That is a very sad situation and you are very kind and generous for helping. If the girl's hair is very dry and too short for braids, it sounds like maybe her mom needs help with day to day care. If learning to care for and appreciate her natural hair is the goal, a regular salon is probably not the answer. Since she is middle school age, I'd bet relaxer and/or extensions would be what the salon would recommend. Once the day to day care is under control and the hair is healthy the mom could broaden her to a larger city and try to find a natural hair salon.
In the meantime, I would point the mom in the direction of this site, the Yahoo Group for adoption Hair and Skin Care
, and the Motown Girl
site. I would also point her to the Curly Girl
Book and It's All Good Hair
. If the mom wants to chat via email with another adoptive mom, I'd be happy to do that. She can reach me through Happy Girl Hair
The teasing is so difficult to combat. Most of the hair-positive books are geared towards much younger kids. I think the answer lies in building mom and daughter's confidence and exposing the daughter to the world beyond rural WV, where curls are celebrated. The family can't change the demographics of their area, but they can help their daughter understand that people often mock the unfamiliar. They have to help her see that as much as it hurts, it really is their problem and not hers.
Positive images of black women enjoying their natural curls can be found in so many places. le coil
is a great blog that consists of just images of beautiful natural hair. There are also a bunch of You Tube videos
that are just photos of natural hair. If the mom becomes confident in caring for her daughter's hair she'll pass that confidence on to her daughter. Knowing and feeling her hair is healthy, well cared for, appreciated, loved, and celebrated at home would help.