Family is not blood. Family is love.
When sweet little Princeton was born in 2017 to a drug-addicted mother, he was premature and weighed no more than a pound. He was suffering from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and was in agonizing pain.
36-year-old Keia Jones-Baldwin is a therapist and photographer based in North Carolina with her husband, Richardo, and three kids – Zariyah, 15, Karleigh, 16, and Ayden, 8. Keia and her husband were looking to adopt a new child at that time but they had no plans of taking in a newborn. They wanted older kids who could at least do certain things by themselves.
When Keia met Princeton, her initial plans flew out the window and loving him became all that mattered then. She met him through the Baby Cuddlers Program for sick babies born with NAS, who have been found to fare better with human contact.
“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?’” Jones-Baldwin told TODAY Parents . When she got to the hospital, the bond was instantaneous. She began to go there every day to look after the baby.
Princeton goes home
When Princeton was strong enough to leave intensive care, Keia took him home. The Baldwins were supposed to take care of the child for three months until a family was found for him. However, they were all smitten by this beautiful child. Their children fell in love with him immediately, and two years later, on August 30, 2019, Keia and Richardo adopted Princeton.
The family has never regretted their decision to take in the little munchkin, even though people have told them that they shouldn’t have taken in a ‘white kid’. Keia believes that racial differences do not matter. Princeton needed a family that would love and protect him, and that’s what he got with the Baldwins.
“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?’”
People have reported them twice for kidnapping
Racism is still so prevalent that many people do not believe a white kid has a place in an African-American home. The Baldwins have been reported twice for illegally taking Baby Princeton. On the first occasion, they were reported by their photographer.
“We were vacationing in Tennessee and we went to do an old-time, Western photo shoot,” Keia narrated. “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.’”
They later found out the girl had gone to contact the police. When they arrived, Keia had to show a document that proved she had custody of Princeton. It was a terrible experience for the entire family, but it didn’t make them love Princeton any less.
On the second occasion, Keia was driving with Princeton when her tire went flat. She went to the nearest house to ask for help, and then she got the shock of her life.
“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.”
Love will conquer it all
Princeton’s adoptive mother is not bothered by the many trials she may have to face for adopting him. The society shouldn’t be so deeply divided by race, so much that a baby is need of a family has to wait until people of his own “color” would come for him.
“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.”
Keia runs a personal blog on Facebook, Raising Cultures, where she shares details of her family life with Princeton. She posts daily pictures and videos of the sweet kid playing with his siblings and dad, radiating true love and affection. Lots of people who have questions about interracial adoption send messages to Keia, and with their permission, she’d publish some of them on her page. An extra-special bond has already formed between her 8-year-old son Ayden, and two-year-old Princeton.
The little boy has brought so much love into their lives with his “hilarious” antics, and according to Keia, he loves getting butterfly kisses.
Best of luck to the Baldwin family.
- Rachel Abrahamson. What adopting a white baby taught one black family. Today. https://www.today.com/parents/african-american-couple-adopt-white-foster-baby-t161976. Retrieved 10-09-19
- Admin. You Can Volunteer To Cuddle Drug-Addicted Babies In Order To Help Them Heal. The Hearty Soul. https://theheartysoul.com/cuddle-care-volunteer-programs-neonatal-abstinence-syndrome/. Retrieved 10-09-19
- Admin. Cuddler Volunteer Program. UCI Health. http://www.ucihealth.org/volunteer/cuddlers-infants. Retrieved 10-09-19
- Raising Cultures. Facebook. https://web.facebook.com/raisingcultures/?_rdc=1&_rdr.
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