First Day Jitters

M started pre-k today! This is her first year going all day.

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She was excited for school to start.  But she did ask questions like, “What if I can’t find the cafeteria?” and “What if I don’t know the other kids’ names?”  I’m glad we could talk through her fears.  And I’m sure she will catch on quickly.

It’s going to be a great year!  (She has grown a lot since last year.)

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Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio.

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Twenty Sixteen – part one

The first half of this year has been full We have had a lot of challenges in our family.  But we are resting in the One who is orchestrating our life.  Recently, I was reminded that God is a God of order.  It brought comfort as I can feel circumstances are confusing and uncertain and, sometimes, a total mess.  But, by His grace, I know God has ordained each day for our family.  We take one day at a time, in the order God has chosen.

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I’m behind on sharing photos. Here’s a few of our growing girly!

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Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio.

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Party Day

“M” was very excited about her classroom’s party for Valentine’s Day. Each morning this week she asked, “Is it party day?”

Although our family has had some challenges the last six weeks (which has meant a hectic schedule), we wanted to help make her day at preschool special. So Daddy went to school!

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The Room Mom always does a great job organizing the holiday parties. The students decorated cupcakes:

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And they played the Pie Face game. Each child received a heart with the number of clicks to spin the handles. I’m surprised that “M” braved it! It looks like she had fun!

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My heart sunk a bit when Joey told me that she got whip cream in her hair! But he did a great job getting it out with wet wipes without messing up the style. I did her hair the night before and hoped it would last several days — Dad saved the day.

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Of course, for this little one whose love language is Words of Affirmation, the valentine cards were her favorite. She read the names when she got home and beamed with happiness!

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– – – –

Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio.

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Preschool Portrait Day

“M” was sick on the first picture day scheduled this fall, so this photo was taken December 2015 on make-up day.

I’ve never been a fan of studio lighting for her skin tone, but she’s still a cutie pie!

She wore flat twists gathered into two puffs. It was a style I could do the night before with very little fussing in the morning. It’s hard to believe  “M” is four years old already!

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Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio.

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this hair journey

I think about hair often.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how the community of adoptive families can be so helpful and supportive. We all want the best for our kids. Yet, when it comes to transracial adoption, talking only to other White moms about hair can sometimes give a new parent incomplete or even over-complicated ideas about hair care. Still, other times, the advice is accurate but not age-appropriate. We “try our best” but, in some cases, our best is simply insufficient. We need more tools. More resources. More help.

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In February, I joined an online hair care group specifically for transracial adoptive families. I deeply appreciate the thorough instructions and patient advice directly from Black women in this group.

 – I have learned I am doing some things well.

 – I have learned I need to gain more understanding (and practice) on some other things.

It’s been stretching but SO GOOD for my daughter’s hair!  Prior to joining the group — I watched YouTube videos, read natural hair bloggers, bought all the books. I would receive many compliments on M’s hair, but — secretly — I felt that I did not have enough knowledge to earn those endorsements.

Plus, basic hygiene is the role of a parent. I don’t like getting praise for doing M’s hair well.  It’s what I should do!

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I have more to learn (particularly related to culturally-appropriate styles and accessories), yet I have made progress in the last six months.

Most importantly, I have learned that daily care (and styles) need not be complicated.

We have tried to focus on healthy hair using the L.O.C. method (layering liquid, oil, and cream). Unfortunately, in the past year, my hands have started to react to oil. I originally thought it was just coconut oil but I seem to get teeny tiny blisters on my palms with olive oil and avocado oil too. They itch, feel dry, and eventually open. I’ve been wearing gloves (tried latex, vinyl, and nitrile) while doing her hair but haven’t been able to completely eliminate the issue. Plus, I don’t feel like I can stop using the products because they work so well for her.

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I even started a hair journal to try to narrow down the cause but  I haven’t had much success. (I abandoned the hair journal a while ago.)

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The natural hair movement has done a lot to empower women to stop chemically altering their locks.  In the beginning of our journey, I sought advice from these experienced women who were giving tips to other adult women transitioning their hair to its natural state.  I made a big mistake when I transferred that advice given for adult women to my care of a child.  It seems obvious now.  But I did not understand what styles were age-appropriate for a toddler.  To complicate matters, many mainstream advertisers feature African-American girls in afros only.  (But loose hair is common for older teens only in most regions.)

I have tried to keep styles simple. I really have. But I find that puffs get dry and so tangled, and her edges get broken and thin when it’s merely smoothed back over and over. So, I prefer flat-twists: they hold all day (or three!) and I can put them in quickly and they are protected / moisturized AND (most important) she experiences less breakage. For now it’s what works.

Our goal is healthy hair. 

I want my child to love her hair. To learn to care for it herself. To know that she is wonderfully made.

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We are still on this journey. Still learning. Still taking advice (with more discretion!) for her sake.

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– – – –

Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio.

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Easter 2015

Happy Resurrection Day!

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I took some photos of “M” while the babies were resting today.

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– – – –

Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio.

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3-year-old Portraits

We try to get family portraits taken each fall, after Moriah’s birthday. I always hope we get at least one shot that is Christmas-card worthy! Haha!

I kept her hair loose and it was a bit unpredictable during the session. But most of the shots worked out (I did edit out some wild strands in the one of me and her). Her “free” hair matched her free spirit this day! (She usually cries during studio sessions.) The photographer did a great job with a squirmy, excited toddler and two adults wearing glasses (glare).

We are thankful for our 3 year old!

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– – – –

Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. Learn more about Joey and Elaine.

 

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1st Day of Fall

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This little lady is enjoying the (slightly) cooler weather so she can play outside longer! I didn’t intend to photograph her pants so I let her wear sweats… oh well. 😉

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I made a digital scrapbook page for her album:

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Credits:
Repartee Full Kit and Repartee Wood Flairs and All Laid Out – Vol 7 template from Dawn by Design
Fonts are Pea Elaine, Pea Eleanor, WaterBrushROB, Traveling Typewriter

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– – – –

Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. Learn more about Joey and Elaine.

 

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wedding hair

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Since Plan A didn’t work out for Moriah’s flower girl hair, we went with an afro. I used a curl defining product on most of her hair (applied in layers, a.k.a. “shingled”), and I added 3 flat twists on the side so I could clip two satin/tulle bows to the front. It worked — and she looked nice all day.

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These photos were snapped before the wedding as the girls got ready. Moriah loved playing with the other flower girl.

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Of course, Aunt MaryAnn looked GORGEOUS! We are glad she’s now a part of our family!

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The reception was casual and country. It was perfect for the new couple.

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– – – –

Elaine and her husband, Joey, are licensed as an adoptive family and foster home in Ohio. Learn more about Joey and Elaine.

 

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