What is the value of the adopted life?

Today I’m hosting a guest post from my friend Angela Tucker, who is an adult adoptee, writer, and activist. She’s currently crowdfunding a documentary on adoptee voices. You can check it out here.

I am a female transracial adoptee with disabilities, happily committed in an interracial marriage. One might expect a minority ^5 (to the fifth degree) to have cemented and unflappable opinions on all topics relating to race, adoption and marriage. However the unique lens with which my world is filtered has lent me towards a greater acceptance and understanding that experiences lead to opinions as varied as the human race itself.  My siblings - through foster care, birth family, adoption and biological to my parents all have different feelings about adoption - some vehemently oppose the decision to share private facts publicly, others are fearful of searching for their birthparents, some struggle with the loss of their birth culture, while others focus solely on birth family relationships. One commonality we share is that we love our parents, and love our family.

Angela tucker

Closure was released to Netflix in February of this year and suddenly my personal story became available for anyone to dissect and use as a case study for adoption reunions. This development both excited and terrified me as I wondered how I would be able to let every Netflix subscriber know my main motivation for sharing my story in this way. How could I let every viewer know that my hope was that the film might allow another adoptee to feel less isolated and more understood in their struggle to make sense of their place in the world. At film screenings, I would sit in amazement watching the droves of people connect with my story, quietly wondering how empowering it may have been to watch a movie primarily focused on an adoptee when I was younger. While sitting at a screening, instead of watching Closure (and being re-triggered by events from my reunion), I would let me mind wander, imagining a teenage version of myself watching an adoptee movie on a Friday night with my parents, a bowl of popcorn snuggled up in my favorite blanket. I would then imagine that the film would conclude and the floor would be open for a deeply meaningful conversation about all the topics the film stirred up in me.

In the three years since the film has come out, I’ve heard too many adoptee stories to count, and  I have loved hearing each and everyone of them. Hearing these stories solidified my choice to release my story to the public, as it provided the evidence I needed that adoptees were feeling more free to speak about their experiences. I especially loved hearing from tween and teen adoptees as every time I would meet one of them, I could see myself in the questions that they asked. I saw myself in their unquenchable curiosity and the longing to be heard and understood.  Just a few minutes of speaking together connected us in a way that feels particular unique to adoptees. When speaking with these kiddos, I would occasionally ask if they felt they had safe places and people to share their feelings about adoption (other than their adoptive parents) most often the answer was, no.

I don’t feel that an adoptee should have to secure a Netflix deal in order for other adoptees to find a safe space to explore the complexity of the adopted life. I have decided to try to turn my fantasy dream into a reality and am creating The Adopted Life Episode series. The premise is simple; I'll direct an honest, free-flowing one-on-one conversation between myself and an adoptee, which will be edited into a short episode, filmed and edited by my husband, filmmaker Bryan Tucker. The open-source series will offer the general public the opportunity to listen these adoptees truths, providing space for private discussions afterwards. In order for this dream to come to fruition, I need to raise funds. I seek to tap into the mystical adoptee connection to provide youth an outlet for their voices to be heard and supported, to give young adoptees a platform so that they can find others more easily, while allowing our society to learn the value and power of their realities.

Every year in November we celebrate National Adoption Month, and every year media outlets rush to tell our stories and their default has been to ask adoptive parents to tell these stories. Typically, adoptive parents are introduced as the experts on adoption. This trend has been slowing changing over the last few years, with adult adoptees pushing back, declaring that we are the experts in adoptee experience, since we know what it feels like to live the adopted life. If you find value in my voice as an adoptee, please show your commitment by supporting The Adopted Life.

Angela and Bryan’s incredible campaign is in its final days - if not funded in full, the episodes cannot take place.

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What I want you to know about working on a political campaign

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here.  Today’s guest post is by Anonymous.

After a long day of talking with people in an office, making calls, and advocating for a candidate, I’m still going. I go to bed tired and wake up tired just so I can do another 14+ hour grind seven days a week. It is possible I might get to see my wife and child for about an hour if I’m lucky. I want you know that the people who work on campaigns are… people. This is our job and we have lives and families outside of that job.

I would like you know that the job we do is to try and make you care about the future of our shared community. I say this because you don’t. Otherwise we wouldn’t have jobs. That isn’t meant to be mean but it is simply the truth (at least in the US). In a presidential year the general election sees only 67% of registered voters vote. That is just registered voters, not those eligible to vote if they wished to. In off-year elections, it drops to roughly 33% and primaries are worse.  

I would like you know that we hate all things about election season that you hate. We hate negative ads. In reality though, some of you really like negative ads and it fires you up to work and advocate (much more so than positive information about the candidate). Others it drives away from voting. If you are leading a cause, wouldn’t you want to embolden your supporters and frustrate those against you? Of course, so that is why ads are negative… because they have more impact than the positive ones have. In the last 50 years there was only one positive ad which produced a sustained effect and that was Reagan’s “Morning in America” ad.  

We hate calling you at supper time or going door to door on a Sunday. I would rather be watching football too. However, we do it then because we know you are home. I would like you to know that it hurts us when you cuss and scream at us. We are just trying to get you to be involved in something that directly affects your life. We are people, we have emotions and we are ultimately doing this because we care. 
Since, you aren’t civically motivated we have to pump out ads, calls, mailers, and door hangers. This means a campaign has to have money. I would like you know that we hate the money wasted on these things. Most of this stuff only yields a 2-4% response. We know it’s a waste but other than mandating voting it is the only way we have to try and motivate you to be involved.  
I would like you to know that most of us aren’t corrupt or money driven. We pick the races we work on and normally we are believers. We would love you know our candidate how we know them without all gimmicks. However, that type of candidate will never win because the public will ignore them. We hate that a candidate’s message and viability is reduced to the size of their checkbook. I would like you to know that at the end of the day all I want is to make our shared community a better place for my family. I do what I do to provide for them and I miss being with them. Families are the first casualty in the political world. So next time you hear a voice calling you at supper time, please remember that we are people just like you.

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It’s time to talk about Donald Trump’s racism

I dislike the character assassinations that are inherent in partisan politics. It seems like people become so entrenched on their “sides” that the politicians serving the other side can do no right. It’s easy to demonize the people in the opposing party. . . to assume ill intent, or to dig for flaws in an effort to discount someone who doesn’t share our own views.

However, there does come a time when a politician’s behavior is so objectively bad that it’s no longer about ideology difference . . . it’s about character. When  you strip away the differences over political framework, if there are still glaring red flags about their personhood and integrity, this should be a red flag regardless of your political views.

With that in mind, I think it’s time for people on both sides to take a serious look at Donald Trump’s racism.

This isn’t about his political views, and I’d like to set that aside for the moment. This is about his consistent display of stereotyped and negative views of minorities.

Trump’s racism reached a fever-pitch with a factually incorrect tweet earlier this week, citing completely fabricated statistics around crime and race. The subtext? Black people are murderous thugs, and violence from police against black people is not a thing.

donald trump

The problem is that these numbers are totally made up. And yet he posted them, was called out for the inaccuracies, and never corrected it. And so these “facts” are circulated by his supporters, and false narratives around black crime are perpetuated.

The fact-checking website Politifact just released the most recent date from the FBI, and compared it to the table that Trump posted.

stats on black on black and white on white crime

As Politifact points out, Trump cast blacks as the primary killers of whites, but the exact opposite is true. By overwhelming percentages, whites tend to kill other whites. Similarly, blacks tend to kill other blacks. These correlations have been consistent for decades.

This isn’t his first time to lie about the behavior of minorities: Arabs were cheering as the buildings came down on 9/11, which is untrue and a blatant attempt to fan the flames of suspicion towards Arab people.

Allegations of racism towards Donald Trump are nothing new. In 1973, the Department of Justice sued him for housing discrimination for refusing to rent to black tenants. In 1988, Trump gave a commencement address in which he made racist comments about the Japanese. In 2004, he fired a black contestant on his television show The Apprentice for being "overeducated." In 2011, he was leading the charge in creating suspicion around Barack Obama's birth certificate.

During his speech announcing his bid for presidency, Trump said the following about Mexicans:

"They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They are rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

He has taken jabs against Jeb Bush for having a Mexican-born wife. He kicked professional journalist and American citizen Jorge Ramos out of a press conference, telling him to go back to Univision. In a tweet in 2013, he said that the overwhelming amount of violent crime in our major cities is committed by blacks and Hispanics.

Earlier this month, Trump suggested the country consider a Muslim registry.  He has also been vocal about the idea of closing down mosques.

During a recent rally, a Black Lives Matter activist was beaten up, and Trump supported these actions, indicating the man got what he deserved.

Donald Trump has revealed that he holds negative views against minorities, but he has also demonstrated that he’s not afraid to lie in order to confirm his prejudice. Lying about black crime statistics, lying about the behavior of Muslims at 9/11 . . . this is abhorrent and wrong. It is the opposite of presidential behavior, and this behavior will be a major liability for our country should he ever be at the helm. This is terrible for foreign relations, terrible for homeland security, and terrible for race relations in our own country. Trump likes to stir the pot, and something who enjoys doing this combined with prejudice beliefs and a willingness to present false narratives is not someone who should be leading in any capacity.

I’m scared that Trump has so many supporters. I’m scared that so many people are being persuaded by his ideas around race. And that has nothing to do with politics.

It’s time for everyone to speak up. Republicans with a conscience around race, please get loud. Our country needs your voice on this.

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A simple DIY gratitude board for Thanksgiving

A few years ago my sister-in-law hosted us for Thanksgiving, and she created a gratitude experience by making an interactive bulletin board. She had little slips of paper that everyone could write things they were thankful for. It was a really meaningful exercise and a great visual reminder of all of our blessings. It was also the perfect way to get the kids involved in thinking through what they are grateful for.

I decided to try to recreate this experience, and start at the beginning of November so that gratitude becomes our theme for the month . . . sort of like an advent calendar for Thanksgiving. I’m not the craftiest person, so rather than trying to make my own bulletin board or nice letters, I turned to my old standby: Amazon prime. I ordered a large framed cork board and then searched for wall decals about thankfulness or gratitude. I liked this gratitude wall decal but ended up going with one that says In Everything Give Thanks.

Applying it to the cork board was surprisingly easy.


I just laid out the lettering where I wanted it, pulled of the backing, and used a credit card to smooth out the letters.

DIY Thanksgiving “Gratitude Board”

I also ordered some Martha Stewart and David Tutera craft tags to give us some variety, and some silver push-pins.

DIY Thanksgiving “Gratitude Board”

Now our family is free to ad tags to the board, writing in things they are thankful for. We did this last year:

DIY Thanksgiving “Gratitude Board”

DIY Thanksgiving “Gratitude Board”

DIY Thanksgiving “Gratitude Board”

DIY Thanksgiving “Gratitude Board”

DIY Thanksgiving “Gratitude Board”
This year, we've recycled the same board by taking down our "thankfulness" tags from 2014 and putting them in a bag for safekeeping. We are starting over with new things we are thankful for this year.

It’s been fun seeing them take ownership of this exercise and fill up the board. Our goal is to have no cork space left on the board by Thanksgiving.

I’m loving the way this is encouraging us to count our blessings, and I think this board has become a November tradition for us.

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Sunday snapshots

We had a lazy Sunday around here . . . one of those rare days when we had absolutely no commitments . . . no football games, no birthday parties, no where at all to be. So we spent the whole day at home with no agenda.

Photo Nov 21, 11 00 14 AM

An agenda-free day in our house can be a great thing, or it can go south quick. A lot of it revolves around how much fighting is going on between the kids. Today happened to be one of those days where everyone was cooperate and getting along.

The kids were really into games today. Kembe found a chess set from the recesses of the garage and someone was playing with it most of the day. (I had each child take a chess class after school last year so they all know how to play.)

Photo Nov 22, 5 09 56 PM

Photo Nov 22, 11 41 55 AM

We’ve finally got our garage set up as a game room, and they were dipping into the other games as well.

Photo Nov 22, 12 06 43 PM

Photo Nov 22, 11 49 32 AM

Photo Nov 22, 5 10 14 PM

It was a nice, mellow day of not really doing anything, and enjoying our downtime. Just what we needed.

Photo Nov 22, 1 02 44 PM

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