"" Life A Bit Sweeter: March 2013

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ask Anything! Hair

I'm so thankful to the moms who have sent questions. I sincerely apologize that I'm just getting the first post up for our Ask Anything! series. Since we just got our referral, I've been uber busy with updating documents to send to Ethiopia, working full-time, being wife and mommy to my two at home, and you know the other long line of hats that many of us wear.

So while our first question is about boy hair care, if you have a girl, don't tune out. There's relevant info for you too. This particular mom is curious about how to care for her son's hair. The incredible thing about African/African-American hair is that our textures are as diverse as the hues of our skin color. You can have a child with a very tight coil that is a bit more difficult to detangle or a child with a very loose, almost soft curl. There are even little ones whose hair can be naturally bone-straight. Diversity at its best, right? Smile. Well, mommies, that just means that you can't be afraid of experimenting and trying. Also, don't let people intimidate you. You can do it! Here's the big thing though -- as you work with your child, please remember that the language and attitude you display, even when you get frustrated, can easily show up in how your child, especially girls, view themselves. Use hair time as bonding time, especially given the close proximity that you will have with one another. So be patient with yourself and extend yourself grace....scour YouTube, and use this forum as a resource. Don't let the fear of what us other African-Americans will think about you make you stop trying. People are going to talk REGARDLESS...so let them talk. Your job...continue to love on your little one and nurture your family in spite of the world's opinions and stares. Just like this blog series, I expect that there will be some negative opinions but that's okay. I'm doing this for the applause of One. For me, I'm  just being obedient to what I believe God is asking of me. He's not asking for perfection from me...just to take the steps and try. My sister, it's the same for you. So give yourself a break. Breathe in, breathe out...now let's love. (smile)

Oh...btw...here's one more tidbit regarding barbering for African/African-American boys. Everybody is not equipped to cut their hair. The barber who cuts your Caucasian son's hair may not be trained to cut your African son's hair. There is a skill that is involved and trust me when I tell you mama...many of us African-American mamas have had the experience of even poorly-skilled African-American barbers butchering our son's hair. For example, my youngest son's curl pattern is gorgeous and right in the front, his hair grows in a swirl. If a barber cuts it wrong, he looks bald in the front...not a good look at all! Wanna see a mama run from a barbershop or get really feisty? Let a barber cut uneven patches in her son's hair. LOL. So...all that to say 'Barber Beware'. If you haven't been able to find a good barber in your area, let me know and I'll put out some feelers to some other moms.

So here we go....

Close-up of my oldest son's curls. They are
somewhat loose but not a silky loose curl.
The longer his hair gets the more it tangles.

Awesome resources I mentioned in the video:

Beads, Braids & Beyond

Curly Nikki

Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ask Anything! A Safe Place for Vanilla Moms & Dads Raising Chocolate Children

Verme Family Blog
I remember before we started the adoption process, I would sometimes see Caucasian moms and dads with African or African-American children and yes, I would stare....not real hard. I'd try to do it on the sly. I didn't want to be a gawker but I was so curious. Were they their children? Had they adopted? Were they children of some friends they knew? Were they in a big brother/big sister type of program? If they were their kids, how were they teaching them about the African/African-American culture?

Darling Family Blog
Yes.....the questions, the questions, the questions I had. What I had not considered is the awkwardness that the parents and the children themselves must have felt every time they went out in public and perhaps even in private with their extended family members. I've always believed that love has no color and ALL DAY LONG, I'd rather a child be in a loving family than stay in an institution or system just for the sake of them waiting for a family of the same ethnicity to take them in. I believe this for all children -- African, African-American, Asian, Caucasian, and the list goes on.

Wanderer Family Blog
During this adoption process, I've learned that while I've had questions in the past about Vanilla Moms & Dads raising Chocolate children, they have just as many sometimes too. Here's the problem, there's no safe place that I've identified where they can ask them. On two separate occasions, neither of them ever knowing, two of my friends who have adopted internationally, both named Jenn (and Jen), have inadvertently talked with me about creating such a place and I'd like to begin providing it sometimes via this blog. It's a place where moms and dads can ask REAL questions but have never had a safe place to do so without sounding racist, insensitive, or getting a potential tongue-lashing that says, 'Well, why did you adopt them anyway if you wouldn't know what to do?!'

You know questions like....

  • Why can't I wash my child's hair everyday like I do mine?
  • What's this whole hair thing about anyway?
  • My daughter's hair is hard to manage? What do I do? Should I put a relaxer in it?
  • The lotion we use still makes my child look dry and ashy? What should I be using?
  • How do I safely find African/African-American men or women who can pour into my child about their culture in a way that perhaps I can't?
  • How do I deal with issues when my child wants to identify more so with the rest of our family who has straight hair and blue/green eyes? 
Tennant Family Blog
So here's the deal. I'm no expert. Just a mama with a heart for adoption regardless of ethnicity mix. I have a bit of knowledge and when I don't, I have friends who are pretty wise. Send your questions to me at michelle365@me.com. Trust me when I say, I won't tolerate blatant ignorance from anyone. That's not the intent here. At the same time, if you're an adopting parent, don't feel like your questions will offend me. If they come off the wrong way, I promise to lovingly share perhaps a better way to word it so that if you ask the question of someone else in the future, it's taken for the heart of what it's worth. Ready....let's roll!

(BTW: I'm now turning on my comment moderation option so that this blog remains a safe and loving place. Smile. Love y'all!)

More pics of my sweet friends....love them so!
Matthews Family

Reynolds Family
Hammons Family Blog

Friday, March 1, 2013

Referral Day!!!

I can't believe that we finally get to share that we received our referral for a beautiful little girl this past Wednesday evening. It's taken me a while to post this because I've been so busy just trying to process everything.

What's next? We have more paperwork to complete and are waiting for an international pediatrician to review her medical records. Once this is done, we have to let our adoption agency know if we are accepting the referral.

There's so much more that must happen between now and bringing her home and I'll share those details soon. For now, the 'mother' in me wants to protect and nurture her. If I could be on a plane to Ethiopia today, I would...just to love on her. Since I can't, I am thankful that the God that I serve is a Father to the Fatherless and that He has kept and protected her more than I ever could.

Popular Posts