Acceptance 101: A Writers Residency in April

Celebrating Mama
Celebrating Mama

It’s official. I’ve been accepted to my first writer’s residency in the spring. I sent a selection of poems from my manuscript to the director along with the application and imagined myself arriving there a few months from now with a bag of books, my cozies, my laptop, and “the binder”.  I heard the sound of the ferry as it pulled away leaving me and the other nine writers from all around the world engulfed in a late morning sun drenched anticipatory fog… Then the daydream would be rudely interrupted by the sound of “Mom, Marcel just gave me a wedgie!”  No matter what happens, I would think at those moments the possibility of a week away in my own room, with just my writing and the sound of the waves crashing outside my window was a delicious gift.

To that end I also have to admit the sending of the work out into the world, to be deemed worthy or not, was a test of my work, and a test of my readiness to be seen. Would I make it into the “maybe next time” the “to be invited” or the “to be fed to the gerbil’s cage” pile? (Now isn’t that an image for a short story? Lines of poetry all over the gerbil’s cage?)   So when I read the line; I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your poems from “Black  Enough” and am looking forward to meeting you and to talking with you more about your work I felt my skin expanding.

My work is ready.

So, am I?


Are you interested?  I came across this post this morning by Tracy Marchini on looking for a writer’s residency while searching residencies as a topic. It looks super useful, and I hope to return to it to learn more.

Have you?  Have you been to a retreat or residency? What was your experience like? Would you recommend it? How did you prepare?

Would you believe?

Adoptive Families Magazine Award

That three years ago I started blogging, after a piece I wrote for Single Mother’s by Choice Quarterly published my first big piece, and after Sam hit me in the head with a slipper. He was almost three.

That the first poem I wrote as an adult was called “This is where you’ll find me” about waiting for a placement.

That this week the generous folks over at Adoptive Families Magazine deemed this blog one of the top twenty blogs on the topic of adoption? (Of the ones they were hip to, and of course we all have our own agenda.) I am as you can imagine in great company on that list-so please take time to read it. Then add your own ideas for the blogs they missed for next time!

I have everyone of you who takes the time to stop by and wonder, and laugh, and react, and share Mama C in whatever way you see fit, to thank for what this blog has become.  And yes Universe I understand it is time to get the proposal done, the book could not be more ready to be birthed, so to speak.

And would you believe that #1 son is being picked up in one of those GIGANTIC city snow plows and toured around the city for half an hour, and then dropped off at school? Of course the news crew is coming to capture this. How come? Because Sam just draws this kind of magic to him. That and I won a raffle for a snow plow ride last spring, and just remembered it last week. The news crew was not my idea. I’d better go email his teacher, and let her know he might be a little wound up, and that the snow plow ride is no tall tale.

Choices 2010: the good, the bad and the huh-gly?

The all encompassing end of year post boils down to this: what were the good, not so good, or well informed, hasty choices I made this year.  I spend so much time saying these words; “is that a good choice, or a not so good choice…” that I’ve come to see my entire world through this lens.

Mama C age 7

Best choice I made around my children: to reveal as much truth as I was able to around Marcel’s story. Where I held fear, tension, and constant guard around “the story” is now a cleaned out room in my conscience. Marcel shows a picture of his donor, Tree, to everyone he thinks of. His story is back where it belongs, in the world. Ease.

Most conflicted choice I finally had to stop making: To date. I managed it, or we managed it for about three months. Then my ability to balance the good and hard work of being in relationship became too much for me to manage well. The joy was tremendous. The amount of time I spent torn between being present enough for me, the kids, and the relationship simultaneously became the deal breaker. That I never wrote about it here, should tell you just how hard it was for me to integrate the “dating me” into the larger picture. Do I believe it is important to pursue that part of me? Absolutely. Do I believe I am ready to do that now? Um. Can’t say. Continue reading “Choices 2010: the good, the bad and the huh-gly?”

Mama C the book? You tell me.

How do we get there from here?


OK readers. I have a question for you. If I was to pour 5000% of myself into a book project would you as my loyal audience prefer:

a) Small, sweet collection of the best poems and photographs–Black Enough and the like.  Well produced, and sold here on the blog etc.

b) A memoir of Mama C from sort of pre-adoption to today. I’d complete my book proposal, and try to get a publisher in the next year or so. Mama C and the Boys in book form.

c) something other?

Would love your thoughts, as I honker down for the winter, and focus very intentionally on one major writing project, instead of many little ones.  It’s time.

I have two new pieces in print this month. One is my piece “You are not my real mom.” in The Adoption Constellation magazine, and the other is the poem “All gone now” in Hip Mama magazine. I am clearly able and drawn to both types of writing. At the workshop last month, I grabbed the stage and read two poems, that fit each event on each day. The response was magical to say the least. That moved me. What says you? Comment here, or off line, but please let me know. It will help me decide.

You read it here first! Mama C is on it!

You read it here first;

Over at Moms of Hue you’ll find my tribute to the magnificent Edwige, who many of you know as “Our Eddie” in honor of her first day as a college graduate; Honored to watch her capture the world starts like this:

Edwige Charlot didn’t just graduate from college today. She soared. She won more awards than any other student in that auditorium. She was elected by her peers to be the class speaker. She was given a year long scholarship to the Peregrine Press, which has a wait list years long, and will probably be one of the few, and definitely the youngest artist of color, to grace their printing presses with her evocative etchings, and vibrant woodcuts. As I sat in the audience in the middle of a row of her fifteen Haitian family members, looking at her seated on stage, with Sam on my left and Marcel in my lap, I thought to myself, something is right in the world.

Skip on over to Fertile Source to see my never before published (dare I say) chapter about meeting Sam’s birth mom at the hospital that begins like this:

After traveling half way across the country in three snowstorms, for over thirty-six hours, I have finally arrived here-outside of this little North Carolina hospital room at 4:30 in the morning. Down the hall I hear two nurses mumbling, and the sound of generic holiday music coming from somewhere. The smell of last night’s blanched peas and meatloaf, mixed with ammonia lingers in the air.

I knock on the door.

I am a thirty-eight year old woman, standing on the threshold of the most important introduction I will ever make. I wait to hear the voice of the twenty-four year old woman who is about to offer me her child to call my own.

Unless she has changed her mind.

But wait there’s more! My last Adoptive Families piece on what happens when a white adoptive mama walks into a black barbershop with her three year old son and then some starts like this:

Sam’s hair is close-cut and precisely edged. Looking at it from any angle, you can see that this child’s mother knows how to care for his hair. This has not always been the case.

You don’t really need another reason to go over and sign up for a free subscription to this blog, so you can always be in the know do you? Want more of us? Our Facebook fan page is up to 39 real live people like yourself ready to join in the Mama C conversation and chime in on what matters to you! You can do that here.

Thank you for supporting all of these sites, and making my writer’s dream realize itself with your help! Without an audience, this artist would not thrive.

Like your Mama? Now you can!

I made a little social media leap tonight in hopes of streamlining how I communicate with some of y’all.

Gulp. I set up a “fan page” on Facebook. I think of this a bit as the separation of church and state. It is also wildly premature as I don’t have a book out yet, but this might inspire me to get that proposal polished up sooner rather than later. If you visit it, remember to click the “like” button to be added to the list of people I can easily connect with that way. Thank you!

This will allow me to use that venue for writerly/mixed family/adoption/transracial/single parent discussions , blog announcements, publishing updates, and content suggestions with a broader audience. I’d love to “meet” some of you there if you’re so inclined.

This was one of the suggestions that I came away with at the media portion of the congress!

If you are a facebooker, just do a search for Mama C and the Boys, or you can click here. Leave a comment, a suggestion, a question, or just go peek at what it looks like, and then make one for yourself!

Four that Score+a litte more

Martin Elkort Photography

There has been a whirlwind of amazing activity on the ether in the adoption arena as of late. In my Friday Follow fashion I’d like to point out these four;

1. Adoption Mosaic Blog features guest writer Melissa Konomos opening up my eyes and many others I imagine,  in her piece Beyond the Reunion: Dealing with the Realities of Post-Reunion.

2. On Laura Writes you’ll discover a gorgeous piece about her open adoption from the adoptee-sibling perspective.

3. See The Run as always writes another to the point, luscious piece inviting her audience to participate with such mastery and grace. This particular post On Moms, is about Mother’s Day, a first for her on more than one level. Because so many people follow her conversations, you are bound to find voices that resonate with yours. The birth mother who commented on her post might send you flying for the tissues too.

4. My Brown Baby’s joy for Sandra Bullock’s recent adoption felt so solid and affirming, I included it here. I have to say that I know nothing about S.B.’s personal story, but I will be following her now. She is in a position to model great choices in the world of transracial/mixed family/single mother adoptions.


My most recent piece in Adoptive Families Magazine in their Living with Diversity section illicited the following response in the “contact” section of my blog.  I am sharing it for purely ego gratifying reasons, it was hugely validating on so many levels:

Just read your article in the June issue of Adoptive Families 🙂 As an African-American man, a father of an adopted son (private adoption), and a father whose family is now waiting to be matched via the fost/adopt program in our state your article spoke to me on SO many levels! The smells, the sounds, and the laughter that your son Sam has gotten (and will continue to get) at the neighborhood barbershop (as well as many other things you are probably doing) are going to affect him in so many ways for his entire life.  Only wish others who pursue inter-racial /trans-racial adoptions were as proactive as you. You go girl!!!!! 🙂

I’ll be asking James if I can reprint that on the back flap of my book.

Speaking of books, my little poetry/photography collection that I had printed for the silent auction during the faculty talent show last night, raised $75.00 for the school! It was a limited edition (two copies) but it came out so well, I am planning to do a similar edition to offer here. Details to follow! I read my poems Black Enough and Crazy Hair Day to a crowd of 500+ with ease this time. Marcel even joined me on stage for the second poem (to stop his crying), and Sam informed me in the car that my poems are boring. Hard to compete with the hip hop act, or the bass guitar and the waa-waa pedal…


I promised my “New Crayon” post today, as inspired by the amazing Color Online (see link at New Crayon) but  I’ll have to come back to you with that one. I am leaving for the Moms Congress in, gulp, two days and haven’t begun to sort out the packing, the meals for the kids, the final sub plan, or how I am going to transition from this me to that me in Super Hero fashion my Sunday at noon.

Would love to hear from others who have read a particularly moving adoption piece recently, or who have someone or something they feel like we all should know about! Post a comment, or send me an email at if you’d like to approach it that way!

Everything Drawer

I wouldn’t want any of these per se. But I love repetition.

Visually, I love things, usually industrial sized things in repetition.

Maybe a little country house one day, and the yellow, white or ice blue one in the corner with a vase of hand picked wildflowers.

Meantime; my everything drawer looks like this;

a) Momscongress is in two weeks. I have received an agenda, and the event looks jam packed with speakers, town halls, and opportunities for all these U.S. moms to come together, gather thoughts, consider and hopefully reflect. More on that as it gets closer. Right now I am just trying to gather a Washington, D.C. spring outfit together from what I’ve got, and what the Goodwill has if I don’t. I am less and less able to set foot in a clothing/department store and pay all sorts of money for things made my children is sub par working conditions, here and abroad. How many other folks out there are thrift store shoppers? Continue reading “Everything Drawer”

Spilling over the 3×5

This week began with two posts by me, or featuring me away from Mama C: one discussing Sam’s reaction to being excluded from certain social dynamics at school, (and being the one who does the excluding), compared to my feelings of being “other” at a bridal shower at MomsofHue. The other appeared at my Open Adoption Blogger interview partner’s site; Adoption Aint for Sissies. Jill’s excellent questions allowed me to reflect on a few things that I have never taken on here in the same voice or light. Please stop by her site, read the interview, and let her know you’re there. She is an amazing woman, who I am honored to have met here.

Then today I was asked to preview an upcoming article that I wrote for Adoptive Families Magazine-which looks stellar. It is due out in May. I had to call Cordell, the owner of a local black barbershop to check out that I had everyone’s names correct. He was amused to say the least about the fact that him and his colleagues were going to be in Adoptive Families Magazine. He said Sam was good for a free line up if he liked the article. Continue reading “Spilling over the 3×5”

Missed and Missing

Mom, I missed your big nose and little hair.

Marcel on what he missed most about me when he got over being angry that I  left for twenty-four hours. He is the only person who has ever been able to comment on a certain facial feature of mine that leans gently towards the larger side of the rack without me feeling even an ounce of remorse.


I may be posting with a little less heft and frequency in the coming weeks as I try to stay in the momentum of the proposal process. I’m off  to a respectable start.  I’ll leave it at that for now.

I am waiting on several offers I’ve put out to the universe too.  One involves a speaking engagement, one a trip to Washington, D.C., and one a piece in an anthology.

The three guest posts, and an interview are all in various states of completion. I post at MomsofHue the 2nd and 4th Monday of every month.

Sam, has requested a little sister. I am not working on that at the moment.