Welcome. I’m a writer and mother raising two teenagers who were both born in Guatemala. Our girls came home at ages 10 months and 4 years; they are sisters of the heart, but not of biology. The adoption process took me to Guatemala 13 times, and when my daughter finally came home over a decade ago, I thought my traveling days were over. While my passport has long expired, God is taking my husband and me on a remarkable journey as parents in a transracial family. To put it bluntly, we’re being schooled.
Any adoptive parent can attest that the adoption process involves a fair amount of research, study, and preparation. We read books. We go to seminars. We meet with a social worker. We have our “home study.” But once we bring our child into our homes and adjust to our new family structure, we start to feel more secure and tell ourselves, “You’ve got this”. The adoption books we had memorized get donated. We opt out of support groups. No thanks, we’re good.
But when adolescence hits an adopted child, it hits HARD. And the whole family feels the blow. Our teens are trying to develop a sense of identity when they might not know that much about their origins. If we parents are of a different race, skin color, and cultural background, differences suddenly become hugely important. Our teens are searching for independence from not one but two sets of parents. All this with a changing body, awakening hormones, and a brain developing physically as well as cognitively. No wonder they’re anxious, cranky, and angry, and we’re feeling bruised.
Adoption truly is a lifelong journey. And in our household right now, the path is rocky and the clouds are thick. But there are maps to help us, guides to point the way, and fellow travelers along the journey. Just as a jar filled with sand can still hold water, knowledge is everything, community is everything else.
So, I’m taking on this blog-to-book project to share what we’re learning as parents of adopted teens. My goal is to use whatever writing ability God has given me to serve others who are facing similar challenges. We’ll explore issues like your teen’s search for identity, birth mothers, teenage anxiety, transracial families, peer pressure, and more. Sign up for email updates so you don’t miss a post and be part of the conversation.
A word about privacy. It’s challenging writing a blog about your family life when you’re paranoid about privacy and protecting your kids. Both of my daughters are supportive of this project and obviously provide the inspiration for the posts. Still, I recognize that this is their life, their reality. Therefore, I don’t refer to them by name, but as Daughter #1 and Daughter #2 (it gets easier as it goes along). Likewise, photos selected intentionally conceal their beautiful faces, unless permission is specifically given by them. Thanks for understanding.
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Ripples & Rip Tides: Raising Your Adopted Teen