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Have A Kind Weekend

Hi there. Another week down, and now we’re firmly into summer. With coronavirus spiking all over the country, please stay safe this weekend and be well. We’re thinking of you and send you all our love.

This week on the blog, we discuss the difference between race and ethnicity

Is “nature deficit disorder” really a thing? 

Do race and ethnicity affect the way diagnoses are made? 

This graphic captures perfectly what it’s like to mother while Black. 

Huff Post put together a list that will help us support diverse brands, now and always. 

Activists, parents, and students are descending on the Los Angeles public school system. Their goal? Eliminate policing in the hallways of schools. 

Miss Juneteenth is making headlines within the Black community. 

Perhaps some of the greatest heroes of the Black Lives Matter movement are the children taking a stand. Here are 12 activist youth that you need to familiarize yourself with. 

We’re a traumatized nation right now, and the emotional weight is real. These valuable resources can help identify, support, and help manage mental health and symptoms of PTSD. 

Melina Abdullah and Patrisse Cullors posted the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter after Trayvon Martin was gunned down in his neighborhood while walking home. They worked with New York activist Opal Tometi to build a digital platform for their movement. It’s now gone global. 

What’s the Difference Between Race and Ethnicity?

Transracial adoption (transracial families of any kind, for that matter) are more common than ever. As races and ethnicities intertwine, those little boxes we’re asked to check—on forms, in society—feel more draconian by the day. Transracial families by adoption confront conversations about race, ethnicity every day. At the doctor’s office, in friend groups, at school, with family, online, everywhere.

One thing that’s not always discussed is the difference between race and ethnicity, and what we mean when identifying people by one or the other.

Race generally refers to the physical characteristics of an individual—their skin tone. It is much more limited than the concept of ethnicity, which refers to someone’s cultural aspects, like language, religion, culture. Your ethnicity can include your race, or it may not. Race is often projected through perception, which frequently comes in the form of stereotypes and racist behavior, whereby assumptions are made about someone’s cultural identity based on their skin tone.

For example, assuming that someone with black skin is from Africa, or an Asian individual is from an Asian country. Or, assuming they are an active participant of the cultures with which you have associated them. Endless lifestyle factors can influence your ethnicity, including where you grow up, who you married, where you move to as an adult, and your parents’ cultures and backgrounds.

This excellent example from PBS showcases just how easy it is to make assumptions about someone’s ethnicity based on their race. And how tricky it can be to navigate a child of one race being adopted by parents of another. “Furthermore, you have no control over your race; it’s how you’re perceived by others. For example, I have a friend who was born in Korea to Korean parents, but as an infant, she was adopted by an Italian family in Italy. Ethnically, she feels Italian: she eats Italian food, she speaks Italian, she knows Italian history and culture. She knows nothing about Korean history and culture. But when she comes to the United States, she’s treated racially as Asian.”

There is a reason that this is such a sensitive topic in the adoption world. In America, the majority of transracial adoptions are white parents adopting a child of another race. Through adoption, their ethnicity is deeply affected, and it can be difficult for adoptees to find themselves within the culture and ethnicity of their white parents.

It is immensely important for those pursuing transracial adoption to consider how they will protect, support, and nurture their child’s ethnicity. Karen Valsby, a mother whose two sons were adopted from Ethiopia, wrote about this subject for Time magazine, and the many awakenings she experienced as a parent of children of another culture and race. In the piece, she not only shares her own experience but interviews transracial adoptees about theirs. “‘Parents who believe they can raise their child color-blind are making a terrible mistake,’ says Korean adoptee Mark Hagland, a 54-year-old journalist and adoption literacy advocate. ‘And it’s shocking how many people I meet still think this way. If there’s a single thing I can share with white adoptive parents [it’s to] look at the adult adoptees who have committed suicide, or who have substance abuse problems. Love was not enough for them.'”

Race is real. The implications of one’s race, especially in America, are profound and often life-threatening. If you are thinking about adopting transracially, ensure you have a support team that includes individuals of your child’s race and ethnicity. Soak up as many resources as you can. To get you started, here are some we love, compiled by American Adoptions.

Image via: creatingafamily.org

Have A Restful Weekend

Another week down, another weekend to attempt a recharge. We hope you’re able to find some peace and get some sleep and outdoor sunshine.

Here are some of our favorite reads of the week…

What is the difference between race and ethnicity

Juneteenth embraces Black joy. 

Harper’s Bazaar compiled an essential Black Lives Matter reading list. 

Does Seattle’s mental health system have a White Supremacy problem? 

Kristen Howerton has two white biological daughters and two Black adopted sons. She shares her unique perspective

John Thorn is tired of it

Parenting Black teenagers through pandemic and protest: a unique challenge. 

Addressing racism in the workplace is absolutely essential. 

Bustle has 19 movies about race that every white person needs to watch

Kaitlyn Saunders marched to Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington D.C. to do what she does best: skate. 

 

Have An Empowered Weekend

As we navigate the two pandemics sweeping the country—racism, and COVID-19—may you find moments of peace, restoration, and power. Both of these pandemics are public health issues, meaning it is our individual responsibility to make educated, compassionate decisions for the health and safety of the whole community. Be empowered by how easy it is to take care of those around you, and to show gestures of goodwill, support, and camaraderie.

Here are some of our favorite reads of the week…

This week on the blog, we talked about how to prepare for transracial parenting

Reparations for slavery highlights the emergency of inequality

Walmart will no longer lock up their multicultural personal care products—a racist practice that has been the subject of a federal investigation. 

NPR released a guide of literature on anti-racism.

George Floyd called out for his mom before he died. What kind of fear do Black mothers live with every day? 

It’s okay if you’re still learning to be an ally. 

Are you debating on ways to involve your family in peaceful protests? Here are stips for raising your voice from home. 

How do Black parents handle conversations with their children right now? 

Keedron Bryant just wants to live

The Black Lives Matter movement is not just happening in your community—it is a global cry for justice and equality. 

Image via Seattle’s Child

Preparing For Transracial Adoption

Transracial adoption is a beautiful thing, but it does mean that you have to talk about race, straightforwardly, directly, and often painfully. Now, in the middle of the Black Lives Matter movement, conversations about white supremacy, inequality, and social justice are non-negotiable. How will you talk to your child about race, and how will others interrogate your child’s race? What challenges will your child or family have? These are excellent questions and legitimate concerns. They shouldn’t stop you from adopting a child of another race, but there are far different preparations required when doing so. You have an immense responsibility to your child’s culture, background, and race. Here are a few thoughts on preparing for transracial adoption.

Find support. Think of your community and where you live: will your child always be the minority? If so, how will be you make their life as diverse and inclusive as possible? Finding people who share your child’s cultural history is a huge source of support. These individuals can help answer questions you may have about experiences with race, as well as resources, groups, or individuals in your community that can offer help and support.

What about your community? Church, family, friends, a book group, a volunteer organization—each of these spaces can help expand your network to bring more people into your family’s life that identify with your child, or the experience of adopting a child of another race. The McKivigan family found support in their local McDonald’s play area. It is okay to ask questions, not to know everything, or to rely on others for help. That is what communities are for!

Read. There are so many incredible books, blogs, and resources for learning about other cultures and transracial adoption experiences. Although your community is an incredible resource, it is your responsibility to educate yourself. Books and articles written by individuals who have shared a similar experience are invaluable. They can help answer some of the tougher questions about race, and the experience of parenting a child whose race and culture differ from your own. Creating a Family compiled some of the best books on transracial adoption. 

Stock your home. Non-white children don’t have the same resources as white children for reading or learning about kids who share their experiences. It’s a huge problem, and it plagues every part of media and consumption. Stock up on children’s books, TV shows, movies, and experiences that celebrate your child’s race, show experiences that match their skin tone, and speak about their culture and diversity. The New York Times put together an age-appropriate guide to must-have literature on race and diversity. White children receive ample exposure to children of their same culture—children from other races deserve to be the hero of the story. 

Do your research. What are the cultural norms and traditions shared by your child’s culture? Are their holidays different? What are the best ways of taking care of their hair and skin? What do they celebrate, and what is their belief system? Research as much as you possibly can about your child’s race and culture so you can fold theirs into your own, sharing traditions, celebrating holidays, honoring beliefs, and nurturing their body in the ways that are authentic to their heritage. We love this story from the Wilder family about their unique transracial adoption and parenting experience. 

Image via adoptivefamilies.com

Have An Inclusive Weekend

Dear ones, it’s been a heartwrenching, challenging, and necessary week. A national dam has broken, and it’s time to mobilize around change for our Black brothers and sister. It’s time for us to listen and to educate ourselves. Black Lives Matter. 

This week, and in the weeks to come, we’ll be centering this space around anti-racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement in America. If there’s anything you’d like to see included here, please let us know.

May this weekend bring a spiritual recharge, new knowledge, and active, anti-racist engagement with members of your Black community.

Happy Birthday, Breonna

The death of George Floyd, in context.

Ahmaud Arbery should be alive

Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want To Talk About Race helps navigate the hard, honest, and necessary conversations all white people need to be having about race. 

To watch with the family: The Hate U Give is a powerful movie inspired by a young adult novel about a Black teenager finding her voice and fighting for what is right. 

To read with your young ones: The Colors of Us is a moving book for elementary age children that follows a young girl’s journey towards discovering that her skin is more than Black. 

We all have more to learn about America’s history of racism, the Black population’s relationship with the police, and racial injustice, and these ten films are a must-watch. From Sandra Bland to Malcolm X, they tell the stories history books won’t. 

The New York Times shared age-appropriate literature on racism and racial injustice, starting from birth to high school. They’re a  staple in any home library. 

Transracial parenting is incredibly complex. 

On our blog: how to discuss race and the Black Lives Matter movement with your family. 

 

On Black Lives Matter and Discussing Race with Your Children

As protests spurred by the murder of George Floyd are now in their second week, many parents are having tough conversations with their children about what is happening across the country. It’s critical to say that, regardless of whether or not there are active, organized riots or peaceful protests, this is the inherent burden and responsibility of parents of Black children every day of every year.

This conversation is a difficult one, and frankly, it should be. There is nothing comfortable about racism. It is critical that we educate our children about the systemic oppression of Black people in America, and champion their lives and stories. 

If you’re beginning these types of conversations for the first time, start by getting a sense of your child’s current understanding of race, diversity, and what’s happening right now. Kids are members of our communities too, and they know way more than we think they do; there’s no need to sugarcoat or distract from the issue at hand. If your children question the protests or destruction of property, you can use this as a teaching moment. Share the history of demonstrations throughout the years, why Black Lives Matter and the history of Black people in America. There is a conversation for every age—we love this guide from Parents.com. 

Even more important than having conversations regarding racism is building an anti-racist home and family unit. There are many ways to do this: revamping your home library, assessing the activities in which your child participates. Common Sense Media compiled resources on how to use media to understand oppression, racism, and bigotry. It is our job as parents to raise empathetic, compassionate, anti-racist individuals who are aware of their privileges—if they have them—and the inherent systemic biases that exist in every capacity of this country. 

For every resource you introduce to your child about racism—add 10x that amount of literature regarding race positivity. It is up to us, the parents, to ensure that we raise our children in an anti-racist and accepting home. Black Lives Matter. 

Be an Ally, and Have a Safe Weekend

To say this week has been tough is an understatement. One True Gift stands with Black Americans everywhere, and we are heartbroken at what has transpired this week and in the weeks, months, years, decades, and centuries past. There is no excuse.

We are allies, and we are here for you in your adoption journey and beyond. We’ll be sharing more content here and on our social media feeds to amplify equality in adoption, parenting, childhood experiences, and raising Black children and children of color in America. If there’s anything you’d like to see us cover or talk about, please let us know.

May this weekend offer you restoration, a moment of healing, a bit of sunshine, shared joy with friends and family, and even a moment’s relief from the traumatizing, challenging, and heartrending news cycle.

Here are some of the thing we’ve been reading this week:

On becoming anti-racist (don’t sleep on the comments).

The unbearable grief of Black mothers.

This week on the blog: do we need to be posting our children on social media? “Sharenting” is a modern-day parenting trend, and it’s not without consequences. 

Parenting mishaps don’t have to be permanent. 

We must always be talking to our children about race. 

This family documented their international adoption journey, and then recently re-homed their special needs son. 

Signed, sealed, delivered: this family is yours! 

The Stuy couple made an interesting discovery while researching China’s “one-child” rule. 

National Foster Care month has highlighted an Iowa couple who made it their mission to help children in the system. 

The Children’s Bureau is offering online training and orientation for prospective adoptive and foster parents. 

Are slumber parties a thing of the past? 

Positive parenting is what we need right now. 

<3

 

Should You Be Posting About Your Child on Social Media?

Sharenting is an evolution of modern parenting: the art of sharing your parenting with the digital world. By speaking openly about your family on social media, you are shaping your child’s digital identity potentially before they’ve even created their first email account. Blogging and social media have vastly changed the landscape of the issues that children and young adults will encounter and how they will deal with them. How will what we share about our children now affect them later on in life? 

For example, it’s your child’s birthday. You post a sweet photo of them blowing out their candles, tag a few family members and friends, and call it good. When a close friend or family member shares that photo with their friends, it opens your life to a broader audience—sometimes without your consent. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in reality, it has the potential to give strangers a unique inside look at your family and your child’s life. 

Now more than ever, children are growing up while being watched. With social media, their personal lives are broadcast to family and friends. While parents are sharing on social media, children are working to develop their own identities. When is it time to give your child a say in what is posted or shared about them? At what point do we give our children autonomy to develop their personality? 

Does this mean we need to all give up social media? Not at all. It can be used as a positive outlet for families to share, but make sure you’re aware of the privacy laws surrounding the social platforms you may use. It may be worth it to sit down as a family and establish boundaries on sharing information with the public. 

Currently, the United Nations is reviewing its Convention on the Rights of the Child. This agreement is being expanded further to protect the privacy and privacy rights of children. A study by the Herald Sun showed that the majority of young adults over the age of thirteen would like to have control over what is posted about them. Sharing is fun and can be very special, but for the sake of your family’s health and your child’s privacy, it’s always good to create a plan with your family the information to which people have access.

Have A Lovely Long Weekend

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Holiday weekends still count in quarantine. We say, even more so. Set the boundaries you deserve and dedicate whatever you can to enjoying this long weekend. It’s yours and you deserve it. 

To kick things off, we’re sharing our favorite reads of the week. Enjoy and be well, dear friends.

A growing number of adoptive mothers are taking a shot at breastfeeding. We discussed this rising trend on the blog this week. 

There are currently 111 kiddos up for adoption through the Oklahoma Heart Gallery

Do your children seem extra clingy right now? There may be a good reason. 

The best moments to take pictures of your children. 

Parents of special needs children are frontline workers, too.  

Nicole Cliffe talks about her son’s interest in nature.

You may be getting sick of the people you’re quarantining with—here are some fun relationship-building games to get you back on track. 

Does your child have disruptive behaviors?

Stop mom-shaming yourself! 

It started with a newspaper article. 34 years later Pegg Smith has created a safe haven for children.