Words Have Consequence

“Where did you get it from?” “Are you getting any more?” “Where do you keep finding these babies to buy?” “REAL mom…..REAL dad….” “Are they REAL brothers?” “Where are they from?” This is just a snippet of questions I have … Continue reading

Ellison River Gray

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The moment has arrived…our second son Ellison River Gray is here. He was born at 1:05am after a long and emotional labor. Jason and I could not be happier. Harper loves having a baby brother and each second with Ellison is a new experience for him. Seeing my two boys together is amazing and beyond words. I cannot wait to watch them grow up together and form a bond stronger than any force.

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This adoption was vastly different than our first. One of the hardest parts was the waiting for Ellison to be born. Harper was already born when we met his birth mother. The wait included being in the dark most of the time regarding all details of the pregnancy. This lead to such an emotional roller coaster, which we knew was bound to end, but it was hard to see that end in sight. I have to say that these last four months have been some of the hardest of my life. But, look what I have now. An amazing son to complete my family of four! Another boy…can you believe it. I am so out-numbered! lol

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Other than Ellison himself, the best gift of this entire situation is that their birth mother and I had the chance to get to know one another on such a deep level and really had a chance to bond. She is immensely important to me and always will be. I could not be more grateful for the time I was able to spend with her. She is an amazing woman who has  made my family life complete. She has changed my life in the best of ways forever and I will always love her.

Now, we plan on getting an attorney, going through 6 months of supervision and hopefully finalizing the adoption shortly after the end of the 6 months of supervision. I will keep you posted as our finalization is nearer.

Thank you all for your continued love and support of our family and for taking this journey with us though this blog that we started before Harper was even in our lives.

If you feel so inclined, please visit our GoFundMe page. We have a long road ahead ūüôā

https://www.gofundme.com/4rmsvmws

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”-Socrates

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While I was at work a couple of days ago, I was having a conversation with one of my co-workers regarding whether or not she believed Trayvon Martin had been racially profiled by George Zimmerman. I respect this particular person’s opinion, as she was a foster mom for years to an African American boy. I was approaching this discussion as a concerned mother for my son’s future. As she and I were beginning our conversation, another co-worker chimes in quite loudly with her point of view and takes the stage. She informed us that we were wrong if we thought there had been racial profiling in the Trayvon Martin case and that this type of mindset is what is perpetuating “racism”, which she does not believe truly exists. She continued by stating that we are living in a world of reverse racism ¬†and white people are scared to say anything to a black person for fear that it will be seen as racist. She strongly feels that race should not be an issue and that we should not place so much emphasis on it.

Then, she took her comments to a very personal level. She told me that there is no reason to raise my son as my “black son” and that I should be raising him as just my son. Different cultures, in her opinion, do not really exist. She used her ethnicity of being Polish as an example by saying how her mother did not force her to learn how to cook Polish food. I stated that I wanted to embrace my son’s culture and empower both of us with education. Her next comment of, “you don’t buy a book on how to raise a black child,” caught me off guard. Yes, I have bought many books on transracial parenting and adoption. These books are continued means of education for myself while living my new life as a multi-cultural family. I want to read about other people’s experiences and learnings. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. In fact, if I was not doing this, I believe I would be doing a disservice to both my son and myself. I could not believe she made that comment and continued on the way she did about my ability to properly raise my son without causing him a complex for being black. She ended her rant by printing out the following article for me and by telling me that her black friend in Texas feels the same way as her…since I guess all black people must feel the same way, right?!

http://bondaction.org/content/article/37076/Black%20Racism%20Killed%20Trayvon%20…

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After this “conversation,” I felt upset as you may imagine and had to compose myself so I could get on with my work day. I felt as though I had been attacked and violated on a very personal level. My parenting of my son and my multi-cultural family unit had been racially attacked. I am still very bothered by this situation and have yet to do anything about it. I do feel that I need to talk to this person, as I see her on a very regular basis at ¬†work. She may not change her mind or be cured of her ignorance and naivety, but at least I can speak my mind and let her know that her comments were not appreciated and were completely out of line.

I am reading a great book right now, Come Rain or Come Shine, by Rachel Garlinghouse. She provides a list of “Things I often hear white people say” that I would like to share with you.

¬†“Race doesn’t matter.”

“I am colorblind. I couldn’t care less if someone is white, black, purple, or green.”

“I’m not racist. I have a friend who is black.”

“Why is there a black history month? Shouldn’t there be a white history month?”

“Why is it ok for a black person to call another black person a nigger?”

“Talking about skin color puts too much emphasis on race.”

“I don’t understand why everyone says that President Obama is our first black president. He is white and black.”

“The world is a melting pot.”

“I’m so tired of people playing the race card. Slavery and civil rights times are over. It’s time for them to take responsibility for their actions.”

“Don’t worry about teaching your kids about race. They are too young to understand or care. And by the time they are older, racism will be a thing of the past.”

A book that Garlinghouse suggests reading, which I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on is, “In Their Own Voices:
Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories” by Rita J. Simon and Rhonda M. Rhoorda. These authors interviewed many transracial adoptees and find that the vast majority of them feel hurt by their parents’ lack of education and lack of incorporation of their black culture into their families. Maybe my co-worker should read this book.

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2 months later…the process continues

Time has definitely flown by since bringing our son Harper home. He is now 10 weeks old and more amazing each and every day. His smile can melt away any stress felt from the day. It truly just warms your heart.

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During the last two months, our adoption process has continued (at a very slow rate of speed). We met with our social worker at our home around the one month mark. She wanted to make sure everyone was doing ok. In the meantime, she was working on gaining a termination of birthrights signed document and social history from the birthmother. Once these documents are received, the social worker is able to submit the case to the courts to be scheduled for a TBR (termination of birth rights) hearing. Our TBR hearing did not occur until January 24th, almost two months after taking Harper home. Up until the TBR hearing, if the birthmother decides she would like the baby back, she is free to do so. We were not incredibly worried, but definitely felt relief once we knew the TBR hearing had occurred. Another occurrence at the hearing was for the courts to publish Harper’s birth announcement in the newspaper in order for the birthfather to come forward. There will then be a TBR hearing for the birthfather, whether someone comes forward or not. (which is unlikely to happen) We have been given adoptive custody with a “legal risk” attached.

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Our 6 months of supervision started on January 24th as well. This supervision involves another social worker being assigned to our case and making three home visits over a 6 month time period.  The countdown is now on for our finalization date, which should occur in late July or early August. This will be the date where Harper legally becomes our son in every way. He will be issued a new birth certificate, a social security card, etc. This will be a day of celebration at the courts!

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Every day is a new experience and adventure for the three of us. It has been awesome to see Harper’s smiles, hear him laugh, watch him take in all of the sights and sounds around him, and look at us both with such love and awe. Some days are tough, but we would not change anything for the world.

An interesting book we recently bought, Brown Babies Pink Parents, is something we look forward to reading. (when we can find some time to do so…lol) We would suggest this book to anyone raising a transracial family under similar circumstances. It covers everything from skin care to the ways of celebrating diversity in your family.

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The choices are “simple”…

We are still in the waiting phase of our adoption process, but have been trying to keep busy with “life” in the meantime. We thought, at the time, that the home study process was the worst part. We were wrong. It is the complete lack of control and waiting to be matched with a child that is our undoing. It is truly a test of strength and desire. Our desire is strong and we are willing to wait for the child that is meant for us. We just hope it happens within a year. Longer just feels like torture. I am sure all adoptive parents felt this way at one time or another.

In the past month, we have taken a Transracial adoption class which was interesting. The book we were given, more so than the actual class, has been very insightful. For anyone considering transracial adoption, we highly recommend, “Inside Transracial Adoption” by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall. It will open your eyes to our culture and racism. There are many quotes in the book that made such an impact on us, but one of the main reasons we were attracted to this book was from what the inside of the cover jacket stated. “If a book could realistically carry a thirty-odd word title, then this book’s might be something like¬†How to Get to the Place Where It Feels Almost Fun to Let People Wonder How You and Your Kids Could So Clearly Belong to One Another When You Look So Different!. This resonated with us so strongly. It is something you fear and dwell upon. Not for our sake, but for the sake of our child. We do not want anything to hurt them, EVER, yet we know that racism is alive and well and that not all children are taught about the differences in families, how these families came to be, and that it is not the race that matters, it is the family. Not to say that adopting transracially is something anyone should go into without understanding the complexities of this type of adoption and being fully aware of what lifestyle changes it will bring and how your family will become a “public” family. On display for the world to see and judge. The main goal is to be ready and united for this journey together. Study, grow, change, live, and love together in the new multicultural family you have become. Teach your child their differences and why they are special. Embrace their culture and the cultures of others.¬†You can tell we are very passionate about this. We have much to learn, but are excited for our journey and the journey of our family.

We have also had a family member offer us the complete selfless gift of surrogacy. What an amazing individual to think so completely outside of themselves and offer something of such magnitude. Even though this offer was so dynamic, it did not take us long to know that this was not the path for our family. As we have stated before, nothing, other than the love we have for one another, has ever felt as right as our choice to start our family though adoption. We know the journey is long, but it is just the way we are meant to form our family. There are no doubts in our minds.

Until next time…