Keia Jones-Baldwin is a mother of four and writer at Raising Cultures who has always been open about her experiences with adoption and foster care.
Just recently, share revealed an uncomfortable situation she had on a family trip to Tennessee in 2018 where a woman working a photo booth accused Keia of kidnapping her own white adopted child, Princeton (also known as Boosie.) In a Facebook post, Keia revealed just how painful the experience was as a mother and as a black woman.
“I thought that this would be a fun picture to let Boosie take while the older kids and Dad rode a quick amusement park ride,” she shared in the post. “I took him inside and was excited to get him all dressed up in this old timey regalia. I noticed the young girl, maybe in her late 20’s was awfully fidgety as she was trying to get him set up.”
Once the photographer took a few photos, she then left the room. But when she came back with Keia’s pictures, the tensions escalated quickly.
“When she came back, she was holding the photo she’d just snapped of Boosie and photos of another baby side by side and said, ‘I knew it, I knew this was the same baby,'” explained Keia. “Confused I said, ‘excuse me?’ She accused me of kidnapping a child that she had recently taken a photo of earlier that month with his ‘white parents.’ I was appalled! Of course, she had already called the police.”
At that time, Boosie was still in foster care (Keia went on to adopt him in 2019.) And because of this, Kei needed to get a clearance letter fro him to travel across state lines. And while she was prepared with documentation, the accusation was upsetting to say the least.
“I had to show proof that [we were North Carolina] citizens on top of [providing] them with the foster care paperwork,” Keia said.
“The officers apologized. Looking quite stupid and embarrassed, her half-apology was not accepted. The manager was very apologetic, sent her home. I explained that I didn’t want her to lose her job but rather get cultural awareness and diversity training. The manager agreed. Then he hands me this photo and said it was ‘free for the hassle.'”
Keia believes conversation and education about transracial adoptees need to continue.
She has made her own list of things she wants others to understand about multiracial families
Read below and be sure to share!
1. We have to show the world that families don’t have to look alike to love alike.
2. All transracial adoptions are not white parents adopting black kids. There is an entire transracial adoption community with so many types of blended families.
3. Just because families don’t match don’t mean the child is in danger.
4. When we stop the pre judgement and take the opportunity to learn, our lives become more enriched!
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.