Mother’s Day: Family Titles, Roles, and Relationships

As a country we have been celebrating Mother’s Day since the 19th century, honoring women who play a pivotal role in the lives of children of any age. For some, Mother’s Day can bring feelings of both celebration and complexity. In adoption, mothers of origin or birth/first mothers play a vital role in the lives of children they are born to and separated from. It’s important that you have open and loving conversations about different ways mothers and mother figures play a vital role in a child’s life.

June-in-April Calendar Conversation Cards

Transracial Journeys invites your family to experience the calendar in a whole new way. With the help of the June-in-April Calendar Conversation Cards, each month your family is invited to use the cards as a tool for more regular and intentional conversations about identity, family relationships, and differences of race and culture.

Each month has four cards with conversation starters. The prompts and questions are designed to spark reflection and ongoing dialogue within your family as well as with extended family and friends. There is no prescriptive way to use the cards, sometimes parents or grown-ups can take the lead and ask the questions and other times, children can go first.

Here is a suggested weekly breakdown for using each set of monthly cards:

Week 1: Parent/caregiver preparation and reflection

• Review the month’s theme and conversation prompts
• Check-in with any emotions that come up and discuss with a partner, friend, or loved one
• Put time on the calendar for the family to engage with the conversation cards

Week 2: Read/discuss card 1
Week 3: Read/discuss card 2
Week 4: Read/discuss card 3 and close out the month with any insights, challenges and new ideas for the next month

Mothers Day

May Pro-Tip for Parents: Be sure to build in time for you and your child to process all of the feelings that may come about surrounding Mothers’ Day. Resist the urge to expect gifts and instead give yourself something special to honor yourself as a mother or mother figure. Be prepared to help your child hold the both/and of this holiday.

CARD ONE: IDENTITY
• What does Mothers' Day mean to you?
• What are some feelings you have about Mothers’ Day?

CARD TWO: RELATIONSHIPS
• How do we honor Mother’s Day in our family?
• Can we acknowledge and celebrate more than one mother?

CARD THREE: EMBRACING AND FACING DIFFERENCES OF RACE AND CULTURE
• Do different cultures celebrate Mother’s Day?
• Are there different ways mothers are honored around the world?

This post is from our May, 2024, email newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.  You will get invitations to our monthly Parent Meet-Ups, a virtual meeting to act as a transracial adoption support group - sharing issues, ideas and strategies for creating a culture of communication and curiosity in your home, as well as monthly card prompt to keep the conversations about race, adoption, family, love and relationships front and center all year long.  And lastly, you'll always be made aware of important dates for Transracial Journeys Family Camp - registration is open now!


April Exploring: What’s in a Name?

Our names are central and significant to who you are and, in essence, can be the keystone of identity. When your child is adopted, there’s another world, another narrative, and perhaps another name that accompanies them along their identity journey. The way in which we build a strong and healthy identity often begins with our names as one of our central and original “keystone” building blocks.

June-in-April Calendar Conversation Cards

Transracial Journeys invites your family to experience the calendar in a whole new way. With the help of the June-in-April Calendar Conversation Cards, each month your family is invited to use the cards as a tool for more regular and intentional conversations about identity, family relationships, and differences of race and culture.

Each month has four cards with conversation starters. The prompts and questions are designed to spark reflection and ongoing dialogue within your family as well as with extended family and friends. There is no prescriptive way to use the cards, sometimes parents or grown-ups can take the lead and ask the questions and other times, children can go first.

April Pro-Tip for Parents: Becoming more fully aware of the deeper elements of adoption related to names will prepare you to authentically hold the realities of identity formation experiences. Diving into these delicate topics may evoke strong emotions. Have confidence in yourself to take steps on this journey. As part of the TRJ community, you have the support, love, and guidance of this community to commit to moving toward complexities in service of a healthier, fuller experience of adoption for your child/children, your family, and for YOU!

April Exploring: What's in a Name

CARD ONE: IDENTITY
• How do you feel about your name? Love it? Dislike it? Have never really thought about it?
• Did you ever change your name?

CARD TWO: RELATIONSHIPS
• How did you choose my name?
• Do you know if I had a different name before I was adopted?
• Did you discuss my name with anyone in my family of origin?

CARD THREE: EMBRACING AND FACING DIFFERENCES OF RACE AND CULTURE
• Does my name have cultural significance?

This post is from our April, 2024, email newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.  You will get invitations to our monthly Parent Meet-Up, a virtual meeting to act as a transracial adoption support group - sharing issues, ideas and strategies for creating a culture of communication and curiosity in your home, as well as monthly card prompt to keep the conversations about race, adoption, family, love and relationships front and center all year long.  And lastly, you'll always be made aware of important dates for Transracial Journeys Family Camp.


Preparation: Transracial Adoption: Be Ready!

Have you had strangers ask inappropriate questions of you and your family?

“Is she/he/them yours?”

“Where are they from?” -

“Your child is SO lucky”.

These invasive questions are part of being a family that does not match and where differences of race are obvious to the world around you. It is important to be prepared for these intrusions.

March Pro-Tip to Foster Conversations About Transracial Adoptions

At Transracial Journeys we send our families conversation cues each month, from our Transracial Journeys card deck, given to all our families at Family Camp. The card deck contains three cards for each month, designed for the children to ask their parents. Below are the questions for March. Before letting your child get started, prepare by reading the parent pro-tip, from the Parent Guide, each month.

March Pro-Tip for Parents: Make sure you have thought about specific times when moments of intrusion or inquiry have happened to your family. Think about the conversations you have had with friends and extended family when they were reflecting on how they feel or think you and your children should feel about adoption. These are intricate and complicated realities and thinking about them and talking about them will help ease what often lives under the surface.

CARD ONE: IDENTITY
• Do you feel lucky to be my parent?
• Do you think I should feel lucky to be your child?

CARD TWO: RELATIONSHIPS
• How do you explain our family to friends and family? How about to strangers that ask about us?

CARD THREE: EMBRACING AND FACING DIFFERENCES OF RACE AND CULTURE
• What are some unlucky things about adoption?

This post is from our March, 2024 e-newsletter.  Pictures on the website are from Family Camp. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, with Family Camp updates, please subscribe.  You will get invitations to our Parent Meet-Up each month, a virtual meeting to act as a transracial adoption support group - sharing issues, ideas and strategies for creating a culture of communication and curiosity in your home, as well as monthly card prompt to keep the conversations about race, adoption, family, love and relationships front and center all year long.  And lastly, you'll always be made aware of important dates for our main event;  Transracial Journeys Family Camp!


February. Transforming: Bring a Higher Love

At the intersection of St. Valentine’s Day and Black History Month, this short month brings so many foundational elements of identity, relationships, and differences for families to explore. Love is a vital ingredient for all families but adoption and difference of race make it imperative the love moves beyond the transactional and into the transformational.

February Pro-Tip to Foster Conversations About Transracial Adoptions

Transracial Journeys invites your family to experience the calendar in a whole new way. With the help of the June-in- April Calendar Conversation Cards, each month your family is invited to use the cards as a tool for more regular and intentional conversations about identity, family relationships, and differences of race and culture.

Each month has four cards with conversation starters. The prompts and questions are designed to spark reflection and ongoing dialogue within your family as well as with extended family and friends. There is no prescriptive way to use the cards, sometimes parents or grown-ups can take the lead and ask the questions and other times, children can go first.

February Pro-Tip for Parents: 

• Explore the calendar conversation cards on your own and think about the prompts/questions - maybe even write a few things down that come up.
• Have conversations with other trusted grown-ups first and anticipate any questions that may come from the children/ young people.
• Be sure you are centered and ready before diving into the conversations.
• If you already have these kinds of conversations with your children, challenge yourself to take it to the next level.
• Explain to children their role and how they will be able to ask questions to you as their parent/caregiver.
• Keep the cards handy so you can use them any time. Consider setting them near the family dinner table or place where you gather as a family.
• Challenge yourself and also give yourself grace - these conversations are necessary and can be difficult.

CARD ONE: IDENTITY

• What is one thing you love about yourself?
• What is one thing you love about me?
• What is one thing you love about someone else in our family?

CARD TWO: RELATIONSHIPS

• Who was the first person you loved?
• Do you think it can be hard to love people sometimes?

CARD THREE: EMBRACING AND FACING DIFFERENCES OF RACE AND CULTURE
• What makes us different?
• What makes us similar?
• What are some new ways we can honor and celebrate Black Excellence, Joy and Resilience?

This post is from our February, 2024, email newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.  You will get invitations to our Parent Meet-Up each month, a virtual meeting to act as a transracial adoption support group - sharing issues, ideas and strategies for creating a culture of communication and curiosity in your home, as well as monthly card prompt to keep the conversations about race, adoption, family, love and relationships front and center all year long.  And lastly, you'll always be made aware of important dates for Transracial Journeys Family Camp.


January Embracing: Live with Authenticity, Purpose and Joy

January is a time when folks traditionally take stock of where they are and may even make some resolutions for a new diet, more time exercising, or commitments to spending quality time with family and friends. For families that extend through transracial adoption, January can offer a time to think about the year ahead and together as a family, continue the expansive journey of authentically navigating family and differences together with purpose and joy.

TRJ Conversation Cards

Our Executive Director, April Dinwoodie, has created conversation cards that help families make space for ongoing conversations about adoption and differences of race and culture. The Transracial Journeys card deck contains 3 cards for each month that the children use to ask their parents questions, that parents can use for quiet reflection. Some families leave the deck somewhere visible and pick a card at random, some families follow the monthly prompts. No matter how you use your cards, you’ll find a pathway to a more active and authentic holding of the complexities of transracial adoption so you and your family can live with authenticity, purpose, and joy. Below are the questions for January. Before getting started, read the parent tip. Families that attend our annual camp receive a set of the cards and if you’d like a set please email info@transracialjourneys.org.

January Tips for Parents: Do some pre-planning so that you have time to process some of the harder anniversaries or days on the calendar before discussing with children. Have some ideas to share for new dates to mark on the calendar so your children can react and be inspired to think about what they’d like to add as well.

CARD ONE: Identifying with the calendar as individuals and as a family

  • What are your most and least favorite holidays and why?
  • What are some of your most and least favorite times of year and why?
  • Are there holidays that you’d rather not acknowledge but feel you have to?

CARD TWO: Relationships

  • What are ways you can celebrate the happiest days of the year?
  • How can you honor the saddest days and find ways to prepare for what might be hard?

CARD THREE: Embracing and Facing Differences of Race and Culture

  • What are some holidays that you have not traditionally celebrated that you could add to the calendar?
  • What do you need to know about any new holidays that you might add to the calendar?

This post is from our January, 2024, e-newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.


December – Reflections: Evolving Traditions 

The December holidays give us an opportunity to think about traditions tied to different cultures and religions. Regardless of what you and your family honor and celebrate, we can be inspired to take a closer look at what traditions mean to us and how we can expand our thinking and actions.

Read some of our previous December posts from over the years to help guide you and your family through the ideas of evolving traditions:

December Pro-Tip to Foster Conversations About Transracial Adoptions

At Transracial Journeys we send out cues for conversations each month. Our Transracial Journeys card deck contains 3 cards for each month that the children use to ask their parents questions. Below are the questions for December. Before getting started, read the parent pro-tip each month.

December Pro-Tip for Parents: Resist the urge to hold tight onto traditions that may be holding you back from fully embracing new ideas that may better honor your child’s culture. Also think about simplifying or modifying some of the traditions you now honor to make room for new ones.

CARD ONE: IDENTITY
• As a kid, did you celebrate any December holidays?
• If so, which ones?

CARD TWO: RELATIONSHIPS
• Were there things that you would do year after year as a family during the month of December or maybe other months of the year?

CARD THREE: EMBRACING AND FACING DIFFERENCES OF RACE AND CULTURE
• What are some new traditions or holidays you’d like to learn more about and/or try?

This post is from our December, 2023, e-newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.


November Nourishment: Sustaining Strong and Healthy Families

Thanksgiving can be one of the more complicated historical holidays, and for many in the United States, one of the more family and food-centric holidays. Whether you are a family that chooses not to mark Thanksgiving in a traditional way, or your family goes all out with a big Thanksgiving celebration, this month we are thinking about the family table and what might be true when there are differences of race and culture with transracial adoption. November also brings National Adoption Awareness Month, (NAAM) which can be challenging for some adopted persons. This month prompts on your activity deck include questions for both areas of discussion.

November Pro-Tip to Foster Conversations About Transracial Adoptions

At Transracial Journeys we send out cues for conversations each month. Our Transracial Journeys card deck contains 3 cards for each month that the children use to ask their parents questions. Below are the questions for November. Before getting started, read the parent pro-tip each month.

November Pro-Tip for Parents: Talking about family and complicated history can activate deep-seated emotions and feelings. Make sure you have the support you need to process your feelings before and after the conversations you may have with your children.

November Transracial Journeys Cards

CARD ONE: IDENTITY
The Family Table: Describe your family table when you were growing up.  What was the food like?  Who was around the table? What were the best parts of family dinner-time? What were some of the harder parts?
NAAM: When did you first learn of NAAM?

CARD TWO: RELATIONSHIPS
The Family Table: Who were the people sitting around your family table?
NAAM: What does NAAM mean to you?

CARD THREE: EMBRACING AND FACING DIFFERENCES OF RACE AND CULTURE
The Family Table: Were there ever people of different races around your family table?
NAAM: How can we find our own unique ways to honor and mark NAAM?

This post is from our November, 2023, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.


Reveal: The Masks We See and Those We Don’t

Whether you participate in Halloween or not, October 31st has many children and the young at heart dressing up in costumes and wearing masks. Today, the pandemic has given many of us cause to wear masks to protect ourselves from the COVID-19. But what is behind the masks you don’t see? What do they reveal? Read how masks and mental health can have unique significance in our community in our article "Masks, Masking, and Mental Health."

October Pro-Tip to Foster Conversations About Transracial Adoptions

At Transracial Journeys we send our families conversation cues each month, from our Transracial Journeys card deck, given to all our families at Family Camp and available for purchase. The card deck contains three cards for each month, designed for the children to ask their parents. Below are the questions for October. Before letting your child get started, prepare by reading the parent pro-tip, from the Parent Guide, each month.

October Pro-Tip for Parents: Think about the symbolism of masks and how you might mask your feelings about adoption and differences of race. What can you do to tap into those feelings and let them show in healthy ways? Do you recognize when your child might be masking their feelings? “We Wear the Mask” - Paul Laurence Dunbar

CARD ONE: IDENTITY 
• Did you dress up for Halloween as a kid?
• What was your favorite costume?
• Did you wear a mask?

CARD TWO: RELATIONSHIPS
• Do you think people wear masks that we can’t see?

CARD THREE: EMBRACING AND FACING DIFFERENCES OF RACE AND CULTURE
• Have you ever tried to hide/mask your feelings?

This post is from our October 2023, e-newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.  You will get invitations to our Parent Meet-Up each month, a virtual meeting to act as a transracial adoption support group - sharing issues, ideas and strategies for creating a culture of communication and curiosity in your home, as well as monthly card prompt to keep the conversations about race, adoption, family, love and relationships front and center all year long.  And lastly, you'll always be made aware of important dates for Transracial Journeys Family Camp!


Navigating: Moving Through Life with Clarity and Confidence

In September we focus on navigating to move through life with clarity and confidence as it can relate to our family's relationship to the calendar.  As we make our way through the year there are so many ways we can use the calendar to lean into conversations about the uniqueness of our families. Being thoughtful about how our families have to navigate the world differently and talking openly about what we might face can help ease the impact. 

The calendar is the perfect tool to:
• Celebrate the special moments and prepare for the harder ones.
• Honor every person in the family who is connected to your child and to you.
• Ensure you are making time each month to talk with intention about adoption and differences of race, culture, and class.

September Pro-Tip to Foster Conversations About Transracial Adoptions

At Transracial Journeys we send our families conversation cues each month, from our Transracial Journeys card deck, given to all our families at Family Camp and available for purchase. The card deck contains three cards for each month, designed for the children to ask their parents. Below are the questions for September. Before letting your child get started, prepare by reading the parent pro-tip, from the Parent Guide, each month.

September Pro-Tip for Parents: It’s a good idea to add the birthday of your child’s family of origin. If you do not know the dates make an effort to find out and if that is not possible, pick a day where you will honor them in some way and start to institutionalize that on your calendars every year. This will make space to honor those that came before you and while birth parents may not be physically present every day they remain attached to your child and your family in spirit. Make plans to have special treats on these days to celebrate the people that are connected to your children and to you.

Get more guidance on how to use these cards to encourage conversations with your child(ren) while preparing for your own thoughts and emotions related to each topic in our post: Where Did the Calendar Come From?

CARD ONE: IDENTITY
• Where are some of your favorite places to go?
• Why do you like certain places more than others?

CARD TWO: RELATIONSHIPS
• Did you remember a time when someone out in the world did not think we were together as a family?
• How did that feel?

CARD THREE: EMBRACING AND FACING DIFFERENCES OF RACE AND CULTURE
• How does it feel when we are out in the world and people ask us questions about our family?

This post is from our September 2023, e-newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.  You will get invitations to our Parent Meet-Up each month, a virtual meeting to act as a transracial adoption support group - sharing issues, ideas and strategies for creating a culture of communication and curiosity in your home, as well as monthly card prompt to keep the conversations about race, adoption, family, love and relationships front and center all year long.  And lastly, you'll always be made aware of important dates for Transracial Journeys Family Camp!


August is for Growth: Always Learning and Growing

It’s back to school time, but not just for kids! Parents can and should stay curious and committed to learning and growing especially when they are parenting children of another race. There will always be so much to learn! Having intentional and planned conversations about adoption and race will give everyone in the family an opportunity to get in touch with their thoughts and feelings and will augment the conversations you are already having.

August Pro-Tip to Foster Conversations About Transracial Adoptions

Transracial Journeys invites your family to experience the calendar in a whole new way. With the help of the June-in-April Calendar Conversation Cards, each month your family is invited to use the cards as a tool for more regular and intentional conversations about identity, family relationships, and differences of race and culture.

Each month has four cards with conversation starters. The prompts and questions are designed to spark reflection and ongoing dialogue within your family as well as with extended family and friends. There is no prescriptive way to use the cards, sometimes parents or grown-ups can take the lead and ask the questions and other times, children can go first.

August Pro-Tip for Parents: Back to school is a time of transition for children and families. It’s a time to be thoughtful about what children need when they go into schools every day. A great way to prepare children from families that don’t match is by having intentional conversations about differences of race and ethnicity as well as family structure and culture.

CARD ONE: IDENTITY (child asking adult)
Close your eyes and think of being a kid at school: What is the first word that comes to mind?
• Can you describe what your school was like?
- How big was it?
- How many other kids were there?
• What was your favorite subject?

CARD TWO: RELATIONSHIPS (child asking adult)
• Who were some of your favorite teachers and why?
• Were there any kids or teachers who looked like me in your school?
• Were there any kids or teachers that were a different race than you?

CARD THREE: EMBRACING AND FACING DIFFERENCES OF RACE AND CULTURE (child asking adult)
• Did you ever see black or brown students being treated differently?
• How do you think your experiences in school were different from mine?
• What can you do better to prepare me for what I might face at school?

This post is from our August 2023, e-newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.  You will get invitations to our Parent Meet-Up each month, a virtual meeting to act as a transracial adoption support group - sharing issues, ideas and strategies for creating a culture of communication and curiosity in your home, as well as monthly card prompt to keep the conversations about race, adoption, family, love and relationships front and center all year long.  And lastly, you'll always be made aware of important dates for Transracial Journeys Family Camp!