Posts

Are you ready for a transracial adoption?

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When I first started this blog seven or so years ago, I wrote a post trying to implore more people to consider adopting from the foster care system and to consider adopting a child of another race. My point was that people should just get over their fears, swallow their biases and do the right thing. An acquaintance had the courage to confront me about the post. She detailed some of the struggle family faced in trying to incorporate a few boys of another race into their family. While I did not know her well at the time, I knew her well enough that I believed her story. Ultimately, I took the post down because it was obvious that I was wrong. I still think more people should adopt from the foster care system over all other options. Parents who have children in that system are aware of the precarious nature of their rights. That is not always the case with private adoptions. For example, women in Michigan who give up their children voluntarily to be adopted often have no idea that that …

Everything was fine until I realized it was not

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A few nights ago, The Kid and I made dinner together. It was a hamburger pizza casserole out of the Betty Crocker cookbook I’ve had for at least 20 years. While I gathered the ingredients and chopped the vegetables, she mixed the hamburger, egg, and breadcrumbs for the crust. She layered on the toppings and poured on the sauce, I placed it into the oven and set the timer.
When our final creation came out of the oven, she was beaming from ear to ear. It was the first time she had prepared the raw meat for our dinner and she was proud. I was content because we spent an hour together with no distractions. My phones were set down; the television was off. It was quality time for the two of us doing something we both enjoy.
Since Michigan first closed schools to slow the spread of COVID-19, she has been doing more around the house. She has always been good about helping, but instead of helping for a few minutes and walking away, she has insisted on finishing whatever she started. From la…

What took you so long!?!

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The day after I found out my birth father had passed away, I found myself on a phone call with his brother (my UNCLE!) for the first time. He asked a perfectly reasonable question given the situation, one that I had been wrestling with in some form for 25 years; why did I wait so long to reach out? I don’t remember what I said that night, aside from explaining that I needed to get over the anger I had felt for so many years. But that answer was incomplete because the real answer takes to long to explain.
Please understand, my anger was real. For almost the first 21 years of my life, I thought I knew who my father was and thankfully, I was told the truth. While I am forever grateful that I now know the truth, it was still jarring. I felt betrayed by almost everyone I was close to, including the family member who decided to break the news to me. Time and truth helped me heal, and I was able to start forgiving everyone, including the family member who took a stand to tell me.
Context…

Remaining more curious than certain

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My church has a problem familiar to many inner-city mainline denominational churches. With a large, beautiful facility and a membership that is a fraction of what it once was, we have struggled to learn what we need to be in order to serve God's people in our neighborhood, in our city, and in our region.

A small group of us have taken on the task of reimagining how we interact with ourselves and our surrounding community. It has been a long but necessary process, because the neighborhood surrounding our church is changing rapidly, and not always for the better. While the new investment in many of the buildings and homes nearby has been great to see, it has also meant many who have called Detroit's North End home for decades no longer live nearby, all for the sake of progress.

Our facilitator for this journey had us read an excerpt of Margaret Wheatley's book, Turning to One Another (link is to my Amazon affiliate account). It is powerful in the context of my church, but it…

Looking for a book to start an age-appropriate talk about adoption with you pre-schooler?

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Growing your family through adoption can be a heart-wrenching process. The countless meetings with social workers, the endless paperwork, the carrying around of papers for “your child” because they are technically still a ward of the state. It can be emotionally draining, but I found that it helped us be more intentional when it came to how we want to parent.
One thing we were both clear on was letting The Kid know in age appropriate ways that she was adopted. The decision was partially made for us, as we knew it would become obvious as she grew older that she wasn’t Caucasian or Latina. But it was a decision heavily influenced by the pain and confusion I felt learning who my birth father was as an adult. To us, it was better for her to grow up knowing and helping her understand than pretending the adoption did not happen and letting other people define the story for us.
We accomplished this in a few ways. One, we keep in touch with her foster family (although not as well as we shou…

The one question you can ask that is guaranteed to offend an adoptee

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The more I open up about my personal experience trying to find my birth father, the more convinced I become that people talk about adoptee experiences from the wrong lens. There is an implicit bias toward the adoptive parent perspective that can, and often does, negate the experience of the adoptee.
I started really paying attention when people were asking me why I waited so long to reach out to my birth father. That is a legitimate question for his family to ask me, especially when considering he was in the last stages of his life. For the general public, I have a different standard and I would hope they would also ask me a second question, but few ever do. Did your birth family ever come looking for you? The only people that ask are my dearest friends.
For the most part, I try to answer the first question sincerely and directly. Usually, I land on something like it took a long time to make the decision because I did not want to hurt anyone but eventually I realized I was only hur…

There is no blueprint to building relationships with family you never knew you had

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As I am working to build relationships with some of my birth father’s family, I have come to realize there is no blueprint for how to do this. Some in the family are quite comfortable with me being in their lives, others still wonder why I came around in the first place.
Each visit is emotionally draining. I have come to learn that I come across as a calm, collected person even when my thoughts are racing, making it vital for me to take time after each visit to process what I am learning. Aside from my first visit with my grandmother, there haven’t been a lot of tears shed when we are together. Instead, a lot of laughter has been shared, stories exchanged and a growing knowledge that our paths needed to cross for me to feel whole.
Meeting after he passed away adds a layer of complexity to our conversations. They are all learning how to live in a world without their beloved son, husband, brother and uncle. The family secret that everyone knew but did not talk about is out in the ope…