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Have a Relaxing Weekend

Hello, there. Saturday is here again! We think about you constantly, and hope you’re doing well and hanging in there. We know this upcoming school year—the uncertainty of it all—is stressful for so many of you. This is your reminder that you are not alone, you have a community, and we will get through this together. Day by day.

This weekend, as always, we’re sharing some of our favorite reads from around the web this week. Informative, inspiring, educational, thought-provoking.

Be well, and take good care of yourselves this weekend.

On the blog this week, we talk about the upcoming school year and negotiating remote learning with an adopted child. 

Ripped Jeans & Bifocals keeps it real when it comes to adoption. We love the way they tackle diverse subjects—from handling your children’s tough questions to adopting later in life. 

Natalia says she feels like she “won the lottery.” 

The Lucky Few is an adoption blog we love right now. Heather Avis shares her journey through special needs and transracial adoption. 

COVID-19 continues to strain the adoption and foster care system. 

Adoption is largely controlled by state laws. Familiarize yourself with your state’s laws. 

Many families are having to make a choice regarding the upcoming school year. Are you thinking of homeschooling? 

Do young children have a stronger immunity to COVID-19? 

5 Things I Want To Tell My White Friends.

Pediatrics Publications published a recent study promoting health equity by way of improving the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 

 

Adoption and Remote Learning

As an unprecedented school year looms before us, many unanswered questions remain. The beginning of school is always a stressful time for parents and families—add a pandemic and adoption into the mix, and there are truly no rules. Parents will now be tasked as the gatekeepers of their child’s education. This is stressful beyond comprehension, but it does provide an opportunity to meeting some of the more common “adopted-and-school-aged” challenges head-on.

Will the teacher use adoption-positive language? Will there be literature that supports and normalizes adoption? Will my child make friends? You are your child’s biggest advocate and by establishing a clear line of communication and expectations – you are setting them up for success. This year, more than ever, you’ll have insight into your child’s mindset as they’re taking in these lessons. How can you support them with the adoption reasons you already have at home?

Add some adoption literature to your school supply list. Introducing your child’s curriculum to adoption-centric literature can help set an adoption–positive narrative in the classroom. The Cradle has a great list of children’s literature that explains adoption in age-appropriate terms. Enlist your child for help in picking out the books to ensure they are finding books that speak to what they’re feeling.

Beware the “family tree” assignment. This is a common assignment – tracing the roots of your family back to its origin. What about children who don’t have access to their own biological family tree? Encourage the teacher to include more options to build your family tree off of: a root for biological parents, a branch for biological grandparents. Not every family has the same lineage and by adding more “inclusive” options you are really giving a child the chance to tell their story. Adoptive Families has an excellent pictograph highlighting how to “tackle tricky” assignments.

The hardest part about integrating your child into a classroom that isn’t fully inclusive to their situation is wondering about the effects it will have on their mental health and self-esteem. Get ahead of this by opening a dialogue with your child’s teacher. It can range from an in-depth conversation to simply sharing resources that have worked for your family. It’s no secret that schools often don’t have the staff or resources to give significant 1:1 time or to curate their lesson plans to individual students. That’s why it’s so important to share your knowledge—you are part of the solution. You know your child better than anyone else and until you find a ideal solution, be proud and confident that you are doing the best for your child.

Have A Lovely Weekend

Hello, dear friends! Another week has gone, and hopefully a sunny summer weekend to look forward to. We hope you’re hanging in there, getting rest and deep breaths, and are able to spend connected time with friends and loved ones. You deserve it.

Here we are again with some of our favorite reads of the week. We hope you enjoy and take good care of yourselves. See you next week.

This week on the blog we talk about having “the talk” with your kids. 

What does adoption as a same-sex couple look like? 

Is there a better way to run the foster care system? 

This mother explains what it’s like to see her child experience racism

Are you worried about the effects social media and technology are having on your children? You’re not alone

Do police forces enable the foster care-to-prison pipeline? 

Verda Byrd spent 70 years as a proud Black woman—until she found out she was white. 

The Week talks about the “double bind” of protesting and parenting while Black. 

Babies grow so fast that you’ll find them growing out of items you bought just weeks before. Cup of Jo helps us out with a list of baby items that are meant to last. 

Peter Mutabazi talks about the moment he became a father

xoxo

 

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

<3

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.