Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
Baby's First Easter
Baby's First Halloween
Baby New Year
Baby's First Birthday
I was told once that when your children are young- the days go by so slow, but the years go by so fast. I think about this phrase often as I have struggled and celebrated with my children these past few years. I cannot believe that in two weeks, I will no longer have a baby. I LOVED having a baby of my very own, and tried to never take one day of it for granted. That baby is gone now and been replaced with this climbing, crying, trouble-making two year old. But despite the long days of dealing with a toddler, there are so many moments where Vivi just captures my heart. We have a bedtime routine now where I put her to bed before Isaac and I read and sing to her. She requests songs in her tiny baby voice "twinkle", "bridge", then she holds up her feet and says "piggies" and I do the piggy toe rhyme. She aks for her Barneys and snuggles in for the night, saying "yuv you, Mommy." During the day, she has gotten into the habit of saying "mommy mommy mommy" when she wants her songs on the radio or a snack, or anything really. Just a dozen "mommy's" over and over again because I guess I am the source of ALL things! She is my little doll and precious, precious to me-even putting a smile on my face sometimes when she is in the throws of a fit.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
First, you will want to read Part 1.
I have a disclaimer that I want to start out by addressing. For us, adopting transracially was not something we set out to do. We opened our home to any child God had for us. And, thankful as we are, this happened to be what His plan was for our family. I have talked to other white parents raising African American children and what we all have in common is having to face the fact that even though there is a whole group of people who are against Transracial adoption, there is a whole other group who see it as almost "trendy" and "hip". Not sure if certain celebrities have been the cause of this, but I will say this is something I find myself uncomfortable with. Ya'll remember when toy breed puppies that you could carry in a handbag became really popular and everyone rushed out to get one. Well, children are not a breed of dog- and they are not a possession to covet. If I had a dollar for every time I have had someone say to me "I've always wanted to have a black baby!" I would have enough money to pay for our next adoption. Seriously. All I have to say about this is please, please check your motives in this. Adoption is not a trend, it is a way that God builds families, just like birth. And our choice to be a Transracial family was not a political statement we were trying to make of racial unity or a "novelty". This is our child.
There are LOTS of children that need forever homes, all I am stating is why should race be a factor at all?
So now that I have cleared the air with that!
I really believe that the challenges of adopting transracially have a lot more to do with society's views on it- then the actual effect it will have on the child. Caucasian people often have the belief that African American people make too much out of racism. That they often "look" for racism around every corner. I challenge this viewpoint with the fact that as white people living in America, we have NO idea what racism feels like or looks like, except from an outsider looking in. We can read accounts of it, hear about racist acts on the news and in history books- but to live it, is a whole other world.
Adoptive Families magazine did an article on "Facing Prejudice" in their Nov. 1994 issue. In that article, it states that most white parents wait until the first injury occurs before talking with their child about racism, but that most African-American families, along with other non-white races, warn their children about the cruelties of racism long before they encounter it. Why? Because you do not want your child to internalize these acts or taunts and feel that it is about them. The reality of it is that prejudice is about the person perpetrating it, their ignorance, their biases, even their hatred- not the person who receives it.
The article goes on to tell parents to teach their child a way to handle it, not to ignore it. They must be empowered to be able to say something, or even stare back at someone who is trying to intimidate by staring. If we teach our children to take charge of the situation, then we give them their power back that was so selfishly taken by the taunter. The old adage of "ignore it" when faced with a bully of any kind, just isn't the right advice. Ignoring things does not make them go away. And finally, if your child faces racism from an adult- it is your job as the parent to handle that.
A great resource for Transracial families is Pact, An Adoption Alliance.
They have an article called "Building Racial Identity", by Beth Hall. I was so pleased to see on their Strategy list, that we have implemented so many of these in our daily life. Here are some of those:
-When choosing professionals, allow race to be a factor in your choice. (Isaac's 1st Dr. was Afr. American. as well as his current Dentist) This helps to counterbalance some of society's negative stereotypes, and show them that those of their same race CAN have successful professions.
-Drive a few extra miles if needed to shopping places, movie theaters, libraries, parks, etc. where there are lots of people of varying colors. (We do this often, even driving further to eat at McDonalds. We also just purchased a year pass to the Dallas Zoo, located in a very diverse part of town).
-Groom your child so they look good all the time. Because they are a part of our families, they may be more critically judged by their own racial group. The article says, "African American hair should be oiled, combed, done up (girls) and well 'coifed', Latina girls often wear pierced ears from infancy...these physical manifestations not only become vehicles of good self esteem, but also provide connecting links between them and others of their race." (I am careful to make sure Isaac gets his hair cut by African American stylists, who know how to 'edge' it; has nicely hydrated skin, as well as the fact that we pierced Vivi's ears at the age of one. I always make sure her hair is done when we leave the house. We also chose names for them that we felt fit their racial identity).
-Expose your child early and often to the history of "their" people. Don't shy away from negative aspects of the history, for they need to understand the whole truth. Also let them hear these stories from people of their own race so they can understand the pride and importance of shared history and experience. (We have been to read-ins, done by black males and females sometimes dressed in traditional African apparel at the library during Black History month, attend parades and celebrations every year that are important to African American heritage, and plan to involve him in sports that are typically played by African American males- so he will be in touch with his peer group as he grows).
-Help your child master skills and experience personal success and accomplishment to help balance out society's often lowered and negative expectations. (We enroll Isaac in one activity every semester and varying Bible classes throughout the year: i.e. Awana, VBS- to help him experience little successes.)
Isaac is the one in the headband.
-Strengthen their sense of family identity and unity to help them manage the challenges of Transracial Adoption. Develop and reinforce family rituals and traditions, giving a strong sense of family membership. Little things you do often will ensure that we all feel like fully entitled members of our families. ( We eat dinner together every night, we visit the library every week, I have specific and repetitive traditions on every major and some minor holidays, we visit farmer's markets in the summer, and we celebrate their unique adoption day every year with cake, presents, and a fun family outing.)
Right now Isaac is at an age where he doesn't understand what adoption means because he doesn't get where babies come from, but we have lots of books that talk about adoption. We also have lots of books that show characters of all different races. He knows his skin is a different shade then lots of people he knows, and that his race is called African American, but he doesn't get why yet. We will continue to have these conversations with him as he grows.
I firmly believe that if God gives you a challenge, and we all know parenting is a BIG challenge- that He will equip you with the tools you need to do your best, if you seek out those resources. We continue to educate ourselves on these things, knowing that what we do now will need to change and grow with our children. We cannot protect them from what they may face in the world, and shouldn't if we could. Their unique struggles will help to build character and resilience in them. It is our job as parents to be a soft place for them to fall, an ear to listen, and a word of advice and instruction.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Fajitas and pizza.... two of my favorite meals combined!! Heaven.
Do not even think about sharing this little guy. He is ALL yours!
Okay so, when we have it on hand which is not for long after I go to the store,
we limit ourselves to only one soda a day max...
Cherry Coke Zero
And here is my indulgence...
What is the DEAL with this popcorn?!!
Monday, February 23, 2009
When the subject of adopting outside our race comes up, it is interesting to me the typical reaction people give. Most people seem to have no problem with white parents raising an Asian or Russian child adopted overseas, or a Hispanic or Native American child adopted right here in the U.S. But for some reason, when the topic of white parents adopting an African American child comes up- that is when the opinions fly. It is the common consensus that Caucasian parents cannot bring up an African American child to understand and appreciate their culture, or to understand racism. Therefor, it is unfair to even try. Somehow, as a society we think it is easier for people to learn about the Chinese culture, Mexican culture, or varying other ethnic traditions and backgrounds- and to incorporate them into their adopted child's upbringing- but not so with the African American culture.
I have to wonder if this is less a concern for our children being raised by white parents, and more of a bias toward this particular race- that of course one would never want to admit. It is important, however that we explore this as a family and with our children. It has come up, it will come up, and dealing with it head on seems to be the best choice.
When Billy and I spoke at our adoption agency about Transracial adoption, we knew we were speaking to 90% of couples that had already made up their minds that they wanted a white baby. I talked about how most couples go into adoption opposed to adopting an African American or biracial child, for 3 main reasons. These reasons are:
1) You don't want it to be so obvious that you adopted. No one wants a scarlet letter "I" stamped on their forehead announcing to the world they are infertile.
2) You have family members that would not be okay with this family dynamic
3) You wouldn't know a thing about how to do their hair, take care of their skin, and all the other areas of importance in raising a black child.
Are these valid reasons for turning away a child? And one has to ask themselves, if everyone felt this way, what would happen to these children? Where would they go? Because there simply are not enough African American adoptive parents available.
Can you not help educate your family members who are still living in the 1960's? Can you not learn how to care for your child's unique needs? We all have to learn how to care for a newborn from someone...how is this different?
The fact is, it is just easier to adopt within your race.
But who said God wanted us to take the easy route?
This is the question we wrestled with, and well...God won. Once He opened our hearts to stop the craziness that is trying to conceive, and began to open the door for us to adopt- He also worked in our hearts to kneel before him and open our arms to whatever child He had chosen. And boy, oh boy, did He pick a child for us! You can read that story HERE.
And the blessings of raising this boy have just overflowed.
The challenges, we know, lay ahead of us.
And this is what I will specifically explore in my next blogpost on this topic, so stay tuned!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Little Miss Valentine
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
**Here is the March issue!!
If you subscribe by March 2nd- it will begin with this issue!
Monday, February 16, 2009
The good news is I have an interview this Wed. for a substitute position and a permanent position in the fall at a new school. The application required I write my testimony, church history and involvement, and how I would share the gospel with a child. This is a far cry from my experience in getting hired at the current school.
So I take my heavy heart tonight to the feet of my Savior, knowing that only He can restore peace within my soul and comfort me in my grief. No matter how I am treated in this world, He endured far worse and He knows and understands all of my discomfort. Regardless of what man may do or say in regards to my reputation, Jesus stands at the throne of God as my Defender. I stand faultless and blameless because of the price He paid. And my treasures are not of this earth. If God is for me, who can be against me?
"When you have decided what you believe, what you feel must be done, have the courage to stand alone and be counted." -Eleanor Roosevelt
"Never 'for the sake of peace and quiet' deny your own experience or convictions." -Dag Hammarskjold
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Last night I went to bed at 8:30 because I was so exhausted. That means I didn't get to see any of my favorite show Brothers and Sisters. I just could not stay awake, it felt like torture. And because of my insomnia, once I get woken up- getting back to sleep is next to impossible. So here I am at 5:00 a.m.- I organized some stuff in my closet, checked my email and am angrily blogging as she wails away. Every time I go to the pediatrician I ask about her horrible sleep and they have no suggestions, just siting that she has always been like this. Thanks alot, Doc.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Here are some pics from Valentine's Day last year:
They both have these little red backpacks that I hook onto their chairs. Today they will wake from their naps to find them, since I want Billy to be here.
Isaac always gets a tiny box of chocolates.
Friday, February 13, 2009
These DVD's we will be getting from Netflix in the coming weeks.
I bought her this book.