Category Archives: Claiming

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

Regarding The “Hottest”: An Open Letter to the Famous People

Dear Hollywood Celebrities and Wannabees,

I’ve recently been interviewed for several magazines (Parenting and the online SheKnows) about a few different parenting topics, appearing in May and March respectively. A writer myself, I checked out the writers interviewing me. In doing so I discovered they’re well-vetted. I also learned something else in my writers’ research, that I inadvertently gave my sons “Pottery Barn” names. $#&+!

Apparently Pottery Barn names are some of the “hottest” around. Not such hot news for a mom who strove to have kids with different monikers, especially with the surname of Miller attached.  I have a thing about not being like everyone else. I like to buck the trends, or, apparently, in this case, lead it.

Pottery Barn Kids (launched in January, 1999) didn’t exist when Holden was born or when we selected the name Greyson (decided upon and “waiting” for him for the eight years before he was born). I combed both of the Pottery Barn inventories; fortunately my girls haven’t made the “hottest” list, although in 2010 Aubrey (different spelling) moved up to 44th in the 100 most popular baby girls’ names.

I know, I know. Names aren’t typically trademarked; well, unless you’re Beyoncé and Jay-Z. If I were a Pottery Barn consumer, I would boycott. But I’m not, so I’ll just vent.

Quick, famous people; keep your baby bumps a-coming and create a few more fascinating and unusual names that will boot my boys’ and keep my girls’ names off the “hottie” list.

Please and thank you,

The International Mom

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Claiming, Family, Multicultural Families, The International Mom, Writing

From the Inside Out

I’m not a big shopper. I find it endlessly tiresome and frustrating, preferring to binge-shop with my lists of needed items in hand (after taking inventory) to alleviate multiple trips. Or shop online. I did roughly 90% of my 2011 holiday shopping online. I can do it efficiently and be cost-effective.

I’ve found venturing out to shop the after-the-season sales and clearance racks, in hopes that the clothing will “fit” the following year, to be extremely worthwhile. Well, that is until one of our kids hits The Major Growth Spurt; then I’m doing all I can to keep that child clothed.

Shopping for clothes becomes more challenging as the child enters teenagedom and has interesting perspectives about what looks good or appropriate. Six-inch platform stilettos, paired with a skirt that comes to just under the bucket and the half-inch-thick padded bra advertising young breasts above the low neckline, communicating, “I want to be more—older, experienced—than I am. Look at me!” on a tween or teenage girl screams a troubling and potentially dangerous message. Pants that hang and are belted below the bucket do not fit, look ridiculously stupid, can be hazardous to walk in, or embarrassing when pooling around the ankles in a mishap, say while going through airport security.

I worry about who kids want to emulate. I’m not raising Barbie dolls, streetwalkers, gangsters, or sheep. I will listen and consider, but have final say-so. Fortunately the big guy and I are on the same page. We hold the purse. We are the parents.

A began her growth spurt, therefore extremely difficult to fit.  J needed a few more options for school. So, we went shopping at the mall right after it opened to avoid the crowds. All six of us. Not so easy, especially with opinionated teens.

Store after store, no luck. What H or Mom liked, J or A didn’t. What J liked, Mom didn’t. G? He was like the orbiting sun, happy to be along on this fascinating family adventure.

J wanted to try on those shoes because she wanted to see what they felt like. And I asked her if it was worth chancing turning or braking an ankle and being out for the season. “No!” she said.

However, A slipped into a pair while I was talking to J. “Mom, you’re so short!” My twelve-year-old daughter shared as she towered over me, laughing.

We left and kept moving through the mall. At H’s urging we entered the inner sanctum of the dimly-lit-heavily-atomized-every-five-minutes-store, the one with the loud, pounding music and gargantuan photos that have been relegated to behind the counters because parents of kids wanted the soft-porn images taken out of the store windows. We kept the kids away from the counters…

Mark had been quiet. But I wasn’t worried because I knew he’d come through, and he did. In the back of the store stood my husband with A. Our daughter was wearing a very age-appropriate item of clothing that fit her well, with a little room to grow into.

A was beaming up at her dad. I could hear him tell her about respecting herself; that she was beautiful inside and out, and only becoming more so. What she had on was respectful to her body. He went on, explaining how nice she looked in it and gave her ideas on how to wear it and what to accessorize it with. And I cried because it was a special father-daughter moment not to be intruded on and my daughter was shining form the inside out as she basked in the attention and love of her father.

I’m going to encourage Mark to do more shopping with our daughters. He relates beautifully and compassionately with the girls. His male and father perspective can help to instill and reinforce their self-awareness and esteem as they grow into women.

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Filed under Adoption, Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Claiming, Family, Growing Tweens & Teens, The International Mom