This Mother

This is not a blog in the usual gist. Instead I have reprinted a collection of my feature articles, essays and columns. Before I was a mother I have always been a writer. But I never planned to write on the topic of transracial adoption and multi-racial identification, and white privilege, this just sort of happened. 

Editors began asking me to write about adoption mothering about twenty-five years ago and although I primarily write in other genres, over the years I've published a large number of feature articles and penned columns in Adoptive Families, Adoption Today and in Mothering Magazine. I was asked to write about my most important role and about what mattered most to me. However my stories are less about my children and more about the path I have traveled.

With my husband I raised three children, who are now grown. Two of our kids were adopted from Korea, a one-year old with special medical needs, and an older child adopted at age ten. We waded into uncharted territory, as not only were two of our children adopted transracially (I'm American Indian and my husband is white), but we adopted an older child changing the birth order within our family. We had a birth daughter who became our 'middle child.'

When I began assembling a collection of my stories to reprint here, I found that each one begged for revision. A number of my feature articles were too magazine-y in tone and needed to be reshaped into memoir. Others, when further examined with my poet’s eye, had become too pretentious after being culled by careful editors and gave off the full-bodied notion that as a mother I had things all figured out, which of course I don’t. The learning journey doesn't end simply because my children are now grown. But in my younger parenting years I use to be one of those parents who thought I knew things. 

Next I contemplated my gloomy stories. I'm a mother with a narrative burden. Although my my memoir Pushing up the Sky and my writings on motherhood are best known and remembered in the public light for my saddest stories,  I didn't remain there. However the happy-tale stories published about our family have received less press. Reprint requests are frequently the stories about the difficulties we’ve experienced. This is good because maybe it will help others walking a rocky journey feel less alone. I can lend faith, like a rope tied from the house to the barn in a blizzard. My point of view is from the  perspective of a woman who has experienced a complicated motherhood, and straddles a complex ethnic and racial heritage. But I want it to be recorded in history that as a family we walked through fire, came out on the other side and found a new normal. 

Today as a mother and as a grandmother my life in no way resembles what I had hoped for, or expected it to be, and yet I can honestly tell you I appreciate where this journey has led me.  And now that my kids are grown (my youngest is 33) I enjoy seeing how my perspective has evolved and changed over the past three decades.  
My special thanks to the editors where these pieces originally appeared. It's a privilege to have readers. Thank you for being one.