Category Archives: Adoptive Mom's Perspective

Honoring the Maternal Bonds of All Mothers

Mother’s Day. A day I share with millions of women all over the globe, although they may not be celebrating it. More  importantly I also share Mother’s Day with three other exceptionally special women I’ve never met. However, I know them quite well because they reside in and share my daily life.

These women and I hug in the mornings and evenings. And on the other days we’re together—“gifts” of extra time, like weekends and vacations, the hugs pile up into a yummy concoction of sweet feelings that last long after the physical closeness ceases.

These women engage me in wonderful, and often enlightening, conversation. They share their deepest wishes, wildest dreams, emotional injuries and profound pain, happiest moments, imaginative and silly stories, fantasized and real fears, and simple hopes.

We laugh together. We cry together. We learn together.

We love together.

We grow together.

These women, my children’s birth mothers, share the sacredness of their essence through their children. Through my children.

Through our children.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to my children’s birth mothers, from me. Our children think of you and we talk about you. They know, love and respect you. Our children are doing well. They are safe. They are thriving. They are loved beyond what words can express. We wish you health, love and happiness.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, China, Grief, Growing Tweens & Teens, Guatemala, Loss, The International Mom

Listen to Me!

Occasionally I do other activities besides mommying, writing and teaching. Sometimes I write and micro-publish an internationally selling book. Sometimes I get to speak and conduct workshops—about parenting, adoption and writing. Sometimes I’m invited to do radio or live streaming shows—about parenting or adoption. Sometimes my expertise is requested for national parenting publications or well-respected newspapers.

Sometimes I get to do something completely new and so special. Such is the case in a week and a half, when I’ll be reading one of my favorite personal essays in Listen To Your Mother—a show dedicated to mothers and motherhood. My whole crew will be in the looks-to-be-a-sold-out-audience to hear me and thirteen other remarkable women read.

I will be honored to share G’s story, not his story of course, because that is his to share, but the one of how we knew of him. He’s heard it, but not in this way. I hope this will be further affirmation for him… That he is where he is supposed to be. That he is indeed loved beyond what this fallible human mother can express. And that the fact that he was adopted, and the circumstances of his story, enriches this love. I hope he’ll really hear me and begin to understand the significance of what I will share.

Listen To Your Mother, a national series of live readings by local writers in ten cities across the U.S., kicked last night (Sunday, April 29th) with shows in Austin and Northwest Arkansas. Born of the creative work of mothers who publish online (and elsewhere, in my case…) each production is directed, produced and performed by local communities for local communities. I’m thrilled to be part of the Northwest Indiana cast.

From the Listen To Your Mother Northwest Indiana site:

Listen To Your Mother is…

“Vulnerable and beautiful stories about mothers and motherhood shared from unique and powerful perspectives.”– Judy Miller

It was the night of our first cast reading. We gathered together in an art room in the back of rTrail Collective Edge in downtown Valparaiso. Brenda had planned an awesome spread from Meditrina Market Cafe, and wine, which really helped any jitters and nerves we all had; most of the cast was meeting for the first time.

We put our chairs in a circle and read, and there were laughs… oh, were there laughs. And there was quiet and awe. There were tears and understanding, and it was magnificent.

“What an incredible and diverse group of women, each with a unique story to share!” – Carrie Steinweg

“With every reading, I was captivated from start to finish.” – Julia Huisman

 “Listening to each person…we were all mothers or daughters…different times and different lives…laughing and crying.  Different, yet all the same. ” – Alice Harrington

If you are in the region I hope you will consider joining us at the historical Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso, IN on Thursday May 10th at 7PM and be a part of one very spectacular and unforgettable evening. At this posting there are still some tickets available for our show.

Part of LTYM’s mission is for each show to contribute financially to non-profit organizations supporting families in need.  This year LTYM: Northwest Indiana is proud to give 10% of our ticket proceeds to The Caring Place, a service and shelter for families and victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Through education and awareness, The Caring Place hopes to empower all members of the Northwest Indiana community to live in peace.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Claiming, Epiphiany, Events, Guatemala, Multicultural Families, Parenting, The International Mom, Writing

Reflecting on Trayvon and My Son

Not all families look alike, nor are they created in the same way. This is true of mine, and although I am always aware that my family doesn’t match, and that my kids are at risk for prejudice and racism, the murder of 17-year-old hoodie-wearing Trayvon Martin, shot and killed by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman (Hispanic) on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, FL, on his way to visit his father in a gated community from the 7-Eleven, armed with only Skittles and ice-tea, hit close to the bone. Trayvon was black.

The tragedy begs that I reflect deeply on the prejudice and racism that contributed to horrific event, and what these factors, as they stand now, portend for my children in the future. I attempt to assess how my Hispanic son will be seen by others, perhaps looking suspicious, as Zimmermann stated about Trayvon, because the assumptions may be that he does not “belong” where he lives. Or works. Or plays. All because of the color of his skin and the ethnic features that scream his heritage.

Raised by white parents, our son reflects our values and attitudes. He has also acquired a case of “white privilege,” courtesy of us.  He is comfortable being anywhere, among anyone, and that could be a detriment in the future when he is in the company of others who are not comfortable with him, because he is a teenager or a young man or a man who exudes confidence. And he is Hispanic.

Adolescent boys are targets for law enforcement. Add in some color and they become a bigger target. I was taught by my parents that the police are my friends and protectors; Hispanic and Black parents teach their kids to fear them, and often for good reason. Look around you. Observe who’s pulled over in the communities in which you drive through…

How do we “hammer” it home to our son about how he is viewed outside of his safe and loving family and circle of supportive friends? How do we, with our “white privilege,” help our son who has absorbed it, understand the seriousness of being treated a certain way by people because of his appearance? How do we teach him to “take it,” while also standing up for himself?  You see, we can talk the talk, however we can’t walk the walk… We are not of his race or ethnicity, and so we rely on others—peers, role models and professionals of his race and ethnicity.  Will it be enough? I pray daily that it will be.

Trayvon’s murder is a senseless tragedy.  As a parent and a human being I hope you are sickened by what has happened and are watching the events as they continue to unfold. I hope you use his murder as a springboard for discussions with your children.

There was no need for Trayvon to die. This sad truth has brought the ugly national history of race and racism into the spotlight. As humans we need to address these wounds; we need to talk about race and racism. We need to cry, together. We need to pray for Trayvon, his family, friends, and for the countless others who believe and act in such ways because they are ignorant, fearful and weak. We need to work towards healing, and that begins with all of us.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Growing Tweens & Teens, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, Multiracial Families, Racial Identity, The International Mom