File under “kairos moment”

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My 6-year-old can be quite challenging. In his best moments, we can butt heads. When he hasn’t had enough sleep/food/connection, we seem capable only of argument. This morning I was sure was going to feature the latter: he’d had a hard time falling asleep the night before (when I checked on him at 10:15, he stared at me, undoubtedly waiting for me to explode…which I did), he hadn’t had breakfast yet, and we needed to leave for camp. He’d already declared he didn’t want to go because he hadn’t enjoyed it the day before. After a nonsensical conversation about why he had to go today (“I think you have artistic talent and this will give you more ideas about what to create. And we’ve paid for the week, so you’re going.” “I want a different answer!” “I don’t have a different answer.” “Why not?!” Sigh…), I told him we were leaving in 20 minutes and left him in his room to get dressed. I fully expected he would not be ready in the allotted time, especially when we had another nonsensical conversation once he came downstairs: “Ok, buddy, you’ve got about nine minutes to eat before we need to go.” “Stop telling me the time!” “But you need to know how much time you have.” “But I don’t want to know the time!” Smh.

I was girding myself for a fight once he finished his breakfast, and then Lydia interrupted my mental prep: “You count, I hide,” and proceeded to fit herself under the folded over Bob stroller, pretty much disappearing. If I hadn’t seen her scrunch herself into the small space, I might have had a genuinely difficult time finding her–she hid herself really well. But I did, so I had to pretend. Dutifully, as she remained hidden, I counted to 10, and then proceeded to name all the places I was looking. “Is Lydia next to the couch? No… Is Lydia under the couch? No…” And then Teddy joined me. “Is Lydia in the closet? No… Is Lydia behind the chair? No…” And after a reasonable number of wrong guesses, we both turned toward the stroller, and Teddy feigned surprise as he looked at the floor, where his sister was gleefully covering her eyes. “There she is!” he exclaimed, and Lydia squealed and maneuvered back out of confinement. Teddy and I exchanged grins at the ridiculousness of preschool hide-n-seek, and he returned to eating his breakfast.

We enjoyed another couple rounds of play (with Lydia resuming her position under the stroller each time–if it worked the first time, why not try again…and again…and again?) while Teddy finished his oatmeal, and then we got our things together and left for camp.

So many mornings when my initial interaction with Teddy is less than agreeable, I have a hard time recovering. Today I didn’t let my frustration take the reigns. And today I got to enjoy watching him be a fun big brother.

And we even got to camp in time.

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The therapeutic art of making pasta from scratch

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It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon over Memorial Day Weekend. Out on the back patio, Mike is putting together a shed, and the kids, for once, are playing well together. Since Mike needs my help only sporadically, I pull my turquoise KitchenAid closer to the edge of the counter where it’s stored and attach the hook. I heft my five-pound bag of flour from its perch on the pantry shelf, sending a slight smattering of the white stuff into the air to land, invariably, on my shirt. For the millionth time, I make a mental note to get canisters. This will never happen: I oscillate between getting cheap ones off Amazon or splurging on good quality ones from a socially conscious organization–and never land anywhere, so do neither. And therefore dust myself with flour every time I bake.

I measure three and a half cups of whole wheat flour into the mixing bowl, add half a teaspoon of salt, and let the hook do its thing. As it works, I crack in four eggs, one at a time, watching flour and egg incorporate. I help the process along by pouring in a cup of water, and the mixture turns craggy before coming together in a cohesive, slightly sticky, whole. I sprinkle a baking dish with more flour, tear the dough into two parts, place them in the dish and cover it.

“Alexa,” I command, “set a timer for 20 minutes.” Time to let the dough rest.

The first time I made pasta was in someone else’s house. We were subletting an apartment while our house was being renovated, and our “landlord” also had a KitchenAid stand mixer as well as the pasta attachments I’d long coveted but always dismissed as too expensive. One afternoon while my eldest was at summer camp and my youngest was napping, I hauled out the box with the dough flattener and spaghetti and fettuccine cutters and got to work. I Googled “how to make fresh pasta” and found Mario Batali’s recipe, which instructed the would-be pasta maker to mound the flour on the counter, make a hole in the mound, crack four eggs into the hole, and slowly work the flour into the eggs. In theory, one should find oneself with a cohesive whole of pasta dough. I dutifully added the recommended the three tablespoons of water, but I could not get the dough to come together. Hoping I hadn’t just wasted four free range eggs and almost four cups of flour, I reasoned that dry dough needed more water, so I kept adding a bit at a time until it seemed right. Eventually I would learn this part of the process is way easier in the stand mixer and that the best recipe is actually the one in the KitchenAid recipe booklet.

I should pause and point out here that KitchenAid claims you can make pasta with their implements in an hour. Let’s just say that first time took me a bit longer than the promised 60 minutes. Because once the dough was formed and had rested for the requisite 20 minutes, I still had to portion it, flatten each portion and actually cut the pasta. I had watched a YouTube video on how to push the dough through the roller, and my dough looked nothing like the dough in the video. The dough the woman in the video was pressing through the roller looked, well, like I imagine sheets of fresh pasta would look before being cut. Mine? Looked like burlap. The woman in the video passed her dough through the roller maybe four times. That first attempt, I think my poor dough balls were shoved through a couple dozen times.

Fortunately, it doesn’t appear that you can  ruin pasta dough. Despite the excessive “kneading” — which is part of what the rolling out does — my pasta turned out fine, although I hadn’t yet learned to add flour as I went, so I spent a lot of time separating individual strands of fettuccine that were too sticky going through the cutter. But no matter, fresh pasta turned out to be vastly superior to its boxed cousin. It was so delicious, I determined to give it another try, although I decided to wait until a Saturday afternoon when Mike would be around to keep the kids occupied. I wasn’t going to press my luck that Lydia would nap for three hours (!!) again.

By the end of the summer–and the renovation — while I hadn’t reduced the time to the sought-after hour, I was hooked to the process. There’s something undeniably satisfying about making a staple from scratch, about working with your hands. I could’ve used the time to listen to podcasts, which I do enjoy, but I preferred to forego the distraction and simply focus on the dough and the machine, letting the whirring of the roller and the cutter be the soundtrack to my art. And converting flour, eggs and water into pile after pile of fresh pasta felt like a huge accomplishment, something I’ve found elusive as a SAHM. Not to mention that I was making restaurant-worthy meals for a fraction of the price. Since we don’t eat out much in this season of our lives, serving pasta made from scratch allows me to have a meal that feels special without the nuisance of dining out with littles.

When we moved back into our house, complete with brand new kitchen, I decided to finally splurge and purchase my own pasta attachments. It was close enough to our anniversary that I could call it a present, although I only needed to justify it to myself. Mike had seen how I’d benefitted from the hours in the kitchen, and deemed the “gift” cheaper than therapy. Now, whenever it’s been a tough week, or if I just need to accomplish something, I pull out the box of attachments and mix together some flour and eggs.

So on that holiday Sunday, the fourth day of a DCPS five-day weekend, as the kids happily entertain themselves with the box the shed came in, I contentedly coax one piece of dough after another through the roller and then the fettuccine cutter, sprinkling flour liberally over each pasta sheet, and then over each waterfall of cut pasta that I drop into the waiting pan to go into the freezer to set.

And 40 minutes later–yes, I finally got the process down to an hour — I have a freezer bag full of noodles and a refreshed spirit ready to engage with my kids for for the rest of the evening and another full day.

 

 

 

Don’t break the chain!

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Over the last few months, I have been learning that I’m a chain person: when trying to establish a new habit, once I’ve done it a few days in a row, I want to keep the chain going. Every X, whether mental or physically marked on a calendar, gives me a huge sense of accomplishment. (It also releases a shot of dopamine in your brain, so there’s science to back up this chain method. There are even apps to help you keep a virtual chain, since a calendar you can mark with a red sharpie is so last century, not to mention you’d need multiple calendars if you have more than one habit you’re trying to establish.) Evidently, Jerry Seinfeld used this method. The story goes, another comic asked Seinfeld’s advice about coming up with new material. Seinfeld advised the new comic to write one joke every day. Seinfeld said he did use a paper calendar, a large year-at-a-glance one. And for every day he wrote a joke, he marked an X on the calendar.

Of course, for this method to work, the daily habit has to be reasonable. Seinfeld didn’t advise the amateur to come up with a new set every day. And even if I successfully make pasta from scratch three days running, I’m unlikely to continue that chain, no matter the rush of feel-good hormones; that activity just takes too much time. And my 3-year-old likes to help, and I only have so much patience for that. Not to mention, I don’t have the space in my freezer for that much fettuccine.

In one episode of her podcast The Lazy Genius (highly recommend this podcast–especially the two episodes about creating routines), host Kendra talks about forming habits and recommends choosing something so small, you can’t possibly fail. Like writing one joke, if you want to do stand-up. Want to start doing yoga every morning? Pledge to do one down-dog. That’s it. Want to start meditating? Commit to one minute. Or if that even proves too long (because meditation is really hard and my mind wanders 400 times in one minute), maybe try 10 seconds. Anyone can focus on their breathing for 10 seconds. Take two deep intentional breaths. There. Done. And when you’ve got a chain going for that, after a few days, or even a few weeks, add to it. One down-dog and one butterfly stretch. Double the meditation to 20 seconds.

In my case, I realized I needed to get back into a regular exercise routine. Winter was…cold. So I didn’t run…at all…for several months. I just can’t run in single digits. Nor did I even do my beloved DVD workout. I just couldn’t be bothered. But at the end of April, I had just climbed our two flights of stairs and had to pause telling Mike a story because I was so out of breath. (This is always the key indicator for me that I’m out of shape. I should be able to get from ground floor to third floor without breathing hard. And I’m really in a good place if I can do that while carrying my daughter.) And my in-laws had just visited and we’d talked about our visit this summer. I want to not feel too self-conscious wearing a swimsuit (I don’t think it’s possible to avoid all self-consciousness).

So the first of May I determined to exercise for 10 minutes every day. Exercising just a couple days a week doesn’t work for me. I really need that chain effect. And as I’ve written about before, I can do anything for 10 minutes. (Except meditate, evidently. Gotta start with ten seconds, there.) Conveniently, the DVD has six 10-min workouts. I can do just one or I can do a couple. Often, I’ll get myself going by promising myself I only have to do one of those workouts but then I’ll tack on another one, because it’s only ten more minutes. But sometimes I really do quit after the first one. And that’s ok. If I’m exercising every day for ten minutes, that’s a great start.

I usually plan to exercise in the morning, since I find that’s a good way to start my day and then I’m done with my 10 (and often more) minutes and don’t have to think about how I’m going to work it in at some other point during the day. But some days, it’s just not possible, and if I didn’t have a chain going, I’d probably not bother. But I currently do have a chain going — a 19-day chain as I write this. So on Mother’s Day, when I read for an hour before church instead of getting in my workout (despite knowing we’d be out of the house all day hitting up my favorite crab shack, in Pope’s Creek, Maryland), I went for a 10 minute run that night after the kids were in bed, because I didn’t want to break my chain.

Hopefully this bodes well for achieving my summer goal of being able to fetch something quickly from our top-floor bedroom just as we’re leaving the house. And lounging happily by the pool at our Las Vegas resort.

My son competed in his first spelling bee

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When we first learned about the spelling bee, I was excited. Teddy is a great speller, and my parents were going to be in town, so they could come with Lydia and me to cheer him on. Teddy was decidedly less enthused. My mini me was wary of standing on stage and speaking into a microphone. I get it. In fact, in the face of just such a scenario when I was in sixth grade, I preferred to intentionally misspell a word (village — I dropped an ‘l’) during the class spelling bee to avoid the school wide affair, a story I actually shared with Teddy much to my husband’s chagrin. I wanted my kid to compete, but I totally understood if he wanted to opt out.

A list of 60 words came home, and we immediately ran through them. He spelled 57 of them correctly the first time. I put the words away, planning to quiz him periodically during the next couple weeks. Then, the day before the spelling bee, snow was forecast…and school was cancelled in advance. The bee was rescheduled for the following week. Another list of words came home (the same? not sure, actually; I didn’t compare them) and again we went through a few, although we didn’t get through all of them this time; Teddy got restless–and possibly bored. But…it turned out that the week of the rescheduled bee was also the week of testing for the upper grades, and those teachers resented giving up precious prep time to the bee. So the bee was rescheduled…indefinitely.

We forgot about it. I figured it wasn’t going to happen, and I didn’t think Teddy would mind.

Then, the second week of May, I got a text from Teddy’s teacher saying the bee was back on — that Friday. The afternoon of the spelling contest, Lydia and I and a handful of other parental cheerleaders sat in the cafeteria and watched each class’s star spellers file onto the stage. Teddy looked…enthusiastic? I was shocked. He sat quietly onstage with a dozen other kindergarten, first and second graders while the pronouncers settled in with their lists and microphones. He was speller number four in the first round. And his first word was “ship”. I smiled to myself, knowing he could spell that one in his sleep.

He strode to the microphone with a smile. (My kid? Comfortable on stage?) “Ship,” he said clearly in a strong voice: “S-h-i-p, ship”. Then he returned to his seat, his face neary split with his grin. I was baffled. Who was this kid who just stood onstage and spoke with such confidence to an audience? The same kid whose kindergarten teacher intentionally moved him to the back of the class to force him to speak up — to no avail? How could I replicate this at home?

The first round continued, eliminating a few kindergarten spellers. Round two brought “parents” — another easy word for my confident?? kid. Round three: “Awake.” No hesitation. Round four: “vacation.” Just before Teddy, another kindergartner had spelled “lotion” l-o-s-h-i-n, but my word nerd got the “tion” just fine.

It was about round five, when the first second grader misspelled a word, that it occurred to me that Teddy could actually win this thing. He hadn’t seemed baffled about any of his words, yet. And then in round 7, he got “bakery”. “b-a-k” he spelled, and then paused. And I held my breath. “e” he continued, and stopped again. I couldn’t decide whether it was better to stare at him for support or look away. But I couldn’t look away anyway. I was so tense! “r”. I was sending positive spelling vibes as hard as I knew how and doing my best to keep Lydia quiet, who, a half hour into the spelling, was hitting her wall. Finally, he finished the word: “y”, and I could let out my breath in a whoosh. And relax. And focus more on setting Lydia up with something entertaining.

And then the round was finished, and Teddy was one of two spellers (both boys) left on stage. And I just stared at him, thinking how proud I was that he got this far.

Teddy’s kindergarten teacher, who was MC’ing the whole thing, took a moment to explain the final round: if the first speller missed his word, the second speller would have a chance to correctly spell that same word. If he also missed it, both would remain in the competition and the first speller would get another word. Teddy was speller number two. The other contestant walked to the microphone. His word was “dishes.” He said, “d-i-s-h-s.” And my mouth dropped open. I couldn’t help it. Teddy was going to win. I knew he could spell dishes. And by the smile on his face, I could tell he knew it, too. Indeed, he practically skipped to the microphone. “Dishes. d-i-s-h-e-s. dishes.”

And that was it. He won the spelling bee for the lower grades. My child who loves language as much as I do, whose idea of fun is making up words that rhyme, who’s been asking me to read him road signs from the time he could talk, won his first spelling competition. I could not stop smiling. And neither could he. And his trophy. Oh my word, the thing was huge! He thought that was awesome. (He took great delight in attempting to hide it behind his back when Mike came home that evening.) And as if that wasn’t enough: the prize for first place? Nats tickets. Because obviously. How fitting is that. The only real question that remains: who gets to go with him? 😉

Self-care means I buy myself flowers so I don’t yell at my son

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I’ve been working through a parenting workbook created by Dr Laura Markham called Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. It promises to teach parents how to use “mindfulness and connection to raise resilient, joyful children and rediscover your love of parenting.” Let me tell you, it’s been a game changer. I’ve been a longtime subscriber of her e-newsletter and I’ve read her book, but her strategies have never worked for me. Until now. Somehow, the process of reading the content in conjunction with working through the exercises has acted as a sort of parenting coach, and I’m able to implement the tools she provides.

In April, Mike traveled more than usual, and the weekend before one four-day trip, I was feeling particularly anxious because I don’t do well alone with the kids multiple days in a row. (I’d never make it as a military spouse with my husband on deployment; well, I would, but I’d have to get help!) But I got prayer at church the morning before he left, and I made a plan to work through some of those workbook exercises every morning Mike was gone.

I’m happy to report, that first day was the beginning of a two-week streak of no yelling on my part. And I think a major component was the topic I happened to be working through that week: self-care. Dr Laura talks a lot about keeping your own tank full so that you can be compassionate toward your children. I’ve read about this concept several times in her e-newsletters, but in the workbook I had to write down what self-care would look like for me. And then I had to think through and write down what obstacles keep me from indulging in these practices. And then I had to make a plan to do them anyway. Another exercise encouraged me to set an alarm on my phone every hour to remind myself to check in and ask myself what I needed in that moment. I certainly didn’t do that every hour, but I did it more often than I ever do, and it helped me reset.

Recognizing and meeting my own needs is not easy for me — I’m a 9 on the enneagram; we are notoriously terrible at figuring out what we want in general, never mind deep soul stuff — but when I took the time to do so — and gave myself permission to splurge when what I needed required a purchase — I felt so much more in control of my reactions in –ahem — challenging situations. Instead of reacting in anger, I could take a moment to calm myself. And in that moment, often one of two things would happen: I’d either realize what was happening wasn’t that serious (so I’d keep myself from blowing up) or, if it was a big deal, a logical consequence would come to me (so I’d avoid declaring a consequence that did not match the crime, which I’d later have to either rescind or implement, neither of which are appealing).

Another shocker was how my calm had a knock-on effect with my son. He feels injustices intensely and reacts in ways I would consider out of proportion, but pointing that out in the moment obviously isn’t helpful. Typically, I get frustrated by what I perceive to be his unnecessary and drawn-out intensity and respond accordingly. But when I was able to maintain calm, I noticed he seemed to tap into that and his outbursts lessened in intensity and duration: win-win! I did so well all week that when Mike returned, I felt like I could’ve handled the weekend alone, too!

I’ve since relapsed a bit, but I’m still trying to be intentional about practicing self care. A few things I’m trying to make a habit of:

  • Buy flowers every week because looking at them on my counter makes me happy. I’ve never been one to splurge on a colorful bouquet because it seemed such a frivolous expense, but I’ve realized it’s worth it given how much joy I get from it.
  • Exercise at least 10 minutes every day.
  • Read my daily devotional.
  • Read a good book rather than scroll through social media feeds.
  • Wear rose scented perfume. In thinking about the things that make me happy, I realized that, while I love the smell of roses, I don’t have anything with that scent–no body lotion, body wash, perfume, nothing. Then, the week before Mother’s Day, the paper had an insert advertising perfume — one of which was Amazing Grace ballet rose by Philosophy. So I told Mike I was getting it for myself. And I’ve been enjoying it every day since.

White privilege and talking about racism

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A few weeks ago, I attended a seminar featuring a panel of adult transracial adoptees. Three of the four panelists led breakout sessions, and I chose the one who most resembled our experience: a black man who’d been adopted as a baby by white parents. He didn’t have an agenda for the session; rather, he opened it up, inviting us to ask him anything. I had so many questions, I didn’t know where to start, so I waited, content to eavesdrop on the rest of the room. During the course of the conversation, which is sort of what the session turned into, the adoptee’s wife offered her two cents. I don’t remember now what inspired her to contribute, but I’m still thinking about what she said. She was not adopted, she grew up in a black family, and she said one of the things that most shocked her when she was learning about her husband was how his family had never discussed racism when he was growing up. “We discussed racism every day,” she exclaimed, “because something happened every day to talk about.”

I immediately identified with the adoptee’s parents. We don’t discuss racism very often because we have reason to bring it up only when a racist incident the country has deemed particularly egregious fills our twitter feed. And then, we don’t always talk about it with our kids, with the perhaps misplaced intent of sheltering them. She pointed out that if something isn’t mentioned at home, kids won’t ask questions. If they hear about a topic at home, they’ll know it’s safe to talk about. It’s something we’ll need to be intentional about, since we don’t experience the everyday microaggressions so many black people endure.

  • I ask for the code to use the Starbucks bathroom and the barista gives it to me without batting an eye.
  • When grocery shopping with my 3-year-old, I sometimes grab a single serve snack, open it, and give it to her to munch on without ever fearing I’ll be accused of shoplifting.
  • I’m never assumed to be the nanny, despite that my children are a different race than me.

I know that is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what black Americans experience.

Later in the conversation, a white adoptive dad asked whether black people have an identity outside of oppression. He wanted to expose his kids to a positive identity and it seemed the African American sense of self was rooted in slavery and Jim Crow, and he wondered if he was missing something. He took a while to articulate his question, patching together his thoughts as he spoke them aloud, and when it was clear what he was asking, there was a beat of silence, and I waited for the explosion.

The adoptee and his wife offered examples, attempting to reiterate how oppression was so much a part of daily life, but all I could think was how the question had so much privilege behind it. We who haven’t experienced walking-while-black or driving-while-black or waiting-for-friends-while-black can look at the hundreds of years of oppression in African American history and dismiss it with a simple, well sure, but that’s not now. What do you have now? We want to tell our kids about the rainbows and butterflies. We don’t want to dwell on all that negative stuff.

When Mike and I took the kids to the opening weekend of the National Museum for African American History and Culture, as we walked through the lower floor exhibits, we had a chance to share some of that negative stuff with our kids. Standing in front of the gruesome picture of a slave ship, we tried to explain how Africans were taken from their villages and packed like sardines in the bottom of the ship to make an arduous trip across the Atlantic only to emerge as property expected to bend to their masters’ will. It was so disturbing to look at that picture. And then solemnly gazing at the auction block, we pictured kids taken from their parents, but had the privilege of deciding that story could wait another day since both kids were hitting their wall.

A week or so after the seminar, I was waiting with Lydia at the bus stop on the way to her preschool and an older black man who’d helped me lift the stroller onto the bus a few days previous greeted us. He told me he had a granddaughter a little older than Lydia. And then, gazing toward the past, he said, “They killed my grandson. He interned in the mayor’s office. They shot him nine times.” What words can you offer then but, “I’m so sorry.” And then — awkwardly, thankfully — the bus pulled up, and we got on and he of course was left with this tragedy invading his every day while I was just left saying prayers for his family and for my own son, that he wouldn’t meet the same fate, and wondering how to prepare my kids to face racism when I’ve never experienced it.

So far, our experience as a transracial family has been only positive. Our kids get attention from strangers because they’re adorable and delightful. But I know as they get older, that will change. Awareness is half the battle, so I’m thankful to have this brought to my attention now, so I can work on being more intentional.

 

 

 

The other question I get about adoption

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In recent weeks, I’ve been discussing adoption a lot. First was with a friend from church who is considering adoption with her husband and wanted to hear about our process. They have one child biologically and are ready to grow their family. Her main question is one that I always find difficult to answer–and only recently have I pinpointed why. She wanted to know what I wish I would’ve known at the beginning of the process. In the last six years, I’ve learned a lot. And much of that is stuff they don’t teach you in the adoption training process. But inherent in the question of what I wish I’d known is the assumption that I would’ve done things differently had I had at the beginning the knowledge I’ve gained over the years. And there’s nothing I’ve learned that would’ve (a) been a deal breaker for building our family through adoption or (b) prepared me for the issues unique to adoption that we would face. In fact, you can’t adequately prepare for raising adopted children. You just deal with what comes when it comes. Just like with bio kids. And that’s the insight I had recently: no one asks parents who birthed their own children what they wish they’d known. Because everyone understands that no knowledge could change the hardwired desire to have children.

Following that discussion, another friend from church asked to connect me to a couple who were considering adoption and wanted to hear about our experience. That conversation underscored my realization that what I provide people who are starting this journey is not so much advice but a sounding board, the listening ear of someone who has already done what they are considering. And resources. My prayer from the time we brought Teddy home has been that the Lord would provide the resources I need when I need them. And that prayer has already been answered many times. I’ve discovered a lot of valuable sources of information over the years that I’m always happy to pass along.

So during my most recent conversation, I did just that. I was at the playground after picking up Teddy from school and a pair of grandparents was there with their grandchild. The grandpa (“gaga”, as he was affectionately known by his grandchild) sat next to me and we exchanged pleasantries. When he noticed which children were calling me mom, he deduced adoption and proceeded to share that his daughter and son in law were embarking on that path. So as someone who’s been through it, I shared from my toolbox. And he took notes. And I felt helpful.

So I think the next time someone asks me if there’s anything I know now that I wish I’d known before we adopted, I’ll answer no, but that I’ve definitely learned a lot during the last six years.

This is a lifelong learning journey. And I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned with people along the way.

A few of my favorite resources:

  1. In Their Own Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption by Rhonda Roorda
    This is hands down my favorite resource. It offers valuable insight on how white parents can best parent black children.
  2. Adoption Learning Partners
    I’ve probably done a dozen webinars through this organization.
  3. Black friends. If you don’t have them, seek them out. If you do have them, strengthen and invest in those friendships.
  4. White friends who have also adopted black kids. Nothing quite like a friend who’s on the same journey you are whom you can text random stories and they get it. Even better, friends who are farther along in their journey whom you can ask advice.