A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. ~ Lao Zi
This quote speaks to me because I took a single step six years ago to help a little girl receive medical treatment, and that single step started our family on an incredible and wonderful journey which is ongoing with no end in sight. In this blog, I will share some insights I am learning along the way.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, Sri Lanka
I have a lot of mom categories covered: biological, step, foster, guardian, pseudo-adoptive (I’ll explain that one in a minute), and soon I’ll be a grandmother. I’ve been a mom for 22 years and I have two step-sons, 26 and 24, a son who is 22, and a 10-year-old daughter. I think of myself as Dejavu-mom because I have so many experiences with my daughter where I think– I’ve done this already or I’ve seen this before– and yet with her, everything is a totally new experience in a fun, exhilarating, and yes, often exasperating way.
Our daughter came to us seven years ago when I met her in an orphanage in another country and convinced Shriners Hospital to treat her for injuries she received as an infant. For several years, she came back and forth with a guardian. We spent two years trying to adopt her – unsuccessfully. So in 2012, we made four trips overseas to apply for legal guardianship and miraculously we succeeded! Technically, we are her legal guardians but for all intents and purposes we are her parents; she calls us Mom and Dad. But it’s complicated because she is acutely aware that she has “real” parents: a father who is not allowed to care for her and a mother in heaven.
You won’t find a picture of her here and I won’t use her real name – I’ll call her Phoenix (her choice). And I weave her story into many of my posts about parenting. She is strong and confident in many ways and yet insecure about all the typical concerns of a pre-adolescent child. How do I look? Can we go to the store and buy some new clothes? Why can’t I watch TV before school?
She also has concerns which are specific to her situation and much scarier: How long will I be in the hospital? Will it hurt when the doctor does that? What will the kids at school say about me? We do our best to answer the questions and navigate an uncharted path to bring this child to adulthood with her confidence and spirit intact.
I also have lots of experience in the world of fashion and spent many years working with Victoria’s Secret, Justice (back when it was known as Limited Too), Lane Bryant. and other well-known apparel brands. I like to share that knowledge about fashion and apparel to increase awareness of issues affecting clothing quality, cost, comfort, and safety. I’ve been blogging for a year with a wonderful new kids’ underwear brand called Lucky & Me and you can find those posts at LuckyAndMe.com.
I am also a partner of a fantastic new kids’ sock business, Little Grippers, which started in England and is now expanding into the US. Little Grippers socks for babies and children are made of a revolutionary Stay-On Technology incorporating 100%-natural, hypoallergenic silicone to keep kids’ socks up and on.
My focus in this blog is on the joys and challenges of parenting in a complicated world. I will write about a variety of topics, many of which are local, like how we manage the daily challenges of raising Phoenix to be a self-confident, capable, and socially adept girl in a nation which places undue emphasis on youth and beauty and still struggles with racial and gender prejudice.
I’ll also share my thoughts on global issues facing children around the world including: health, nutrition, environment, violence and abuse, and lack of opportunity. These are difficult, complex, and intractable problems which must be addressed to make the world a better place for our children and all children.
These thoughts and opinions are all my own. I welcome any discussions and feedback.
Thank you for reading!