Category Archives: Adopted Teens

When Hate Hits

I really didn’t think I would be so deeply affected; after all we discuss bias, stereotyping, prejudice, and racism fairly often in this family. I also teach a class on transracial parenting to waiting and adoptive parents several times each month. A large section of that class addresses the position from which white parents parent—that of “whiteness,” of privilege, of having little to no life experience of overt racism directed their way.

Mark and I scheduled an early “date night” out. More of an educational evening for transracial parents, if you will… We planned on attending the workshop “When Hate Hits You: Dealing with Anti-Asian Sentiment,” put on by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), “the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in theUnited States.  The JACL monitors and responds to issues that enhance or threaten the civil and human rights of all Americans and implements strategies to effect positive social change, particularly to the Asian Pacific American community.”

The workshop began with a brief overview of the Asian American history. I recalled much of the history, having studied it in high school and college. Although I had been bothered about what had happened, I was removed from the events. Now, years later, I sat with my husband revisiting this history from a different perspective—that of a parent of Asian daughters.  

The material in the PowerPoint presentation was not what I would describe as graphic, but the images, words and stories that were shared were powerful, eliciting alarm from me. Tears followed and I struggled to swallow them in the room full of mostly Asian adults. I was choking down the hot paralyzing fear I had for my daughters.

It was pointed out that recessions and economic turndowns are often the catalysts that cause people to scapegoat others. People find themselves unemployed and they look for someone to blame. Such was the case of Vincent Chin, a watershed case for the Asian American community. We are witnessing this again, with the push for sweeping illegal immigration reform, primarily targeted at Hispanics (the race profile that encompasses my youngest).

Even though I have been educating my kids about bias, stereotyping, prejudice, and racism, preparing them for the injuries that will likely happen, I can not control what and when the incident(s) will happen. The workshop also underscored that I have a great deal more educating to do with my kids and with the parents I work with. 

I liken arming your child to deal with racism to preparing them to drive. You send your child to drivers ed and you also spend countless hours with them, talking about the myriad of responsibilities related to driving. But, don’t forget; there’s “the other guy.” The unknown person and you never know where he’s going to come from, if he will cross the center line or run a red light and crash into your child, harming them, or worse. We parents need to keep talking about that “other guy.” …And praying he never shows up.

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Filed under Adopted Teens, Adoption Issues, Growing Tweens & Teens, Identity, Multiracial Families, Politics, Racial Identity, The International Mom

On the Radio!

Join me for another “first.” On Monday, January 31st, I will be the guest on TogiNet Radio’s Adoption ~ Journey to Motherhood, hosted by Mary Beth Wells. The show covers topics and issues relevant to adoption: adoptive parents, birth parents, those who have been adopted, foster care, and perhaps for many, infertility. I’m going to talk about the classes I teach and adoptive parent advocacy.

Recently Adoption ~ Journey to Motherhood has showcased open adoption and out-going international adoption (children born in the U.S. adopted by European parents), coping with severe illnesses in children who have been adopted, birth mothers’ stories of relinquishment, and adoption when the child has been abused.

The half-hour show begins at 9:30 AM EST. You can be part of this interactive show by calling in with questions, toll-free, at 877-864-4869. I hope you will tune in!

TogiNet.com is the premiere on-line talk radio production company in the industry, committed to providing excellence in live show production quality podcasts and re-podcast accessibility.  The company’s brick and mortar studio is based in Tyler, TX where the company’s full production staff works to create customized interfaces, live commercials and CD quality sound for over 70 talk radio hosts, in varying genres.  TogiNet Entertainment offers quality shows for serious hosts.

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Filed under Adopted Teens, Adoption, Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Classes with Judy, Growing Tweens & Teens, Multicultural Families, Parenting, Parenting Your Adopted Child, The International Mom

A Year of Milestones

Sometimes, when I can sit and think about what really is happening among my kids, I have an “Oh, wow!” moment. For me this often rivals an Oprah “Aha!”

2011 is weeks old and promises to be full of milestones:

  •  Holden turns eighteen and heads off to college.
  • Aubry begins her second “cycle of twelve,” the second of five that comprises the sixty-year Chinese zodiac cycle.
  • Greyson enters the double digits.

And Josi, well, she turns into a teen. Thirteen… In Chinese culture thirteen is considered a lucky number because it sounds very much like the word that means “definitely living.” So what else does turning thirteen signify? 

  • Crossing the threshold into adolescence and has moved into the first of the eight years that will complete the second decade of her life.
  • Becoming a member of our church.
  • Peer friendships have become more important.
  • Becoming more interested in Chinese heritage and history, what it means to be Chinese and to have been adopted.
  • Consciously and unconsciously searching for and discovering who she is (identity), what kind of values she will embrace and what compass she will follow.

Gosh, wasn’t it just yesterday that my nine-month old daughter was yelling at the top of her lungs in the Victory Hotel in Guangzhou, China, attempting to draw everyone’s attention as she stood all by herself (again and again and again)?

For those of you who are expecting or have young children, enjoy. Occasionally try to step back from the stress, business and that that needs “doing.” Revel in the gifts that your children are. Heed to the idiom, “Time flies!”

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Filed under Adopted Teens, Adoption Issues, Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Growing Tweens & Teens, Identity, Rite of Passage, The International Mom