How I Got Here
AdoptiveBlackMom is a diversity professional, social science researcher, writer, blogger, mom and full-time smarty pants living in the Washington, D.C. area. Follow her on Twitter @AdoptiveBlackMom and like her Facebook page.
There are many writers chronicling their lives as parents and specifically adoptive parents. A quick Google search will turn up thousands of blogs and articles written by adoptive parents discussing their journeys, what they’ve learned, what challenges they experience and what emotional mountains they’ve climbed.
When I launched my own blog, AdoptiveBlackMom (ABM), three years ago, I was oh-so-naïve about the written world of adoption. I’d read a few articles and such, but I didn’t really connect with the online adoption community. I had barely stumbled into that world. I wasn’t one of those hopeful adoptive parents who scoured the Internet trying to learn about the process in minute detail. It never occurred to me to read about what adoptees thought about their adoptions and their lives (both hidden and exposed).I wasn’t that chick. I was in the midst of doing my research for my dissertation when I launched my blog; yeah, I was a bit busy and a wee bit distracted.
The truth is that AdoptiveBlackMom wasn’t really supposed to be a thing. It certainly wasn’t my identity. In fact, I never intended to write for the general public; my blog was just supposed to be this thing that I used that was a little cooler than a newsletter to update friends and family about my adoption journey.
I never intended to write this long. I never intended to be as transparent as I am. ABM wasn’t really a person; she wasn’t really me. ABM was just a play name I used on the internet. That changed very quickly though. Apparently, black voices in adoption are rare.
There are certainly a few amazing black bloggers but it’s a pretty small group of folks. That made the little space I created for adoption updates, and more specifically, my voice and vantage point special and, unbeknownst to me at the time, important. Within a few months of being online, people found my blog.
I have always loved writing. I write a lot for work and at the time was doing an enormous amount of writing due to school. But there was something about the blog space that allowed me the freedom to write about my hopes and fears as a prospective parent. I wrote about everything, warts and all; somethings I regret writing about. I hid very little and wrote regularly. And that’s how I became AdoptiveBlackMom.
As we all do, my story and I have evolved. My beautiful daughter, Hope has now been with me for three years. We are headlong into the teenage years, complete with my pending nervous breakdown about Hope getting her driver’s license.
When fellow black mom blogger, Mimi Robinson, and I launched the podcast, Add Water and Stir, about six months after Hope’s placement, I told my daughter about my blog and how I write about my life with her. I tried to explain that the blog was really about me and she was a character in the story.
Hope was 12 or 13 at the time and she was entirely disinterested in the whole thing. She remains so though she seems to have a deeper appreciation that my “work” on the blog and show are done in hopes of improving the lives of other adoptive families — especially families of color and transracial families.
She supports that even if she doesn’t really want much to do with the adoption community. There’s a mutual understanding we’ve come to over time. In other words, she seems cool with it. If she wasn’t; knowing what I know now about the importance of adoptee voices… well I don’t think I could be AdoptiveBlackMom anymore.
I don’t know who I would be other than Hope’s mom and being her mom is an awesome identity.
She knows that I also co-host the podcast and that I discuss our shenanigans there as well. I’ve never asked her permission but I have been honest with her about my documentation of my life as her mom. Hope has even done an interview for the show for National Adoption Month. She will still not-so-randomly ask if I am posting inappropriate and/or unflattering pictures of her online. I actually don’t post any identifiable pictures of her on my blog and very rarely post any pictures of her online in our “real” life. I like and appreciate that she regularly checks in though.
I’ve always been protective of Hope. I try to be mindful that one day she may choose to read AdoptiveBlackMom. I want her to feel like I didn’t reveal too much and that the story of our life together is really my story. She very likely has a different interpretation of our experiences. Both of our narratives will be true.
And as I recognize that my identity and voice as AdoptiveBlackMom serves as a rare peek behind the veil of adoptive and black parenting of an older child, I continue to write about my life as an adoptive parent mostly for myself. I use the exercise to really think about what I’m feeling and experiencing as a parent. I am an educator and spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m learning. I use the online space I’ve created as my own notebook but I recognize and deeply appreciate that my experiences may be useful to other parents.
So, that’s the story behind the story of AdoptiveBlackMom. I am she and she is me. But I would not be her if not for my amazing daughter, Hope. I adore this kid and dedicate this post to her.