Category Archives: adoption

Mom, I want to be white like you.

I always felt somewhat guilty raising a black child.  The “powers that be” preferred that children be raised by parents of the same color.  What if there aren’t enough adoptive parents of that color?  Is it more important that children stay in the foster care system rather than be adopted by  parents of a different color?  Thank goodness there were social workers in the early 1980s, who believed in the priority of placing a child in a loving home even tho our skin colors didn’t match.

One night when BJ was about 4, we were in the midst of our night-time ritual, and he blurted out, “mom, I want to be white like you.”  It hurt me to hear that.  I tried to reassure him that being black was a good thing, “black is beautiful,” but I knew it didn’t address what he was feeling.

I had tried to be intentional about buying brown and black toy figures for him to play with.  Every action figure that was black, I bought.  That is the reason we started collecting GI Joes.  He was given a black Cabbage Patch boy doll at his baptism.  Family members would look for books and other printed material that showed people of color in a positive way.

Internally, I continued to struggle with BJ’s statement.    I wanted to be able to say to him, I wish I could be black like you, but it wasn’t true.  I knew that my race did afford me certain privileges and my life would be tougher if i were a single, black woman with a child.  This was also the time period that I brought up his birth mom, her color, that he looked like her and some day we would find her when he was grown up.

I continued to struggle with BJ’s wish.  At some point that year,   I knew I could honestly say to him,  “I wish I could be black like you!”   He didn’t express wanting to be white often.  However, the next time he brought it up,  I was able to genuinely respond,  “and I wish i could be black like you!”

I suspect that my wanting to be like him,  was a truer affirmation that “black is beautiful.”  I don’t recall that issue coming up much after that.

Finding My Son’s Birth Mother

It was a day that I knew would come sooner or later.  When he was a young adult, I had given BJ his birth mother’s first and last name,  first names of his sisters and where he was born. It was enough for him to find his birth sisters via Facebook.  His sisters gave him phone numbers.  He called and talked to his grandmother first, then set up a date and time to talk with his birth mom.  His mom felt so blessed that she was finally able to talk with him and know that he alive and loved.

He found out that his birth family had been looking for him a long time.  They had heard of some adoption abuse cases and began to wonder if BJ had been adopted to that kind of home.  He assured them that this was not the case.  He had a good life, good family and was showered with love.

A year later we began to plan for a meeting of the two families.  Since I lived a little over two hours away from his birth family, BJ would fly from CA to OK and we would drive together to Texas.  His wife and son could not make this trip.  My partner, BJ and I would travel to Ft. Worth together.

When I talked to the grandmother about coming to visit, we had anticipated a small gathering:  the  grandmother, birth mother and her other children.  The grandmother got excited about the visit, and invited her sisters, close friends, other relatives, etc.  With PTSD, BJ was not comfortable in large groups.  The three of us were excited and apprehensive about the little gathering that had now become a larger gathering.

I was not sure what kind of reception my white partner and I might receive from this black crowd.  I know that transracial adoption was and is controversial.  There was no way to know if this black family would feel resentful or angry towards us.

When we arrived at the grandmother’s house, we were greeted warmly and graciously with hugs.  There were relatives of all ages who had come to see the returning  “baby who was now a man.”

The grandmother and I had agreed ahead of time that an hour and a half would be long enough for our first visit.  Thirty minutes into the visit, his birth mother had not yet arrived.  The grandmother called her daughter and with my limited hearing, I could tell that she was not happy.  Evidently, the mother was having second thoughts and was afraid for whatever reasons.

Another 15-20 minutes passed, and suddenly his birth mother burst into the apartment.  She looked anxiously around and then rushed to BJ.   I have never witnessed such an intense hug and display of motherly emotion.  She appeared to be grateful, relieved, sorrowful and joyful, all rolled into one.  I was overcome with tears as it was a sight to see.  I imagine that every adoptive mother would want their child to welcomed by his/her birth mother as mine was.

I was extremely grateful that BJ had experienced such a warm welcome and I am sure it helped him to resolve some questions.  The worry I carried over the years, about what kind of reception he would receive from his birth family,  melted away.

I had prepared two photo booklets for the grandmother and mother.  I tried to show a timeline of his life:  his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins,  major vacation trips, his hobbies, accomplishments, etc.  I think they were assured that he was well taken care of, had lots of opportunities, and obviously loved by our family.

His birth mother texted me several times to restate the blessing she received from our contact and visit with them.

Its another family story that is downright personal.

©2016   drp

See:  Mom, I want to find my birth mother  part 1
Searching  for his birth mother      part 2


Searching For Birth Mother 2

Over a year ago, my son was interested in searching for his birth mother.  He decided not to do anything until our next visit in person, which was September of 2008.  I brought with me a letter that his birth mother had written to him when he was ten years old.  Now 24 years old, he had never seen or read it till that day.  

I was more emotional than he was.  He seemed to find it interesting but I really couldn’t read how he was feeling about it.   He just seemed very calm and thought it would be fun to meet his birth mother and sisters some day.  He wanted them to meet his wife and son and to know that he was successful and being a  responsible adult. 

During that visit,  I gave him paperwork to contact the DHS of that state and left it in his hands.  To my knowledge, he has not done anything yet.  He is busy with his career, being a husband, and now a daddy.  He has an 8 month old son at this writing.  I am a grandma!

I am sure there will be more to this story someday… but at the moment, there is no time for searching the past.  

more about finding his birth mother

dr pers

Mom, I want to find my birth mother…

Every adopted parent wonders if the time will come when your adopted child will want to search and/or find his/her birth mother and father.   My time has finally come.

My son announced in December that he and his wife are expecting.  Baby check ups have led to my son wondering more about his hereditary health issues.  A phone conversation with him this month, led to a discussion about his birth mother. 

I have known a few things about her.  She was 14 years old at the time, a big factor in her decision.  Her parents had just had twins, so they felt they couldn’t afford another child at the time.   When my son would occasionally ask about his birth mother when growing up, I tried to answer as honestly and positively as I could. 

In this conversation, I told him that I had some pictures of her and other children.  Through the adoption agency, she sent a letter and pictures.  He has two sisters and a fourth child was on its way in 1994.   He was 10 years old and I thought too young to be given these pictures. He is now 24 and finding out for the first time that I’ve had this info.

He indicated that he would like to pursue locating her.  I took a package of adoption records and info to the post office today, the pictures too.  I feel most sad that I am not able to be with him and share in those moments when he views those pictures.   He lives too far away and I will not see him till late August.  He thought he would have more time now to start the process before the baby arrives.  And so it goes.       

This is just another step in the journey.  I have mixed emotions of course, and will write more about that in another post.

© 2008 drpers

Another ADD kid on medication…

Another ADD kid on medication…

While my son had his sweet times and I love him dearly, he was a difficult child to raise. There was never a dull moment and it seemed like he was constantly testing me to my limits. At one point, I was so utterly frustrated and helpless with him, I considered contacting social services. It was devastating to find myself in this situation and I did not think I could handle him anymore.

I grew up in a home where spanking was effective. I only remember one spanking, and it was the last. Many of us repeat what is familiar and I began spanking as a form of discipline too. I was aware of the stories where spanking turned into beatings, so I had the limit of three whacks. Surprisingly, these did not phase my son at age 4, 5 or 6. He would laugh and say, “it didn’t hurt..” I can’t tell you the wild thoughts that ran thru my mind when I heard those words. I will tell you, he is lucky to be alive!!!

Amazingly, this low point, pushed me to having him evaluated. A neurologist had me read books about Attention Deficit Disorder and we evaluated his patterns and behavior. At age 6, this doctor decided to put him on medication and I worked on becoming more structured and consistent in my parenting skills. Life at home and at school began to improve.

I am thankful to this day that he was diagnosed early and didn’t fall behind in school. He always had trouble with math, but loved to read about military history.

He took meds till about age 15. At that age, it was difficult to tell if the meds were providing any benefit. When one of his teachers told me that BJ doesn’t seem to have that usual sparkle in his eyes, I decided this was the time to stop. School never came easy for him but he managed to accomplish enough to graduate from high school. He now tells me that he didn’t apply himself and wishes he would have put forth more effort. Sound familiar?

With 30-50 per cent of young black men not graduating from high school, I am proud of his accomplishment.

Today, he is a Sgt in the U.S. Marine Corps and putting forth his best.  dr pers ©2007

See other adoption articles

Can I afford to adopt?

The financial cost is a major issue for being able to adopt. Domestic adoptions usually cost less than private and international.

When my home study was completed, my paper done, I thought I would have a year of waiting before a baby arrived. I had several costly expenditures planned, one of which was a new roof for my house and a Hawaiian vacation. I wanted to have these financial expenses out of the way and paid for, before making the final adoption fee.

Two months after completing all the paper work, and a few weeks after arriving home from my Hawaiian vacation, I received a phone call from my social worker. Sherry said, “I have a healthy baby boy recently born, do you want him?” I was shocked! I thought I had a year to save up money and prepare!

Prior to this, in my research about adopting, I visited a family of 10! They had adopted 6 children. I visited with this mom and dad about a number of issues and must have expressed at some point that I was unsure of having enough money. The father of 8 said, “if you wait until you think you’ve saved enough money, you’ll never do it. Somehow, it will all work out.”

I remembered this father’s advice and tried not to worry about having enough money on hand. I did have to scrimp and save to pay for the new roof later, but it worked out.

You will need to have a major portion of the adoption fees saved up, usually paid in several payments prior to receiving the child.  Somehow, it will all work out!   dr pers ©2007

Other posts in this series:

Reasons to Adopt a child

Hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay!

Surviving an adoption home study.

Will I love a child of another race?

Real grandchild versus adopted

Next post:  Another ADD kid on medication


A “real” grandchild versus adopted…

Unfortunately, there are folks who refer to children by birth as “real,” therefore suggesting that children by adoption are “artificial.”

My folks were not of those types and neither was my sister. When the local pharmacist said to my pregnant sister, “I bet your folks are glad to be getting a “real grandchild,” my sister quickly and firmly replied, “we think of BJ as a real grandchild and mine will be the second. “  See why I love my sister? What a gem!

Folks will say stupid things like that… not thinking about the logic or meaning of their remarks.  Its very hard to be patient with ignorance, but helping the world along, one person at a time, is progress!  dr pers ©2007

Other posts in this series:

Reasons to Adopt

Hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay!

Surviving an adoption home study…

Will I love a child of another race?

Next post: Can I afford to adopt?


Will I love a child of another race?

After several delays of red tape and adoption papers not arriving in time (all too common), my mom and I changed our airplane tickets three times. Finally the day arrived and we excitedly flew to Texas to pick up this much anticipated baby boy.

I grew up in the Midwest, USA, where the majority are white, Scandinavia and speak “Fargo.” The minorities in the area were a few Native Americans. Since I had little contact with others of another race, I wondered what my reaction would be to this black baby that I would soon adopt. Would there be any difficulty in loving or bonding with him, or he with me?

A social worker in Texas met us at our arrival gate, exchanged greetings, and placed this dear baby into my arms. You would not believe how quickly, like an instant, my worries were over and fears dispelled. I immediately felt like his mother and he my son. Most everyone who has experienced a transracial adoption will tell you that love transcends race and color. Love also transcends adoption versus birth. If you have any fears that you will feel differently about a baby that is not your “flesh and blood,” I am here to tell you… it makes no difference. No one loves their child by birth more than I love my son by adoption.

Tip for potential parents:   No matter the color, the love and pride is just as great.

dr pers © 2007

Other posts in this series:

Reasons to Adopt

Hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay?

Surviving an adoption home study…

Choosing the health and gender of your child…

Next post:  A “real” grandchild versus adopted…

Surviving an adoption home study…

The home study is an important part of the adoption process and will take about 3-6 months. My social worker Sherry, attempted to create a picture or description of what I was about. At this point, one’s life becomes a open book.  (Hopefully you have no skeletons in your closet?)

A social worker tries to assemble a collage or resume of you and your partner or spouse. He or she is trying to make determinations about:

1) Are you able to create a positive, healthy environment?

2) Do you have a stable career or job, can you afford to provide the basic needs of a child?

3) What are your plans for the child when you are at work?

4) If you are single, what other family members might be a part of the child’s life?

5) How “childproof” is your home, is it safe ?

6) Is there any criminal background or activity?

7) If partnered or married, is your relationship stable? Loving?

8)  What are your attitudes towards children?

Another part of the process is choosing the gender and health of your child.

Bringing a child into your family is a big decision and major change in one’s life. The social worker tries to determine how realistic is it that you are willing or able to make needed changes?

I remember talking to a woman who was interested in adoption and had something like 4-6 pets in her home. Much of her spare time was taken up with feeding and caring for her pets. She wasn’t sure if she had time for a child. (Did you see that little red flag go up, flapping furiously?)

A home study will likely be sent to other adoption agencies who have children waiting to be placed in homes. They try to match your preferences with the child’s needs.

For my situation, the whole process took about a year. However, I think this may have been unusual. It is more common to take two years and longer if you are particular about race, gender and health.

Tip: A child has no one to depend upon but his/her parent. A potential mom or dad must be mature enough to set aside one’s own wants for the needs of a child. Someday, there will be time for you again!

dr pers ©2007

Other posts in this series:

Reasons to adopt a child

You’re hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay…

Next post in series: “Can I love a child of another race?”

You’re hoping to adopt and they ask if you’re gay?

I went to several informational meetings in my area for people who were considering adoption. After conversations with family members and close friends, I decided to call the agency’s social worker, named Sherry.   Over and over in my mind, I practiced my strong points and rationale for wanting a child. It would be important to make a good impression in that first phone conversation.

After introducing myself and reason for calling, Sherry asked the usual questions: why was I interested in adoption, what was my marital status (single), my age(30) and what did I do for a living (clergy). I confidently answered each and every question. Then she asked if I was gay….and my heart stopped…….a long, long pause. I was hoping to get to a face- to- face meeting before I had to talk about any sexuality issues.

A hundred things ran thru my mind as I debated on how to answer the question. Should I give the truth or lie? I finally said, “I am not sure.” She asked me about my doubts. I went on to explain that I always had plenty of good friends, male and female, a good relationship with my dad and mom, but I found myself more naturally drawn to certain women. I had not really dated and my sexual experience was limited. Because of the attraction to certain women, I wondered if I might be gay, but I had not had enough opportunity to experiment. Considering my profession, experimentation was not an option. I was aware of the attraction to some women, but I wasn’t ready to confirm or accept a gay orientation.

Sherry listened, did not judge, and indicated that we would talk more about this subject in a face to face meeting. She also said, “since you have told me the truth, I will continue to work with you. If I suspect that you are lying to me at any point, the process will end immediately.”

Looking back, I consider myself very fortunate to have worked with this open minded social worker. It now seems almost miraculous considering the very rural location and times. While it has been 23 years, I am still thankful to Sherry for giving me a chance to become a mother and changing my life forever with the gift of a child.

More reading: Gay Adoption Basics:

Gay and Lesbian parenting sites:

Tips for potential adoptive parents: tell the truth, focus your answers and don’t ramble!  

A major key to adoption is choosing a compatible adoption agency.  Research carefully the agency’s  philosophy, their requirements, their fees. Regulations vary from state to state and agency to agency.   If you are not a heterosexual married couple in your twenties, thirties or forties, look for a nontraditional agency.      

Because I was single, I chose a nontraditional agency based in the state I was living.    dr pers © 2007

Other posts in this series:

Ten Reasons to Adopt a Child

next in series: “Surviving an Adoption Home Study.”