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.

The New Year and Hard Relationships

It’s a new year, and January generally comes to us with the mindset of making New Year’s resolutions and thinking about the year ahead. These resolutions are generally about things and not about our relationships (our connectedness) with others or with ourselves.

Teaching Our Children Healthy Relationships

Our behavior and thoughts about our relationships with others can range from warm and loving to anxiety provoking or even scary. In working on our relationships, think about love as an action. Consider activating love, relationships and doing the work to extend yourself in order to nurture yourselves and your children. It’s not easy, but showing our children how to do this when they are still children, and in our care, is a healthy concept to teach.

With this in mind, and because adoption is rooted in complexity, it is important that we, as adults and parents, work on processing our relationships and our connection to difficult things, concepts, and circumstances. Doing this will not only benefit us as individuals, but our children and extended families too!

Our Relationship With the Calendar

One of the first relationships you can lean into in January is your relationship to the calendar. In your TRJ card deck, April asks you to chart out some dates and anniversaries for the year with your children. Think about your relationships to these events (both celebrations and Transracial Adoption Conversation Cardschallenges) and how you might prepare for them. Share your strategies with your children, have them share their ideas and their “asks” for support or celebration with you and then co-create your year. Don’t worry about getting the whole year planned, you can go at a pace that works for you and your family.

Read more about January conversation cues, including Pro-Tip for Parents, in this month's Calendar and Card Deck post: "January Relationships: Honoring the Whole Family."

Co-Creating your Family Calendar

For families that received the TRJ June in April calendar, we intentionally left it blank with no holidays or events. Instead, we gave you a list of possibilities on one of the first pages so you can fill in exactly what you’d like as a family. If you don’t have one of our calendars and you’d like one, send us a note to info@transracialjourneys.org and we’ll get you one. You can also do a similar exercise with ANY calendar you have and read our monthly emails for your conversation stimulants. Reclaim your calendar together and use it as a center of gravity for transformation!

This post is from our January, 2022, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, please subscribe.