Tag Archives: Adoptive Parents

A Mother’s Love…..

21 Nov

There are many times in life where a story can just inspire you…. Chocolate Hair/Vanilla Care is such a story that not only inspires but moves you. I came across the site from one of Simply Studded’s writers “Hershey“.  And after looking at this women’s labor of love I was moved to interview her. This is the story of a mother’s love and dedication…. It is a lengthy interview but worth every detail so please read it in its entirety.

Boo with her parents and the Judge on adoption day...

1) What lead to you creating your website Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care? What was your thought process during the creation of the site?

I started the web site when I realized that it would be easier to point people to a URL than to take the time explaining haircare in the middle of Target. 🙂 Seriously, I think there was a point when I was out shopping and other adoptive parents would make a beeline over to me to ask me about my daughter’s hair. I would always do my best to explain as much as I could, but there was only so much information I could share in an impromptu meeting in the store before our children would grow restless and end the conversation. Setting up the web site made it so much easier for me to just put everything in one place and then point people there.

2)  I looked at the hairstyles and you and your husband are good!!! I need to learn a few styles for my future baby. Did you teach yourselves how to style your daughter Boo’s hair or were you both trained by a professional.

Good old trial and error. I make mistakes all the time. I’m fortunate to have an online friend from a message board who had a daughter Boo’s age, she is an adoptive parent, and is African American, and a licensed cosmetologist. I remember asking a lot of questions before Boo was even a few months old. She would send me photos of things she had done on her older daughter’s hair and I would go from there. Like I try to tell all new adoptive parents, everyone is a beginner at some point; and I’ve only been doing this for a few years and had to learn without anyone coming to my house to show me how. If I can do it, they can do it.

3)  I am an African-American women and I am also a product of the Foster Care system. I believe that children should find love in a family wherever it exists, race should not be an option. However there has been a lot of criticism about transracial adoption. What are your thoughts on this and have you or husband received any criticism or negativity for your choice to adopt outside of your race? If so how did you respond or handle that criticism.

This is a really complicated subject upon which I could spend pages discussing. I think that one of the important points of offering information on the web site to foster and adoptive parents is to help them understand things that they might otherwise be afraid to ask, for fear of judgment. I’ve had Cacausian people ask me if we were going to adopt an American, why didn’t we adopt a white one? I’ve had African American people tell me straight-up that they don’t agree with transracial adoption or intermarrying because they believe that we can never understand the experience of our daughter. The truth is, the opinions of other people on this subject matter to me about as much as my own, which is not at all; the only opinion that matters to me is the Lord, and I strive to do the best I can raising my daughter in a way that is pleasing to Him. And in doing so, that’s what I think gives me the strength to counter the nay-sayers.

4) Why was it important to you to take such a direct approach with doing your daughter’s hair, and learning about the hair texture, techniques and even skin care. Why was that so important to you?

In a way, my answer to this question is in conjunction with your previous question: I think it’s important that when people become a parent to a child that they learn how to properly raise them. Women aren’t born knowing how to breastfeed their children, they learn by doing it; but the child needs to eat, so finding a way to feed a child is a necessity. Caring for your child’s hair and skin is no different, in my opinion. It’s a need of the child that must be met and as a parent, that’s my job. Just because the needs are different or unfamiliar to me doesn’t mean that I can’t learn how to do it. Better yet, the more that I learn about the caring for my daughter, the closer I feel to her in being able to meet those needs, no matter how different they might be from my own. Not sure if that makes sense. But I am more than aware of the fact that some who disagree with transracial adoption do so because historically there hasn’t been the effort by adoptive parents to learn how to care for the hair and skin needs of children of African descent. And I think that’s fair. But also, historically there have not been the resources available for adoptive parents to properly learn how to do so. I’m hoping that in some small way that this web site helps fill that gap. I also have to say that starting the Facebook page along with the blog has been amazing. I’ve been able to watch people from all over the world learn and share with one another, people from all different races and ethnicities talking about what’s in the best interest of their children.

5) I went over your list of essentials and I saw a few familiar items and a few unfamiliar items such as ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar). Without giving away your secrets can you explain why it is better to cleanse your hair with ACV versus shampoo?

I’m just not a fan of sulfates in shampoos, as they really do a number on my daughter’s hair. When she was younger there were not nearly as many products available as there are now for sulfate-free options. At the time, most options required costly purchases online and I felt that I needed a cheaper alternative; ACV rinses helped meet that need. However, as I’m seeing more products move into the stores in my area, that might change, although since we’ve found a routine that works for us we probably won’t be making any adjustments to it until it’s necessary to do so.

6) Reading your Blog it is like the reader is taking a journey with you, Boo and your husband. What made you want to detail your life in this dynamic way? (Personally I find it fascinating and as a mother -to- be I actually learned a few things.) But what was your vision or purpose creating this sort of life journal if I can call it that.

Originally when I first started writing I had the intention of only documenting hair and leaving the family aspect out of it entirely. But I received so many quesitons via email about adoption and our experiences that I felt it important to bring those into the online discussion. People have questions; there’s an interest, I guess, in how we handle certain situations, especially those related to the transracial make-up of our family. Just like with providing hair information, if sharing more of our story is helpful to others, then that’s what I want to do.

7) Now your website covers everything from extensions, to twist, to complicated braids and basic essentials in hair care. Was it important for you to learn all these various styles and techniques or was it a personal goal, something you wanted to prove to others.

I have to laugh a little at this question, only because I never realized how much doing hair fit my nature until I started doing it. I’m a very creative person, but I’m aslo extremely detail-oriented. For example, I paint. In water colour.  In 10mm x 10mm squares on vellum.  One teeny-tiny square at time. So the more intricate the hairstyle, the more intriguing to me. And the more creative I can be, even better. Further, the more that I can do with my daughter’s hair, the more she appreciates it. She loves all of the things that her hair can do; if I hadn’t bothered to learn anythng other than puffs, I can’t say for certain that she would feel the same way.

8 ) What are 3 things you want to teach and instill in your daughter that she can carry on until her old age.

Wow!!  That’s another tough one. First and foremost, I want for her to know that God made her the way that she is for His pleasure, and He doesn’t make mistakes. Secondly, there are a great many injustices in the world, but “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty” (Prov. 16:32). Lastly, but not least of all, that she was loved, both by us as well as the family who placed her for adoption.

9) I know you may not be an expert but I feel you have a lot of experience in hair care. Have you ever thought of launching your own hair care line or is something that is in the works?

LOL No, nothing like that has ever occured to me. I enjoy writing, so I will probably just stick with that.

10)  I am very observant and at the end of your site it says powered by Jesus Christ…. As a fellow Christian has your personal relationship with God influenced your mission with the website at all or even influenced your vision.

I view my blog as my ministry. It puts me in an odd place among bloggers, but I don’t blog for myself, I blog as a way to serve others. Where bloggers are often told not to be influenced by what their readers want (unless they’re blogging specifically just for numbers), I am very influenced by my readers; after all, I’m here to serve them so if there is something that they want to know more about, that’s what I will do.

11)  We always like to leave off on a happy note… So please leave our readers with a few words of inspiration or a quote you live by…

I believe Ralph Waldo Emerson’s definition of success is something hope I may be worthy of aspiring toward: “To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!”

Boo Looking Lovely!!!!