City kids meet tourist season


Ahh it’s tourist season. That time of year when out-of-towners descend on my city in hordes to see all the same sites I now take my children to regularly. Before I had kids, I was unfazed by visitors. I accepted it as part of living in the capital city of my nation. In fact, I welcome the occasional opportunity to be a helpful local and point the lost in the right direction. But this season, I’m impacted by site-seers in a different way because Teddy and Lydia attract their attention (more so than usual).

We’ve worked hard to teach Teddy and Lydia street safety. They both love to run ahead and jump over “circles” (aka sewer covers and the like). We’ve taught Teddy to stop before the “bumps” (the textured material at intersections to assist blind people) and look for the “person” (silhouette) and accompanying numbers on the crosswalk sign before crossing the street (we’re still working with Lydia on this). He knows to stop at intersections (he knows numbers and a person means it’s ok to walk, but he also knows he has to hold our hand when we cross the street), and I let him run ahead, sometimes quite a ways. And Lydia knows to stop with him.

During the winter, Teddy can run ahead of me down the sidewalk and into the metro station by our house without holding my hand and won’t draw a glance from anyone. The majority of people out on the streets and in the metro are locals, focused on their commute. They aren’t paying any attention to a little kid zipping down the street. But tourists, they’re a different story. Their JOB is to look around! They may be on their way to something, but they’re constantly glancing about to locate landmarks and ensure they’re walking in the right direction. And they’re on vacation, so they’re not rushed (generally). So when  a young child comes careening toward them as they stand waiting for the light to change, they’re understandably a little nervous. They don’t know he knows to stop.

And when Teddy was younger, even when I would run after him, they wouldn’t always connect me to him. They’d see a little black boy running and a white woman behind him and wouldn’t assume I was with him. Instead they’d be quite concerned. I have heard so many people ask Teddy where his mother is! This doesn’t happen as frequently now that I’m pushing a stroller with another black child, although Lydia prefers walking around, too. She’s obviously not as fast as Teddy, so I have to stay behind with her while Teddy runs ahead.

One recent afternoon, the three of us were hanging out in a little green space in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue and the kids were terrorizing chasing the dozens of ducks trying to enjoy the greenery. I was keeping watch a few feet away, to make sure Lydia didn’t leave the area, when a middle aged man walked through the park, eyed Teddy and Lydia, didn’t seem to notice me, and instead gestured toward two black women dressed in business attire chatting on a bench, and asked if the kids were with them. They just looked baffled while I called out that they were with me and waved. 

Which is what I do every time. And that’s what I’ll keep doing every tourist season until the kids are big enough to run ahead without causing alarm. 


Coolax is the new Buddy


My kid is the king of random thoughts. Sometimes questions, sometimes statements, but always requiring a response. And always apropos of nothing.

“Air conditioner. What does conditioner mean?”

“Where is Heaven?”

“What’s at the center of the earth?”

“When is Mt St Helens going to erupt again?” (For several months, he was completely obsessed with all things volcanos. Over the holidays, Mike even found through social media a volcanologist to video chat with Teddy; he was engaged in the conversation for 45 minutes!)

“What killed the dinosaurs?”

Sometimes I have the answer; many times I’m formulating it as I’m giving it to him because it’s something that’s never occurred to me. I’m considering it on the spot.

As an adoptive mom, I also prepare myself to field the occasional (at this stage–research tells me more will be coming in the next couple years) question about his story. Again, sometimes I’m happy with my answer; sometimes I wish I’d had a little time to think about it.

But the other day, Teddy made a statement that didn’t faze me at all. It was actually one of those statements I could’ve taken personally and been offended by, but thanks to my own experience, I was able to take it in stride.

It was the 4th of July and we were enjoying dinner at our favorite BBQ restaurant with my parents and friends who were visiting from out of town, before heading to watch the fireworks. That morning, we’d spent outside watching the local neighborhood parade, so my homebody son was quite tired, having exceeded his daily quota of one outing for the day. He had achieved an awkward semi-reclined position, legs curled up on his chair, head lain across my lap. Apropos of nothing as usual, he declared, “Mommy, I don’t like my name.”

I betrayed no emotion. “Oh?” I simply said.

“My name is silly.”

My first reaction was actually excitement. “Well, the great part about your name is there are plenty of options for you. If you don’t like Teddy, you can go by Theo or Theodore or Ted, or even Billy or Will if you want to use your middle name.” Mike and I had been very intentional about this when choosing a name for our first child. Give our own common, simple names, we wanted a name for our eldest that was more unique and offered a few obvious nickname options.

This did not satisfy Teddy. “I don’t like any part of my name.”

Oh. Ok. But I still rolled with it. Because when I was a kid, I got sick of my name, too. I don’t remember how old I was–I think it was still single digits–but at some point, I decided I didn’t like Sara anymore. Maybe because it was/is so common. My parents insist they didn’t know anyone named Sara when they chose my name, which can only mean that all the Saras were born that day because I’ve know many my entire life, and in my sixth grade class of 30, there were six of us. Regardless, I was tired of my name. I wanted to be named Mindy. I think this might have been inspired by the board game Mork and Mindy, which we owned, because I don’t think we knew anyone named Mindy, but I decided that Mindy was a beautiful name. After harrassing my parents about it for months, my father had the genius idea to let me give Mindy a whirl. On my birthday, which happened to be a Saturday that year, he declared that the whole family was to call me Mindy all day. Anyone who forgot and called me by my given name owed me a nickel. (My older brother had to give me a penny. He was quite annoyed by even that.) I remember little of the day’s activities– we did make a family trip to the library– but I strongly remember two distinct details: my dad excelled at this game; and by the end of the day, I *hated* the name Mindy. (I don’t anymore, which is good, since I have a dear friend named Mindi.)

So when Teddy said he thought his name was silly and wanted to change it, I wasn’t fazed at all. I simply replied, “Huh. What would you like to be called instead?”

He clearly was not prepared for that response. He looked at me the way I looked at my parents when they said, of course you can change your favorite color! Really? That’s allowed? Obviously I had no intention of actually changing Teddy’s name, but I had no problem calling him a nickname of his choice for a while. But he didn’t not have a ready answer. So I told him to think about it and let me know when he’d come up with something.

A couple days later, I reminded Teddy about his name angst and asked if he’d given it any thought. He, Mike and my mom were playing tabletop crossword (Scrabble without the board) when Mike, out of ideas for his letters, asked jokingly if he could add “ax” to the word “cool”, to make “coolax”. Teddy exclaimed, “That’s what I want to be called! Coolax!”

“Alrighty,” I said. “Instead of Bud, I’ll call you Coolax.”

His new nickname has not grown roots. Sometimes I use it; most of the time I don’t. Sometimes he reminds me; most of the time, he doesn’t remember. But in a stage when so often what he does and says triggers a less than pleasant response, I was proud to have this parenting win.



Playground politics with the Apostle Paul


My kids love slides. They generally enjoy sliding down, but they mostly get a kick out of scrambling up. If other kids are waiting to go down, I send mine around to use the stairs. But if my kids’ rambunctiousness is not impeding another child’s sliding pleasure, I see nothing wrong with letting them bound up, pivot, slide down–head first, feet first, on their tummies, on their backs, sideways–and clamber right back up. I’m not alone in this, but I’m definitely in the minority. And I’ve been subject to my share of judgemental stares as other parents direct their children to the variety of “appropriate” access points. Many times, Teddy and another child have dashed to parallel slides, Teddy pounding up the shiny metal (or brightly painted plastic) to a mere nonchalant comment from me — whoa, bud, that was loud — and the other child following suit only to hear a reprimand from their parent — Johnny, we don’t climb up the slide; we go around. Typically, the other child is compliant, and I just have to deal with the judgement from the other parents.

But on one occasion this spring, the other child was not so agreeable. She really wanted to climb up the slide just like Teddy was doing–no matter that her nanny kept threatening her with a time out. And she was a precocious little girl. The first time, she followed Teddy, it was all innocent. Teddy hoisted himself up, and she thought that looked quite fun, so she climbed up, too. But her nanny saw. “Caroline, we go around.” Looking wistfully at Teddy preparing to climb up again, she dutifully hopped off the end and walked around. The second time, it’s possible she’d forgotten the warning. Nanny reminded her, adding the threat of the time out. The third time, she clearly looked to see if her nanny was watching before clambering up. Nanny spied the transgression and called her out. “Caroline, are you not listening? Go around. This is your last warning.”

And I’m watching this play out, wondering what I should do. No one was being blocked going down the slide by the kids’ clambering up. Teddy was doing no harm continuing his hoarding of the slide. But clearly, this little girl was going to get into trouble if she continued doing so. And as evidenced by her initial obedience, without Teddy, she would likely have no problem honoring her nanny’s rule.

In that moment, Philippians 2:4 came to mind. It says we should look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others. In this case, the honorable thing to do was have Teddy go around so the girl wouldn’t be tempted to break her nanny’s rule. I try to take advantage of opportunities to point my kids to Jesus, but in this instance, I did not look forward to bringing Teddy in on my plan. I knew it would not be met with enthusiasm. Nevertheless, I got down to Teddy’s eye level and explained the situation. “Bud, I know you like climbing up the slide. I know it’s way more fun than going around. But this little girl is going to have a time out if she keeps climbing up and she’s doing it because she’s watching you. I don’t have a problem with you climbing up, but I also think we don’t want this girl to get in trouble. So how about for now, you go around, so that little girl isn’t tempted to climb up anymore.” Teddy was most definitely not happy about this plan. If he could shoot fire from his eyes, I’d have been incinerated. But he complied. And for the next 10 minutes, both children took the long way to the top of the slide. And then the little girl left with her nanny, and Teddy, glancing at me for approval, immediately shot back up the slide.

So many parents are truly gifted in applying biblical principles to their discipline strategies, speaking verses over their children as they redirect their energies. I’ve never been adept at this. I never seem to recall the right verse at the right time. But for whatever reason, the Holy Spirit prompted me this time. In all likelihood, neither child remembers it (and it’s not like a five-minute timeout would’ve been so traumatizing). But maybe this was as much for my benefit as it was for my son’s. This was one in hopefully many instances where I’ll be able to help him love his neighbor. And it was a strong reminder that the Holy Spirit wants to be at the center of every aspect of our lives, even at the playground.

Adventuring as a transracial family


Last week, we took our first family vacation, to the Mexican Caribbean, Riviera Maya. It was a chance to escape the craziness of the city during inauguration as well as hit a tropical beach during one of the Mid-Atlantic’s coldest months of the year. (As it turned out, the coldest week of the month was the previous one, which we were very much in town for, but whatever, we still got a week of hot sun and sand, which is way better than what we left.)

We had an early morning flight out of Dulles, so we  woke the kids quite a bit before Teddy usually gets up (he was so excited, he was fully awake immediately) and called an Uber. Since we brought Teddy and Lydia home, the airport has made us a tiny bit nervous. We always wonder if anyone will think we’re trafficking or kidnapping our kids. We have passports for them, but those can be forged, and we never travel with our adoption decrees. Presumably all airport officials are trained to spot the signs of a trafficked child, and our non-trafficked kids obviously won’t show any red flags, but Mike always likes to give the person checking our IDs and boarding passes a little extra assurance that our dark-skinned children belong with white-skinned us.

Me, to security officer (SO) checking our IDs: “Good morning!”
*SO takes IDs and boarding passes and scans each ID as he matches it with our faces*
SO, looking at Teddy: “What’s your name, son?”
(I used to have to follow up with, “Tell him your name, bud”, but he responds on his own now. We’re still working on volume.)
Teddy, barely audibly: “Teddy.”
Lydia: “Teddy!”
Mike: “That’s right, that’s Teddy. And what’s my name?”
Lydia: “Daddy!”
*SO smiles, finishes verifying IDs, and wishes us a pleasant journey.

And through that simple interaction with Lydia–which appears completely organic– Mike has shown the officer that Lydia unequivocally–and enthusiastically– identifies him as her father. It plays out a little differently on each occasion, but Mike does this every time we go to the airport. It’s probably completely unnecessary, but it certainly does no harm.

After an uneventful flight (complete with the cinnamon cookies Teddy was so excited about as soon as we told him we were flying Delta) and a longer-than-expected wait for our shuttle to the resort, we arrived at our week in paradise. We stayed at the all-inclusive resort, Dreams Puerta Aventura. I heartily recommend it. I’ve always been skeptical of all-inclusives, convinced there must be a catch. But nope, we didn’t spend a dime while we were there (except for our half-day expedition to Tulum, a Mayan ruin). The service was amazing and the place was astonishingly clean. I kept expecting to find a thin layer of sand down the corridors, but they were always spotless.

We spent the next six days alternating between the pool and the beach. I have a confession: I am not overly concerned about my children getting sunburned; I do not slather them with sunscreen. Don’t get me wrong: I know black skin burns. But I don’t layer *myself* with SPF, and I know they are even less vulnerable to UV rays than I am. Like most kids, Teddy wears a swim shirt with his trunks, so I had him rub sunscreen on his face and feet, and sometimes his legs, in the morning–and that’s it. For the day. Now, in my defense, we would go back to our room around noon to change for lunch, and then we’d chill in the room for Lydia’s naptime and wouldn’t return to the beach or pool until late afternoon, when those UV rays weren’t nearly as penetrating. And we returned home with no burns among the four of us. But I probably could’ve been a little more protective of my kids’ beautiful brown skin.

Before we left, I determined to try again to braid Lydia’s hair properly, not in thick braids that I had to take out at bedtime, but in thin braids that would last the week, and would look tidy during days spent in the water. And in the sand. Turns out eight months makes a big difference in a toddler’s ability to sit still; a video was sufficient to keep her attention for the 25 minutes it took me to weave her locks into a couple dozen braids. (Helps that I’ve improved, too; I can plait her hair much more quickly now.) My plan worked beautifully. Her hair stood up to frequent splashing…and strangers’ ruffling… I imagine her hair in all its wild glory might’ve drawn the same amount of affection from the resort workers, but no doubt the braids made her head especially magnetic. They just couldn’t resist fingering those tight twists!

They also couldn’t resist picking her up. Evidently this is a cultural thing in both black and Latino communities. I had to stifle my urge to grab Lydia back whenever a friendly resort employee would swing her up and fawn over her. Lydia wasn’t bothered in the least, so it would’ve been weird if I’d shown my discomfort. She would just smile, clearly enjoying the attention.

During our week in the sun, in between building sand volcanoes and ordering drinks at the swim-up pool bar, we also fielded questions about our family. Turns out we’re conspicuous in other countries, too. One woman made the oddest comment. After telling me how much she loved watching my kids play, she asked if they were biological siblings. I said they were not, and at that moment, they came right by us, acting particularly affectionate. She said, “They play so well together; they don’t act like siblings.” And before I could assure her that they’d been siblings their whole lives and most definitely acted the part, she continued, as if to reassure me, “But that’ll probably come in the next year.” All I could do was shake my head.

Another woman, whose tranquil morning snooze in a hammock we disrupted when Lydia and Mike claimed the remaining two hammocks and enjoyed pushes from Teddy–by no means a quiet process–asked me where the kids were from. I was momentarily distracted by something Teddy said, and when I turned back to respond, I opted to intentionally misunderstand her and declared that we were from DC. To her credit, she didn’t clarify her question, and we were able to have a nice chat. And when Teddy tired of his hammock-swinging duties a few minutes later, she was able to return to swaying blissfully with the only soundtrack to her thoughts the white noise of the waves.

We also had many conversations that did not make us feel conspicuous. We met one mom of three as she was attempting to capture candid shots of her two boys with a professional camera. She was a photographer by trade and shared that she made a photo album for her kids for every family vacation.

As someone whose only memory of my family’s trip to *Disneyland* when I was six is being bundled into the car super early to drive there, I loved the idea. It was my first project upon our return. We had such a great week, and I want Teddy to remember not just the early-morning wake-up call, but also making sand-volcanoes, conquering his fear of putting his face in the water, and splashing around in the bubbles during the “foam party” our last afternoon. Another “first” for our unique family, it was an adventure I’ll cherish forever.

Choosing a name


Nearly three years ago, when we’d been on the waitlist for about five months to adopt for the second time—this time specifically a girl—Mike and I went on a study tour to Israel with a group from our church, led by the Center for Holy Land Studies. (If you have the slightest interest in visiting the Holy Lands, look them up this organization; it’s phenomenal.) We had an incredible time, and gained so much insight about stories from the Bible we’d grown up hearing. Somehow, standing on the turf where it all went down makes it come alive. Even when all that’s left is dirt and wildflowers.

But we came away from that trip with more than just a journal full of notes from all the lectures/sermons; we also went home knowing what we’d name our daughter.

Throughout the trip, we heard about a Miss Lydia, who had founded a school for the blind in Jerusalem. We wouldn’t meet her until we reached the city at the end of our week, but her name came up frequently because several on our trip knew what amazing work she was doing and were excited to hear her share about it.

Our trip began in Beershiva, where we learned about God calling Abraham out of Ur. Those first couple days, we spent meandering the ruins of Old Testament stories. Then we hit New Testament sites like Caesarea and Capernaum and heard first about Jesus’ ministry and then about Paul, including how he traveled to Europe, preaching, and how a Gentile woman named Lydia was his first European convert.

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Later in the New Testament, Paul mentions Lydia again, lauding her for her hospitality.

Then, mid-way through the week, we stopped at the church of the annunciation, where the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her she was going to have a baby. Our guide pointed to all the pictures of the Holy Family painted in the arcade enclosing the church, noting that each was gifted from a different country, and in each, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus looked like the citizens of the donor country. He continued with a lecture about the first Christmas morning (and how many of the details I learned as a child from flannel graph boards in Sunday school are a result of bad translations :/), and then freed us to visit the shrine to the annunciation inside the church at our leisure. As we were milling around the courtyard, Mike said casually, “Have you given any thought to what we’d name our daughter?”

I hadn’t, really, but since he asked, and with my mind primed thinking about Miss Lydia and Lydia the first European convert, I realized I quite liked that name. “What do you think of the name Lydia?” I asked. Mike’s jaw dropped and he gasped, “You’re kidding me.”

Two nights prior, we’d stayed at a kibbutz on Lake Galilee. We’d been given free time to spend reading the Bible and praying, and Mike had made himself comfortable in a hammock on the beach. While reading, he’d sensed the Lord telling him that our daughter would be named Lydia. He’d written it down in his journal, but hadn’t told me about it right away.

Standing in the courtyard of the church, we both got chills. We wouldn’t meet our daughter for another year, but from that moment, her name was never in question.

Also, our Lydia looks fabulous in purple.

The happiest moments


About six years ago, we decided to pursue adoption as the way we’d grow our family. Once we made that decision, we had to accept that our kids wouldn’t look anything like us. As they grew from infancy to childhood, we would never turn to each other and exclaim how they had Mike’s eyes or my chin. Friends would never say, “He looks just like you!” We came to be at peace with that and were reassured by other adoptive parents that our kids would adopt our mannerisms, which can be just as satisfying to see as similar features. And we’ve seen some of that already. Mike has a horrible habit of starting a sentence and then not completing it because his mind has already moved on. Teddy does the same thing. I use “so” as a filler to start sentences. Teddy does, as well. It is rather adorable to hear him say, “So….I’ll put my own shoes on.”

But what we didn’t expect, and what has provided some of our happiest moments as adoptive parents, is discovering how much our kids’ interests and personalities mirror our own.

Teddy is blessed with a natural athleticism and love of baseball. We introduced him to the sport at an early age. And like Mike, he LOVES IT. He’s been throwing and catching since before he could walk. He swings an aluminum bat like he’s in the Little League World Series. He can’t stand still for 15 minutes, but put him in section 137, Row T, Seat 1 at Nats Park and he’ll sit for 3 hours with only the occasional request for a Coke and a bathroom break. It brings Mike so much joy to have a rapt audience in Teddy as he provides commentary throughout a game.

He also loves words–almost as much as I do. He insists on spelling out as many words as he can think of at his writing desk. From about age 3, every trip down the street involved him asking what storefront windows and street signs said. He takes great joy in pronouncing words he’s never read before and asking for definitions of words he hears, but doesn’t understand. And, while I’m not really sure how to define “caustic” in five-year-old terms, it brings a smile to  my face that he wants to know.

Another way he mirrors me is how literal he is. I’ll admonish him for something, and we’ll get into a 10 minute argument because he doesn’t accept my description of what he did. This is a personality trait that would be super endearing… if I didn’t share it (as was pointed out to me a few months ago: I couldn’t appreciate a story Mike was telling because I got stuck on a detail he had wrong). Instead, we butt heads over this…a lot. But if I choose to think about it as something Teddy “got from me”, it makes me smile. And I find it easier to see the positive side–Teddy will make a fantastic lawyer some day.

Lydia has a natural gift for gab — just like her daddy. She’s been jabbering practically since we brought her home and at 19 months, she’s stringing words into intelligible sentences already. (Tonight at dinner, she randomly stood up and declared, pretty clearly, “I’m happy and I know it, clap my hands!”) She’s got opinions. Lots of ‘em. And she’s not afraid to share them. Mike also has opinions and isn’t afraid to share them. So he encourages her to tell him about the injustice of wearing a bib while eating dinner, or how unfair it is that he insists on holding her hand while crossing the street. Right now they’re working on the confidence to express one’s opinion. They’ll work on the validity of the argument later.

Like me, she seems to be a morning person. I often take her with me on pre-dawn runs because the boys are still asleep and, well, see the previous paragraph. Also like me, she wants to go to bed when she’s tired…unlike her night owl father and brother. While they yawn and insist they’re not tired, she’ll reach for her crib and eagerly snuggle under her blanket, stick her thumb in her mouth and roll to her side, falling asleep in minutes. We girls do not understand evening second winds. 

Mike and I will never hear anyone exclaim how our kids are the spitting image of us, but we see reflections of ourselves in them all the time. And that makes us so happy. 


The questions are the hardest part


Before our kids came home to us, the wait was hard, and in a few years, we’ll have hard race and identity issues to deal with, but right now, in my day-to-day parenting, the hardest adoption-related part is the questions. Ever since we brought Teddy home five years ago, I’ve fielded queries from strangers. Mostly the same two — is he yours and where is he from — and then a third — are they siblings — when Lydia came home, and at times other random ones. I’m quite comfortable responding to anything Teddy is curious about, but somehow I stumble frequently when confronted with queries from people on the bus, at the playground, and in passing. I’ll have an answer prepared for an anticipated question, and then someone frames it slightly differently…and suddenly I’m at a loss. Or I get a brand new question, and on the spot, I have to decide how I want to answer while respecting Teddy’s and Lydia’s stories, portraying adoption openly and honestly and without shame, and being gracious. It’s a lot to think about in the moment.

I experienced a new dimension of this struggle at the playground a couple weeks ago. Most questions come from adults, but kids are curious, too, and now that Teddy is elementary school age, his peers are asking questions. (Teddy is asking new questions, too, for that matter.) I was sitting with Lydia on the merry-go-round (the things parents do for love of child :/), and a girl of about 8 or 9 years asked if Lydia was my daughter. Not uncommon, but the conversation continued and eventually she asked a question I declined to answer. We learned in adoption training that the details of our kids’ stories are theirs to know and share as they choose. And I’d already decided that the piece of Lydia’s story this girl was asking about was for Lydia to share if she wanted to.

No matter who asks a question, I’m always uncomfortable opting not to answer. I fear coming across as rude, and the conversation usually takes an awkward turn. (In this case, it just sort of stopped, and the girl eventually went away.) I especially don’t like keeping an answer from a child. I don’t want to quash their curiosity! And I really don’t want to create a negative memory around adoption for them. But I think it’s important for other children to glean from our experience that they, too, are allowed to decline to answer a personal question. Our stories are our own, and we are the best stewards of them.

I’ve thought a lot about why I bristle so much whenever I’m asked questions in general, and I think part of my reticence comes simply from being an introvert. (Mike has no issue with questions.) Small talk is not my forte. I’m happy to exchange pleasantries about the weather with people I don’t know, but not share about my kids’ personal stories. And when people express curiosity about only their connection to me, birthplace or relationship, I feel like our family is a specimen under dissection, and once the research has been completed, we’re no longer of interest.

The best approach I’ve ever experienced was by another adoptive mom. We were watching our littlest ones on the playground, and she commented, “I don’t know if you’re a family through adoption, but…” and proceeded to share her own story. First of all, I appreciated “family through adoption” because it doesn’t single out the kids and make them seem part of a transaction. We’re all in this together. Second, the conversation did not hinge on whether I shared our story. She was sharing her own connection to adoption first, and if I wanted to reciprocate, great. If not, it wouldn’t be awkward.

But not everyone will interact in a way I’m comfortable with. I know I’m supposed to be an ambassador for adoption, but it’s frustrating sometimes, and I think I just have to accept that and pray for grace.