Is Homeschooling Adoptees Good or Possibly Damaging?

I've been meaning to talk about homeschool and adoption. They're very weirdly intertwined and I have a lot of mixed feelings about it.

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A Couple Things For Adoptees To Consider When Choosing Colleges

If you haven’t read my initial post about my college journey, I suggest you start there before continuing on. In short summary, I am the first to attend college in my family and my transition didn’t go well. There were a lot of mistakes made and I could have used some guidance from another black adoptee who had gone through this process. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the means of connecting with people like y’all do now, so I went in blind. Lucky for you all, I'm here to be your fairy godmother and share with you some of the things I had questions about and I found out the hard way, you should probably keep in mind while choosing a school.

HBCU vs. PWI

I’ve seen a lot of adoptive parents worried that their black TRAs don’t want to attend HBCUs and I don’t think it’s something you need to panic about. As a black adoptee, the thought of attending an HBCU had never crossed my mind. I had just assumed I would go to a PWI (Predominantly White Institution). It wasn’t until I got a black mentor while attending a community college that the idea was brought up. My mentor and I were working on my 3-year plan, including where I was going to apply for my 4-year school. She asked if I had considered Howard University or any other HBCU. I hadn't. We talked about it, she herself had attended Howard, and was able to share about her experiences attending an HBCU. For me, the idea of attending an HBCU was stressful. As a TRA who has been mostly deprived of my black culture my entire life, being dropped into black culture turned all the way up to the max, 24/7 was overwhelming. Not to mention the fact that you still have to explain being transracially adopted to black people too, so you don’t really avoid the ignorance and microaggressions anyways. Now some TRAs love it, that’s the push they need. Sometimes diving into your culture headfirst is what works for you, and if that sounds like you, you should consider an HBCU. But for me, I like to learn and move at my own pace and I think that is fine too. I did apply to Howard, but I felt more comfortable going to a diverse PWI because I already know how to handle just about every situation that could possibly occur.

If you do choose a PWI though, go read my PWI survival guide because you’ll need it.

Community College vs. University

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I will be sharing my community college experience next week, but in the meantime, you should consider looking at your local CC. For some reason, CCs seem to get a bad reputation. I think people don’t see them as a "real" colleges because it’s 2-year vs 4-year and they don’t have all the fancy greek life and whatever extra nonsense you get at Uni. I am a strong advocate for community college. I love them, I learned far more both academically and about general life skills in community college than I did at either of the Unis I attended. Instead of going from homeschool to college. I should have gone homeschool, community college to university. I think it would have helped me transition better. And being as (for whatever reason) a lot of adoptees also seem to be homeschooled, you may want to look into community college before a taking that leap to uni. CCs also help you save money and give you more opportunities to explore what you’re interested in. The way CCs work is that you take all your general studies classes, which is what you do for your first two years at a uni anyways. So basically by the time you get your A.A. and if you choose to transfer to a uni, you only have to pay for 2 years vs 4-years. Now if you think you have everything planned out and know what you want to do, where you want to go, then sure go right to Uni, there’s nothing wrong with that either. If you’re a little on unsure, want to save some money or just want to see if the whole college thing is for you at all, I'd suggest you check out a community college. I may help you get more grounded before going to a uni. 

Diversity Statistics & Retention Rates 

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There is a general "rule" that the diversity of the staff/administration should reflect that of the student body. For example, if the student body is 45% black and 55% white, the full-time staff should also be 45% black and 55% white. In reality what typically happens is no matter what the student body’s diversity is, the staff is primary white. The staff of color that does exist, is part-time and adjunct. Why does this matter? Because it lets you know how committed to diversity the school is and if they are actually trying to implement change. When I was at my community college, they actually had a fairly high amount of students of color considering we’re in Olympia. Washington, but the staff—almost 90% white. Their mission statement said they were committed to diversity and retention of minority students, yet their graduation rates for students of color dropped every year. That shows that there’s a problem and you should be aware of that when you start looking because you’re going to be one of those minority students and could very well be one of those statistics.

In addition to looking at the staff/students, do they have any programs that specifically support minority students? I went to three different schools and only one of them had some form of a  “Diversity & Equity Center” (DEC). The sole purpose of this office was to provide support and resources for minority students to help them succeed. Whether it be extra help with school or just a safe place to go when you need it. They would serve as the liaison between students and administration. The two schools I attended that didn’t have any form of diversity centers, I dealt the most racism and got zero support from the staff when I tried to report it. I think as a TRA entering college, especially if you’re in a PWI, having staff support is going to be an important factor is your college success. If nothing else, it serves as a great safe space to meet and connect with other people like yourself.

Location, Location, Location

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This is somewhat related to the previous point about diversity support. Location is a huge part of choosing a school as a minority. If you find a school you like, but they’re lacking in diversity support, you may be able to supplement that by being in a city that does have a lot of community organizations for minorities that will support you. I learned this the hard way. My location goal was as just to go as far away from Olympia as possible, and I didn’t pay much attention to what was actually available in that community. I ended up in New Hampshire which is even whiter than Olympia and doesn’t possess any form of progressiveness or community organizations. I had some of the worst experiences with racism in my life, the year I was there. Schools are very smart about offering money to minority students to fulfill their diversity quota, but then they won’t provide any support at all. This was the exact situation with my first college. Had I known better to research the community as well as the school, I probably would have avoided going there all together and not wasted a year of tuition. The other schools I attended were in Washington and then Boston, although both are still pretty white, they do have active communities. I would say Olympia more than Boston, but I was able to find my people and get involved which helped substitute for the PWIs and not much funding for diversity anything on campus. So be mindful of where the school is located. I'll also stress that this is why taking tours are important. You may think it looks great from the website and all the fancy materials they send you, but you'll know that gut feeling that something is off when you actually walk around the campus and city.   

What Extracurricular Programs Are Available

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I will say this till the day I die, extracurriculars are just as important as your classes. I was that student who just went to classes and went home for the first year or so of college. It wasn’t until someone forced me to get involved that I did and it changed my whole life. Getting involved in campus is where you’re able to explore your interests, passions and share experiences with other students. When you’re checking out schools, look to see what student groups exist on campus. Particularly if there are any that support diversity such as black student union or maybe even an adoptee club. If one doesn’t exist, check to see what it takes to create one yourself. Do they support student clubs? Do they get funding? What they do and don’t have will tell you a lot about what the school supports. Part of your tuition goes to a “student services fee” which is supposed to be allocated to things like these clubs and programming so if they aren’t supporting student clubs, you’re essentially having your money wasted. It was through student activities that I was encouraged to explore my black identity, went to student conferences around the country and met lifelong friends. I ended up starting a Black Student Union, got involved with the local community, started a black student conference and also how I started designing and teaching workshops. I brought those talents to my uni and ended up being asked by the college president to be on the advisory board. So yeah, getting involved is super important and you want to make sure your school allows you the opportunity to do so. 

Have you come across any other questions or concerns on your college-choosing journey? 


Support Me Maybe?

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Hey folks, I want my work to be accessible to all those who need it, thus why I do not create paywalls for my blog. That being said, creating content costs a lot of time and money. If you can make a contribution to help support my work, know it is very much appreciated, and I'm sending you a virtual high-five.

Contributions can also be sent via VenmoCash App or Paypal.

My Not-So-Smooth Transition To College

Unfortunately, my high school to college transition didn’t go as well as one may hope. I actually went from high school to a 4-year college, to community college and back to a 4-year. I had a "life plan" in mind, and when it didn't go as planned, I thought I had failed in life. I had this whole plan to go to college, be done by 21, have a great job by 22, the perfect life and family by 25 with streams of cashing coming into my bank account. Listen I'm 26, single, broke and I'm blogging, but I'm happy. The idea that we're all supposed to finish college from 18-21 is an unrealistic fantasy. My college experience was also my first introduction to extreme systematic racism and I wasn’t prepared for it at all. But before we get there, let’s back up a little bit.

As you may know from my past posts, I was homeschooled until high school at which point I attended a very small K-12 private Christian school where I graduated valedictorian with a 4.0 in 2009. College was never something that was really pushed in my family. It wasn’t discouraged but it was more of an “it’s cool if you want to go and cool if you don’t” kind of thing. I was the first to go to college and out of the 6 kids. My mom became a registered nurse and worked until she decided to be a stay at home mom. My dad dropped out of college his first semester and also just worked. My 3 older brothers finished high school, one went to the Marines and the other two immediately went into the workforce. So when I graduated and decided I wanted to go to college, I was going into the process blind. Most of even my extended family, never attended college so who is supposed to give advice? Mind you, this was also before the age of the internet, so we didn't have the luxury of just opening an app and finding out everything we needed to know. No, in fact, I had to go to Barnes & Noble and buy a book the size of a toddler that listed every single college in America along with their majors and statistics and I studied that shit to no end.  To cut a very long story short(ish), I ended up at a small college in New Hampshire, who offered me the most money and was out of Washington, which really was my only requirement. Go to college, and get out of Washington.

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I ended up in New Hampshire (terrible choice), where I was one of about 12 black people on campus. I later figured out they just offered black people scholarships they couldn’t refuse so they could meet their diversity quota but didn’t give one fuck about us. I had my first experience with “in your face” racism and learned just how real systematic racism was as well. More on that another day, but I (and about 90% of the other black people) left after the first year. I went back to Washington and was very unmotivated and depressed feeling like I had blown my shot at getting an education. I decided to attend community college till I figured out what to do, and this was where I really came into my own identity as a black woman. It was the first time I found people who shared my experiences and actually supported me. After community college, I transferred with my A.A. out to Boston to finish my bachelor’s (again) in Entertainment Management which I did in 2016.

*air horn*

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That is the very abbreviated version of my college experience. I am going to talk a little more in-depth on some of the topics over this month. I’m going to share some tips, barriers and experiences I encountered along the way that hopefully will help y’all on your journey to choosing and attending college.


Support Me Maybe?

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Hey folks, I want my work to be accessible to all those who need it, thus why I do not create paywalls for my blog. That being said, creating content costs a lot of time and money. If you can make a contribution to help support my work, know it is very much appreciated, and I'm sending you a virtual high-five.

Contributions can also be sent via VenmoCash App or Paypal.

Stop Doing Family Tree Assignments

Family trees are already a pointless and stupid assignment. For adoptees, foster kids and kids who don't have perfect families, it's a reminder that we don't belong. 

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5 Easy Ways You Can Be An Active White Ally

As we continue the fight for equality and justice, it is imperative that every group pull their weight in this movement. Each person’s contribution will look different. For some it may be organizing marches, others may be teaching in schools, or creating content. Some are in government and politics, and some may be working solely on a community level. Each role is different and important. However, when it comes to white allies I find that there seems to be a lack of effort. For some reason, the group with all the power seems to be doing the least work in helping to fix the system that they created to be discriminatory. While many white people have good intentions, most tend to be bystanders who do nothing but root for the sidelines or go to the other extreme and take over the movement, silencing POCs. I believe a lot of the issues come from not knowing how to help and use privilege for good. So, I want to give 5 very simple, yet powerful ways white allies can help in the movement for social equality.

Get involved locally

I am a firm believer that change starts on the local, community level first. Before we can tackle the nation, we should start in our own communities. Find a local chapter and get involved. Even if you live in the whitest of white cities, I can guarantee you there is something in your city. For me, it was right in front of me, at my college. I join the Diversity Center on campus and through there was connected to many community organizations throughout the state and even the country. If you’re not sure where to start, look for the following in your community.
+Local colleges, many offers or host community events.

+Any local chapters of a National organization such as NAACP or YWCA.

+Local non-profits

+Meetup.com – this website lets you join various like-minded people. I run one for black young adults, there are often many that run social justice groups. It’s great to either find a group or start one.  

Boost POC voices

Each and every one of you has a platform of some kind. Even if you’re the receptionist at some shitty company in the woods, that is a platform. Use your platform and privilege to boost our voices. The biggest problem we have is that POCs are not being heard. We try to speak and we are ignored or shut out. You, as a white person, have an immense privilege in that people listen to you. You can use that privilege to make sure that our voices are being heard too. Again, this will look different for each person, depending on what your platform is. Maybe you have a podcast or radio show—bring on POCs to talk about different issues. Maybe you work in a corporate office—suggest you bring someone in to do a keynote or diversity training. Or maybe it’s something as simple as a share or retweet of POC content. It all makes a difference. The point is that you’re using your platform to boost the voices of those who are silenced.  

Download “Countable”

Countable is an app/website that was created to help make politics easier to understand. It became known to me during the election of the Circus Peanut. Everything is happening so quickly and is out of control it’s hard to keep up or even know what these random bills and complicated words mean. So instead, many people just don’t do anything. Countable fixes that issue. It starts with getting you familiar with who your state representatives, then streamlines the processing of contacting your local lawmakers so you can easily call or email them your opinions on upcoming bills. Like the first point, you need to get involved locally. This is a very easy and great way to start doing so.

Call out your friends

One of the most exhausting things we POCs have to do is call out and explain EVERYTHING to white people. What makes it even more frustrating, is half the time it falls on deaf ears or they pretend they don’t get it.

One very easy and helpful thing you can do is to call out your fellow white people. Take the burden of having to do all the work, off POCs. Additionally, white people tend to receive criticism in regards to racism from white people, far better than they do when it comes from us. It’s annoying, but to me, it’s a win-win because I have no desire or patience to explain racism 101 to white people in 2017.

Ask what you can do

My final tip is, just ask. If you’re not sure what you should be doing in a situation, ask. If you read an article that informed you about something, ask the author what you can do to help. All of us can do this. You hear about things like Flint having no water, or DAPL. Ask the people who are there. What do they need and what you can do to help. It could be just donating money, or maybe they need care packages. Who knows, but asking will answer that question. It also helps with not overstepping your ally boundaries. Rather than taking over a movement or cause, ask the leaders how you can help support them.  

In no way is this list exhaustive. It is meant to be a starter kit. These are steps that are very simple and require minimal effort on your part. Use them and build from them. Are you already practicing some of these steps? Have you found another way to contribute? Let me and others know in the comments!


Since you’re here…

Consider making a contribution. I work very hard to deliver free content for everyone. I don’t like to create paywalls or subscriptions as I want my work to be accessible to all those who need it. That being said, creating content costs a lot of time and money. Obviously, you are under no obligation to give, I know many are out here struggling just like me, but if you can make a contribution to help support my work, know it is very much appreciated.

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-Love, peace, & chicken grease