Since I was four years old I had always wanted to adopt a baby with dark skin. Anytime I went out of the country- to Mexico and Asia- I would go crazy over these little kids. Oh my gosh, they’re so cute! I remember telling my grandpa that I was going to adopt a black baby and name him after him. Well 30 years later I did adopt a black baby but it would have been kinda weird to name HER Leroy. Oh let me back up… My husband and I decide in the year 2001 that we were finally going to adopt. We already had 5 beautiful blonde kids but it was time to finally add this little brown-skinned baby to the mix. I was following my heart and intuition which didn’t really make sense at the time. But if you have ever gone against your gut- you know how good that ends– BAD! Adoption was quite a process.
We looked out of the country first – for a few months. Door after door was closed and it seemed so hard. If you want to bring a baby over from a country that has kept these kids in orphanages it takes years! It made no sense to me. But we found an agency and all we had to do was sign the dotted line. Much to my surprise, my heart began to turn another way. Oh wow following that mother’s intuition again…
I am a researcher so now I turned to the United States and began searching for anything I could find out about adoption. In the USA I could get a baby much younger- usually within a week or so of its birth. That was a really good thing. I want to protect it from anything possible and give it so much love from the start of her life! I also found out that each state has its own adoption laws. Some were MUCH better than others for the adoptive parent. In some states the birth parents have up to 6 months to change their minds at any moment and ask for their child back.
I heard it could take up to 3 years to adopt. But if I asked for a dark baby it was much quicker. Wait- what did you say? A dark-skinned baby can be quicker? WHY? WAIT- you said a dark-skinned baby costs less to adopt at some agencies? HECK NO! I will not pay more or less for a baby with or without a certain color of skin. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! Supply and demand was the answer. What is going on here in this adoption world? Since I was 4 and wanted to adopt I loved people of all nationalities and cultures. I don’t believe one is better than another! They are just different. Well, different only skin deep. This seriously made me absolutely crazy.
Then more cultural stuff started to hit the fan. HARD! I went to the library and brought home a bunch of books on interracial adoptions. I read them for about 30 minutes, slammed them shut, and returned them all. They were full of fear and yucky abuse and all kinds of stuff that I didn’t want to either hear or believe. I googled it and found the same thing. I found a group on Facebook and someone in a nearby city in Utah said when they adopted a black baby the KKK started a fire in their front yard. WHAT? This is the year 2002 everyone! I did not know that race was an issue. Have these people ever hung out with someone that is of a different race- seriously they are the same as anyone else! I was mad.
This madness turned into anger really quickly when people in my own extended family heard I was adopting a black baby and they told me I “should really think twice about it”. I stopped telling anyone what I was doing.
The gut instincts to adopt were getting stronger and stronger by the day. I could hear in my head and heart somehow every day, then every hour- adopt a dark baby. Alright already- I’m trying! I found a few agencies that did not charge by skin color (for heaven’s sake!) and interviewed each of them. I fell in LOVE with one of them. (Super interesting story after I adopted my baby I met the owner at a party. Have you ever met someone that you feel like you have known before? Like you have been really good friends? Well, Sandy was this person to me. We talked for hours and never found a connection. We decided we must have been friends in heaven. I’m pretty sure of that now.) So we signed their papers and were in for the waiting game. Which state would have our baby? How long would this take? I’m pretty much freaking out by this point- my dreams were going to come true- I just knew it! The day came just about 5 weeks later- I couldn’t believe it! I prayed about it and felt very sick. What in the heck now? I told the adoption lady- Jane that it must not be our baby. (Yes- I found out later it was definitely someone else’s perfect match!) I’m going with my gut here super strongly and it’s really scary.
A few days later Jane called with our baby and I knew it. She was in Michigan. Off to Michigan, my husband and I flew the next day. We went straight to the hospital to pick her up. Her mom hadn’t put her down since she had her. I love that part and am so grateful for her! In Michigan when the birth mom and dad sign the papers, they give up all rights to the baby. So this was a perfect start! A friend brought her from the mom’s room to ours and placed her in my arms. TEARS were pouring down all of our faces! It was a pure miracle.
Melissa is 16 years old now and a light in my life. When she was about 10 days old I was holding her and had the strongest impression we were friends in heaven and we had finally found each other again. I have learned so much from this journey. Nope- this baby felt the same in my arms as all of my other babies. Her beautiful skin and hair that looked like a wig didn’t make her any different. She is multiracial and gorgeous as you can tell from her pics. She still cried when she was hungry, smiled, and walked at all the same stages. I did notice she could jump really high at a very young age. But one of my other kids learned to walk early by using a golf club as his crutch. All kids are different and fun. Each one has their own personality and I haven’t found anything culturally different in raising her. All the fear and worry that people put in my head before I adopted her was all a bunch of false beliefs. Having Melissa in our lives has been such an amazing experience. I’m so glad I listened to my gut and didn’t believe everything I heard!