All Articles Tagged "Adoption"
Parents and children find their way to one another in various ways, whether it be biological or through adoption they come together to create a unique family composition all their own.
These talented celebrity moms not only hold down amazing careers, sharing their gifts with the world but they’ve also become mothers via adoption.
Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis and her husband actor Julian Tennon adopted their daughter Genesis as a baby in 2011. You’ll recall that the beautiful young girl recently decided to dress up as her mommy during her 2015 Oscar win for Halloween. Photo: Viola with Genesis.
Screenwriting living legend Shonda Rhimes has two adopted daughters — Harper and Emerson. She had her third child via a gestational-surrogate in 2013.
Sweet potato pie maven and phenomenal songbird Patti LaBelle has five children, however two of her children, Stanley and Dodd were adopted after Patti’s sister, their biological mom, passed away. Photo: Patti Labelle and her son Zuri.
Hollywood heavyweight actress Alfre Woodard and her husband, writer Roderick Spenser adopted their daughter Mavis and their son Duncan. Photo: Alfre with daughter Mavis.
Comedic actress Kym Whitley adopted her son Joshua Kaleb in 2011.
November is National Adoption Month and in honor of families with adopted children we’d like to suggest the following books that you can read with your adopted child on the subject of adoption.
This is the story of loving African-American family living in the city and Abby and how she and her family adjust to her adoption and her unique bond with her brother Kevin which doesn’t start off so well initially.
Six small stories that illustrated several different ways that children join families, including by adoption.
This is the story of Samantha’s adoption told from a child’s perspective.
Newly launched media company The Front has debuted its series New Deep South which will explore how millennials navigate their sexual identity in the 21st century American South. To expose how complex romantic relationships can be below the Mason-Dixon, The Front followed Toni and Keeta, an interracial lesbian couple living in Jackson, Mississippi.
Like most modern couples, they initially met on Instagram when Toni sent Keeta a flirtatious DM. After trading messages, the two decided to physically meet one another at a local club. They’ve been exclusive since meeting each other and have been together for a total of seven months; the pair is now engaged and living together. Keeta works as a cashier and Toni serves as a Mississippi police officer who has lived on her own since she was 15 when her family kicked her out because she didn’t adhere to their religious lifestyle. After their engagement, the couple decided to expand their family; however in the state of Mississippi same-sex couples can’t adopt children through any agency.
Toni’s pregnant friend had a solution: she asked Toni if she and her fiancée would be interested in adopting her baby since the baby’s father didn’t want to raise another child. The couple said yes, but the friend eventually backed out and they had to find another means of becoming parents. That’s when the pair began receiving pitches on Facebook and Instagram from prospective birth parents who were willing to give up or conceive a child for Toni and Keeta’s family to be complete.
As Toni and Ketta prepare for their plus-one, various mishaps occur to rock their faith and the soon-to-be mothers become more aware of how unsafe Jackson is becoming. At the time of filming Instababy, there were daily homicides in the city and on one occasion Ketta was chased home by a strange man. Despite this, their journey depicts how marginalized people find alternatives to attain their natural birthrights by any means possible.
Watch how their story unfolds below.
Thanks to Lifetime, many of us have been privy to see how adopted children fictionally heal from their abandonment issues. Usually in these made-for-television films, adopted children magically reunite with their birth parents, gain a new set of siblings and live happily ever after, if they’re lucky. In the real world, an adopted child’s luck may not stretch as far.
Last week, Maggie Geimer wrote a poignant piece for XOJane about her birth mother who didn’t want to meet her. Before readers got into the details about her birth mother’s sting of rejection, Geimer allowed them to enter her world where her supportive adoptive parents gave her nothing but honesty, love and care. They told her she was not their biological child since she was a toddler through fairy tales: “Once upon a time there was a king and a queen who wanted a baby more than anything. They were very sad that they didn’t have a baby so they went to a magical place called an adoption agency, where there was a little princess. The princess came home with the king and queen and they lived happily ever after. And do you know what? That little princess is you!”
As Geimer transitioned into her teenage years, angst began to fill her once she felt she was not entirely understood by her parents. Like most teens who believe those outside their immediate family understand them better, Geimer began to fantasize about life with her biological mother and how it may be better than with her adoptive parents. She revealed in her piece, “I knew her extremely common name, the fact she was short like me and that she was talkative, also like me. An overactive imagination took over from there and created the perfect parent.” As Geimer became older, she shifted her focus on entering college and new relationships, though thoughts of meeting her birth mother mounted.
Since Geimer had a closed adoption, she had to wait until she was 21 to receive her original birth certificate. When she did receive it, she immediately tried all channels to search for her birth mother, eventually finding her on Facebook. She decided to send her a message and also found a counselor from her adoption agency to help her with the process. Unfortunately, Geimer’s search was cut short with a letter her birth mother sent the adoption agency, detailing her medical history and a note explaining she would not like to be contacted by Geimer. The news broke Geimer’s heart but also freed her from feeling guilty about searching for her mother— a turmoil most adoptive children face because they feel like they have to choose between their biological and adoptive families.
Although Geimer received her own epiphanies about her birth mother, as a reader I was stunned and deeply disappointed. Geimer’s mother’s personal issues became the deciding factor in why she didn’t want to connect with her daughter, though a fraction of me feels it’s a sad excuse. I understand the decision to have a closed adoption but I also believe adoptive children are owed the opportunity to meet their birth parents and extended family and the opportunity it offers to feel “whole,” especially when many feel like an outsider within their adoptive families. I have two cousins who were adopted and behaved irrationally prior to being introduced to their birth families. I am sure if they never received the opportunity to create those bonds with them, their lives and even mental health would have taken a turn for the worse.
Although each family’s story is different and birth parents are not fully responsible for their children’s emotions as they navigate life, should they be mandated to at least met with them when they’re adults?
Rosie O’Donnell has been in the news a lot lately and this time it doesn’t have anything to do with The View or her ongoing feud with Donald Trump. It’s her relationship or lack thereof with her adopted daughter Chelsea that has been making headlines again. It was only a few months ago that O’Donnell reported the teen missing, and suffering from mental health issues. Not long after, Chelsea was found at the Jersey home of a 25-year-old man who happens to have a drug-related past. Though she was eventually taken back to O’Donnell’s, now that she’s 18-years-old, and legally able to live where she wants, that’s exactly what she’s done. Chelsea is back with her ‘boyfriend’ after a short stint with her biological mom, who now claims that the adoption all those years ago, was illegal. It’s messy.
In a clip for an interview airing tonight on Inside Edition, Chelsea explains that she doesn’t love Rosie, nor does she think they will ever be a family again. Ouch. How ungrateful.
I start getting leery about adoption when I see kids turning into monsters towards those who unselfishly give them a home. I picture Chelsea being given everything, and this is how she repays Rosie. By going on TV talking about how she doesn’t even love her. Why? Because you say she kicked you out? Did it have anything to do with you hanging out with a 25-year-old man? Hmph.
But as soon as I put kids and monsters together my thoughts automatically jump to Woody Allen. Not exactly the poster child for a great adoptive parent. And let’s not forget the unforgettable film, Mommy Dearest, about the mental abuse inflicted upon the adopted daughter of famous actress Joan Crawford. It was sadly eye-opening in showing the abuses that some adopted kids endure.
Was I judging too fast?
I start thinking about my younger cousin Shai who was adopted into the family as a baby and is so well-integrated that she often forgets that she’s adopted. But she too had her issues when she was a teen. I remember a conversation we had where she said, “Some days I would be telling my mom how much I loved her and the next I was screaming, ‘I don’t have to listen to you, you’re not my real mom!’” She says that she was angry and acting out because she felt misunderstood, and often wondered if she was more like her birth family. Now 23-years-old, things changed a few years ago when her adopted mother helped her find out about her biological family. Now she knows where her birth mother lives, that her grandmother passed, and that she’s a middle child. Though a part of her is still salty that she was the only one her mother gave up for adoption, she’s comforted by the fact that she now has a sense of where she came from. Today, she’s at peace and grateful to be with a family that loves her. It worked out.
Man, when it comes down to it, the relationship between adoptive parents and their kids isn’t much different than biological families. We all have our issues. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s just that biological families don’t get judged the same because they are blood. Some parents and kids don’t speak for years, and in worst case scenarios, they kill each other. When you look at it this way, Rosie O’Donnell and Chelsea aren’t doing so bad. I’m going to be optimistic and bet that in time they’ll be able to work this out.
To see Chelsea’s interview on Inside Edition tonight, check your local listings.
Erickka Sy Savané is a freelance writer and creator of THE BREW, a left-leaning social commentary blog. Check out her daily column, Pop Mom Daily, right here on Madamenoire. Before Erickka began writing she was a model/actress/MTV VJ. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Jersey City. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
“I want my son to be safe. I want my son to be judged for the man he is,” says Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock in a cover story for the October 2015 issue of Glamour magazine. “If I could ride in a bubble with him for the rest of his life, I would. But I can’t,” she adds, talking about her adopted five-year-old son Louis, in the context of raising a Black boy in America.
I pause. As a Black woman with two daughters, ages three and five, I want the same things and share the same fears. I hope that they will be afforded the same opportunities as everyone else and not put in a box because of the color of their skin. I want them to be safe too, and yet I’m constantly reminded that they are not. Perfect example: The white guy who posted a selfie on Facebook with his co-worker’s black kid. It set off a barrage of racist comments from his white friends. The kid is only three-years-old.
It’s unexpected, this moment of connection and reflection that I feel towards Bullock because, frankly, my relationship with white women has always been a bit weird. It started in elementary school when I found myself having to explain Blackness. “What happens when your hair gets wet?” asked classmate Anna while taking a swim. Surely, she was just curious, but as the only Black girl in my class, I didn’t like always having to explain Blackness. I just wanted to swim like everyone else. Before long, I found that being around Black people was just easier and my relationships with white women never advanced beyond the 4th grade, which is probably the case with Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus, and Black and white women in general.
We just don’t talk.
As a result, we don’t get to know each other, which feeds a vicious cycle of you-stay-in-your-corner-and-I’ll-stay-in-mine. Which in turn, keeps us from talking, which again, keeps us apart. You get my drift.
Six years ago I became a mom and that changed things because I find myself connecting with women on that basis. If a mom in my area has kids the same age as mine, we connect. Color suddenly becomes less important when our kids need activities and we moms need resources to make navigating motherhood easier. Funny enough, white women are solidly in my network now, sharing information, providing loads of activities and lending a helping hand. Regardless of the white and Black thing, there is a mommy community to which I belong, along with Asians, Hispanics and even an African mom. West Side Momfia, as they are known.
It’s not always perfect. Sometimes when speaking to one another something can be said in regard to race that’s ass backwards, and I find myself having to explain. But because we’re talking, things get clarified, and we get a chance to move on in the name of what links us. Our kids.
I am officially on the countdown until my next milestone birthday. Recently I’ve been accessing my personal, professional, spiritual and fitness achievements and goals. This year, I’ll be celebrating not only a decade as an entrepreneur, but I have signed up to run the ING NYC Marathon as well. I’m so excited about everything that 2014 is promising me through my faith works. Everything that I am trying to accomplish in life all seems feasible as long as I am willing to put in the work.
But there’s still one thing that weighs on my mind.
In the past I thought I wanted to be married by the time I was 25; now I laugh at that idea. In my 30’s I started a PR agency, became a distance runner, travelled to Africa and Europe and became a literary agent, among other memorable experiences. As a professional woman with no kids, it would seem there are numerous things that I can accomplish independently if I truly desire…except motherhood. Or can I?
Inspired by Hollywood moms like Sandra Bullock, Shonda Rimes, Viola Davis and Jillian Michaels, among others, I have entertained adoption as my means to motherhood. I’m a woman who would love to be a mother, but the “traditional” avenue seems to elude me.
Yes, when I look at my baby photos I would love to have a biological mini-me. I get all sappy when I see my girlfriends and colleagues post photos of their little girls, who look just like them. It fascinates me to see the genes carry over so strongly. There is no doubt, my daughter would have a head full of hair, slanted eyes, cute little bootie, and a winning smile.
Alas, finding a partner who has the same desire for family, as well as respects and appreciates the commitment it takes to achieve that, has proven to be challenging. I focus on what I can control and not on the things I cannot. Simply put, there are a lot of children who would benefit greatly from my love and if it looks like having one biologically isn’t going to happen then I’m really leaning towards the reality that I can have a child legally.
Some of the statistics on children and adoption are alarming. According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption institute (CCAI) 400,540 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system, and of that number, 115, 000 children are eligible for adoption.
After speaking with someone who has adopted several children, I know that there’s a great deal of preparation on my end if I want to make this a reality in the next few years. My to-do list would include: increasing my income and tightening up my financial affairs, getting a bigger home, discussing this with my family and friends and doing more research.
Through some of my initial research I’ve found that in 2012, there were nearly 500 adoptions in the state of New York alone. Those of us who are fans of “Sex and the City” saw the lengths that Charlotte and Harry went through in the adoption process to get Lily. Adopting a baby is like a business transaction in some ways, just a more intimate form of a business transaction. You have to have your financials in order; you have to get recommendation letters and prove that you are qualified for adoption and then wait it all out. I may not have the dating and relationship thing mastered, but I do know how to negotiate, sell myself and Lord knows being a literary agent has taught the art of being patient after the pitch. Indeed a life is involved but obtaining a baby requires your heart and affairs to be in order. At this point, my heart wants a baby therefore I am getting my affairs in order.
I know the risks women over 40 may experience during pregnancy, but I do have a couple of girlfriends my age who are currently with child. No one can foresee having an easy or difficult pregnancy, but with adoption those physical traumas won’t be a factor…and I get to keep my flat stomach that my fitness lifestyle has awarded me. Is that so bad?
I love children and I know that it would be great to give a home and a family to a child who for one reason or another is up for adoption. I’m not saying that I am closed off to getting pregnant at this stage of life, but I am saying that I’ve wrapped my mind around having a baby this way.
Have you adopted a child? Are you considering adoption? Tell us about your story.
TLC’s T-Boz may be preparing for motherhood for the second time around after 14 years. And it’s been reported that the 45-year-old chanteuse is going the adoption route this time.
According to legal docs obtained by TMZ, the news of the TLC member’s adoption was accidentally brought up during a conversation with a lawyer regarding a $40 million lawsuit over the TLC movie.
During the conversation, T-Boz was asked if she had any communication with group member Chili about the lawsuit. T-Boz’s reply was to the affect that the only communication the two had shared was the news about her adoption.
Back in 2012, T-Boz shared her interest in adopting a child from Haiti to Larry King.
Although she hasn’t spoken out on the reports or released a statement, just last week she posted a photo of her 14-year-old daughter, Chase, with a sentimental caption:
“It’s hard 2 believe this lil munchkin will be 15 yes old soon. But I still see my sweet lil baby with those cute lil pouty lips lol @chaserolison #WhenAMotherRealizesHerBabyIsGrowingUp.”
Sounds like our girl T-Boz definitely has baby fever!
If the thought of big family dinners, lots of noise in your house, and a constant influx of hugs and kisses excites you, you may want to consider taking in a foster child or foster children. There are government statistics that indicate that over 500,000 children in the United States spend part or all of the year in substitute care and not with their birth families. Whether you are adding to your family or just starting one, if you can provide a loving and safe home, then there are many foster kids of all ages who could benefit from that.
There are many things to consider like if a child has a sibling, are you willing to take them in too? Because separating them could be traumatic given their current circumstances. And don’t forget to take into consideration how hard it may be for them to go from foster home to foster home so if you are the kind of person that changes your mind on the drop of a dime this may not be for you.
And if patience is not your strong suit you may want to wait until it is, only because it may take a long time for them to be comfortable with you or even want to have conversations with you. Someone who can respond with an understanding and patient tone is what they need the most.
Do you already have kids of your own? If so, find out if they will be comfortable with adding to the family. You could also show your kids a video online about why foster kids need good homes.
According to the North American Council On Adoptable Children here are some ways to see if you are ready or if you need to think it over.
I care about children and want to share my good fortune.
I am kind and loving but can be firm when it’s required.
Foster children have had it tough. I want to make their life a little easier and more fun.
I didn’t have children. By being a foster parent I can share my home and give my time and attention to a worthwhile cause.
I did a good job as a parent and know how to work with children. I’d like to use my skills to help other children
THINK IT OVER
I am depressed and think I could feel better if I had a child to fuss over.
I just love children and don’t feel they should ever be disciplined, scolded or punished.
These children have been abused and neglected – I want to protect them from their birth family members.
I don’t have children, and I feel that having a foster child will fill a lonely void in my life.
I don’t know much about children, but I believe that if you just love them enough everything will be okay.
These poor children have been mistreated and I want to protect them or even adopt them so their family never hurts them again.
Adopting a child is a tremendous act of generosity, kindness, and love. But just because you’re capable of being generous, kind and loving, that doesn’t mean adoption is necessarily right for you. Ask yourself these questions first to find out.