Adopting a child can be a lengthy and costly process. It also involves lots of new sociological challenges, especially if the child is not of the same race as you. That’s what one North Carolina family discovered recently. Kiea Jones-Baldwin, her husband Richardo Baldwin, and their three children are all African American. When they welcomed a newborn baby into the family, a white boy named Princeton, troubles outside of their family soon began.
Now, on many occasions, Jones-Baldwin has been questioned by the police after being accused of kidnapping the child.
She told her family’s story, describing exactly what happened to TODAY Parents, and quite frankly, it’s pretty sobering to realize that things like this still happen in 2019.
Their story began back in July of 2017 when Jones-Baldwin received a call from the foster care program that the family takes part in.
“My foster care supervisor called and said, ‘Is there any way you can go to the hospital and do skin-to-skin with a baby?’” said Jones-Baldwin.
Jones-Baldwin did not hesitate for a second. Within minutes, the 36-year-old mom was rushing out the door and on her way to the baby.
And that was the first time she met little Princeton.
The baby boy’s mother was a drug addict, and he had been born prematurely. And at the time of delivery, Princeton only weighed one pound. He was so incredibly small and vulnerable. But that did not stop Jones-Baldwin from forming an instant connection with the infant.
“I bonded with him so quickly. I started going there every day,” said Jones-Baldwin.
What started as just a one time visit soon became her daily routine.
Ultimately, the family knew exactly what they needed to do — they decided to adopt the child.
As soon as Princeton was healthy enough to be released from the NICU, the Jones-Baldwin family welcomed the baby into their home. However, that’s when their problems began.
“We get a lot of stares,” said Jones-Baldwin. “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?’”
The family has even had the police call on them several times because of the color difference.
On two occasions, people reported to officers that Jones-Baldwin was kidnapping her own child! The first time happened while they were on a family trip.
“We were vacationing in Tennessee and we went to do an old time, Western photo shoot,” said Jones-Baldwin. “The girl behind the camera would disappear and then come back. Finally she asked, ‘Is that your baby?’ I told her he was. Then she said, ‘I just took a picture of this baby with his family two weeks ago.’”
It was a case of mistaken identity, but that did not make the situation any less alarming. Once the police arrived, Jones-Baldwin was required to give the officers proof that the child belonged to her.
The second incident took place when Jones-Baldwin got a flat tire outside of a residence.
She decided to knock on the door of the residence just to let them know what happened and why she was stopped in front of their house.
“I knocked on his door to explain why I was on his grass,” she said. “He called the police and said I stole my car and the baby.”
It’s become all a part of this family’s trials and tribulations while raising a child that does not look like them.
The family faces constant scrutiny from strangers. However, Jones-Baldwin says she tries to keep a positive attitude about it all. She even began her own Facebook page, Raising Cultures, that aims to help break down some of these troubling racial barriers. On the site, Jones-Baldwin regularly shares different family photos as well as other experiences.
“I don’t look at family as blood. I look at family as love,” said Jones-Baldwin. “When Princeton came into our lives, he came into our hearts. Love conquers all.”
They are such an amazing and incredibly loving family with generous and kind spirits. We can only hope that things improve for them as our culture hopefully continues to evolve into a more accepting society in the future.
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