Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Terra Trevor- Excerpts & Reflections (part 2)


As with all great writing- Terra Trevor’s writing needs explored in the full. Excerpts don’t do the big picture justice. But, consider these excerpts from In Writing Motherhood as a whetting of the appetite.  Enjoy! -Diane

From Full Circle: Writing with Kids and Teens

...I’ve never facilitated or sat in any of the circles my son and daughters have participated in because I wanted them to have a chance to figure out whom they might be without me breathing down their neck or trying to sneak a peek into their minds. Yet I’ve found when I gave my kids the free space they needed to explore, we effortlessly communicated on a deeper level, often when I least expected it. For example my son liked to tell me his deepest thoughts while I sat in five o’clock traffic, waiting to make a left turn. Looking back I know by timing it perfectly he was guaranteed I would listen, and not interrupt what he had to say.

Diane -This piece, in its entirety, focuses on the importance of children reflecting on adoption with their peers. Although, as with all of Terra’s writing- She writes this piece with a narrow lens but reveals a panorama. For me, reading her work- it is a process of taking in the singular first and then absorbing the plural.

On a personal note, and why I chose this passage, I have experienced the car ride confession many times. Oh! The deepest things that my children have shared as we cruised down the road. We will be drifting down and across lanes and then their voices will penetrate through the car stereo- What? What did you say?


From Considering a Transracial Adoption?

...Talk to me and I’ll tell you that fusing a multiracial way of feeling and being does not happen with a few social outings; it’s a life process, a series of small steps gained over years. It is challenging at times, and requires us to use the same perseverance we needed in the adoption process that brought our children to us.

Diane -As humbling as it is, no matter how long or short time made us wait, the beginning is when we are standing with our child face to face. The process of adopting both of my girls was mentally grueling. In retrospect, it was merely a mental warm up for the days and years to come. I am continually challenged by how to honor and explore our lives as a multiethnic family. Terra shares in this piece why and how we need to step outside of our comfort zone for the sake of our children.


From Welcome Home: The Older Child’s Adoption

...She walked through the door taking stock, counting shoes in the closet, books on the shelves, the kids hodgepodge artwork scattered around the house, and the seashells on the back porch, wanting to know which belonged to whom and how many did they have.

Most of the time I’m not wise and filled with insight, but on this day I was. When another child is brought into the family, he or she is suddenly the new piece of an already established unit. My insight kicked in when it occurred to me I could help her create a history within our family beginning immediately.

Diane- All of Terra’s writing resonates with me but this piece just hits home succinctly. Everything about it feels familiar and like a well worn blanket of reflection. A must read for the parent who adopted an older child. This piece stresses the importance of immediately documenting our child’s presence in our family. I always advise newly adopting parents to gather as much information on their child as possible if they are traveling to their native country to meet them. Take photos and videos, seek out those who had contact with your child, push to meet as many people as you can and gather your child’s stories. You might need to fight through jet lag and a flurry of conflicting emotions but you will not regret it once you are home. Terra’s piece is a beautiful discussion on how  vital it is to continue that documentation once your child is home.


From A Peculiar Rhythm: First Parent Search

...As an adoptive parent, with our children standing in the center of our lives, desperately important to us, deeply loved, it’s natural to believe a birthparent search belongs to us. It doesn’t. The decision whether or not to search, and then how to proceed, is up to our children. Where we adoptive parents come in is letting our kids know we support them if they decide to search. If we’re lucky they might let us help them gain skills and insights into this new birthfamily dynamic they are now involved in.

Diane -I have begun the gathering of information process for my children. Everything I can find out now I feel I must find. China is fast and furiously changing and I want my children to have as many crumbs to follow through the dark forest as possible. But, what I gather is ultimately theirs to take or leave. I feel so and hope fully that this is the right path.


From Best Interest of the Child

...Now that I have become the mother of young adults what have I learned? That it’s important to picture yourself 20 years from now and begin creating the kind of relationship you hope to have with your kids when they are grown. In order to best support our kids we will need to keep some of our favorite stories to ourselves. Begin practicing now.

We’ve discovered that saying, “Why do you want to know?”

or “That’s a exceptionally personal question—let me think about it before I respond,” to be a sincere and honest answer to questions that feel too intimate. When a parent continually steps over the line sharing intimate details about their child’s life, it sends a message, “I don’t really believe you are capable of growing up and speaking for yourself, so I will do it for you.” What have I learned from my parenting mistakes? Paying attention to the messages we send can restore the balance of power allowing our children opportunity to grow and change, and find their own voice.

Diane-This piece challenged me and I think will challenge all who write or blog about their children. It is a great walk through what is purposeful sharing vs. privacy invasion. Thank you Terra.


Finally, for a good laugh... go read –

Surprise! The Homestudy with A Humorous Twist.

All of this and so much more can be found at In Writing Motherhood

You can also visit Terra Trevor on her blog  TERRA TREVOR

Terra, My heart is thankful to be taken on your journey of words.  I very much hope I can join along on the next writing adventure!



  1. As always I enjoyed Terra's words, especially the part about being "important to picture yourself 20 years from now and begin creating the kind of relationship you hope to have with your kids when they are grown." OMG, that is important--crucially important. Too many people fixate on the child and keep the child in mind even when the child has been eclipsed by the adult. What will you say to that adult? What will that adult think of you? Will he or she even want to be around you? Stranger tales have been told.

    But I want to pick up on something you said: "I have experienced the car ride confession many times. Oh! The deepest things that my children have shared as we cruised down the road. We will be drifting down and across lanes and then their voices will penetrate through the car stereo . . ."

    That's because you aren't facing anyone when sitting in the back seat. You don't have to look into their eyes. You can just be with yourself and say how you feel. We don't own a car but when I hear this (as I often do from a-parents) I wish we did.

  2. I'm about to go read the words you suggest but I just wanted to say how familiar and applicable much of this is to connecting with any "kind" of kids. The car connection, the thinking ahead to the relationship one would want once a child themselves is an adult, and the sharing of stories influencing a child's growth apply in my life with my own son, and my nieces who lost their dad (my brother) when they were around 5 and 2.

    One more thing I'd like to say about sharing stories or life experience. This can be done and be helpful without actually telling the story. What comes to mind for me regarding this is talking about running way. I didn't confide to my son that I'd run away as a teen until he was basically grown but what I did do was let him know that feeling like he'd like to could happen and if it should, that he could tell me he felt this way first and that I'd do what I could to remedy what was going so wrong for him.

    I heard the words "mom, I feel like I just want to run away" more than once, and I thankfully never had to experience it actually happening.

  3. Hah now having read Terra's words what I said about sharing stories has no relevance here.
    Here's hoping someone finds it relevant to them regardless.