I’ve never been fond of babies. When people hand them to me, I count the seconds until I can hand them back without letting on I’m uncomfortable. Joe and I got married at 28 and we both figured we’d want a family “someday”. And we didn’t, until we were 36. The traditional route to parenthood didn’t work for us, even though my stubbornness made us pursue years of painful, emotionally devastating fertility treatments.
The day we finally decided to wholeheartedly pursue adoption, a weight lifted. It’s not an easy decision for everyone, but it was the perfect one for us. We chose a local, nonprofit agency, with a sliding fee scale— Catholic Charities of Toledo— and have not looked back.
Things to consider
When you learn about domestic infant adoption, two of the first things you consider are race and openness. Because there are more white families than families of color waiting to adopt, and frequently, more children of color being placed with adoptive families, transracial adoption is a reality. It’s not ideal— the best thing for children is to be part of a family of the same race. But there’s a need, and after a lot of self-examination, we decided we could do a decent job.
We decided we were very interested in an open adoption, where the adoptive parent(s) are known to the birth family, and they are known to you. It’s widely acknowledged to be the best thing for kids, to keep a connection to their heritage and to always know where they come from.
It wasn’t long until we got The Call. I was at work and heard there was a baby born at St. Luke’s and a mom who wanted to meet us. We all hit it off quickly and, strangely, deeply, and I held the baby boy that would be mine, although I didn’t know it at the time. I didn’t want to hand this amazing boy back. We were chosen and we got to know each other.
I didn’t expect to feel so keenly the loss involved in adoption. I was getting the best news of my life, and we were overjoyed to become a family, but hearts were breaking at the same time. If there’s one thing I could teach people about adoption it’s that, even in the best circumstances, it comes from major loss. I can’t count the emotions I had during this newborn period, but for every bit of joy, there were corresponding tears. We are truly fortunate to be able to visit frequently with Miles’ birth mom and older brothers. They are family to us. We tell Miles his story often. He doesn’t understand it all yet, but he knows his birth mom makes him laugh like nobody else and that his brothers are fun guys to play with.
Loving our differences
My kid is the most beautiful child in the world. We are grateful every day to call ourselves his parents. As a new, multiracial family, we anticipated a lot of dumb questions and stares in public, but have been shocked to be treated normally. I think it’s because Toledo is such a diverse city, along with our neighborhood and circle of friends. If you’ve ever thought about transracial adoption, hair is a great entry point, and a way to make connections. It makes up about 2% of the stuff you should learn about raising a child of color, but it’s a good first step.
The other 98% you need to learn as a white parent of a Black child includes: culture, connection, pride, and the spectres of racism, colorism, and bias. It should be a lifelong study, an exercise in de-centering yourself to give your child what he needs. Which, really, is what parenting is about.
Bridget’s Favorite Things
Favorite Park: Woodlands Park in Perrysburg, for the special little-kid play area.
Favorite Restaurant: San Marcos
Your Child’s Favorite Activity: Slides and swings. But he calls them both “whee!”
Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving. We host 25-30 people
What did you name your son, and why: We kept a short list of names for years and finally decided he looked most like a Miles. Coming up with names helped us through some really difficult times on our way to finding him.