Family is love

After adopting a white child, a local black family who said they have received some flack wants to spread the message that family is not just blood, it’s love.
“If we love each other, who cares what race you are,” said Keia Jones-Baldwin.
Jones-Baldwin explained that she and her husband, Richardro Baldwin, have four children, Zariyah, 15, Karleigh, 16, Ayden, 8, and Princeton, 2. She shared that of those children, Zariyah is her only biological child. Jones grew up with five brothers and sisters and had always wanted to have at least three children; however, after meeting Baldwin, they realized they weren’t able to grow their family biologically. That’s when they decided to start fostering children.
“We started out fostering and we adopted Ayden and Princeton when they became eligible for adoption while in our foster home,” she shared. “We didn’t know how it would work with our schedules, fostering and adopting, and we wanted to see how Zariyah would handle having siblings.”
Jones-Baldwin mentioned that it was Zariyah who brought Karleigh to them.
“They were friends in school, so it made it easy to transition to bring her in,” she said.
While there are challenges in every family, and especially in families with foster or adopted children, Jones said there have been a few extra challenges since adopting Princeton.
“Because we are a multicultural family where the roles are reversed with black parents and a white child, I think it’s been a shock to people,” she said. “We’ve gotten stares and people have taken pictures.”
Jones-Baldwin said they have even had the police called on them because someone claimed they kidnapped Princeton.
While Jones-Baldwin said she understands that when people aren’t aware of a situation, there might be judgement; however, she wants people to be more understanding and not to make accusations and assumptions without first asking.
“We’re open to educating people and we want people to know that families can be multicultural,” she said. “As long as a child is with a loving family that cares about them, there shouldn’t be an issue. It shouldn’t be a matter of race.”
Jones-Baldwin said that through this process, she has also learned about the political side of things when it comes to the foster system.
Despite the looks and comments she said they have received, Jones-Baldwin said she wouldn’t have it any other way and she wants more people to see that there is a need to foster and adopt children.
“I want more people to open their hearts and minds to fostering or fostering to adopt, especially if there is a challenge to have their own children,” Jones-Baldwin said, as she shared some statistics about the number of foster children locally and worldwide. “There are 600,000 children worldwide in foster care, and there are 4,000 right here in the Triad, so there is definitely a need.”
She added, “Not having a loving home might keep them from reaching their full potential.”
Jones-Baldwin said it has been a joy to be able to provide love and support to her children and getting their love in return. Jones noted how unique each of her children are.
“Zariyah has a heart of gold and is super smart and goal oriented; Ayden is super smart; Karleigh is artistic and very talented, and Princeton is a typical toddler, but he’s hilarious. I can tell he is going to have a sense of humor,” she said. “They have all these hidden talents.”

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