Mama C Safe Space Radio: A forum for Courageous Conversations

Although I haven’t listened to it yet (something about listening to my own voice on the radio..) I wanted to pass along the link to the interview with me on Safe Space Radio “a live forum for courageous conversations”  last week. The topic: inter-racial adoption.  Here is the summary from Dr. Anne-the show’s host:

An interview with public school teacher, poet and blogger, Catherine Anderson about adopting her son Sam. Catherine describes her decision to adopt and how she thought she understood racism before parenting. She describes her experience of those “grocery store moments”  when she has to respond to other people’s surprise and inappropriate comments in front of her son.  She speaks movingly about her relationship with Sam’s birth mom and how strong the pull is to keep proving to her that she is doing a good job.  She describes the ways that she talks to Sam about race, and the ways that she, as a white woman, feels she can and cannot prepare him to be a black man in Maine.  Catherine reads her beautiful poem, Black Enough to open and close the interview.

It was a hard interview for me going into it, because I knew that I was offering myself up as the slide for the transracial parenting race related microscope-something I am more and more comfortable doing for the most part. I remember wondering afterwords “was there any content in that half hour?” But in retrospect that is because I was evaluating my own story as story teller as a memory in the setting of microphones, engineers and a powerhouse of a host.  My goal was to put myself out there in a way that might allow someone else to do the same, in their own journey. Enjoy my interview with Dr. Anne.  When I have the ability to listen to it, I’ll come back and offer a little more meat to what it feels like to me to hear the exchange. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you–because that is who I was talking to.

Take me to, to the other side…

After the responses I received from yesterday’s posts (off line, FB messages and on the post) I thought I better remind my fantastic followers that I also live over on the other side of this is hard a great deal of the time.

Things I am grateful for as a single mom:

1. Cuddles, huggles, night night needs, pile ups, spooning, and movie nights in my bed.

2. Planning vacations wherever we want to go, and asking whoever we want to come with us.

3. Cooking for kids, and leftovers for me works just fine.

4. We only need a little car.

5. Immense pride when my kids do well, which is very often because this  highly functioning, loving, with it parent is absolutely enough and my kids are doing beautifully in this family of three.

6. How easy it is for people to accept offers to help.

7. During my journey to Sam, and birthing Marcel I was able to choose the people I knew could handle all of the mess and the joy with the most ease and skill. Having that lifetime connection with them.

8. When the pediatrician says things like; “Catherine I have no concerns whatsoever about these kids, or your ability to raise them as a single parent. In fact, you really do a bang up job and it shows in so many ways…” And then the next day when another doctor says; “Go home and tell your husband…” and I say; “I don’t have one, but if I did I probably wouldn’t share that with him anyway.” And he balks and says; “Oh I’m sorry.” And I look at him like he has multi-colored slime all over him, and say; “Why? I’m not. I choose to do this on my own, and I’m doing beautifully.”

9. Dancing to All the single ladies in the kitchen, cranked up super high at least four times in a row with the boys, pointing to our rings while swishing the rest of us-and feeling like it is some kind of ridiculously meaningful ritual.

10. Being able to listen to the lowered voices of the wives/partners who admit in secret that they; “sometimes wish they could change places with me…and didn’t have to  worry about their husbands/partners who are not employed/taking care of themselves/unreliable/cheating/not present as parents/glued to the television. Realizing hard is just hard.

Things I’m grateful for as a transracial mom:

1. My entire white mind world was turned inside out, and the new version is 6000% better and improving daily.

2. The strength and beauty that comes from living in the margins.

3. Opportunities to advocate for children (and families) of color  (mine and others). A new found voice  to talk about bias and education for starters.  Learning the difference between speaking for someone, and speaking of that which I notice is a systemic inequity that starts with my own stuff is a hugely satisfying part of that work and path.

4. The new families that are in my life because we are all parenting in the hue.

5. Buying as many of the Black Barbie and other dolls as I can from the Toys R Us so that they identify the need and increase their inventory.

6. Giving those dolls away.

7. The friendship with my son’s donor and the possibility of a deepening relationship with Sam’s first family.

8. Feeling uncomfortable on a cellular level when I realize everyone in the restaurant is white, and choosing to go somewhere else instead.  Sam agreeing that is a good idea. Discovering three mixed/ families of color at the following restaurant, and learning that one of them knows us from the blog.

9. The incredible support and connection of the adoption community in real and ether time.

10. Sam. Marcel.

My beauties/ All rights reserved 2011 MamaCandtheboys

Naming and claiming and prepping us all (Reunion update)

Six and half years ago/ Mama C and the Boys

I include the picture above to remind me, and Sam one day if he reads this blog, just how much he will have changed since his first mom last saw him. In the posts leading up to our visit, I’ll continue to include pictures of the first time we met. He was a few weeks old here.

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We were looking at a slideshow of the hotel that we are going to be staying in next month when we visit Sam’s birth family when the following conversation happened:

Me: Maybe Tea and the kids would like to come swimming?

Sam: Do they swim as well as I do?

Me: I don’t know. We’ll find out. You’re an amazing swimmer. Continue reading “Naming and claiming and prepping us all (Reunion update)”

Open Adoption Roundtable #26: Talking about siblings in adoption

Brothers brothers brothers/Mama C and the Boys 2011

Because we are beginning to talk more and more about our upcoming trip to the West Coast to meet Sam’s first mom, siblings, and grandparents this Open Adoption Roundtable jumped out at me.

…talk about siblings in open adoption. It may be that birth parents are parenting older or younger siblings…What words do we use to talk about that? How do we frame it? What questions or issues have come up?

In our house, Sammy has known about his siblings, since before he could talk. He met them at the hospital before his first mom was discharged, and before he was placed into my strong and shaking arms, by her stronger and shaking arms!  He has seen many of the group shots from that day. We also have family portraits all over the house of her and her older children updated annually. Continue reading “Open Adoption Roundtable #26: Talking about siblings in adoption”