A Sunday Series featuring guest bloggers & parents covering some of the most important topics of our time; race, racism, religion, pregnancy and birth, grief and loss, entrepreneurship, women's rights, immigration, nutrition, sustainability, climate change, transgender voices, transracial adoption, foster care, art, representation, and yoga for surviving through crisis.
Over the past three years we’ve heard from so many people that seeing our little same-sex, transracial family living a life of love and hope was transformational for them. We’ve heard from people who, for all intents and purposes, feared the gays parenting, feared the gays living life out loud and then somehow ran into our social media account and blog and now feel a little different. Perhaps feel more open hearted. It’s been said one of the most revolutionary things we can do is introduce people to one another. We believe with all our hearts that fear cannot survive proximity. That once you get close enough to hear life stories things change. We believe that our diversity is our greatest strength.
In the coming months we’ve asked a list of people we have a helluva lot of respect for and learn continuously from to share this space and gift us their voice and perspective. We. Are. So. Excited. Every Sunday evening, next weekend through June, you will hear from Moms and Dads and Parents about what they believe in and what they’re fighting for. About their life lessons and advice, and thoughts on topics ranging from parenting to entrepreneurship, religion, race, representations and engaging in courageous conversations with kids, family, strangers and community. Stick around. It’s gonna be so good and so important in these days of divisiveness and fear to listen and share. We're so grateful for this little corner of the internet. Grateful to these folks for keeping us moving forward, and challenging us to work harder at being good Moms and a better humans.
Here's the lineup:
Saira Siddiqui is a writer currently pursuing her doctorate in Social Education. Prior to having children she taught for several years in the public and private sector. When she is not writing for others she enjoys writing for her own blog, Confessions of a Muslim Mom. She currently lives in Texas with her husband and three never-been-schooled children.
Quiana Agbai has been covering urban family life on her blog Harlem Lovebirds since 2009. A graduate of Wellesley College with 8 years of experience in the advertising industry, Quiana took a leap of faith to become a mompreneur launching Trifecta Media Group, a marketing, PR, and graphic design firm.
A certified Toastmaster, Quiana enjoys empowering her peers to pursue their passions and has appeared on TV One, ABC’s The Chew and The Dr. Oz show discussing her own passion of food and enjoys traveling and reading as well - when she gets the time away from her 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son!
After nearly a 10 year hiatus, in 2016 Quiana and her family returned to Boston where she and her husband first met when they were in college.
A'Driane "addyeB" Nieves is a USAF veteran, self-taught artist, activist, and speaker with a heart for serving others and social good. She's also a mental health advocate living with bipolar disorder, and runs an online mental health support group for women of color called Tessera Collective. She empowers women to transform brokenness in their lives into power and beauty, and amplifies the voices and experiences of those marked as Other in society through her written and visual work. Most recently she was featured alongside Bono as a ONE Campaign activist and volunteer for Glamour Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” issue, where Bono was awarded their first ever “Man of the Year’ award for his work on gender equity and extreme poverty. She believes creating and viewing visual art that addresses themes such as racism, mental health, and recovering from trauma can serve as a catalyst for personal growth and social change. Her work has been featured on BlogHer, Everyday Feminism, Upworthy, Buzzfeed, Mashable, The Fourth Trimester Bodies Project, Sheryl Sandberg's "Option B" platform, and MISC Magazine. Her artwork has been exhibited at Wild Goose Festival, Johnson State College, WORKS San Jose, and most recently at Rare Device in San Francisco. She lives in New Jersey with her robotics loving husband and three boys.
Kilah runs a large dance studio for a living & when she’s not working, she can be found sewing something, reading something, throwing pottery, taking dance classes, knitting, endlessly grocery shopping (how do people shop for the whole week?!) and spending time with friends. She’s also in the process of revamping her blog & considering becoming a foster parent in LA. Busy is her happy place.
I am Ashley Koch of Vibrantly Healthy Kids. I am a San Francisco based family nutrition and health advocate and the mother of two vibrant young girls. Feeding kids healthy food is easy...said no parent ever! I support parents in building a foundation of healthy food relationships that can last their children a lifetime. Your child's connection to food can be deepened in countless ways beyond what is on their plate. Each decision we make about what we put into our bodies, onto our bodies, or into our homes are decisions that can influence our family’s health. My goal is to equip parents with information that makes these choices easier and helps parents bring them to life in approachable ways. I am a student pursuing my master’s in Functional Medicine and Human Nutrition on the path to serving more families as a Child and Family Nutritionist. When I am not nose deep in textbooks or writing papers, you will find me sharing ideas on instagram or working one-on-one with parents to create individuals plans that fit their lifestyles. To read more about my philosophy visit here and here.
Nick McArthur is just a guy with a wife, too many kids for his own good (five), and an online branding business. He also happens to have a history of living as a woman for, oh, the first 30 years of his life. This little bit of history allows him to see the world in a way that most people can't. He has been both a Mom and a Dad, a wife and a husband, and has both suffered and benefited from the patriarchy that he's now out to smash. You can find him writing over at theverybestman.com or working at epicdanger.com and sharing too many photos of his too many kids on Instagram @epicdanger.
Nicole Blades is a novelist, speaker, journalist, and mother. She started at Essence magazine, later co-founded the online magazine SheNetworks, and worked as an editor at ESPN and Women’s Health.
Nicole's work has appeared in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Good Housekeeping, WashingtonPost.com, MarieClaire.com, BuzzFeed, and more. Her latest book, HAVE YOU MET NORA?, is out now, along with her previous novels THE THUNDER BENEATH US (Kensington, 2016) and EARTH’S WATERS (DC Books, 2007). Listen to her weekly podcast, Hey, Sis!, about women finding their focus and place in business, art, culture, and life. Find out more at: NicoleBlades.com.
Brandi Ebersole is a transracial adult adoptee and is the female half of the dynamic duo which comprises Ebersole Photography. Brandi was born on an island off the coast of Korea called Jeju, but was raised by her two killer parents here in the States. She finds them and her faith in God to be her inspiration for most things.
Brandi loves love and found her husband and partner in crime, Daniel, during college. The two of them relish filling their days capturing love behind their lens in all different settings: weddings, families, and the list goes on. They also have two incredible kids, the first of whom came to them via adoption. She’s their passionate, bright Latina daughter. Her story has brought so much healing for Brandi, not to mention her daughter’s amazing birth-parents, making their “extended” family quite the tribe. Their second child, a son, is currently Brandi’s only-known blood relative and his joyful, sweet, and charming ways are making it easy for Brandi to love her Korean heritage more than she already did before giving birth to him.
Brandi is known to be rather feisty and spicy herself. She has a unique first hand perspective on the adoption journey being both an adoptive mom, an adoptee, and a soon-to-be licensed foster parent. She cares deeply about people and tries her best to fill her days with loving those around her well.
Charnaie is a wife, mom of two, Computer Programmer by day, blogger/influencer by night, self-proclaimed lifelong learner, podcast junkie and Distinguished Toastmaster. She holds a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree, both in Computer Science and has over 15 years of technology experience. Her blog, Here Wee Read, is where she is currently expressing her creativity and passion for reading and literacy. Charnaie is also a writing contributor to the website Brightly. Brightly is a resource to help moms and dads raise lifelong readers. Charnaie's children and her husband are her inspiration and her followers/supporters are her book-loving tribe. More than anything else, she cares about connecting them with great books they'll love. In her world books are an absolute necessity. Charnaie is passionate about instilling a love of reading, lifelong learning, and curiosity in her children. She hopes to inspire others to do the same with their children.
Sara Stockinger is a teller of stories, a believer in the profound power of words, and an advocate for the beauty found in building community beyond our familiar. She writes her way through unconventional parenting via refugee resettlement and an open adoption following foster care, life as a transracial family, and navigating the balance of raising a revolutionary fist and sitting in restorative stillness. You can find her on Instagram (@family.rewritten) or Facebook (Family Rewritten).
My name is Malika Yasmin, motherhood is my full-time job, however I also work as a family support specialist, serving families of children with disabilities. When my son was diagnosed with autism my world changed completely. I became passionate about health and wellness of all sorts. I particularly focused on healthier food options for my son and family in order to provide a better quality of life. I believe in order to obtain good health we must eat well, simplify life as much as possible, create happiness for ourselves & others, and maintain a purpose in life. My goal is to inspire and support the movement towards better health and wellness for everyone. #AllYouGottaDoIs
Inspired by her very deep and personal connections to adoption, fueled by being the daughter of immigrants and motivated by the realities of a complex society, Ligia has become a fierce advocate for adopted children and multiracial families. Her ability to have authentic conversations about her Afro-Latina experience, adopting a multiethnic child, and being married interracially is genuine and insightful.
Earning a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling and with over 16 years’ experience as a social worker, Ligia oversees the Post Care Service (reunification and adoption) in an 8 county region in North Carolina. Through her work she finds herself educating and coaching others regularly on issues of diversity and culture. Her work has lead her across the country speaking on the needs of multiracial adoptive families and their related challenges. As an educator, Ligia has challenged her college students to not judge a book by its cover but rather let a person’s character help them see the true nature of a person. To learn more about Ligia or to book her for an upcoming speaking event please check her out at www.ligiacushman.com
Nicole Steward is a social worker (MSW) and yoga instructor (200RYT) with a focus on community engagement, public education, foster youth advocacy, and trauma-informed yoga. With more than a decade of social work practice in non-profits and accountability work in K-12 education, Nicole has noticed the need for radical self-care to discharge toxic stress we absorb through our work. This awareness drives her to study the ways yoga and mindfulness impact our brains and bodies, keeping us engaged, sustained, and renewed. Nicole teaches yoga, offers self-care workshops and trauma-informed professional development to schools, social service agencies, and non-profit organizations. Nicole believes self-care is a radical tendency we must adopt if we are to sustain ourselves as helpers, healers, service providers, and human beings. She has been a CASA for 15 years and is a proud foster parent to 6 amazing youth.
LaShawn Wiltz is the creator of Everyday Eyecandy where she blogs about motherhood, her life, her passion for capturing everyday moments through photography and trying to find her version of balance through it all. She is a 2015 BlogHer Voices of the Year Recipient, Mom 2.0 Summit IRIS Award winner for Best Instagram, and technology editor for Mom2.com. Her work has been featured on the social media platforms of notable brands such as Shutterfly, BorrowLenses, and VSCO Cam. Based in Atlanta, GA, you can find Lashawn on Instagram, documenting her days as a wife and mom - coffee in one hand and her camera in the other.
Brandi Riley is a Digital Influencer and Social Media Specialist. The founder of the Courage to Earn community for outrageously brave entrepreneurs, Brandi is known for personalized blog coaching and career development, Brandi has managed blogger outreach for hundreds of campaigns, and her door is always open to digital entrepreneurs who need a push. She uses her knowledge of what brands want to help influencers get paid more, and her intuitive nature to help bloggers give their audiences a better experience! She’s an equal opportunity encourager! Brandi is passionate about community and a champion for authenticity. She lives in Northern California with her husband, 8-year-old daughter, and infant son. Tweet her @BrandiJeter or read her at MamaKnowsItAll.com
Denise & Ebony
We are Ebony and Denise, a two-mom family with three kids; Olivia, Jayden & Lucas. Denise and I have been together for 11 years and married for 7 years. We love recording family-friendly videos and sharing our lives with the world. We hope to provide the younger generations of the LGBTQ+ community, who struggle to envision raising a family, the hope, and visibility that it is possible.
Originally from the wildwoods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I began globe-treking at the age of 19 and continued for about 8 years through various volunteer, travel, study abroad and work. I spent a few years teaching in the eclectic Pacific northwest in an incredibly close community, with much time exploring the natural beauty of the area and involvement in many local, but global events, and was drawn closer to immigrant and refugee issues. Spending a summer with the Tibetans in the Himalayas of northern India in 2006 gave me more insight into first-hand accounts of refugee issues and confirmed a shift into this field working with people at disadvantage due to war and conflict. I moved from Portland and took a job for a year in northern Uganda to do humanitarian aid work in Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps in 2007. Falling in love with a man in Uganda, we lived in London for about 1 1/2 years, got married in 2010 and moved back to Uganda. I began teaching special education at an International School in Kampala for students from 60 different nationalities. A few weeks after we married, we adopted a bright young girl named Nagawa from Uganda, who also happens to have Down Syndrome. Our family grew rapidly and we gave birth to 3 children, Chelema (2011), Kora (2012) and Chillla (2015). In 2014 my husband, unfortunately, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and passed away in November 2015. I continue to live and work in Kampala, surrounded by an incredible community that is supportive and inspiring. Spending much of our time taking family trips outdoors and on safari, we also are regulars at music, poetry and arts events around the city. Through all this, we've learned that taking risks to explore new places always leads to new moments and memories, supporting the arts in our community is a priority, and our moments on earth here together are for loving.
I am from Philadelphia and currently live in California. I'm married to a genderqueer Pakistani person, and we have three (birth siblings) kids adopted out of the foster care system. One of our kids is trans, and our other two kids are Native and were adopted through Tribal Customary Adoption. All of our kids are awesome and exhaust us -- both beyond measure. We are a hot mess every dang day but we are living and loving each other and are doing the best we can.