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Having “The Talk” With Your Children

“The Talk”—it’s a looming reality of parenthood. The good news: you don’t have to combine a lifelong education about sex, relationships, and reproduction into one conversation. These topics can and should be talked about in stages. Questions from your children should be regarded as part of an ongoing conversation—one that will continue for years. 

Physicians and health professionals recommend starting early, and with the appropriate terminology. Dr. Laura Widman stresses the importance of being honest with children about their body parts. Don’t use fake or made-up names. When you address and identify parts of the body by their real and anatomically correct names, you’re not only respecting your child’s questions and curiosities, but you’re giving them a language they can use if something is wrong. Coding words like penis and vagina with euphemistic terms can create feelings of shame, embarrassment, and insecurity. You are the first and primary vessel of information for your child; you need to lay the groundwork for open dialogue. 

Make sure you and your partner are on the same page. Prep with a conversation and anticipate the questions your child might ask. Are you a single parent? Connect with other parents about how they handled these discussions. There should be no shame in these conversations. Remain neutral, don’t over-complicate it with emotional bias— even if your child asks questions or displays opinions that seemingly go against your values. A child can sense negative emotions or embarrassment, and it’s essential to make them feel safe. Sex should not make anyone feel embarrassed. 

Addressing sex with your child early-on can significantly lower chances of unexpected pregnancies, and also sets a strong foundation for helping them establish clear boundaries for their bodies, and take part in respectful, consenting relationships. Sex Ed Rescue is an excellent resource for parents and young adults alike. Amaze also provides valuable content and resources on topics ranging from puberty to sexual identity. 

Sex is everywhere in our culture. A responsible, positive relationship to sex starts in the home. If you’re able to create an open, honest atmosphere around this topic, and your child’s body, the positive effects will reverberate their entire lives. 

 

Have A Happy Weekend

How did your week go? We hope you’re able to relax and restore a bit this summer. It’s much needed and deserved.

We’re here, as always, with our favorite reads of the week. The ones that inspired, informed, and sparked something new. We hope you enjoy.

On our blog this week: the need for education reform and antiracist school curricula

Unpack your adoption journey

Conversations about pregnancy and adoption can be emotional—we love this advice from Slate.com. 

Are schools ready to reopen

The Gide Foundation is helping Korean American adoptees find out where they fit in.  

How do you talk to your daughter about her period? 

DeVry University has twelve tips for homeschooling during a pandemic

On our book list: Ibram X. Kendi’s new book, Antiracist Baby, is all about teaching children to be antiracist. 

Beyoncè has released a video celebrating African traditions. 

Book Riot is helping us build our home library with adoption-positive books

 

 

Fighting For A Better Education

There is no question that parents have suffered greatly under the COVID-economy. The temporary elimination of schools, daycare, and regular socialization for children has been a topic of intense discussion since the pandemic began with good reason.

As the temporary hold on in-person education collides with the newest iteration of the Black Lives Matter movement, there are questions around what our children are being taught, who is fighting for the rights of BIPOC children, and how we can better educate all of America’s children about the realities of American history—particularly as it relates to race.

For decades, school curriculums have perpetuated negative racial stereotypes, and it’s time for a change. 

Nearly 100 years after Carter G. Woodson first called for a spotlight on Black history, the fight to put Black history at the center of history curriculums continues. Dyan Watson, an editor for Teaching for Black Lives, explains that a central issue with police brutality and violent racism is that many children are taught from a young age that certain races are superior to others. Academic intervention is required far earlier than high school.

If home education is the only way to educate our young ones right now, there’s an opportunity here. To broaden our children’s knowledge about the experiences of all races, and to fight against whitewashing. As we continue the discussion about what schools like look when children can we reenter, it’s an excellent opportunity to raise our voices for the kind of curriculums we expect to see when our kids return to the classroom.

When it comes to mainstream education, in what ways are we trying to connect to our Black children? Our schools are teaching a history that diminishes the many struggles and fights Black people have endured. Slavery is taught in schools, but a study by The Southern Poverty Law Center showed that only 8% of high school seniors could identify slavery as the catalyst for the Civil War. 

Change is coming, but moving slowly. The fight to have textbooks and curriculum change is often met with roadblocks, differing opinions, and lack of resources within school districts. It is not acceptable to teach our Black children that they live in a post-racial society while the news and daily events directly contradict that. We need our young people to use critical thinking and multiple forms of research when diving into their past. Teaching for Change is an organization that focuses on anti-racist curriculums, and they encourage students and parents to use alternative research methods like the Zinn Education Project.  

It’s time to even out the starting line. School boards and districts are the governing bodies that decide which textbooks are chosen. Visit The National Center for Education Statistics to find your school district contact information. Spread the word. This is a challenging time, but we can use it for good. 

Have A Happy, Healthy Weekend

Hi friends. We hope you’re staying cool and safe out there. There’s a lot going on, which means restoration and recharging are of the highest order. Take care of yourself and your loved ones.

As always, we’re sharing the reads that caught our eye this week. We hope you enjoy!

This week on the blog we talked about delivery room etiquette

The Bonura family not only reunited a family separated in the foster care system, but they built their own family. 

What do you do when something is worth fighting for? You fight. 

The Thomas family is determined to make their adopted child a community baby. 

The New York Times sheds light on the soul and survival of Black families. 

What happens when your Black child lets their white friends use racial slurs around them? 

Nefertiti Austin’s book “Motherhood So White” explores her journey as a single Black mom. 

It’s never too early to teach your children about diversity. Start with these television programs. 

Black sons are in danger.

Daniel Johnson wants his daughter to celebrate her Blackness

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Creating Your Adoption Birth Plan

The birthing process is an emotional one, filled with so many unexpected moments. That’s why we encourage all adoptive parents working with a birthmother to consider a birth plan as part of their process. If you’re planning an open adoption, it should evolve from a conversation with your child’s birth parents. If your adoption is closed, it’s one you should have with your agency or coordinator. Either way—you’ll want to have something in place to ensure everyone’s needs and expectations are communicated and acknowledged. 

Here are a few tips:

Plan ahead. Find the time for you and your child’s birth parents to have an open discussion and develop a plan. This could feel completely comfortable, or a little bit strange. That’s okay!

Some helpful questions:

  • Do you plan to contact us when you go into labor?
  • Would you like us in the delivery room?
  • When will the official placement occur—at the hospital or facilitated afterward?

As adoptive parents, you will need to pack a bag and make preparations. Adopt Help has compiled a helpful list of often forgotten items. The more you talk through your plan, the more questions may arise. That’s entirely normal. Every birth plan has to start somewhere. Life Long Adoptions has an excellent adoption hospital plan that offers resources for everyone involved. 

Be mindful of your child’s birth family. Your child’s biological mother and father are their legal guardians until the adoption papers are signed. They will have the right to make decisions about care, spend time with the newborn, and even decide against placement altogether. It’s important to keep an open line of communication, but also to give them space as they navigate the emotions and realities of birth and placement. 

Don’t forget the most important thing. The hospital experience can be emotional and overwhelming, but the child is the most important thing. Regardless of what arises, maintain respect, kindness, and compassion and do what you can to make this a positive day. This is about families coming together for the greater good of a child. 

Above all—take a deep breath, lead with kindness, and be open to communication. This is a group effort, and everyone deserves to feel safe. Make sure you’ve got a reliable support team in place during your child’s birth and after. You deserve that.

Have A Glorious Weekend

Hello! How are you doing this week? It seems like there’s scary stuff flying at us from every angle, and we hope that you and your loved ones are safe and hanging in there. We love you and are here for you.

Here are some of the pieces that kept us going this week—inspiring us, informing us, and motivating us to keep putting love and positive energy into the world.

On the blog this week: how do race and ethnicity contribute to a lack of healthcare options? 

This Black mother explains why she carries her white son’s adoption papers. 

Conversations regarding transracial adoptions must start early. 

Mariama J. Lockington spent her entire childhood looking for books with characters that looked like her. Without much luck, she decided to publish her own

Families are finding their adoption plans stalled by COVID.

Slate.com tackles transracial adoption

Rachel Noerdlinger is a media activist and she’s helping lead the Black Lives Matter movement

Huxley’s case shocked the nation and rocked the adoption community. Will it lead to more child protection from influencers? 

Adoption.com talks about white parents adopting Black children

What is bringing you joy right now? 

 

The Importance of Equal Healthcare

Racism is a social determinant of health and access to health care—a lack of access can have a profound and long-lasting effect on children and their development. Progress has been made in terms of legislation and improvement of public health and housing programs, but there is still much work to be done to close the racial gap in healthcare access. 

The need for a healthcare system that addresses cultural and societal issues in addition to mental and physical health is imperative. The impacts of racism have been linked to psychological and physical health disparities in youth as they grow into adulthood. The JAMA Network published a 2020 study that explored the differences and how they affect children. The socio-economic imbalance in America causes stress and anxiety for a large portion of the population, and this same population often lacks access to proper and convenient healthcare. Stress during pregnancy, infancy, and other critical periods of development can lead to mental health issues and more later in life. 

The impact of racism during childhood may not physically present itself right away. For example, minority groups such as the Black and Latinx populations consistently lack access to affordable and safe housing. Often, the housing these families can afford may not be in safe or healthy locations. Families who experience hardships in gaining access to care—whether that’s primary or specialized care—are more likely to have children who experience behavioral distress later in life. 

How do we close this gap? There are many avenues that families and community members can take to improve access to healthcare for everyone. Freeclinics.com has a list of affordable and accessible healthcare options by state. Become familiar with the legislature and local community government. You can directly advocate for all communities in your area and reach out directly to institutions asking them to help break down the barriers to access. Aren’t familiar with your legislature? OpenStates has you covered. 

Everyone deserves access to quality healthcare, and many do not have that. We know many of those communities are communities of color, and it’s unacceptable. Not only does proper healthcare improve your community in the present moment, but it sets you up for long-term success, and the generational impact is indisputable. 

 

 

Have A Celebratory Weekend

Happy 4th of July weekend! It’s a compelling time to be an American and to consider what freedom truly is. We hope you and your family stay safe this weekend, and can share celebrations with your loved ones.

We wish you all the best for a spirited holiday weekend!

And now, enjoy some of our favorite reads of the week.

This week on the blog, we shared ways to celebrate Black history all year long. 

Are you talking to your children about privilege?

Black families are some of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and the children are experiencing lasting effects. 

The NextDoor app has become a hotspot for racial tensions and harassive behavior

Nolan Davis organized a Black Lives Matter protest for children—the attendance surprised him. 

Peace Park is becoming a hub for meaningful conversations regarding race. 

Lex Scott founded the Utah chapter of Black Lives Matter. In this piece, she talks about what needs to happen next

Early data shows that Black Lives Matter protests have not contributed to spikes in COVID-19. 

Roseau, Minnesota, is a small town with a majority white population. Here’s how they’re handling racial tensions

How to raise an antiracist kid.

Be safe, be mindful, be kind. 

Celebrating Black History Every Month

In America, February is Black History Month, but no culture should be relegated to a single month of the year. Keeping discussions and awareness around race, racism, and antiracism alive is vital, especially when you’re the parent of a transracial family. Every child’s ethnicity must be supported and nurtured. There are so many ways to do this, and many are fun for the whole family. Here are a few thoughts on how you can celebrate Black history all year long with your family. 

Make it a movie project. Load your month with film nights featuring Black actors and Black stories. Akeelah and the Bee, Selma, Hidden Figures, Netflix’s 13th, Remember the Titans, Malcolm X, I Am Not Your Negro, and Luce are just a few examples of excellent and relevant films. We love this great list from Good Housekeeping of movies that build meaningful conversations about race in America.  

Read books that feature characters of color. So often, we see books where white characters are featured as the heroes of every story. That needs to change, and the Scholastic Journal has shared an impressive list of books that highlight and empower Black characters. It’s never too early to start the conversation with your children. 

Listen to Black musicians! Black music is an indelible part of American music history. Historical Black singers and composers influence so much of today’s music. Both Spotify and Pandora have made new efforts to highlight Black artists with playlists ranging from podcasts to full albums. Explore different genres and artists, and intentionally diversify the kind of music you and your family is consuming. 

Visit historical monuments, museums, restaurants, or institutions in your area that celebrate and honor Black culture. Try a new type of food, explore Black artists at your local museum, visit a monument, and learn about the person or period it honors. This is a fun way to excavate Black culture in your town and to create a personal connection to your child’s history with where they currently live.

Black poets have contributed legendary pieces to the canon, and this is an ideal time to snuggle up and read. Medium.com shared a list of eleven Black poets and their contributions to some of the best poetry collections of this century. Each poem is accompanied by a short essay explaining its meaning and significance.

Find out about Black history events in your area…then show up! Showing your child that your community honors different cultures elevates its importance and illustrates that they do have love and support. Don’t forget to support Black-owned businesses. Support Black Owned put together a list of all Black-owned businesses by state, and it’s a fantastic resource. 

Of course, this is just a small list of ways you can get the dialogue and activities moving with your family. Anything you do to celebrate your child’s heritage will have a significant impact—not just on your child, but your family, too.

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.