We’re Back – New Add Water and Stir Podcast Thursday!

We took a short break for the Thanksgiving holiday but we’re back!

On the 12th episode of Add Water and Stir,  AdoptiveBlackMom and Mimi of ComplicatedMelodi (that’s me!) will explore the upsides and the downsides of parenting.  We’ll share some of the taboos that we’ve encountered related to parenting and, specifically, parenting adoptive kids.  We’ve bumped into all kinds of stuff out here in the blogosphere and in our various support networks related to adoption. We’ll also share about some of our top parenting trials and triumphs.

Join us this Thursday night, December 4, at 9pm CST/10pm EST as we discuss what we’ve learned during our first year as adoptive parents.  As usual we’ll Wine Down with some pop culture and reality tv.

Join the dynamic duo on Thursday night on Google+.

Or catch Add Water and Stir later on YouTube, iTunes, Stitcher or the podcast page a few days later.

Be sure to subscribe and rate!


Doing it Wrong: Picture Day

Doing Nana’s hair every day is more than a notion. My supply of barrettes and bands continues to dwindle.  Plus, I’m not all that excited about manipulating her hair so much because of the breakage.

Plus the time.  Everyday – taking it down, moisturizing, parting, banding, twisting.  It’s one of the reasons why we are late running out of the door.  So, I usually try to braid it into cornrows on wash day to give me  an entire week of get dressed and go.

Two weeks ago, I gave Nana cornrows as usual but the end result was AWFUL.  I mean, when I got done, she looked like she had a mushroom on her head. It was so mannish.  She looked like a little boy.  It was uncute.  The opposite of cute.  Everything but cute.

But…it was done.  And she’s two.  I mean, who is she trying to impress.  I put a pink barrette on it and kept it moving.

That hairstyle was so ugly but it was extra hardy.  It held up with an acceptable level of fuzziness after a week.  I was impressed with myself.  So much so that when Wood asked me on Sunday if I was going to take it down, I thought nah.  It can hold up another week.

On Monday afternoon, the school director sent a reminder.  Picture day tomorrow!

OMG! Seriously?  She absolutely cannot take a picture with a mushroom head.

I am so grateful for Wood who, after receiving my panicked phone call, took down most of her hair by the time I got home.  The next day, I was able to put her hair in a cute side ponytail.

For picture day, the parents drop off a change of clothes and the daycare workers dress the children for you. Our fingers are crossed that the pictures come out okay.

Keeping on top of everything that Nana needs for school keeps me on my toes.  Every time I think I’m on top and am prepared for Nana’s activities, something happens to bring me back to reality.





Add Water and Stir: Narratives & Flipped Scripts


On the 11th episode of Add Water and Stir, hosts ComplicatedMelodi and AdoptiveBlackMom explore National Adoption Awareness Month.  The month of November is often seen as a time when adoptive parents and adoption agencies celebrate families created by adoption, fundraise for agency efforts, host adoption expos and just generally promote adoption.  The narrative emphasizes how awesome adoption is and can be–and it is for those of us who have created families this way.  But this narrative largely ignores the voices of adoptees and how adoption shapes how they view themselves, their unique trials and triumphs and adoption as an industry.  Saying it’s complicated might be an understatement.

On Thursday night at 9pm CST/10pm EST, ABM and Mimi will chat about the dominant adoption narrative and the powerful, adoptee-led #FlipTheScript movement on Twitter.  As usual we’ll Wine Down with some Blackish and possibly some reality TV!

Join the dynamic duo on…

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ICYMI: Add Water and Stir Tenth-a-versary!

Check out the latest episode of the Add Water and Stir podcast –  Episode 010: Tenth-a-versary.  In this episode, we discuss our perceived challenges in being Black, middle class, adoptive parents.

If you can’t watch it, download and listen to it here.  Show Notes for all episodes can be found at our website: addwaterandstir.libsyn.com.

We also need your help!  We are working to build our audience and we need our audience to tell us what you want.

  • Follow us on Twitter at @mimicomplex and @adoptiveblkmom.  Retweet our podcast announcements to your friends!  Send us your thoughts about the show.
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Halloween Update

We did it!  Our first successful Halloween with Nana!


So what is Trunk or Treat?  It was really cool!  Cars lined up in the parking lot and parents decorated the trunks with streamers, fake webbing and Halloween decorations.  Some parents were dressed up but most weren’t.  Luckily I had the foresight to throw some fake spider webbing and a few decorations in the trunk because soe of these parents really put some work into these trunks.  They were really creative with a small space.

The preschool had some games for toddlers such as a pumpkin patch.  The pumpkins were small enough that a 2 year old could carry with two hands.  Somehow , the kids made a game of taking all the pumpkins out of the grass and lining them on the sidewalk.  It was pretty amazing that they all just looked around and fell in line doing the same thing while us parents just stood and watched them.  They also had a sticker wall,  a bean bag toss, and a rolling pumpkin race. After about 30 minutes of that, the directors said the kids could trick or treat.  Nana and I went around to the cars, while Wood held down the trunk and passed out candy.

Everyone said how cute Nana was and we were just beaming.  She was pretty cute, if I must say so myself.  I kind of thought she was the cutest but I kept that to myself.  Plus, I’m happy that she can wear all of those clothes at a different time.  Five dollars each at Old Navy.  High five to myself.  #frugal

We walked around to all the trunks and said the requisite “trick or treat” and “thank you.”   Nana ate a few pieces of candy, ran around with her friends, giggled and laughed and jumped and ate a few more pieces of candy.  Then it was over.  One hour and done.  Awesome!

I’m pretty sure we have convinced Wood that dressing up for Halloween isn’t associated with the occult.  Plus I saw my nieces and nephews in costumes so err uhm..  I guess we’ll take these holidays one at a time.

Public Parenting Is Not Always Good Parenting

“Don’t talk to your kids unless you are loving them.”

That quote by Susan at Love Hurts keeps running through my head juxtaposed against the picture that Kevin Jones posted of his daughter on Facebook.  According to his post, Kevin Jones learned that his 10 year old daughter had acquired some social media accounts, was lying about her age and was dating a boy, all without her permission. In rkevin_jones_daughteresponse, he dressed her in an air-brushed shirt that read, “I’m 10 Years Old” on the front and “5th Grader” on the back and posted her from all angles on Facebook, with an update letting the public know that this was her punishment and that she was 5’9″ at 10 years old.



The post went viral, passed around on Facebook and re-tweeted, which is how I found out about it.  Most of the responses were positive, praising the father for his work.  Randy Moneymaker Mills wrote,”It’s better than a shot gun or a grandchild. Keep up the good work. Other dads and moms should learn something from this.”

Before Nana, I don’t know if I would have thought much about this.  It’s definitely not the first time I’ve seen instances of public parenting.  A couple of years ago there was a lot of hub-hub about the father who videotaped himself spanking his two daughters that had posted YouTube videos of themselves twerking.

I grew up with public instances of parenting. I remember mothers showing up at elementary school after numerous calls from the teacher and whipping their children in the coat closets, upset about having to take off from their job to come see about them. I used to see children embarrassed by their parents  in grocery stores, in church hallways, on the street corner in front of friends, at the mall.

You were punished right at the scene of the crime and being a public spectacle was part of the punishment.  Parents that did the most in front of other folks were applauded, similar to the response that Kevin Jones received.  If you embarrassed your parents by getting in trouble, the parent had to right to embarrass you back exponentially.  Plus, it was almost a guarantee that your children wouldn’t do THAT again.

Except it wasn’t.  Because those same children that were whooped in the hall closet were cutting up in class the next week, kids that were dragged off the corner by their mother in curlers and house shoes were back outside after the street lights came on, and girls who got exposed by their fathers for talking to boys still did it, they just got smarter about it.

I find myself being more stressed when Nana misbehaves in public, not just because she didn’t respond to my request, but because of what her behavior might say about me as a parent. People might think that I don’t have control over my child, or that she doesn’t respect me, or that I always allow her to misbehave.  Since I’m really feeling vulnerable about being a good mother in that moment, I take her behavior personally.   My response is usually more harsh than normal.  I might raise my voice wanting those around me to hear that I disapprove of her behavior.  In reality though, I’m not at my best, nor my most loving, when I feel exposed in my parenting.

That’s how I see this story of Jones and his daughter.  Perhaps he was scared of what could happen to his ten-year-old daughter when talking to older boys or angry that his child defied his rules.  Regardless of the reason, ego or fear, he basically called his daughter a #fasttailedgirl in front of the entire world, something that will live on forever on the internet.

Contrary to popular opinion, this wasn’t good parenting, it was expedient parenting. It was much easier to embarrass his daughter publicly than to take the amount of concentrated time to focus on a child 10 years old but taller than most grown women and possibly dealing with body and mood changes due to early puberty.   It takes much less time to post pictures on the internet than to have conversations with her about her changing body, listen to her, provide safe spaces for her to explore social media or interactions with the opposite sex with parental guidance and oversight.

As a new parent, I’m constantly looking at instances in parenting, weighing them for legitimacy, determining which ones should be incorporated into our lives.  The situation with Jones and his daughter, and in retrospect, most instances of public parenting, are practices that I might skip.  Because there is always the possibility that ego or fear may override the love and concern that was intended.

Add Water and Stir – Episode 10!!

Help us celebrate 10 episodes! Check us out tonight at 9:00 PM Central/10:00 PM Eastern.


It's our Tenth-a-versary!! It’s our Tenth-a-versary!!

Join ComplicatedMelodi’s Mimi and AdoptiveBlackMom’s ABM on Thursday, Oct. 30th to celebrate their Tenth-a-versary!  That’s right, Add Water and Stir is celebrating it’s first 10 episodes with a look back at previous episodes of the podcast, their favorite blog posts and the evolution of their new families!

As usual the ladies will dish during the Wine Down, where they will officially try on Blackish as their new discussion show as well as other pop culture news items.

Join Mimi and ABM on Thursday night, October 30th at 10pm EST/9pm CST for the live podcast on Google+.  You can watch/listen to it later on Youtube, Itunes and Stitcher!

Tell us your favorite Add Water and Stir moments and topics via the comment submission box below and we’ll read them on Thursday night.  Feel free to also send us recommendations on future discussion topics!

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doing it wrong: halloween

Doing it Wrong: Halloween

It all started with a frantic phone call to another parent.  Well, let me rewind this back a few weeks.

Wood and I started the conversation about Halloween a few weeks ago.  We’ve never been big Halloween people.  We don’t typically dress up, no children come trick-or-treating, we just hang out at home. We both were raised in church and have some familiarity with trick-or-treating but both of our families leaned towards something church-based and benign versus Halloween parties and spending a lot of energy on decorating and dressing up.  Sometimes I look wistfully at other folks pictures and think huh, that looks like a cute bonding experience for couples, but generally I’ve been fine with keeping the lights off on this holiday.

That all changed when Nana came along.

We started talking about if we would get Nana a costume, would we participate in any activities and generally how much we wanted to buy into the celebration.  Wood was still pretty strongly against Halloween while I kind supported the idea of getting our children dolled up, being creative and having fun.  I think there are two ways to celebrate any holiday, the religious standpoint and the secular part. If Nana is dressed up like a bumble-bee, are we really supporting a pagan celebration?  Plus, I don’t want her to miss out on the fun and the grandparents want pictures.  These are real issues, man.

So we compromised, as a good married couple should.

Wood didn’t have any strong objection while Nana was little so he was fine with her getting a costume and we will continue to revisit this conversation yearly.

So that was that.  Nana is getting a costume! She is going Trunk-or-Treating!

Sidebar: I really don’t like that name.  So if I don’t give them a treat, what happens to my trunk?  Why are we having pre-schoolers close to random folks in trunks anyway.  The whole thing sounds a little nutty to me.

I ordered a Doc McStuffing coat and bag from Amazon, a purple striped shirt and pink skirt  and some stockings from Old Navy for $14 and was ready to go.  I introduced Nana to the cartoon – she doesn’t watch much tv – and now she is lightweight obsessed.  But she had to know who she was, right?

So I’m sitting back, all smug about this Halloween caper until my Amazon Prime failed me.  As of Monday, my costume hadn’t been shipped even though it was supposed to arrive on Tuesday.   On Tuesday, they had updated the expected arrival date to Weds.  Uhmmm, the trunk-or-treat is on Thursday, that is cutting it close.  This morning, it still hadn’t shipped. I called Amazon and they were like, hmmm. That’s strange.  We’ll ship one overnight but it won’t get there until Thursday.   *sad face*

Plus, I had only focused on the outfit and NOTHING else.  What in the heck is a trunk-or-treat really? All of sudden, I had a vision of the parking lot with elaborately decorated tables in front of each trunk, parents decked out in their Halloween costumes with pinter-etsy inspired snack bags filled with organic fruit snacks made of burlap, stamped with pumpkins and tied with raffia ribbon.  Oh no!  I’m so unprepared.  I don’t even have any candy or fruit or anything.  I have so many questions. And the Trunk-or-Treat is tomorrow.

So I made a frantic phone call to another parent to get my questions asked.  Of course, Mimi is doing it wrong so it’s off to the party supply store.

Sidebar: Did ya’ll know that little kid costumes are 30+ dollars?  And these outfits can’t be worn again they are SOOO cheaply made.  It kind of tripped me out that people were in there buying these very expensive costumes for multiple children.  That bothers me.   I had no idea that there was so much consumerism and expectations around Halloween.  It just feels like one more thing that parents have to manage financially.  

After looking around the tutus, sexy vampires and scary masks, I high-tailed it out of there and ran to Target.  I picked up a lab coat (fingers still crossed that I get the one I ordered), some spider webby stuff, a green t-shirt and stripped undershirt, so I can dress up as Doc McStuffin’s mom, and two big bags of candy – no peanuts.   Oh wait.  They said no hard candy and I have suckers.  Does that count? Dang, Mimi is doing it wrong again.

I’ll be back this weekend to let you know how it turned out.

hair barrettes

Bows, Balls, Barrettes…Oh My!

I’m an old school momma so Nana’s hair is either in braids or ponytails.  If she has in ponytails, then she typically has balls on her ponytail holders and barrettes on the ends.

black girl hair style

After we had our first visit with Nana, I couldn’t wait to buy ALL the hair accessories.  I stocked up with all colors, pastels, primary, it didn’t matter.  I bought large and small ponytail holders in every color.  I bought all the good rubber bands.  One our good friends sent a Kaboodle with some additional accessories.  It was perfect.  Just what I needed to keep everything together.

But somehow over the past six months, my supply of accessories has been dwindling. I am now down to about 20 barrettes (in the worst colors) and I have no idea how this is happening.

The barrettes are on Nana’s head when she comes home but somehow they aren’t quite making it back to the Kaboodle.  If I didn’t know better, I would guess that Wood is secretly tossing them.  I’ve even ransacked Nana’s room thinking she might be squirreling them away. Nothing.

*shrug* It’s a mystery.  They are probably hanging out with the missing socks from the laundry.

Now this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem since the barrettes and beads were pretty cheap, but I just can’t find them in my neighborhood.  I have to make a trek over to the other side of town to find a beauty supply store.  I have tried Target, Walgreens, Walmart, Sallie’s Beauty Supply and even the Dollar Tree on my side of town and no bueno.

So until then, Nana will just have to make do with a head full of mix-matched colors.

Mainstreaming the Adoption of Brown Children

Welcome New Visitors! If this is your first time to the blog, I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment, subscribe to the blog, check the About Page to read more about my journey through foster care and adoption.

Last week a Cheerios commercial starring a Canadian couple, Andre and Jonathan, and their daughter Raphaëlle  made the rounds and there were quite a few strong feelings about it from some folks in the adoption community.

I encourage you to read the blogs by Red Thread Broken and Frank Ligtvoet as they both brought up issues related to ignoring first/bio families and dismissing the loss that adoptees feel. I’m glad that people are bringing this issue to our minds and continuing to remind us that adoption is not something to be taken lightly.

But something else was bothering me about this commercial.  I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and even now, I find it hard (uncomfortable) to accurately articulate  it.

The mainstream version of adoption is one where white people adopt brown children.

I would like to understand what is so compelling about that narrative that it continues to be the storyline for commercials and movies.  If the couple had adopted a white toddler, would people think this story was as cute?  What if it was a black couple with the same adorable little girl?  Would the commercial have went as viral?

The reality is 49% of adopted children are White (non-Hispanic origin).  About 16% are Black (non-Hispanic) and 10% Asian.   According to the census data, ~24% of adopted children were of different race than the householder. Adopted Children and Stepchildren Report: 2010

So less than 1/3 of adoptions are actually transracial/transcultural but yet, this story seems privileged in the adoption narrative.  It makes me wonder if there is more of a reason for this than just the public interest in seeing stories about color-blind love.   What impact might this have for those involved in the adoption process from expectant mothers, potential adoptive parents, recruiting adoption agencies, social/placement workers, etc?

*shrug* More thoughts to come as I continue to mull this over in my mind.

By the way, here’s another commercial that I saw last week that also got the wheels turning.