Category Archives: parenting

Mom, I want to be white like you.

I always felt somewhat guilty raising a black child.  The “powers that be” preferred that children be raised by parents of the same color.  What if there aren’t enough adoptive parents of that color?  Is it more important that children stay in the foster care system rather than be adopted by  parents of a different color?  Thank goodness there were social workers in the early 1980s, who believed in the priority of placing a child in a loving home even tho our skin colors didn’t match.

One night when BJ was about 4, we were in the midst of our night-time ritual, and he blurted out, “mom, I want to be white like you.”  It hurt me to hear that.  I tried to reassure him that being black was a good thing, “black is beautiful,” but I knew it didn’t address what he was feeling.

I had tried to be intentional about buying brown and black toy figures for him to play with.  Every action figure that was black, I bought.  That is the reason we started collecting GI Joes.  He was given a black Cabbage Patch boy doll at his baptism.  Family members would look for books and other printed material that showed people of color in a positive way.

Internally, I continued to struggle with BJ’s statement.    I wanted to be able to say to him, I wish I could be black like you, but it wasn’t true.  I knew that my race did afford me certain privileges and my life would be tougher if i were a single, black woman with a child.  This was also the time period that I brought up his birth mom, her color, that he looked like her and some day we would find her when he was grown up.

I continued to struggle with BJ’s wish.  At some point that year,   I knew I could honestly say to him,  “I wish I could be black like you!”   He didn’t express wanting to be white often.  However, the next time he brought it up,  I was able to genuinely respond,  “and I wish i could be black like you!”

I suspect that my wanting to be like him,  was a truer affirmation that “black is beautiful.”  I don’t recall that issue coming up much after that.

Things My Mother Taught Me

In honor of my mother, here are a few of  the things I learned from her.
1.  How to tie my shoes.
2.  How to sing.
3.  How to tell time.
4.  How to roller skate.
5.  How to build a tree house.
6.  How to fold clothes.
7.  How to clean the bathroom.
8.  How to play the piano.
9.  How to harvest wild rice.
10.  How to say no.
11.  How to operate a sewing machine.
12.  How to make popcorn balls.
13.  How to forgive.
14.  How to be an example.
15.  How to be a daughter.
16.  How to be honest.
17.  How to be understanding.
18.  How to be compassionate.
19.  How to be a loving spouse.
20.  How to pursue your dreams.
21.  How to be spiritual.
22.  How to stay married.
23.  How to show love to those who are important to you.
24.  How to grieve.
25.  How to grow old gracefully.

Thanks mom,  Happy Mother’ Day!
Drpers ©  2010

Searching For Birth Mother 2

Over a year ago, my son was interested in searching for his birth mother.  He decided not to do anything until our next visit in person, which was September of 2008.  I brought with me a letter that his birth mother had written to him when he was ten years old.  Now 24 years old, he had never seen or read it till that day.  

I was more emotional than he was.  He seemed to find it interesting but I really couldn’t read how he was feeling about it.   He just seemed very calm and thought it would be fun to meet his birth mother and sisters some day.  He wanted them to meet his wife and son and to know that he was successful and being a  responsible adult. 

During that visit,  I gave him paperwork to contact the DHS of that state and left it in his hands.  To my knowledge, he has not done anything yet.  He is busy with his career, being a husband, and now a daddy.  He has an 8 month old son at this writing.  I am a grandma!

I am sure there will be more to this story someday… but at the moment, there is no time for searching the past.  

more about finding his birth mother

dr pers

Mom, I want to find my birth mother…

Every adopted parent wonders if the time will come when your adopted child will want to search and/or find his/her birth mother and father.   My time has finally come.

My son announced in December that he and his wife are expecting.  Baby check ups have led to my son wondering more about his hereditary health issues.  A phone conversation with him this month, led to a discussion about his birth mother. 

I have known a few things about her.  She was 14 years old at the time, a big factor in her decision.  Her parents had just had twins, so they felt they couldn’t afford another child at the time.   When my son would occasionally ask about his birth mother when growing up, I tried to answer as honestly and positively as I could. 

In this conversation, I told him that I had some pictures of her and other children.  Through the adoption agency, she sent a letter and pictures.  He has two sisters and a fourth child was on its way in 1994.   He was 10 years old and I thought too young to be given these pictures. He is now 24 and finding out for the first time that I’ve had this info.

He indicated that he would like to pursue locating her.  I took a package of adoption records and info to the post office today, the pictures too.  I feel most sad that I am not able to be with him and share in those moments when he views those pictures.   He lives too far away and I will not see him till late August.  He thought he would have more time now to start the process before the baby arrives.  And so it goes.       

This is just another step in the journey.  I have mixed emotions of course, and will write more about that in another post.

© 2008 drpers

homosexuals are a bigger threat than terrorists…

The recorded remarks against homosexuals by OK State Rep. Sally Kern has set off a firestorm this past week. Rep. Kern said earlier this year that homosexuals are “the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam.” OK House Speaker Chris Benge said there are no plans to censure her or have her apologize.

An open letter to Rep. Kern:

“Dear Rep. Kern,

Your remarks about homosexuals being the greatest threat to America is completely outrageous and lacks significant substance.

I imagine if you and I met face to face, and you knew that I was a mother of a U.S. Marine, who has completed two tours to Iraq, you would express your gratefulness for our family’s sacrifice and your appreciation for his commitment and dedication.

How is it then, that this Christian lesbian mother who has raised a courageous U.S. Marine, who taught him Christian values, who took him to Church regularly, who inspired him to be his best in “body, mind and soul,” is such a tremendous threat to you and other Americans?

Has it ever occurred to you, that I am the woman that sits next to you in church,the woman who smiled at you as we passed in the grocery store, the woman who held the door for you as you walked thru with your cup of coffee? How is it that I create such fear in your heart?

I am just one of the homosexuals who raised sons and daughters to protect your freedom of speech. Rather ironic isn’t it, that you would use this precious freedom to insult the parents of these brave men and women, who otherwise have similar values to yours?

I hardly think I am a bigger threat to America than terrorism and Islam. If anything, your thoughtless remarks are very revealing of where the real threat lies.

Ms Kern, all of us make mistakes. If you take the time to get to know some of the fine and outstanding people in our community, you will likely realize the error of making such misinformed statements.”

Hopeful for an apology,




Influencing your child’s faith…

Sometimes parents will say that they don’t take their children to church because they don’t want to influence their child towards one particular religion. There is one big problem with this kind of thinking. No influence means no choice!

If it is really the parents’ desire to remain neutral, the parent would take the child to a variety of churches or religions so that the child is familiar with the differences. This says to the child that faith is important, and there are a variety of ways to believe as well as act on one’s faith. Adequate information and experience helps one to make an informed choice.

To not teach a child about faith in God, is truly not giving the child a choice. Parents who choose not to influence their children when they are still dependents, have not thought through the results of their rationale.

Most parents, teach their children how to take care of their physical needs: change their clothes, bathe, brush their teeth, comb their hair, eat a balanced meal. Have you ever heard a parent say, “I don’t want to influence my child in his/her grooming habits?”

Most parents encourage their child’s interests, whether it be artistic, music, athletic or scientific activities. Have you ever heard a parent say, “I don’t want to encourage my child in any particular activities, I think he or she should be able to choose music, art or athletics when they are older?”

Most parents encourage their child to do well in school, do their homework, get good grades. Have you ever heard a parent say, “I don’t want to influence my child in their learning ability? I want them to decide how smart they want to be when they grow up?”

When it comes to nurturing faith in God, nurturing moral and ethical decision making, why do so many parents retreat or run to the hills on this issue? Is it a backlash to the rigid fundamentalism we’ve all been exposed to? Is it because parents were not adequately prepared as children and they pass this inadequacy along to the next generation? Are parents simply not convinced that children have spiritual needs too?

If you are a parent or plan to be one soon, listen up! If you don’t influence your child from day one till the time they move out, everyone else will! Their friends, advertising, TV, music, teachers, coaches, did I say friends??? If you don’t nurture their spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional needs, everyone else will!!

There is no place for being neutral in this day and age! Your son or daughter is being bombarded with the values of others and our culture. You must be focused on nurturing basic life skills so that your child has the tools to make wise decisions and face life on his/her own. If you are going to retreat and leave that job to someone else, rest assured, someone will!!

why should children be nurtured in faith?

My aunt recently confessed that she thought she and her husband were too rigid in their faith when their children were younger. She said, “the kids would probably have gotten just as much from an occasional Sunday picnic as they did from attending church.” She recognized and admired that her adult children had more “balance” in their lives and more flexibility in raising her grandchildren.

My son had to go to church because I was a pastor and he couldn’t stay home alone. When I no longer preached every Sunday, we still attended regularly, but not religiously.

Why should you nurture faith in children?

1. The Creator of creation desires to be worshipped.

2. The Creator desires to be in relationship with humanity.

3. Church provides a disciplined avenue for worshipping and showing gratefulness to God.

4. Human beings were not meant to be alone.

5. A spiritual community is a great source of support and accountability.

6. Faith is a road map for the meaning of life, in all circumstances.

7. Through faith, we find hope and good news for all


Making your child go to church…

When you are a pastor, it’s a good idea if your child goes to church with you. I am sure everybody understands that the pastor tries to set an example for other parents.  After all, if the pastor can’t get her or his kid to church, all the other parents are off the hook too.

Getting children to church when they are young, is not a problem, at least it wasn’t for me. My young son accepted it as a normal part of the routine on Sunday mornings. Since I was in the pulpit and single, there were several families that would have him sit with them. He was loved and cared for by many.

Fast forward to the teen age years. It was my experience, that getting a teenager to church is where the real challenge lies. The junior high years were not too difficult, because there were several cute girls at church that were always interested in him. He loved the attention.

At about 15 and 16 years of age, there was a bit of rebellion. He wasn’t so sure that he believed all that church stuff… and I said that was okay. God would still be waiting for him, if he changed his mind. That lasted a couple of Sundays.

It happened that my son loved to have breakfast at McDonalds. When he was elementary age, we started the ritual of eating at McDs before church. When the girls became less interesting, he still liked McDs. He knew that if he missed church, he missed breakfast… so sometimes that was a motivation to attend too.

As he became an older teen, I appealed to his reasoning. I explained to him, that all week, he and I were doing separate things, he with his friends, I with my work. Worship was one family activity we did together… once a week. I was no longer in the pulpit and I enjoyed sitting with him. There were times, when this 17 year old would lean his head on my shoulder and go to sleep! Yes… right during church! I was a bit surprised… but loved it. There were choir members who loved it too… they probably wished their teenagers would do the same! Since I missed so many times of sitting with him in church, it was a precious, tender time.

When my teenager was too tired to go to church, there was one final principle that I held to. I understood being tired and needing a morning to sleep in. However, if he was too tired to go to church, he was too tired to do anything else that day. The days that he didn’t go to church, he couldn’t go to friend’s house, a movie, etc. It didn’t last for more than a Sunday or two. Sleeping in to miss church meant sleeping in and missing other activities too. Before long, he was back to attending church and knew the day held many more opportunities.

No home to come home to…

After making a popular Midwest city our home for ten years, new employment would require my partner and I to move farther west to a new state.

Besides missing the liberal lifestyle of this smaller city, I felt horribly guilty that my son would not have a home to “come home” to. He was in the military and I prepared him in advance, that it was likely that we would have to move, when either my partner or I found a new job. I told him, that I felt terrible that he would not have a home to visit when he wanted to come back to see his friends. When I finished apologizing, my 20 year old son didn’t whine, didn’t try to make me feel guilty, but simply said, “that’s life, mom. Things are always changing.”

While my son didn’t get high marks in school, he gets high marks for understanding the twists and turns of life. Gosh, I love that kid!

Raising a sensitive guy…

When I was raising my son, I wanted him to grow up and be a sensitive guy. It was okay with me if he cried, which he rarely did and he always claimed that “it didn’t hurt.”

When he was about 9 or 10, I decided to start a new morning ritual while driving him to school. I had hoped that he would remember it someday and pass it along to his children.

This is what I wrote and said to him everyday: “Be strong and gentle, brave and kind, be the best BJ you can be, with body, soul and mind.”

BJ got married this past February, before leaving for his second tour of duty to Iraq. This big, strong Marine in his dress blues, started to become very emotional as his bride came forward to meet him. The tears ran down his face as his bride joined hands with him.

He pulled it together to be able to give his vows. When it was all over, he cried while hugging his mom, his mom’s partner, and his grandmother. He seemed to be doing fine until his mom stood up to toast the newly married couple.  Again the tears flowed.

I have never seen my son cry so much in his life. I still can’t get over it. I don’t know why I am surprised when he turns out like I had hoped he would be!

Oh yes, he gave me a gift after the wedding. It was obvious he was excited. It was a beautiful, cherry wood jewelry box, with this engraving: “Be strong, mind, body and soul.” Gosh, I love that kid.

DRP ©2007