When a flat tire left a Black North Carolina therapist and her white baby stranded last month, she hoped that by knocking on a local resident’s door she could at the very least explain why she was stuck on his property.
Keia Jones-Baldwin, however, got a reaction she hadn’t anticipated.
“I knocked on his door to explain why I was on his grass,” she told the “Today” show in an article Sept. 5. “He called the police and said I stole my car and the baby.”
Jones-Baldwin said that’s not even the first criminal offense she’s been accused of in the adoption process for her youngest son, Princeton.
Jones-Baldwin and her husband Richardo Baldwin finalized their adoption Aug. 29 after initially fostering the 1-pound infant born to a drug-addicted mother in July of 2017.
She said once she was vacationing in Tennessee with her family to do an “old time, Western photo shoot” when her multicultural family attracted the attention of the photographer.
“The girl behind the camera would disappear and then come back. Finally she asked, ‘Is that your baby?'” Jones-Baldwin said. “I told her he was. Then she said, ‘I just took picture of this baby with his family two weeks ago.'”
Authorities arrived minutes later and forced the mother to show a custodial document as well as one proving she had permission to travel with her son, Jones-Baldwin told the “Today” show.
She said instead of being bitter, she’s trying to break down racial barriers with her Facebook page, Raising Cultures.
“We get a lot of stares,” Jones-Baldwin 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?'”
Still, she tries to focus on educating others.
She also explained in the “Today” show article that she didn’t go out looking for a white boy to adopt. She was a foster parent looking for an older child to adopt.
“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 the “Today” show.
The 36-year-old grabbed her keys and went to the hospital, she said.
“I bonded with him so quickly,” she told the “Today” show. “I started going there every day.”
When Princeton was healthy enough to leave the NICU, he moved in with the Jones-Baldwin family and instantly got older siblings Zariyah, 15, Karleigh, 16, and Ayden, 8, according to the “Today” show.
“I don’t look at family as blood,” the mother told the “Today” show. “I look at family as love. When Princeton came into our lives, he came into our hearts.”