My "Bargain" Brown Baby
I’m sitting in the hot adoption agency office, about to sign papers that would change the legacy of my family forever. A newborn is becoming my daughter.
The clerk slides the contract across the table for signature, and my heart stops. In bold, I see the fee: $20,000. I’m anxiously clutching a check for $10,000, borrowed from my mother.
I stammer: “I was told the fee was $10,000?”
The clerk asks: “Oh, is your baby biracial?”
“Yes” I respond.
“Then I gave you the wrong paper” she says.
She slides a new paper. This one has the exact same words, but says $10,000.
I blink and stare.
“What is the difference?” I ask.
Then the clerk says something I’ve never forgotten, even 25 years later:
“Oh, it’s just supply and demand. Neither race wants biracial babies. In fact, just last week a birth mom who is a medical student had six couples competing for her baby. But then she revealed that she has a Black grandfather, and all six couples pulled out of consideration.”
I was stricken. I could not believe what I was hearing.
I had met my baby. When I walked into the dark NICU full of blinking incubators with my heart pounding, I thought she was the most beautiful infant I had ever seen. There was nothing half-price or half-worthy about her. She was not a “bargain basement” choice. She was the most incredible gift I could ever imagine.
Prior to this day, I had no idea that we attach so much value to race in our society. I had lived a sheltered life of privilege. My heart was pierced to consider that anyone would view my beautiful daughter as somehow less than another child. I was devastated.
And so began my journey of parenting a multicultural family, and my introduction to the value of race in our society.
These recent days have been full of dialogue about race. I have learned more about Black History in the last two months than I had endeavored to learn in the last 20 years. I am so grateful for this. And I have to wonder, if I have been intentionally seeking to know all this time, and I still was missing so much information, what does the average person actually understand about race in our culture?
All these years later, now parenting a large multicultural family and leading a life that is intentionally diverse (my street, my town, my church, my friends), I see the richness that diversity has brought to my life and I simply could not be more grateful. And I am indebted to the many people of color who have graciously educated me and patiently waded through my ignorance to bring me to a place of deeper understanding.
Let us not deter from the racial dialogue happening in our nation now. Press deeper. Ask more questions, read more articles, make more friends, listen. Let us all speak up for the gift of diversity and the value of every child in the eyes of God.
And for those of us with multicultural families, let’s remember that we are a witness of the beauty of creation and a glimpse into the glory of heaven where all will live together in peace. Use your voice.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb”. (Revelation 7:9)