This couple never expected that at their age, they would become adoptive parents to a precious baby boy.
Keia Jones-Baldwin, a North Carolina-based therapist, and her husband, Richardo Baldwin, were planning to adopt another child into their family of five. They were looking into older children to add to their happy bunch.
But then, an unexpected blessing appeared in their life in the form of a baby boy.
In 2017, Princeton was born prematurely to a mother who was addicted to drugs. He only weighed a mere pound.
“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?’” Keia told TODAY Parents.
Without thinking twice, 36-year-old Keia agreed and took off to see the baby.
“I bonded with him so quickly,” Keia recalled. “I started going there every day.”
When Princeton was healthy enough to leave the NICU, he moved in with his foster family, the Baldwins. Keia’s children, Zariyah, 15, Karleigh, 16, and Ayden, 8, were instantly charmed by the new bundle of joy in their family.
The original plan was for Princeton to stay with the Baldwins for three months. But that plan was not meant to push through because the supposed-to-be temporary family became his permanent one as they officially adopted him last week!
We often hear about adoption stories like this, but what makes this quite different is the fact that Princeton is white while his adoptive parents are black. This fact proved to be difficult for the family, as they got a lot of baseless accusations because of the difference in their color.
“We get a lot of stares,” Keia said. “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?'”
She had even been reported to the police twice for kidnapping.
“We were vacationing in Tennessee and we went to do an old time, Western photo shoot,” Keia said. “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 picture of this baby with his family two weeks ago.’”
Moments later, the police arrived and Keia had to show them a letter proving that Princeton was indeed in her custody and that it was legal for her to travel with him.
The other incident occurred last month when Keia had to pull over outside a man’s house because of a flat tire.
“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.”
Despite these horrible and unjust experiences, Keia chose not to be bitter. Instead, she is making an effort to raise awareness and break down racial barriers through a Facebook page that she created, Raising Cultures. There, she regularly shares videos and photos of her beautiful, multiracial family.
The new adoptive parents are also loving every minute with Princeton, describing him as “hilarious” and one who can’t get enough of butterfly kisses.
“I don’t look at family as blood. I look at family as love,” she said. “When Princeton came into our lives, he came into our hearts. Love conquers all.”
While we live in a world of technological advancements, it’s sad to know that other people still have primitive views about race. Hopefully, with the help of stories like this and the thousands of individuals making an effort change these wrong views, people would learn to see beyond a person’s skin color and instead see them for what they essentially are – human.