My Life is Not a Trend

“Honk if Black Lives Matter”

Driving home from the store yesterday, a car passed by with this phrase written in bubble letters on the back windshield. Each word was written in a different color, with designs and flowers surrounding the words. Inside the car were 3 young white girls, and they smiled and waved at me as I pulled up next to them. As I smiled and waved back, one girl eagerly pointed to the back windshield and the another honked the horn. I  halfheartedly smiled and nodded, thankful that the light quickly turned green and I could drive away

    After the murder of George Floyd, the nation finally erupted in anger towards the unfair treatment of Black people. Finally, White America began to see the systematic racism put in place to make sure Black Americans failed. My timeline began to overflow with pictures of people at protests, information on Black Lives Matter and posts about “making a change”. People I have watched steadily and consistently speak out for equality continued to fight. People I have watched consistently decide to be on the wrong side of history fell silent, or further exposed the hate in their heart. My Facebook friend list grew smaller and smaller as more hate was exposed; and in turn my feed filled more and more with the love and support of those around me. But as the Black Lives Matter Movement was finally allowed to stand up and speak, others came out of the shadows along with the genuine supporters. The ones who suddenly changed their profile pictures to black after seeing so many others change theirs; or whose only supportive post thus far has been a black square on their Instagram feed. Those who have conveniently forgotten about the casually racist memes they posted or the hate they spewed in the comment section of a post you didn’t know I was watching, just a few weeks ago. I may not be brilliant, but I am smart enough to tell the difference between the people who are sharing and speaking with genuine concern and empathy, and those who are jumping on a trend.

The “trend” of Black Lives Matter

   After the death of Ahmaud Arbery, my phone began to flood with close friends and family messaging me, calling me and tagging me in things. This picked up even more after the death of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. All the messages were heartfelt, well meaning and checking to see if i was ok. But as the week progressed, I started getting messages from people I haven’t talked to in years, or barely even know. I found it sweet at first, but something wasn’t sitting right with me at the same time. While I have been delighted to engage in conversations and form new friendships with people I haven’t before; I have quickly been able to see who is here to learn and to grow, and who is here because they don’t know any other black people to latch onto right now.
I know what everyone posted about before the protests broke out. Months ago, I saw who was consistently speaking up for equality and equal rights. I also saw who was posting insensitive memes and making racist remarks. I remember who has been there with me since the beginning, or who recently has joined my team but proven themselves to be loyal and loving. I also remember who abandoned my team, and who didn’t give me more than a second glance. Those of you who didn’t care about me yesterday, but are all about me today; I say this to you in the kindest way possible:

I am not your “I’m not racist” get out of jail free card or your “I have a black friend” token to play. I am not a talking point for your timeline, or google for the black issues you have not taken the time to look up yourself. I am not here to give you my black stamp of approval on your forehead that says “ally”, or assure you that you’re not like those white people. I am not here to be a platform for you to stand on so your voice can be heard louder than mine. I am not here to coddle your white guilt for being shielded by the privilege your skin color has granted you. I am not here to be your teacher and guide through the ‘hard’ racial issues you have yet to research and learn about through your own efforts.

   I see post after post of ‘I don’t know what to say’’s and ‘I was in shock to see’’s. My phone goes off every few minutes with messages from people asking me for more information on how to help or telling me they are sorry; the majority of these messages from people who didn’t care about me until it was “cool” to have a black friend. The amount of people trying to “prove” they’re not racist on my timeline is overwhelming. The amount of wishy-washy “I’m just jumping on the bandwagon” posts are insurmountable. I would honestly rather see your silence than have your halfhearted support; because

My life is not a trend. Equality for Black People is not a trend. It is not a fad that has come and will go just as quickly. These lives you are so quick to post about, are human beings who are being oppressed and mistreated. These protests and this unrest may just be a chapter in your book, but this is our entire life. We don’t get to close the book and put it on our nightstand when it gets to be too much. We don’t get to log off Facebook until “everything has blown over” Because everyday we wake up, we will still be black. And we will still be fighting

   Soon enough, things will quiet down. People will start returning to their jobs, new stories will be broadcast on the news, the protests will begin to die down and people will stop gathering for justice. White America will go on with their lives and move on to the next thing. But will you? You who have joined the fight along with us; will your anger for injustice fizzle out? Will you lay down your sign and go home? Will your lips stop yelling “Black Lives Matter” when the crowd stops chanting? When my life stops trending, will you stop caring?

   My life matters. It is not measured in how many black squares are posted on Instagram, or how many people gather at a protest. It’s not measured in how many BLM shirts are being worn or how many honks are received from a “Honk If Black Lives Matter” message, scribbled on the back of a van like it was a prom proposal. My life is not something that is important because it’s the cool thing to say right now. It’s not a trend that will fade out once people lose interest in the meaning. It’s not a cool “debate” topic to get you more views on tiktok. My life is not a trend. It mattered before you cared, and it will matter after you stop.

Black Lives Mattered before white people decided they did
Yesterday
Today
Tomorrow
Forever

 

Returning

I haven’t blogged in a really long time.

Things started to get busy, and honestly, it started to become harder and harder to continuously open my heart and pour out its contents for the world to see. I needed a break to continue exploring myself, before I allowed others to explore and discover with me. But now I’m back, and I have a lot to say. I have learned a lot about myself that I didn’t know before. I’ve seen a lot of things I never thought I would have to see. And I’ve done things I am extremely proud of and ashamed of since I’ve last shared my life with you all.

I’m really excited to be writing again. There is something so therapeutic about channeling all of your thoughts and feelings through your fingertips and onto a screen. A sense of release to get it all out, and be able to close my computer and walk away. I almost never go back and read what i have written; which is probably why my writings are riddled with errors and often a rambling mess. When I write, it is my way of processing the chaos in my mind and heart, getting it all out in a giant messy heap, organizing those thoughts and letting them be. It is a way for me to empty myself so I can be filled with new thoughts and new ways of looking at things. I have stored up a lot of messy, confusing and ugly things this last year; most of which will never be published for your eyes to read. The majority of my writings never make it to my blog. They sit in on my desktop until my heart is ready to release, and then they are deleted forever.

But there have been far more amazing, beautiful and exciting things stored up inside of me as well. Learning experiences, awakenings, changes and revelations; things I cannot wait to get out and share with everyone. Things I cannot wait to channel through my fingers and spread onto a screen. If you have stuck with me through this giant break in time, thank you. I am going to try my hardest to be more present and active, because i am honestly a happier and healthier person when i write. I hope my words somehow touch you and help you in some way. Thank you for being here and walking this journey with me. I can’t wait to see where it takes us.

Birthmother’s Day 2019

I’ve avoided writing this blog all day; even though I knew I needed somewhere to put my feelings and emotions.

I lay in bed, thinking and feeling, for entirely too long this morning. I soaked in the bath, scrolled through childhood pictures and drank wine before I ate breakfast (…really lunch at this point…). I avoided social media posts from my beloved adoption community like they were the plague, didn’t get dressed or brush my hair until 15 minutes before I was scheduled to leave the house, and felt my clingy soul ache for my mommy all day long.

Today is Birthmother’s Day. I never knew this day existed until a few years ago; and every year since it has not been a big deal to me. I think of you once or twice during the day, and then I move on and live my life. A life that you have no idea about.

You don’t know the names of my sisters, or how obsessed i am with my niece and 3 nephews. You don’t know my friends and framily, and how I would do anything and everything for them, without a moments hesitation. You don’t know that I’m the proudest teacher of 15 amazing kids, who make my heart swell every single day. You don’t know that I’m allergic to almonds and carrots and soy and every other weird thing a human can be allergic too. You don’t know my sweet Wyatt and Evie, and how they make me so damn tired; but when I’m away from them, all I can think about is how I can’t wait to go home and be back with them again. You don’t know my favorite color, my love for musicals, my ridiculous sleeping remedies, my hate for beans or my fiercely protective and loyal spirit. You don’t know me. And that has never bothered me, until today.

And I don’t know why.

Tomorrow I will celebrate my amazing mama. I will celebrate everything she has done for me, everything she knows about me and everything she is to me. But today, I will let myself feel. I will allow myself to be hurt, and angry, and confused. I will allow myself to feel every emotion, including the ones I don’t know why I am feeling. Even though I don’t know where these emotions are coming from, or why they are here; I will celebrate this Birthmother’s Day by saying “yes” to all the hidden emotions that are knocking on my heart, with no explanation to why they are here, and I will be letting them in. And I will let myself think about you, T, and wonder, how you are celebrating today?

No excuses

The other day, a woman and I were talking about a child we know who has some behavioral issues. “He can’t help it though,” she said, “you know he was…” her voice dropped to a whisper, “…adopted”

Pretty sure my eyes rolled so hard you could hear them. “…and…?” I think she caught my offense pretty quickly and tried to take her foot out of her mouth, “well you know, that’s a hard way to start your life. He had a hard beginning and it’s not fair to him what happened…” She was unsuccessful and continued to ramble on about this poor Unfortunate soul who was adopted at birth.

She’s not entirely wrong though. Adoption can be a hard beginning. It goes against what biologically and naturally is supposed to happen after a birth. Ideally, a child should stay with their biological mother, but that is not always the best choice. And it’s a trauma for both birth mother and child.

But that’s not an excuse. It’s just a fact.

We can’t let hard, unfair or traumatic situations define who we are or how we act. Traumas in our life do not give us an excuse to do less than our best in all we do. If anything, it should motivate us to do more. Yes, I was adopted, that’s true. Yes that is a trauma, but no I will not let that define me in any way less than positively. I will use my situation to be a voice for adoption and to educate, encourage and mentor others. I will never sit and have a pity party for myself because of my beginning and I sure as hell will never let my adoption be an excuse for anything negative I do.

It is always important to take challenging situations and use them to strengthen ourselves and others. It is never healthy to sit and wish for things to be different, blame all your troubles on a bad situation, and let life pass you by. There are things we will never truly heal from; but we must heal as best we can, and continue to live.

I strive everyday, to not allow any of my traumas to ever define who I am in s negative way. I pray my birth mother does the same, and uses her experiences and hurts for the better. Anyone who has gone through hard times have been given the opportunity to use these situations and turn them into something good. I pray I never forget this and that I can always use my adoption to help others. And that I never use it as an excuse for anything I do.

Destiny 

I’ve been wanting to share a post for a long time on this blog; but every time I write something, the post turns into something else and I never finish what I’m writing. I’ve been struggling with figuring out what are just thoughts and feelings for me and what are things that I can share. Over the last year, I’ve gained quite a following, and I’ve been having a hard time figuring out what I am actually wanting to share about my life and my journey now. I have dealt with so much negativity and anger from others, in regards to my posts or feelings on adoption lately, that I have honestly felt so discouraged, I’ve thought of giving up this journey of educating all together. I have not kept up with the adoptees I have been mentoring, I’ve not kept up with the adoptive families I have been mentoring and worse, I have not been good at keeping up with the birth mothers I have been in contact with. 

This morning on the way to church, I got a text from one of the pregnant birth moms I had been talking to. As I said, I’ve been really bad at keeping in contact with everyone, so it’s been almost 3 weeks since we last spoke. I asked her if it was ok if I shared a small piece of our conversation; and she agreed. I’ll include her text at the end of this post, but basically she asked if I believe I’m better off having been adopted. I spent most of the service thinking about that question. Really thinking hard. On my way to babysit, after church, I pulled over to text her back. I shot her a heartfelt message and finished by saying I would call her later, which I will. 

A lot of thought process went into the simple response I gave; but if I posted about that thought process and how I came to my conclusions, this post would be so long no one would read it. Here’s the conclusion I came to, however:
I am right where I need to be. Although every situation is different, and some children are better off with their biological families, while others in adoptive families; I know in the very fibers of my very being, I am meant to be exactly where I am. Since the very beginning of time, I was meant to have the parents I have, the sisters I have, the people in my life who are here. I was meant to hold the last name I currently hold, and there’s no doubt in my mind I was always meant to be where I am today. I always hear, “in a perfect world, there would be no adoption”. Maybe so. But in that perfect world, I would still have the family I have, I just would have gotten to them then in a different way than I did. I truly 100% believe that, when I was being knit together, my very makeup was the make up of the family I was destined to have.  

Nothing happens by chance. Every thing happens for a reason. I am there I am because that is where I was destined to be. Hard times mold us into the person we are born to become. That is what I believe. 

Favorite Quality 

My favorite quality about my family. There’s so many things I love, but I would have to say, my favorite quality about us is that my family is not bound by blood, it’s not confined by law, it’s not limited to relatives. My family is huge. My legal family is spread out all over the country. Some of whom I see often, some I see every few years. Living far away from legal family has given us the perk of building a giant tribe of Framily. These people are some of the closest and most dear people I have ever known. For my sisters 20th birthday, she invited the people who have loved and poured their lives into ours for the last 17 years. When I had one of the hardest years of my life a few years back, they are the people who laid hands on me in prayer and whose houses I stayed over at until well past midnight ranting and crying. They know me better than anyone and they love me deeper than most. 

One of my favorite qualities about my parents is that they attract people like this. They invest in people lives and as a result, form these family like friendships, which I am lucky enough to benefit from. I love that, when I explain my family to people, I often have to explain that “well no the three little people I brag about constantly aren’t actually my brother and sisters” and “well they’re not actually my aunt and uncle..”. 

At my sisters birthday, the top of her list were the two families who we have known for 17 years and, although life has given us all twists and turns and ups and downs, we have not lost contact for a moment and are still as close now as we ever were. My sisters birthday almost felt like a family reunion. People together who haven’t been together in a while, but who love each other unconditionally and have so much to catch up on. It made my heart so full. It again made me just so very thankful for adoption. A good chunk of people at that party wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for adoption. Adoption is amazing like that. And that is my favorite quality about adoption and my family.

Reactions 

Reactions from people learning about my adoption differ. Usually people don’t know what to say and just get quiet or try to change the subject. Sometimes people comment on how amazing it is and how amazing my parents are. Sometimes people apologize, as if adoption is some type of horrible incident and they pity me for it. I’ve gotten somewhat used to all of them and peoples reactions typical don’t phase me much. I find it interesting, however, that everyone has their own opinion on adoption, even if they have not themselves adopted or been adopted. And the last few months, I’ve found it more interesting how I’m becoming more sensitive to those with different opinions than mine, than I ever have been before. One of the most interesting opinions I’ve seen was someone saying that in a perfect world, adoption wouldn’t be necessary (true) and therefore adoption is a terrible broken part of a terrible broken world. This has had me thinking for a good month or more now. It is true; in a perfect world there would be no infertility, no motherless children, no orphanages or people unable to care for their child; therefore adoption would not be necessary. But that doesn’t mean adoption is such a horrible broken thing. As we’ve covered before, I have a very positive and beautiful view in adoption that not everyone who is adopted has. So to some, this reality of adoption may be true. But all I can think of is, a world without adoption would be such a boring world in my opinion. How else would I have the opportunity to have Asian, white and black nieces and nephews, and how else would this world be blessed with all those awesome multicolored families? I don’t think I’ll ever come to a good conclusion about that last opinion on adoption, but I’m glad I don’t have to. 

I’ve come to realize that it really doesn’t matter what others think about my adoption or adoption in general. All that matters is how my family and I view and go about it. Some people will agree with us and some will be against us. But that is on them and not me. I am continually working on ignoring those hell bent to tear adoption down and for their opinions to not ruin my view in adoption. To hold fast to the truths that I know while still learning about the truth others hold. No one has the same story, so everyone holds different opinions on things. And that is ok. I have to remind myself of that, because sometimes it doesn’t feel ok. Remembering that, just because my adoption story is so beautiful, doesn’t mean everyone else will view adoption the same way. And reminding myself that that doesn’t change anything about my adoption and I shouldn’t take the negativity of others to heart. All hard things yet necessary. I’ve realized my heart is too tender toward adoption to be able to hear others bash it constantly, and have had to remove myself temporarily from those people until my heart is stronger, and that is ok. 

Why

Why?A question I get asked a lot. And by a lot I mean A. LOT. Why speak about adoption? Shouldn’t that be a private thing? In the course of the past 8 months since I created my blog and started sharing my adoption story, I have met and spoken with a lot of people in all sides of adoption: adoptees, adoptive parents, adoptive siblings, birth mothers, pregnant women thinking of adoption and people hoping to adopt. I have sadly come to realize how many people still think adoption is shameful or should be kept private and quiet. While aspects of ones adoption should be kept private until that individual is comfortable sharing, I don’t understand why so many are so quick to shush the voices trying to speak about adoption. 

Most of the time, when people ask me about adoption, they say “I’m sorry to ask, but…” “I hope this doesn’t offend you…” “is it ok that I’m asking…” ect. All innocent questions, but would you say those when asking someone questions about their birth to their biological parents? Why is birth so beautiful and amazing and happily spoken about when adoption isn’t involved, but viewed as taboo or whispered about when adoption is involved. 

I speak about adoption because to me, it is one of the most beautiful things on earth. Nothing depicts the love of Christ more to me, than the image of adoption. Why would I not want to speak about and share one of the most beautiful things there is! Adoption is hard! Very hard! But so beautiful at the same time! This is not to say every adoption is the same. So many adoptions out there are hard, messy, heartbreaking, broken and hurtful. My heart is heavy with this aspect of adoption. It is not always happy and beautiful. But mine was. And that is why I choose to speak I adoption. Because to me, adoption is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. And I want to share that with everyone. That is why. 

Five Things 

Day 1: Five Things5 things I want you to know about my adoption. Yes I realize it is June 30th. The very last day of this #knittogetherbyadoption challenge. But this month I have been struggling with adoption and it’s taken me an entire month to actually write something, because I’ve been wrestling with so many feelings. 

I need to be clear, I am incredibly secure in my adoption and I have not been wrestling with that; more of how others are perceiving adoption and comments and post and articles and messages I am seeing and hearing that have just been chipping away at my spirit. This past month I’ve spent many many nights whining and crying, venting and ranting to some of my nearest and dearest friends over others and adoption and just how angry and upset I have been. I’ve contemplated getting away from all things adoption and quieting my voice because sometimes it just hurts to me and people are just not willing to listen. I’ll write more on this later, as I jump through prompts here and there the next few days. But right now, let’s talk about something that fills me with joy, pride and fulfillment: my adoption. 
5 things I want you to know about my adoption:
1. It is the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me

Whenever anyone asks me what I am most thankful for the answer is ALWAYS my family. Ask anyone who has presented this question go me. Always. My family always comes first, not matter what. And the single most amazing day I am most thankful for is my adoption day. Without that day, I would not have the family I have. Yes yes, I know, I would have a different family and I would know nothing if this one I currently have, and I would find happiness there as I have now. This is all true. But I know what I have now, and I know nothing could ever measure up or match what I have. So I am thankful. 

2. I have struggled with my adoption. 

Contrary to the way it sounds sometimes, I have not always been so confident in my adoption. I have struggled and it has been hard here and there. But not once have I believed I was meant to be somewhere else or have a different family. I have never questioned questioned where I belong or who my parents were supposed to be or if my mom and dad love me. Ever. I think almost all of the struggles in my adoption is wondering why my birth mom never wanted contact. That has really been the root of my struggles. 

3. I am adopted but I am not adoption

Something common I have been seeing is people defining their children by adoption. I can’t even tell you how damaging that would have been to me growing up. I am adopted but that is not all I am. My mom and dad made sure I knew I was adopted but I wasn’t reminded of it constantly. That is something I am truly thankful for. Being adopted is already something big and different. Especially when you are adopted transracially. It’s something you often have to explain to others and answer questions and are reminded of already. Something beautiful about my family is that we are made up of so many different stories and experiences and races and yet, we are a family just like any other family. When we look at each other we don’t see adopted children and biological children ect. We see sisters and mom and dad. The end. People ask me about having white parents and how I feel about it, and it’s something i honesty don’t notice much or really care about much. Sometimes I notice, and sometimes it’s different, but those times are far and few. I see my family. I am not constantly reminded that I am different because in my families eyes I am not. And that has made me the most secure in my adoption, I believe. I see so many people determined to ingrain in their children’s minds that they are adopted. Please don’t. They know. Just love them. Make sure they are secure in themselves and just love them as your children, because that’s what they are.

4. I love talking about adoption

I love telling others about adoption and answering questions and advocating and educating. People often apologize before they ask me a question about adoption and I find it so funny. I love talking about it! Ask me questions, let me educate you and please educate me. No one has adoption all figured out. The beauty of the adoption community is just that. We are all at different stages of learning and can help each other on the way. I have a friend who is always starting dialogues and raising questions and seeking answers about adoption. She doesn’t shout her voice out claiming to know all the answers, or attack others for different opinions. Her love for her children is raw and beautiful and she has learning and advocating every second of every day for their benefit. You look at her and just feel safe and say “here is a real advocate for adoption” there’s a few people who I have come across and know who have adopted and still seen so anti adoption. It confuses me honestly. But not this girl! You know where she stand and you know her children will flourish because of her. We spend many nights texting or talking on the phone, just hitting those hard questions and pouring our hearts out to each their. She is such a gift to me. You know who you are girl. And I love you! 

5. I am blessed beyond belief

Without adoption the life I know now I would never have known. I wouldn’t have the amazing family or friends or opportunities I have. I wouldn’t be able to advocate for something as important and beautiful as adoption. I wouldn’t have met so many of you whom I call best friends and be able to walk the journey I’m walking. Adoption is a part of me that I am so thankful to have. 

Birth Mother’s Day 

A conflicting day no doubt. A day of happiness and sadness all mixed into one big pile. Appropriately placed the day before Mother’s Day, because for many, without birth mothers, they wouldn’t be mothers themselves. A day, until recently, I didn’t even know existed. And today, as I lay in bed and think over this day, I have lots of mixed feelings. 
I wonder if she celebrates this day. She probably has no idea it exists and if she does I highly doubt she celebrates it. Where it’s a happy occasion for my family and I, it’s a heartbreaking one for her. Tomorrow is the day she will celebrate. With her two girls, one older than me and one younger. Will she think of me? Maybe. Maybe not. And honestly, if it wasn’t for birth Mother’s Day, I probably wouldn’t think about her either. I have a mom, and I will be celebrating her tomorrow. She is my mother and I owe her the world. 

My birth mother had children and she will be celebrating with them tomorrow. She is their mother. In same cases people recognize their birth mom as a first mom, or second mom or as equal as their mother in title ect. In my case, this isn’t true to how I feel. 

My birth mom was my mother for 40 weeks while she was pregnant. The second she handed me to my mom she gained the prefix of “birth” and ceased to be simply my mother. That title, along with me, was given to the woman who she carefully chose to raise me. I don’t have two moms. I have 1. My mom. My real mom. The one who raised me and who worries about me and misses me and loves me. Who buys me birthday gifts and knows my quirks and likes and dislikes. Who still buys me clothes because she knows if she doesn’t do it, I will wear the same 3 outfits over and over again. Who lets me bring my laundry over to her house so I don’t have to pay $3 to wash mine. She gives me advice even when she knows I’m often too stupid to take. 

To me, giving the same title I give her to someone else, just doesn’t seem right. Just as, I assume, my birth mom’s children would feel weird if I came around and started calling their mother “mom”.

I am forever thankful for this woman who gave me everything by allowing someone else to be my mom. Through her I have everything. 

I have so many thoughts and ramblings going on in my head and I never know how to get them all out and process them. So for now I wish the woman who gave me life a Happy Birth Mother’s Day. And tomorrow, I will wish my mom a Happy Mother’s Day.