for the “unprepareable,” Designing a CCP(cultural connection plan), and Love ain’t gonna keep you dry. Join Kevin for some laughs and maybe some tears, as we explore how to get this thing done right.
The workshop will be a combination of lecture, open discussion and group exercises as he shares from his own experiences as a transracial adoptee as well as from the experiences of other transcultural adoptees and families he’s worked with. Kevin will also candidly share what his parents did right, what they should have addressed, and what they could have done better. Each participant will leave the workshop with a list of ten topics that they can concentrate on to help meet the needs of their clients or their own transcultural children."

Anyone can log on and be a part of this webinar via the internet. Learn more about it HERE or HERE.

Mr. Kevin Hofmann has agreed to give a copy of his book, "Growing Up Black In White" to the winner of this giveaway! The winner has two options: (1)receive a copy signed by Mr. Hoffman from me or (2) receive a personalized and signed copy from Mr. Hofmann!
I will admit, I have not read this book, but not because I haven't taken the time. I just learned about it yesterday and haven't gotten my hands on it yet! So I cannot review it for you, but I can tell you it's gotten great reviews on every website I've seen that carries it. I have read an except Mr. Hofmann posted on his blog and liked what I read. I will be reading and reviewing the entire book oh so soon!

If you wanna enter this giveaway, here's what ya do:

-leave a comment on this post briefly sharing how transracial adoption affects your life (i.e. my niece is transracially adopted)
-put your email address at the end of your comment so I can contact you should you win.
That's it!

Chances for extra entries:

-you will receive an extra entry for every time you have previously commented on I Am A Black Mother IF you comment on this post
-follow I Am A Black Mother (if you were a follower previous to this giveaway you will receive two extra entries IF you comment on this post)
-subscribe to I Am A Black Mother and comment again telling me you did
-subscribe to My Mind On Paper and comment again telling me you did
-Facebook about this giveaway including link and share your FB name in your comment
-Tweet about this giveaway including link and share your Twitter ID in your comment
-blog about this giveaway including a link and leave a link to your post in your comment.

Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, April 13th at 11:59 PM MST. The winner will be announced and emailed by Friday, April 15th, and have three days to claim their prize. If after three days the winner has not claimed his or her prize a new winner will be selected.

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06 April 2011

Brown Ones

At the mall today a woman did a double take. Then she said, "Oh! At first I through she had a brown layer on under her pants and socks, but she's just a little brown one! Yes you are! You're just a little brown one! How fun. We don't get to see very many of you around here. Brown ones are so fun."

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05 April 2011

Three Little Piggies x2





Well the three little piggies didn't hold up so well. Her hair is long, but apparently not long enough to stay up in such large gathers of hair. It started coming out of the rubber bands (also due to the fact that I don't put them in very tight so they won't bother her too bad) so I split the piggies. Now there are six. I split them with more zigzag parts. The last picture shows her curiosity at what Momma was doing above her head. Cutie.

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04 April 2011

Three Little Piggies




I've been trying to do her hair every Saturday evening and hoping it stays in for a week. Sometimes the rubber bands pop and I have to replace them, but so far it's been holding a week. Every two weeks or so I give her hair a rest and just do headbands for a week. When I do her hair I try to move the parts around so her hair isn't always being pulled in one direction. This time I really changed up the parts. I left her little bangs because I love them so much, and gave her three little piggies, one in the middle, and two on the sides. The parts aren't perfect, but pretty good for them being on a wiggly little baby. Don't forget to use lots of coconut oil to protect the hair from the rubber bands even if the ones you use are not supposed to damage hair. (The brush in the background of the third pic is big brother's. He has to get his brush out when I'm doing sissy's hair.) She's still too young to sleep on her belly, so she has a bit of a bald patch on the back of her head. I let it be the back bottom part and left the hair underneath it loose. It'll be comfy for her when she sleeps, and it doesn't look bad either. Sometimes I put ballies or bows in the piggies if we're going somewhere.


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03 April 2011

NABSW


I am all about people standing up for what they believe in. When I am able to get past my shyness I do it too. The world would be a dull place if we all had the same convictions. There are very, very few subjects that I will not even consider listening to the opposite opinion on, ahem abortion ahem.
The National Association of Black Social Workers has a different opinion than mine on transracial adoption. Simply put, they do not like it. They do say this: "...transracial adoption of an African American child should only be considered after documented evidence of unsuccessful same race placements has been reviewed and supported by appropriate representatives of the African American", so I guess they're not totally against it. Just 99.9% or so.
I do not entirely disagree with their mission. Drawing from what I have read on their website I think they are a good organization that does good things. NABSW's mission statement reads, "The National Association of Black Social Workers, Inc., comprised of people of African ancestry, is committed to enhancing the quality of life and empowering people of African ancestry through advocacy, human services delivery, and research... NABSW’s vision is guided by the Principles of the Nguzo Saba, which are Unity, Self-determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith, and the Seven Cardinal Virtues of Ma’at, which are Right, Truth, Justice, Order, Reciprocity, Balance, and Harmony." I mean, who can argue with these values? Having grown up in the South where it is obvious that African American people have less opportunities I know that organizations like this are needed. For this I applaud them.
If the information they quote on their "Preserving Families" webpage is correct, and it seems to be, then I can understand their desire to intervene in transracial adoptions. There is too much information there to go over, but go have a read yourself when you have a few minutes. It seems to me that their basic goal is to strengthen black families across the nation so their children will not need to be placed in foster care or placed for adoption. I am all for strengthening families. In an ideal world no parents, black, white, or any other color, would be in the situation where they feel the need to place their child with another family for the best interest of the child. Sadly this would mean that others would never have the chance to become parents. It is one of the rare times we can be thankful we do not live in a perfect world.
What I disagree with is their opinion that a white family cannot properly raise a black child. Their definition of what constitutes a black child being raised properly is different than mine. Yes, it will be harder for my daughter to learn about her culture in our family than if she was raised in a black family, but that does not mean that her being raised in a white family is wrong. Just because something is more difficult it does not mean it is wrong. Yeah, she probably won't get the whole black culture experience, but we will do our darned best. It would be better as far as the child learning about his or her culture to be placed with a black family, but that is absolutely not the only thing that should be considered when deciding what is best for a child, and certainly not the most important thing.
I also disagree with their opinion that a black child would be better to be raised by a black family member than placed with a white family. My main basis for this opinion is the decision our birthmother made. Her sister who is black offered to raise Destiny, the birthfather's mother could have raised Destiny, and our birthmother still chose to place her daughter with a white family. She knew her sister. She knew her baby's grandmother. Other than the four page bio with pictures, she did not know us. (She requested a closed adoption.) Knowing what she knew she chose what she thought was best for her baby. She chose us. Were there an African American family available to adopt her baby she may have chosen to place her with them, but she had the option to specifically request an African American family and yet she did not. She was not given any incentives. She made this decision after considering all options.
I have felt others have a bit of anger and/or fear toward this group. I hope you take the time to explore their website to educate yourself well enough to make your own opinion. I am not even yet done doing this myself. When you do let me know what you think. Do you agree with my findings?

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02 April 2011

White Privilege, Revisited

A reader, who was also born and raised in the South, but does not have a transracial family, commented on my original "White Privilege" post via a link I posted on Facebook. The points she brought up made me realize that I did not explain myself as well as I hoped. Here's what she said:
"I don't know, [Peach], my Walmart has a whole aisle with both sides of the aisle filled with black care products and a section of lots of black skin make-up. My white child wore Scooby Doo, Transformers, Cars and neon colored bandaids. I see both sides of those debates. I think they look different depending on which race's perspective you choose to view it from (and maybe where you live). As a mother of a multirace family you probably look at both sides with a new sensitivity..."
I did mention make-up and band-aids. I got caught up in thinking about things that would affect my daughter growing up as a little girl and teenager. I meant to focus on adult white privilege more. I did post the link "50 Examples of White Privilege of Daily Life", but I should have pointed out a few things from that list. The author of the post that contains this list is not the original author of the list or the original author of the explanation that goes with the list, so I feel safe in bringing parts of it to my blog to share. The original author is Peggy McIntosh, and the list and comments quoted are from her essay "White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack". Peggy McIntosh observes,

"I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth... As a white person I realized I had been taught about racism as something which puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of it's corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at a disadvantage."

She also says, "I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets which I can count on cashing in every day, but about which I was 'meant' to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks. Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable."

She decides, "to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life... As far as I can see, my African-American co-workers, friends and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact...cannot count on most of these conditions."

"6. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization", I am shown that people of my color made it what it is." If you do not believe there are black people who helped form our nation see THIS POST, or THIS POST, or just plain look it up.

"7. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence to their race." For help with supplementing your children's American history lessons CLICK HERE.

"10. Whether I use checks, credit cards, or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability." Maybe not in every part of the country, but I know for a fact that this still happens today. If two people, one white and one black, identically dressed, tried to pay with a check, you can bet they would be treated, if not considered, differently.

"12. I can swear, dress in secondhand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty, or illiteracy of my race." I have seen this proven firsthand.

"14. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race." This one was an ah-ha moment for me. Never realized this act shows racism, but it totally does. I am guilty.

"16. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion." I never realized this one either. I always just assumed all black people liked to relate to their African heritage. Interesting.

"20. I can easily buy postcards, posters, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys, and children's magazines featuring people of my race." Key word here is "easily", as in as easily as white people can.

"21. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, out numbered, unheard, held at a distance, or feared." This brings to mind me being a little girl and hearing white adults judge black people, and never thinking about how black people knew these things were being said about them, and never thinking about how that made them feel.

Have any of the white privileges on her list touched you? If so, which number and why?

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01 April 2011

Look How Long!

Look how long her hair is getting! I'll be posting pictures of braids in no time. Babies grow up too dang fast - my big issue with how the world works.



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Nina Bonita


by Ana Maria Machado, illustrated by Rosana Faria, translated from Spanish by Elena Iribarren

I'm taking this one off my book list.
It's a beautifully illustrated book about a very dark black girl and a white bunny who falls in love with her skin color. The rabbit says that when he gets married he wants a daughter as black and pretty as she. Then he asks her a few times how her skin got so dark and pretty. Nina Bonita does not know the answer so she makes up something different each time he asks.
The two parts I don't like and are the reasons I'm taking the book off my book list are: (1) One of the things she tells the bunny is that she drank a lot of black coffee. So the bunny drinks so much that he can't sleep and "spent the whole night going to the bathroom", and the illustration shows him sitting on a kitchen counter looking miserable in a big puddle of pee. (2) Another thing she tells the bunny is that she ate lots of blackberries. So the bunny ate until he was so full he couldn't move, his belly hurt, and he "spent the whole night going to the bathroom". The illustration shows him laying in the street market where he bought the basket of berries with a scattering of bunny poo all around him.
In the end Nina Bonita's mother sets the bunny straight by telling him that she looks just like her "black grandmother". Nina Bonita's mother is also black, but she isn't as dark. So the bunny decided to look for a black bunny to marry, and he finds her, and they have lots and lots of babies that are different shades of white, gray, and black, and spotted, and one "very pretty bunny with very black fur". "Naturally Nina Bonita became the black bunny's godmother."

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