Monday, October 29, 2007

We're Back...

Well, we are back from Indie Emporium. Michael and I had fun spending time with Amy. We met some nice people and made it through the long hours. We took some pics of her booth. She did a great job of setting it up.

This is the amelia mae side of the booth. The wrapped gift boxes show how Amy's gift tags can be used. She sells them with or without ribbon. The tags are also great for those who like to scrapbook.

This is the Project 8256 side of the table. We sold prints, originals and greeting cards.

This is what the entire booth looked like. You can see the banners from amelia mae in the background. We moved them to the front on Saturday, because they really couldn't be seen where they were.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sweaters and Extravaganzas!

It is sweater weather!!! This makes me sooo happy. Michael and I have been anxiously awaiting the cold weather and it is finally here. I haven’t turned on the heater yet. I like to put it off as long as possible. Secretly, I love it being a little cold in my house, so I can put my flannel pants and hoodie on and pull the covers up to my chin!

I have been helping my sister prepare for Indie Emporium, which is a “craft extravaganza” in Amy’s words. It is in Tulsa this Friday and Saturday. We will be selling things for Project 8256 to raise money for our adoption, as wall as AHOPE. Amy will also be selling lots of fantastic things from amelia mae. She does a really incredible job. If you can’t make it, you should check out her shop if you are looking for banners or tags. She will be adding more items to her Etsy store in the next few weeks. She has been waiting until after this weekend to restock things, so we can take a lot of great things to Tulsa. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Of Beetles & Angels

I am beginning to read a list of suggested readings for parents adopting from Ethiopia. Most of the books on the list were not at my local library, but thankfully Of Beetles & Angels was. I didn’t know if I would enjoy this book, but it was fantastic. It was well written and a quick read. The book written by Mawi Asgedom, is about his journey from Ethiopia, to a Sudanese refugee camp and eventually to America. He moved to the Chicago area with his family when he was seven years old. This beautifully written book takes the reader on a journey as Asgedom paints a picture of his life growing up in a habesha family. His journey eventually leads him to Harvard, where he received a full-tuition scholarship and gave the commencement speech. Mawi Asgedom is now a sought after speaker, particularly for teens.

His father always told him to “treat all people – even the most unsightly beetles – as though they were angels sent from heaven.” His father said you never know when an angel is sent to you disguised as a beetle. This really makes me think. How many times have I treated someone like they were a beetle? I hope I have treated more people like angels, but even if I have treated one person like a beetle, I have failed them.

I highly recommend this book. It is a book that emphasizes the importance of your own heritage, the value of hard work and education and the power of treating everyone like they are an angel.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Parenting Tips

Okay…I am still here. I have not blogged in a very long time. Michael and I started a business with his brother and sister-in-law. It has been very time consuming, but a life long dream. Now that the business is up and running, I feel like I can really focus on our adoption. When we first started talking about adopting, I was advised by many people to wait until we opened our business to start our adoption and not try to do both at once. Boy, now I know why!

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about what it will be like to raise our child. A friend recently asked me if I had any concerns about raising a child of a different race and culture. Of course I do. I worry about a lot of things, but particularly about what my child will experience as they become a teenager and then an adult. Teenagers already struggle enough with identity and self-image. My child will have to deal with this, plus the feeling that they look different than their parents and were born in a different country. Should this stop me from adopting? Absolutely not.

I have to believe “love conquers all”. I have to believe that Michael and I can love our child and guide them through these difficult times. Does that mean they won’t go through any adversities? No. Although it would be great if we could just “love them through it”, it is not that easy. We have to be educated and aware of issues that will impact our child and our family. Harlow’s Monkey blog recently posted something on this subject. The following was written by Sun Young Shin and was originally printed in the Summer 2007 issue of MN ASAP Family Voices newsletter.

Parenting Tips for White Parents with Adopted Children of Color

1. Live in or move to, if you have to, a multicultural, racially and ethnically diverse neighborhood. Make sure your child regularly interacts with people of color in a variety of ways.

2. Study and learn about whiteness and white privilege. Don't waste time and energy in feeling guilty. Guilt is a luxury of those with privilege. Embrace the opportunity to work for social justice. Study and learn how to be an active anti-racist, and then do it.

3. Understand that even if your child is, for example, ethnically Chinese, she or he will be perceived as "Asian American" or simply "Asian" (or worse, Oriental). Understand the complex and interrelated history of various groups of color in America. Don't overemphasize traditions from the culture of origin at the expense of dealing with race in America.

4. Be prepared to teach your child how to directly respond to racist comments, questions and incidents. (You'll have to learn this from adults of color). Never make excuses for others. Never brush off these incidents as insignificant or isolated.

5. Be prepared for friends and family to be confused or even offended by your anti-racist work. Be patient with them and let them know about your new priorities. Continue to make friends of all races who are interested in making America a truly equitable nation.

6. Avoid saying or thinking that, "I'm ___________ too now that I have a child from __________." That's simply offensive and insulting to all the people who are really __________ and don't get to "choose." Understand the difference between nationality, race, ethnicity and culture -- and how they overlap (or don't overlap) for your child and your family.

7. Study and learn about your child's culture(s) of origin, not from North American and/or white writers but from writers and historians from within that (those) culture(s).

8. Understand how gender and sexuality operate in your child's culture(s) of origin.

9. Understand that even if your child is disinterested in her or his culture of origin, she or he will be impacted by how the American mainstream perceives that culture.

10. Support the artistic expression and adoption-related professional work of adult adoptees -- if only because your child will eventually be an adult adoptee.

11. Study the history of inequalities in terms of reproductive rights (who gets to have a safe abortion, who gets to keep their children, who is considered a socially accepted mother) in this country before criticizing the sexism or patriarchy in other cultures (or communities). Consider how you can invest in your child's home community so that women and families . . . people who look like your child . . . will not "have to" send their children away.

Sun Yung Shin is the author of the poetry collection, "Skirt Full of Black" (Coffee House Press); co-editor of "Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption" (South End Press); and author of "Coopers Lesson" (Children's Book Press) a bilingual (Korean/English) illustrated children's book for children. She is a 2007 Bush Fellow for Literature for Literature.
For more articles and essays about transracial adoption from MN ASAP (Minnesota Adoption Support and Preservation) you can
download their newsletter or visit their website.

There is so much to learn and to consider, not just for Michael and I, but for our families too. It is our job to educate those who will be loving our child.