Category Archives: Other Stuff

So Many Shoes

Things are mimicking something akin to normal. The time I had away last week was good for me and Hope.

Hope attempted to push some boundaries, and I decided to just give no reaction. One boundary really, really pissed me off, but I just kept those emotions to myself.

It’s been a quiet week.

But I’m still so incredibly anxious. My partner got to see the full scope of my anxiety in the last week. It’s good he’s a calming presence because I can only imagine he was a bit like, whoa!

For her part, Hope was just…something like normal?

No.

No really.

I got home to a totally different person.

So, yeah. It’s fine. We’re fine. It’s fine.

Narrator: It isn’t fine, tho.

I’m kind of having a mini-meltdown every day because I’m so traumatized by the last few months that I am unable to cope with this sudden change.

It’s like, if you were to see life in a mirror. It’s all the same, right? Wrong, everything is there and totally backwards.

That’s what I feel like I’m experiencing right now.

I swear I felt like there was a possibility that she might disappear while I was gone, and I’d never see or hear from her again. It was that fraught in our home.

I’m trying to enjoy the calm, but the energy is way off.

I’m trying to enjoy the calm, but I’m waiting for another shoe to drop on what feels like conjoined octopi. #somanyfeet #somanyshoes #somanydropping

My nerves are bad y’all. My muscles feel like rubber bands. My shoulders could double as earlobes. And those neck muscles that run behind the ear down the neck? They just ache.

But I’m working on keeping it all together. My gut tells me I can’t afford to have my own emotional meltdown at the moment.

Beyond my own reactions to this chapter, I worry incessantly about Hope I have no idea how she’s experiencing all this, how it feels for her. It’s disorienting to me, so I imagine it must be really hard for her to navigate all her feelings and behaviors.

I’m hopeful that this period of peace is long and settles into an authentic peace.

Hopeful. It’s also feels naively ridiculous because I *know* there is a shoe dropping somewhere in a forest right now. I might not hear it or see it, but I know that ripple will hit our doorstep at some point.

I really hope things get better, that she has the opportunity to make different choices, and to learn to give herself some love and help. I hope she chooses to find support in health ways, with healthy people.

I’m just so worried.

In other news, the one steady freddy in the house is Yappy. He was pretty freaked out by a few significant episodes over these last few weeks, but he’s the most resilient of all of us. He just serves up unconditional love all the time. He is more bonded with me, but he always makes time to see about Hope, napping in her room and getting super excided when she comes home or out of the bathroom (yeah, the bathroom. He’s got terrible separation anxiety.) He’s been a common focus the whole time, so Hope and I do have that.


I’m Trying

Last weekend Hope turned the magical age of 21. We were supposed to go to NYC to celebrate, but sadly, she got really sick, and we had to cancel. I hope we can go later this summer.

The good news: she didn’t have COVID.

The bad news: we don’t exactly know what she has. I suspect it was a case of the flu.

I can say that it was super gross. And when Hope gets sick, she really gets sick and she really gets dramatic.

I wish I could say that I turn into this mushy mom figure when she is sick, but I do not. Don’t get me wrong, I do what I can—try to get her to eat, to shower, to rest, manage symptoms, etc. But that sit at the bedside, Flo Nightingale stuff…no.

I’ll even admit that I struggle with leaning into the mushy mom troupe. I’m not that chick. I go into non-emotional mode because it’s a problem to be managed and/or fixed.

My ability to compartmentalize emotion is a handy skill in my line of work where a DEI professional being hyper emotional is just not going to work.

That skill for momming is problematic because Hope thinks I don’t care.

Additionally, Hope’s penchant for dramatizing her ailments has me usually thinking she’s crying wolf. There were times when we were regulars at the Patient First (after several expensive trips to the ER where NOTHING WAS WRONG! Some of Hope’s emotional challenges manifest psychosomatically, which really complicates things).

I absolutely do care, and I’ve improved in doing mushy stuff over the years. Sadly I think I’ve lost some of that ground though.  

I think I’ve backslid recently because the last 2.5 years have been exhausting in dealing with some of Hope’s shenanigans. Without telling all of our business there was a whole host of bad 19-20-something decisions that resulted in some unfortunate entanglements, health issues, law enforcement engagement, and more.

It’s a wonder I have anyblack hair left on my head. I don’t have much, and I figure in the next year to 18 months I will be completely grey at this rate.

During the height of our COVID drama I had to put my emotions on the shelf to just get through it. I just put those mushy feelings away and went about navigating us out of the dark forest.

Now, I’m realizing some of those emotions are kind of stuck on the shelf.

I’m exhausted.

My sisters and I left home at 18 and never returned to live at home—this being 20+ living at home is foreign to me. Sister K also has a 20-something living at home, and frankly, she’s as baffled as I am, just with a lot more emotion.

I find myself frustrated that Hope is chronologically 21 and emotionally 14, 15 at most. Bridging all that goes between those numbers is…a lot. It’s like she wants to go clubbing and she wants me to fix her baby food all at the same time. It’s dizzying, and I worry often that I just can’t do it. I do not have any effing idea how to parent through this. It’s like an uncontrollable roller coaster.

I know that I have unrealistic expectations; I’ve been spending the last few weeks of therapy really trying to get my brain on the same page as my parenting realities. When Hope actually was 14 and 15, I felt like I could really manage things better. At 21 she has access to sooooooo much more than I think she’s ready for, and the stakes seem so much higher and riskier. More than anything I want to protect her.

I also want to protect me.

I really feel somewhat powerless, and I don’t like the feeling. It’s not that I want to control her every move. On the contrary, I want her to be autonomous, to be free, but the trouble that she can get into feels so much more dangerous and life altering at this point. I hate rules, but I had to institute some this year because of poor decision making. Poor decisions at 14 and at 21…both are unpleasant, and both can have long consequences. But the reality is that I made it through the age 14, emotionally 7 period of poor decisions. Living through age 21, but emotionally 14 poor decisions feel a lot different.

To be truthful, Hope is a “good” kid, but she has triggers that just make her spiral and reliably do dumb shit.

And I’m older now. I don’t feel quite so resilient. I’m tired and a bit worn down. Worrying feels different. It’s exhausting.

My therapist gave me some homework and good friends have suggested I need some respite. Both are right. I’m working hard and will be trying to make some plans to get away.

I know Hope is also struggling and it is painful to know that I am not currently able to meet her where she is.

I’m trying, but it’s really hard. I am trying and I’ll keep trying tho.


Reflecting on 2021

Well, first of all, whew; I’m glad that’s over! I mean, losing Betty White on the last day of the year was just…unnecessarily mean behavior from the universe.

Last year was a bit of a rough ride for me and Hope. It started with the absurdity of the January 6 insurrection—I can’t tell y’all how many friends and family fretted about our safety. We were fine, but having worked at the Capitol early in my career, my partner at the time worked at the complex. I have many friends and colleagues who work there or frequent the complex. Aside from the emotional proximity–that was some wild White people-ish. My career has been devoted to making this country better and to see what we saw…It was as stunning to me as watching the towers fall 20 years ago.

Hope and I would endure a major trauma just days later that was just…Nearly a year later, it is surreal. I remember feeling guilty, angry, pained, devastated. It took months for Hope to recover as she was already flat down given traumas from 2020. But, as always, she is the strongest person I know. Thinking about the last 2 years, Hope had a rough entry into baby adulting.

And then one day, thanks to a great team, she was better. She got a job, started saving up for a car, and started pushing all kinds of boundaries that left us sporadically at each other’s throats. I’m not going to lie, I spent a lot of time mad this summer. This period also left me with some major trust issues, that I’m just starting to unpack now. I came to realize a couple of things during this time. First, my intrinsic motivation made me behave very differently at Hope’s age. I didn’t *really* cut up until I was out of undergrad and had a home of my own. Second, what boundaries I strode across at Hope’s age was done 2 hours away from home and my parents’ knowledge. It helped me remember that her behavior was delightfully, annoyingly and trust-bustingly normal. I did find solace in that.

I said no a lot at work last year. I hope to do more of that this year. My priorities with work are evolving. I’m fortunate to have a lot of autonomy, but something is missing. I’m not being intellectually stimulated in a way that feels good. The last 2 years have been crisis management. How do you sustain anything when a 2 year crisis is quickly turning into a 3 year crisis? It’s exhausting and doesn’t leave much for intellectual creativity or curiosity. I think I’m busier than ever and bored, really bored. I took a 6 week philosophy course that ended last month and the readings, discussions, they were both hard and invigorating. I also realized that this class was honestly the hardest I’ve intentionally worked my brain since the accident. I turned my camera off and hit mute one night because I was overwhelmed by the fact that my brain “still had it.” I didn’t realize how fearful I was that my capacity would always be affected. Anyway, that’s also how I realized, I was bored.

I took a vacation alone; I recommend it. Hope bought a car. I’m so proud of her. My perimenopause symptoms worsened–like WTH? This is really some trash, but I’m glad my circle is normalizing talking about it; it helps to know your repro-revolt isn’t any more or less weird than your sista friends’ experience. I started a small crochet business making pet sweaters and scarves (for now!). Hope made a big decision about her relationships with her biological family. She also has the most amazing Afro now that her hair has grown out, and the best part is that she finally seems to really love her hair. I was partnered and now I’m single again. I was reminded that straight men really have no clue what BS straight women have to contend with. I really need us to do better parenting and modeling healthy romantic relationships because there are a lot of jerks who didn’t get schooled.

As we celebrated last night, Hope and I talked about our desires for 2022–a return to normalcy, the end of the pandemic, a return to living in residence at college, possibly the sale of our home, companionship for both of us and a trip to Vegas for Hope. Yappy just wants us to never leave him ever again–I really need to start working on that in hopes of getting out of the house more.

It was a tough year, but Hope and I ended it on a positive note–dressed up for homemade pasta, playing Mario Kart with frosted sugar cookies, and Costo’s Bailey’s knockoff.

Happy New Year Peeps. Thanks for rocking with me, Hope, and Yappy for another year.


Ugh 😣

Wrote a whole post about Hope’s refined code switching skills. It was touching. I talked about my own affinity for switching and how I’m at an age when I choose to do less of it. I talked about how we both kinda like being bougie and occasionally acting super proper, even though that colonized AF.

It was good.

And then Google ate it. Said, “Oh girl, you wrote that? That was yours?” while slowly looking me up and down while popping gum.

Technology kinda sucks.

We’re fine, and I’ll try to recreate the post tomorrow. Xoxo


Keeping Up with ABM

I really took the last couple of weeks to get rest. I meant to write. I meant to do a lot of things. Some things got done, others didn’t, and I’m ok with that.

I was grappling with an arthritis flare that forced me to slow down. I don’t like that I was forced to stop and rest, but that rest was so needed. I feel like my vacation was forever ago.

Thanksgiving with the family was wonderful. After two years of being apart, it was such a joy to be with my family in the same spot. It was so soul-filling. I have missed them so much. During the pandemic, I have seen all members of my family individually, but being together was magical. Hope had a great time; Yappy…less so because of the toddlers, but he was a perfect pup.

I’m trying to wrap up the year at work. I’m eager to take more time off and get more rest.

Hope is working her fanny off. I think it’s fair to say she doesn’t enjoy working with the “public” much. People can be awful and the pandemic has really brought out the problematic people. Layer on holiday shoppers and it’s any wonder why folks tolerate anyone else. I try to support her, make sure there’s good food available and home remains a safe place. I also listen to her post-work vent sessions. She’s really adulting now. LOL.

We’re ok, just busy. I promised to be back soon!


This Week in Parenting

Ah yes, the purchase of a car triggers all kind of adulting issues! There is some work that the dealership still needs to do on the car; I made sure it was included in the contract. I’ve left it to Hope to make the appointments to get it done because it’s her car.

Well, you know how adult-adults talk to baby adults? Yeah, that. This dealership has given her all kinds of run arounds all week. Frustrated, she came to me on Thursday to complain (again).

Now, you know how you have to put a bit of bass in your voice to convey meaning and authority? Most 20 year olds don’t have that yet, so, I asked her if she needed “Dr. ABM” to call; she sheepishly said yes.

I dial up the dealership and leave the sales manager a nice, but firm message that this needs to be taken care of immediately and that there will be no more shenanigans from any other departments: Make it happen sir.

It’s such a whole new world for Hope; I forget how much we model things for our children.

Well, the car is getting the last of its work done this week, just as I gently suggested on the phone.

Interestingly, the sales manager didn’t call me back; he called Hope a few minutes later. She laughed afterward because he told her to be sure to tell me that he called me back right away and that things will be handled in short order.

You got that right.

This is just such an interesting time since I am constantly trying to figure out when and how best to help Hope. I want her to feel supported, but I also want her to feel like she can handle an increasing number of things herself. I always feel like I’m practicing one extreme or the other.

I felt like I did ok this go ‘round. I stood back and allowed her to try to handle it; when that didn’t work, I asked her for permission to help.

This parenting thing really does keep evolving.


Ten Things on Thursday: 10/14/2021

  1. I have been wayyyyy too busy this week. I’ve got a work thing on Saturday morning and dang it that messes with my weekend snooze schedule. This past weekend I took a 6 hour nap, got up, fixed dinner, walked Yappy, showered a second time and got back in bed for the evening. Ha!
  2. Hope is doing well. Her arm is healing; she did a really good job with wound care after I did it for the first few days. The dental work is done. She’s got a good schedule going.
  3. I’m still figuring out how I feel about her working retail during the holidays. We won’t be traveling to see our family for Thanksgiving or Christmas because RETAIL. I hate that she very well could end up working on the ACTUAL holidays because CAPITALISM. I hate that things don’t just stay closed so families can do their own thing.
  4. In any case, I’ll be cooking this year and it will be good. I cook a lot more these days, but I still don’t go all the way out. Last year we had lamb chops for Christmas dinner; I think I’ll make that a tradition! Maybe Thanksgiving will be straight up comfort food day. Who really needs veggies any way??? Just kidding southern collards are essential to Thanksgiving. Neither Hope nor I particularly care for turkey, and she wants to consider cornish hens. I could do that. Can you air fry those?
  5. I have not been on a scale in months. Work stress meant that knowing that number could seriously trigger a bulemia relapse and I haven’t experienced a relapse in over a decade. I haven’t much paid attention to my clothes; this WFH situation means a lot of soft clothes. I put on something last night and was stunned by how much my body has changed. Inches are just gone all around my hips and belly. It was a really unexpected win!
  6. Meanwhile, my darling Hope has gained a bit of weight over the last couple of months. I noticed it all along the way, but didn’t say much about it. Her doc was very upset, very! He’s looking at me, “How did you let this happen?” I’m basically like, I cook just about every week. She will eat that and her own special groceries and anything else that’s edible and available. Hope also loathes exercise. I’m lowkey fascinated by her resistance to movement. I don’t workout hard on the weekends, but I’m getting increasingly intentional about my weekday workouts. I do not deny myself anything; I just know I gotta compensate with movement.
  7. Yappy is my steady cuddle buddy. I love this dog. I’m so happy about that; when The Furry One died, I thought I’d never love like that again. The heart does heal, and love comes back.
  8. I’m currently drinking moonshine. It’s so good.
  9. I also just ordered double dipped peanut butter chocolate peanuts from a bulk order place. Chocolate peanuts, the double dippers, take me right to my happy place.
  10. I’m need to go to bed early. Long day downtown tomorrow. It’s legit been months since I’ve been anywhere near my office.

Ten Things on Thursday

  1. Hope is fine after her fender bender. She shook up, but she’s fine. It was a classic case of poor defensive driving; she attempted to “get out of the way” of another driver rather than allowing that driver to navigate on their own. It happens. Of course, now she feels some kind of way because there are consequences to having an accident. I’m not punishing her, but I am making her pay the costs not covered by insurance, like the $500 deductible. “But that’s not fair!” “Surely, you don’t expect me to pay these expenses when you are responsible for the accident.” “But it wasn’t my fault, the guy…he…” “Neither here nor there, you ran into a barrier and damaged the front end of the car that now needs to be repaired.” *pouts*
  2. I am officially burnt out. Work is draining my soul. There is never enough time to get everything done, and there’s always something new to do. I utterly refuse to work early, late or on weekends; I’m miserable enough. I’m certainly not volunteering more time to what feels like an endless black hole. I’m cynical, exhausted, barely able to be professional. I’m just effing over it. My vacation is in 32 days, and I already know it’s not long enough. I’m just blah. I’ve been taking off Wednesdays the last few weeks just to help me get through the week. I end up taking very long naps and catching up on the TikToks I’m too tired or busy to look at the rest of the week.
  3. Is anyone watching The Chair on Netflix? Seems to be the rage with higher ed folks right now. There is an adoption story line embedded. Sandra Oh’s character is a single adoptive mom; her daughter seems to be having some challenges. I’m only on episode 3, but I’m guessing there’s some attachment stuff going on. *Spoiler Alert* I really related to a scene where Oh’s character talks about how her daughter got a raw deal when they were matched; how she falls short all the time and that she’s a mess. Whew, been there. There have been many days where I have told myself I wasn’t good enough, totally messed up a parenting moment or otherwise dragged my own parenting. Was it true? Maybe, but I know those moments feel…overwhelming. I’ll keep watching because I just want to see what they do with that story line.
  4. Remember when I said I was going to log my food and tighten up? Yeah, the logging lasted about 3 weeks. I’m still working out pretty hard (except Saturdays). I’m trying to eat a little more balanced and responsibly. I get so busy during the day that getting lunch sometimes just doesn’t happen. Most days I try to grab some yogurt or some cheese and crackers. I’m still cooking a lot so that Hope has healthy food to eat. She’s got her own eating issues. Her eating is very disordered, but not because she’s trying to lose weight. That said, it’s something I’m keeping an eye on.
  5. Teaching responsible finance to my daughter continues to be a challenge. I got off of the joint account, and not a moment too soon since she’s overdrawn several more times. It’s not that she does not have the resources to cover her purchases, but she her saving behavior is more like hoarding and she’s not giving her self enough to support her regular weekly spending. It’s challenging to offer guidance because its seen as so critical. She’s learning and I want to be supportive, but I also want her to feel good about her choices. I’m guessing we’re back to that natural consequences bit again. She’ll figure it out.
  6. Today is a National Dog Day, so here are some snaps of Yappy looking adorable.
  1. Did I mention that my vacation is 32 days away?
  2. Yeah, so my vacation is 32 days away.
  3. I’ve got another browser open, looking for some new recipes. Why is it that recipe bloggers have to tell you their life story in 87 paragraphs before you can actually get to the recipe? I just need the ingredient list and a general sense of how to throw it all together. If I could find a blogger who just posted pictures and the recipe without the storytelling, I’d subscribe in a minute. Anyway, got any good recipes? We don’t do seafood and we like cheese.
  4. During the pandemic I’ve made about 9 crochet baby blankets. As soon as I finish one, I find out about a new baby or pregnancy. I’ve also made a lot of hats and scarves. I’ve also got a huge blanket for my own couch that I’ve been working on as well. It’s been a really great hobby that makes me feel good to just give away something I made. I love the colors, choosing stitches and edges/borders. I love seeing a project come together and start looking like something. Crocheting has definitely been a part of keeping me together during this wild and crazy time.


It Finally Happened

Hope wrecked my car. Single car accident, triggered by her panicking about the behavior of another driver at a gas station.

Honestly, it was just a matter of time. I rode with her on Friday to run some errands, and while she is not what I would call a bad driver, I did point out a few areas where I suggested to demonstrate a bit more care. But alas…

I’m home waiting for her to arrive since despite minor hysterics, she insisted that I didn’t need to take an Uber to her location.

When I answered the phone, she was in freakout mode and couldn’t really talk. I basically had to say, I don’t care about what happened, are you ok? Is the car driveable? Is the other driver gone? Is anyone there to help you? Do you want me to come?

Yes.

I think so.

Yes.

I dunno.

No.

Ok well, put a little gas in the car and come home. We’ll call the insurance and figure things out.

Seriously, it was just a matter of time.

Here’s what I do know, she might end up buying my banged up Nissan from me. That car has been good to me, but I can’t live like this.

Woooooosa.

“Opens browser to begin looking at cars…”


Things I Learned During the Pandemic

I think I may be more introverted than I used to be. I do miss my friends; I really miss my family. But I also realize that maybe I’m comfortable at home. Transitioning last year was emotionally rough because Hope also came home. I wasn’t used to being home this much; to not taking vacations, to not hanging out with folks, to not always making plans. After 18 months, I’m not only resigned to being ok at home; I’m coming to luxuriate in my home time on the weekends. This may change as fall emerges, and I fight another bout of SAD depression.

In some ways I’ve become more patient, but I feel like my hair trigger temper looms even larger. I just don’t act out on it, but I’m kinda always at a rage level of 4-5 on a 10-point scale. I don’t have a lot of places to put those emotions these days, so I try to do other things. It’s hard; I feel like the pandemic has riled up so many emotions for me.

I am sick of math. I love quantitative research; there are aspects of it that I really could get much stronger in, but I’m a solid researcher. Regularly having to calculate risk/reward probabilities in my head when making plans or going out is exhausting. Each week I head on over to the COVID dashboards on the NYT’s site. I look at my state, my county, the counties where my immediate family lives and where Beau lives. I think about what my own exposure level is—I have to take into consideration that Hope works retail and has a high exposure rate. It the idea of always checking the calculated risk of going out in public. I’m not completely fearful, but I really do enjoy being around a few people and I get to see my parents and sisters and nephews and niece now. I am actually just trying to make sure my risks are low so I can see them whenever I want. But the math…I’m sick of it.

Yappy is the sweetest and most stubborn dog I’ve ever known personally. This dog adores people; his disposition is absurdly sweet. He’s a cuddle bum and is very happy nestled up next to you with a light blanket covering him. And then he also can be this:

This is one of his daily standoffs that we are now known for in the neighborhood. I try to let him dictate the direction of our long morning walk but let me try to deviate from his plan—especially if it’s to something he *knows* he has no business doing—he goes from sweet to rooted in his spot, refusing to move. He’s a whole mess. I’ve also learned that even though I taught him how to use AAC buttons, he really can’t be bothered to use them consistently despite positive reinforcement and behavior modeling. He’s on his own ish. I low key respect him for that.

I’ve learned that my home brewed cold brew coffee is worlds better than Starbucks, even with cheap coffee. I used to hot brew and then ice, but I really like the richness of cold brew. It took me forever to get my preferred ratios together, but now, it’s always perfect. 1 cup of grounds to 8 cups of water. I put it in my brewing pitcher, shake, pop in the fridge for 24 hours. I bought these straining bags—kinda like cheesecloth but made into a drawstring bag. Pour into my regular pitcher through the bag and voila! Dunzo! I was on Keto years ago and the only think I kept was my penchant for using heavy cream in my coffee. I froth it and my daily coffee experience is elevated!!!

I’ve learned that after we really get on the other side of the pandemic, I might have to redecorate. I could stand to update everything. I’m also thinking about getting rid of my dining table and just setting up that space as my home office. I think at this point, it just makes more sense and is a better use of space. I want to paint, maybe get a new couch, buy a couple new rugs, consider wallpaper. I just need to switch it up around here.

I’ve really come to appreciate our mental heath squad so much more this year. I’ve gone to therapy since undergrad, and Hope has required varying levels of mental health care since becoming my daughter. But this year…whew, I feel like we’ve definitely got our money’s worth in terms of therapy, meds management, talk therapy. I know my marbles would definitely be scattered all over the floor if we didn’t have a team in place. This 18+ months have really taken its toll, but they’ve remained a steady part of our lives; I’m grateful beyond measure.

Hope really enjoys my cooking. I am confident in my cooking skills, and these last few months I’ve finally really settled into a cooking schedule for the week. I do a lot of cooking on the weekends and keep more convenience foods for the latter part of the week. I’ve also expanded my recipe repertoire. She eats just about everything. She’s always enjoyed my cooking, but I think she really, really enjoys it now. She loves seeing what I’ve come up with. This weekend, I made beef and cheese empanadas.

I’m really over this pandemic; like really, really over it. I can admit, though, that it really has given me an opportunity to reflect and think about what I’ll take from this experience. I’m hopeful that at some point we’ll get ahead of it and that others will get vaccinate or head to a closed colony or something. I am eager to see what the new normal will be; I’m eager to go to brunch again; to socialize, to just be free with out worry of consequences of someone breathing on me. I’m just ready to move on.


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