Guest post by Keia Jones-Baldwin on her family’s experience with interracial adoption.
Years had gone by and countless dollars had been spent.
But my husband, Richardo, and I still hadn’t been able to have any biological children.
I’m blessed to have one biological daughter, Zariyah (16). But I deeply desired to have a baby with my husband and to expand our family.
As I healed from the bitterness and depression of infertility, my family began exploring foster care. We registered with an agency that allowed us to foster to adopt and quickly discovered a love for kids in the system. After the JOY we found during our first placement, we knew adoption was an option.
In the years that followed, we adopted two children, Karleigh (16) and Ayden (8), who are both biracial.
After a few more placements that led to reunification, we received a phone call from our foster care supervisor…
There was a newborn baby she wanted us to meet. He was in the NICU and needed someone to do skin to skin with him. We had no identifying information about the baby other than he was a male, his name, and the hospital he was in.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I saw so many beautiful babies in the NICU. I wondered which black or brown baby they were going to pair me with. Then the nurse ushered me over to a small little 2-pound white baby boy (who was also beautiful I might add).
Initially, I thought to myself, “Are they serious? This has to be a joke…”
But then my motherly instincts kicked in.
After Princeton (now 2 years old) was strong enough to leave the hospital, he came into our home where he was loved, nurtured, protected, cared for, and spoiled! To us, it didn’t matter that he was white. But boy did it matter to others.
I would have never thought my son’s transracial adoption, being white living with black parents, would cause so much judgment, ridicule, backlash, and downright hatred and racism.
We had the police called on us several times when he was an infant because people thought we’d kidnapped him.
Once in a grocery store, while Princeton was sitting in the shopping cart, an older white gentleman came up to us and started recording and taking pictures. I asked him what he was doing and asked him to stop immediately. He explained to me that he was going to take this “evidence” to security because I had “obviously stolen” someone’s baby.
We’ve faced judgment from our children’s teachers. They asked our daughters if he was “really” their brother. I must be the “babysitter.”
We’ve gotten, “Why didn’t you adopt a black child when so many black children need good homes?” and “Why didn’t you let that baby stay with his kind?”
We have been in restaurants, nearly “held hostage” and not let out the door because they thought Princeton was kidnapped.
All of these types of incidents are very hurtful, but not once in my mind or heart did I feel as if Princeton didn’t belong to me. I will always choose him and find beauty in our life together.
I have never been scared to fight a battle that God has ordained me to fight because I know I’ll win.
I’ll never say that fostering and adoption are easy or a cakewalk because they’re not. They’re filled with ups and downs, disappointments and proud moments, sadness and happiness, weakness and strength.
But I know in my heart—the day we bought Princeton home from the hospital was the day our lives changed for the better.
Being his mother is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m stronger, wiser, kinder, and definitely more patient.
We’ve also had the opportunity to stay connected to our children’s birth families (our bonus family members). Because we are all different in our culture, race, ethnicities, and age, we have to be intentional to not offend and grow to love one another.
Although faced with a lot of challenges, the support of our multiracial family has been overwhelming! Through our family blog, Raising Cultures, (Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube) we have met some amazing people. I love referring to those online communities as my kids’ cyber aunties and uncles! We get the opportunity to educate others on the realities of being a multicultural family built through transracial adoption.
Education is key to breaking down barriers of racism, prejudices, stereotypes, and division. Our hope is that our adoption love story inspires others to overcome fear surrounding fostering/adoption and that families would not place limitations on love.
Love is colorful! We all have the capacity to love without limits, we just have to be willing to open our hearts up to do so.