This week, we had the absolute pleasure of shooting a very special family in our Glen Mills studio who reminded us that family is what you make of it--- that family comes in all shapes, sizes and colors--- and that it’s the love you foster for each other that truly makes each one so special.
Kim was kind enough to sit down and answer a few questions about her family’s story and to share her perspective on what it’s like to raise a mixed race family.
What made you decide to adopt vs. having your own children?
At age 32 I was diagnosed with Uterine Cancer. I had surgery, chemo, and radiation. The results of that were that I was unable to have children. However, I have two sisters who came to our family through adoption and I had always thought that it might be a path to motherhood for me. Even before I was sick my husband and I had talked about adoption. We had assumed it would be something that would come later after I had given birth to a child.
When you were asked for background preference, what made you decide to be open to any race?
I believe adoption is a loving choice that a woman makes when she knows she is unable to give a child the home that all children deserve. Considering the sacrifice that a woman makes to consider adoption I didn't want to put parameters on that gift. It was also a spiritual decision for me. I felt strongly that God would give me the child that was meant just for me and my family and who am I to say I would only take a white child?
Were you surprised to be chosen for a child of a different race?
I wasn't surprised. I had told the adoption agency that we were open for the first available child that needed a home. Part of that was understanding that there is a vast shortage of families seeking to adopt children that are African American.
What was your first thought when you saw Oliver for the first time?
I thought he was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! I first saw him with his birthmother at the hospital. It was a surreal experience. I thought a lot about her and the sacrifice she was making. When I held him in my arms I knew we had made the right choice. There has never been a day that I have second-guessed our decision to have a transracial family.
What is the funniest thing that has been said to you out in public?
Several times in a mall I've had people ask me if I had found a lost child!
If someone is trying to “figure out” your family (are you a family friend? A nanny? His mom?), what is the best way to ask without being rude?
The best thing to do is just not to assume, but I know human nature is to categorize. So if you have to ask (each family has different preferences), my favorite way is to not assume that he ISN’T my child. I would much rather someone ask, "Is that your son?" than to ask if I'm the nanny.
What is the most important thing you want other people to know about being a mixed race family?
The first thing I would say is that love grows in the heart not in the belly. It's cliché, but true. To families considering transracial adoption, I would say that it is very important to teach children their own heritage. We have done this with Oliver by openly talking about race from an early age. We frequently read him books about families of all colors and African American culture. We seek same race role models--- like his doctor. We look for African American families that we can have playgroup with. It's a constant process to educate him about black culture, but ultimately we have to concede that it's a lot that he will have to learn own his own. We all have struggles in life and this will be one of his.
Tell your family's story with a session at Little Nest Portraits!
Pretty amazing, right? The love that this family has for each other is almost palpable in every photo. Special thanks to Kim and Oliver for sharing their story with us!
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