How a black family raising a white baby is bringing awareness to cross-racial adoption

“I bonded with him so quickly,”
“I bonded with him so quickly,”

African American therapist, Keia and husband Richardro, had always known that they wanted to adopt a child.

The North Carolina-based couple are parents to a biological daughter, Zariyah (15) and two adoptive biracial children, Ayden (8) and Karleigh (16), but they never thought that their next child would be white.

It all started when her foster care supervisor called her to ask if she could help with a severely underweight premature newborn, Princeton, who needed skin-to-skin as no one was there to hold and nurture him.

Keia didn't hesitate to help.

Little did she know that such a simple gesture would grow into a loving bond, not only with Keia but the whole family, and so they decided to adopt him.

But as simple as their decision was to take in little Princeton, the community they lived in found it difficult to accept. 

The mom of four told TODAY Parents she gets a lot of stares and backlash because Princeton is white and his family is black.

Must read: 'We need a space where we could just feel like human beings': How a cross-racial adoptee is using her story to help others

"We get a lot of stares," Keia said. "I’m frequently asked if I’m Princeton’s babysitter. ... I get, 'Why didn't you let him stay with a family of his own race?'", she said.

People had gone as far as calling the police on Keia because they believed she had kidnapped Princeton. Since then, Keia and Richardro take Princeton's adoption papers with them when they go out to prove they are in custody of him.

The mom had since started a Facebook page and a YouTube channel called Raising Cultures to share her journey in raising multicultural children.

Keia shared on Facebook some of the backlash she gets, she wrote in her post:

Despite all the setbacks, the mom of four remains positive about educating people about cross-racial adoption, and the Jones-Baldwins have been commended for their example of what a loving family looks like, regardless of race. 

However, much like America, South Africa still has a long way to go before we see black families adopting white children.

GroundUp unpacked some of the issues South Africans face when adopting across racial lines, and found that priority is given on "same race adoptions."

Also read: “My family wasn’t wrong": A black adoptee talks about growing up with white parents

Unfortunately there are not enough South African black families applying to adopt.

Carey Sheffield-Webb from Child Welfare South Africa said, "The only exception where a child may be placed with parents of a difference race is when there is no "prospective parent of the same race."

Their stance on this decision is so that the child may have an understanding of their own cultural background, as such, adoptive families are encouraged to educate the child about his or her heritage.

According to the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa (NACSA), “Between April 2010 and 31 March 2011 there were 2,436 adoptions registered in South Africa, whereas there were only 1,186 adoptions registered between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 – less than half of the previous period.”

The myths surrounding the process of adoption might have something to do with the perceived obstacles including, limited knowledge, affordability, social and cultural norms amongst other barriers.

Read more on this here: Everything you need to know about adoption in 2019

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