By Guest Blogger and Birth Mom, Dominique
Adoption. AD-option. This is all I could hear in my mind the day I found out I was pregnant for the second time. There has to be another option. I can add my own option. By adding my own option, I mean this:
In 2017 I missed my period; this wasn’t regular for me. I felt off, instantly. While at work that day, I told my former partner that I had missed my period. The conversation was cut short due to us fighting. A few long days later, we ended up making an appointment at Planned Parenthood to get a test.
I was happy, frightened, excited, nervous, and at a complete loss for words. We decided to hide the pregnancy and only tell a select few people. Just over a month later, fears began rising in both of us. Arguments were had and hurtful confusion took over. With little to no communication, mixed messages fueled by emotion were shared. In the end, I sadly had an abortion. The pain and emotional disconnect is something I never anticipated and a battle I’m still working through.
Finding out I was pregnant AGAIN just nine months later, I knew I needed to add an option to our society's view of “keep it or abort it”. My added option? Adoption. I was fearful of this option due to worry that my own experiences as an adoptee could unfold similarly for my child. I prayed and trusted in God that whatever He asked me to do would be glorious. And it’s been nothing shy of that.
Unlike when I was adopted, this journey of being a birth mom has been filled with positive and open communication. All I want is to know my beautiful birth child. I want to be, in any way I can, a mentor in the realm of adoption or to simply answer ANY questions about how to handle racial comments if she ever has to face that sort of injustice as I did and still do.
Being myself an adoptee in a biracial family with an open adoption was amazing, but often hard to navigate. I felt obligated to be one way with my white family from Texas, another way with my black side of the family, one way at school, one way for myself. At times I didn’t even see myself as black because I felt so disconnected from the culture and stereotypes. I didn't know who I was. Was I, as people would ask, “too whitewashed?” or was I “too black for the whites? too white for the blacks?” I asked myself, “How can I help my birth child from facing those types of questions, or at least give them tools to help them through it?” The answer is: I needed open communication, which I now luckily have.
Let’s start back in 1993. It was July 23rd and I was welcomed to the world by my birth mom, mom, one of my dads, my big sister, big brothers, and grandparents. What a beautiful picture, so many people standing together, holding hands, each so excited for this journey. Their second adoption, just 15 months after the first. A family not only beautiful in size, but wonderfully beautiful in color.
A true blessing it is having such a diverse family, yet something I never fully valued until I was older. While the diversity is beautiful, it came with a lot of confusion. Where do I belong? How do I need to act? Where, when, and with who? Am I doing BLANK correctly? What about my hair, moisturizing, speaking, and so much more? My own questions were answered in my head, but the questions from others were the hard ones to process.
“Why are you black but your mom is white? Your dad must be black...so I’m guessing he’s not around?” This question was frequent and often followed up with, “Were you adopted? Is your real mom black or white? Do you call her your mom or her first name? Do you know your ‘real’ mom? Do you think having a white mom makes you whitewashed?”
Two of those questions were always the most hurtful, the first being, “Do you know your real mom?” The woman who raised me IS my real mom. Just like my birth mom is my REAL mom. They both cared for me, provided for me, and loved me unconditionally. The second hurtful question? “Do you think having a white mom makes you whitewashed?” NO! What even is that? To which many would reply, “Well you don’t act very black and you talk really white.” This was, is, and will always be very hurtful.
My mom and dad got divorced when I was very young, leading my black sister and I to stay with our mom (my sister and I are both adoptees with different birth parents) and our two black brothers stayed with our black dad who is their biological father. While both of my fathers are black, I didn’t meet my birth dad (properly) until I was 23, and my adoptive father left my life when I was eight years old. Knowledge of black culture or history was not something I felt well versed in. My mom did bring my sister and I around for some black cultural things, but at times I felt awkward or out of place. We grew up in a primarily wealthy, white neighborhood. We had horses, a very nice house with a plot of land, nice things, and we never struggled financially. So I was compared to as “white” simply because I wasn’t low income like "all the other black kids". While we grew up with nice things and in a nice area, my sister and I faced social injustice and racial profiling very often and from a young age.
Kindergarten, 1998, was the first time I remember facing racial profiling. My mom had just become a single mom and we moved schools. My white mom, black sister, and I walked into the office of this new school and the secretary said, “Are you the new low income family from Slavon Court?” I didn’t even know what that meant but I could feel the negative tone in her voice. “No, we’re the new family who moved into the Maplecrest house, with the horses” is what my mom had to say in response to that. From then on, there was so much awkward tension from this woman. She knew what house my mom was talking about and she was very shocked. The profiling and injustice only got worse and more frequent from there.
Being called the N word is the worst feeling. Spewing anger, shattering heartache, and confusion overwhelmed me. I didn’t fully know what it meant, but I knew it was rooted in darkness. “N*gg*r” is all that rang in my ears as a large truck full of white men sped by. Tears from my eyes, my sister's eyes, and our mom's. How is this type of hate still here? Would I have faced this if I wasn't adopted? Would my sister? Her birth mom is black, would she have faced it more? Less? What about the times my sister and I were refused service or ignored at restaurants, clothing stores, grocery stores, and more?
These are unfortunately frequent things I faced as a child and still do to this day. I couldn't imagine seeing this type of hate being shown to my children, especially if I couldn't relate racially. How would I know the right way to protect them? How would I tell them why it was happening? My mom faced that and now my birth daughter's mom could possibly face those same fears. That is something I would hate to see, just as much as I'd hate to see my birth daughter go through what I did, and do. Here’s where open adoption plays such an important role. Not only do I want to stand with and help equip my birth daughter, but I want to help equip her family in any way I can. To share my story and my struggle, but more importantly to show the way to fight those battles. Transracial adoption is so powerful, the way it brings the beauty of races together in a wonderful way.
The blessings that continue to unfold in my birth daughter L’s adoption story show how powerful communication and love truly is. L’s mom Kate includes me, shows me love me, and gives me so much wisdom. We talk openly and freely, with love in our hearts to show my birth daughter, her daughter, the power of love and family within open adoption.
If you are pregnant and need support, here are pregnancy resources:
9 Things to Know About Adoption In Oregon and Washington
You may also like some of these great adoption resources: