Thursday, April 29, 2010

Then I'll Say It: Congrats, Sandra Bullock—AND baby Louie!

Sandra Bullock's announcement that she is the proud mom of a new baby boy got a lot of attention yesterday for a lot of reasons, but it wasn't just because she kept little Louis' adoption a secret while she dealt with her soon-to-be ex-husband's creeping. Seems that folks are in a tither over the fact that Sandra's son is a brown baby. For sure, my "google alert" for "African American baby" was full of Sandra Bullock stories, as if she's the first, last, and only mom of an African American child. And then there was this from the Twitterati:

Sandra bullock loves black ppl. Blind side, Regina King in Ms Congeniality & now she adopted a black (american) baby. Clap 4 her LOL

Did Sandra Bullock adopt a black baby? I thought that fad had pass in Hollywood just like small dogs in LV bags.

Wish I cud adopt a black baby like Madonna, Angelina Jolie n Sandra Bullock...OH WAIT... I can produce dem frm ma own lovely uterus :)

Sandra Bullock is taking this "Blind Side" thing too far...

I mean, good grief: I get the fascination, I guess; Sandra is white, her son is a black boy she adopted from Louisiana, a state she fell in love with after putting in some Hurricane Katrina volunteer work... blah, blah, blah. But really? Are we still seriously questioning whether it's okay for white parents to adopt black children? In a country where black folks make up 12 percent of the American population but 31 percent of the children waiting to be adopted? And the last possible child to be adopted by anybody—no matter the color—is a dark-skinned black boy? Why the vitriol? She's not about to take little Louis and grill him for dinner; she's vowing to love him strong and raise him right. Why, for God's sake, is this cause for concern? Debate? Snarkiness?

Of course, transracial adoptions can have their complications; there'll always be questions about whether the children are getting enough exposure to folks who look like them, or whether the parents will be sensitive enough to the unique needs of black children. And while I agree that white parents who adopt black kids should be just as passionate about their children's cultural education as they are an academic one, I'm not ever going to suggest that black children should languish in the bowels of the foster care system until someone who looks exactly like them comes along and opens their homes and hearts to them.

I was lucky: My parents, both African American, took me home when I was but a little baby—four days after someone, presumably the woman who gave birth to me, left me on the doorsteps of an orphanage. I am forever grateful to them, and eternally in love with them for loving me unconditionally, and raising me with grace. I would feel the same way about them if they were white.

I'll bet you that 40 years from now, Louie will say the same.

So I'll say it, even if way too many are focusing on sillier things: Congratulations, Sandra—welcome to the mommy club.

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  1. Little Louie is soooo beautiful. Just an absolutely gorgeous little guy. Best of luck to Sandra B. She has a lot on her plate right now. I saw the People magazine cover with them tonight on Nancy Grace. I used to be a child welfare social worker in DC and the amount of children that come into the system is astronomical.

  2. I feel the same way. You know, I have to chime in here and say that it's really no different than white women having biracial children and then raising them as single parents. Society will always see that child as black and will always make assumptions and pass judgment when it is really none of their concern.

    My husband and I went to eat lunch with our 7 year old daughter last week at school. One of her classmates looked at her in amazement and said, "Talia... your mama is white!" lol He was genuinely surprised. He had just assumed she had two black parents like he did. There isn't anything wrong with that, but the point is that if children see it this way, obviously this is how anyone would see it. (Kids are just completely honest about their perceptions whereas adults may not be! haha)

    I can't say how many times someone has beat around the "are they yours" and "are they adopted" questions when seeing me with my biracial kids. Try as I may, as a white woman I wouldn't be able to TRULY expose them to an honest experience in black American culture in the absence of my husband and I'm sure Sandra won't be any different, but if I were raising my kids alone they would lack NOTHING in love, security, and provision... as I'm quite positive is the case with baby Louie.

    As you said, CONGRATS to Sandra AND her new baby. :) I'm so happy that he will never know the frustrations and confusion SO many children know who are forced to grow up in the foster care system.

  3. Wow. I assure you that comment did NOT seem that long when it was in this little box LOL! Oops hehe

  4. I am in the process of a very lengthy adoption of a daughter from Ethiopia. We have 2 sons, one with a genetic issue that made us decide it is in our best nterest not to have any more biological children. Oh, and we are white. SO, we get all the comments about being 'Brad and Angelina' and snarky comments that we are trying to be trendy. Really? Bottom line is, we would not have invested nearly 2 years of our emotions, not to mention $30,000 of our hard-earned money into a 'trend'. We are anxiously waiting for our daughter and we will love her with our whole hearts and provide for her a wonderful life with parents and brothers who will care for her. We will make sure she knows fully about her rich Ethiopian heritage by attending all of our local cultural group outings and by taking her back there when she is old enough to appreciate it. Sometimes, people make hurtful comments when what really matters is that parents wanted a child and a child needed a family. Period. I find that these comments are most often made by people who are not willing to open their homes to provide love to an orphaned or vulnerable child.
    I say 'congratulations, Sandra and welcome to Mommyhood.' Louis is fortunate to have a sweet and caring Mama, and anyone who says otherwise needs to be quiet!

  5. I know I'm generally poised and eloquent when I visit, but folks just need to shut up sometimes, seriously. Be about it, be about change, be about a difference-take action. Nothing annoys me more than the idle banter and inaction-the curiosity burns in me as to the identity of the people who spew such vitriol and the number of adoptive childrens'/parents' lives they've touched.

    Congratulations, Sandra-now subscribe to MBB! :)

  6. The baby is so, so CUTE.

    I don't get it, when people vow to love somebody they complain! Come on. The boy could have been without the love of a parent and Sandra wants to give it to him. Plus the boy will always know who he is. Is the same folk that judge who will force him to lose his identity not the mother who adopts the child.

    Please let the good people love!

    CONGRAT Sandra and all the mothers who decide to love a child no matter the COLOR!

  7. The look on her face in that picture says it all. She is in love with a beautiful baby boy and it wouldn't matter if he were purple with yellow spots. Seriously, I cannot believe that people can even have an issue about this. These celebrities are damned if they do and damned if they don't. It makes me sick to think anyone could actually expend the effort in making such negative comments about the most beautiful relationship in human kind- the love of a mother and child.
    I wish her all the love and happiness I have with my children.

  8. She is a mother in love with her infant son; it's unimporant she's white & he's black. I commend her for adopting out of LOVE, & for adopting a child in need right here in America, she didn't go to some "far off land" to give of herself.

    That's what unconditional love is all about, and that's all we should be celebrating, her open, loving heart.
    Congratulations Sandra & Louis! <3

  9. I'm sure she thought long and hard about becoming a mommy to a brown sugar baby boy. Like Saida, I'm glad she adopted "locally" too. Too many children, especially our boys, are left behind. So congrats to Sandra Bullock!

  10. I say, congratulations to Sandra and to little Louie. They are lucky to have found each other. As the white mom of 2 lovely brown daughters, I agree with 'Kat @ For the Love of Chaos' in that it is very difficult if not impossible to give my children a true view of black experience in the US. But that is partially due to the fact that the black community in our part of the country is fairly closed to us. We/I have tried in many ways to be a part of the black community, but have not been welcomed nor have my daughters. We have been welcomed by the Ethiopian community in Boston though, which is great. We work hard to maintain a relationship with our Ethiopian family in Addis Ababa, and work very hard to make our family/household/community/school multicultural and appreciative of diversity. It's hard, Sandra, but also is a dream come true. I adopted my children from Africa because that's where my children were, but would have adopted from the US in a second too. I believe children are in need everywhere, and the need is the same whether inside the US or outside. I'm looking forward to the day when skin color is just part of your description and not an identifier. Just a pipe dream I guess.

  11. i'm from a mixed family, married to a mixed man, mother of some *really* mixed children. let me testify to this: loving a baby is never the wrong thing to do. ever. (did i say "ever"? i meant EVER.)

  12. Thank God for Sandra Bullock and other moms like her who as she said when she won her Oscar for "Blind Side," "love and raise the babies no matter where they come from." For those who want to criticize I ask: How many black children are born into this world to parents ill-prepared to care for them?! How many black folks are stepping up to adopt?! And another trend that black women seem to be deaf, dumb and blind to is that fact that so many black men are having children with white (and Asian!) women that LOTS of white women now have and raise black and biracial children!

  13. Am I the last to know you were adopted Denene? Those statistics you listed are harrowing. Hubby and I talk about adopting some day, but I know how difficult the adoption process can be in this country. I hope we're able to do it some day.

    I have to say I was surprised, not only by the announcement of the adoption, but that she had adopted a brown baby. I think some of the criticism is because it seems to be trendy amongst white celebrities to adopt kids of color lately. I think people either forget or don't realize that it's extremely difficult to adopt a newborn white baby. If you really are only interested in being a mother, you won't care about the color of the baby, you'll just be happy to be able to adopt a healthy one.
    Anyway, I read in Peopple that Sandra plans to raise the baby in New Orleans so that he can be close to the culture and people that he comes from. I think she is sincere about wanting to expose him to all sorts of people, from all different backgrounds. Hell, she had a bris for the baby, for goodness sakes! I think

  14. Yay! Go, Denene! Tears in my eyes!
    Signed, Transracial-adoptive mom

  15. He is beautiful and Sandra is one mama in love with her brown baby boy! I have tremendous respect for her because in the face of dealing with an unfaithful husband and now, divorce, she makes sure that nothing stops her from being mama first to Louis.

    Denene, I couldn't agree more...there are TOO many of our kids sitting in the system and then aging out of the system. This really needs to stop! If only the adoption process was inexpensive or at least reachable for families - I'm sure there would be many people willing to adopt.

  16. Amen. Thank you. THANK YOU. As a member of a mixed family (and a single mama) through domestic infant adoption, who devotes myself to being the best mom of hue I can, I am overjoyed that this mother has made the same choice that I did. Thank you for letting us have the space to say, give her a chance to do right by that lovely Louie. By the sounds of it so far, she has her priorities right already!

  17. Your words eased my heart and lifted up my soul. Thank you for seeing a mom and a baby...and then a mom who will have to deal with her baby's unique circumstances, challenges and issues. Just as we all do.

  18. Thank you. I can't wait for the day when the color of the skin is no longer significant - by any race.

  19. I'm so happy for Sandra! She is opening her heart and home to a little prince. I say poo to the detractors...whatever haters! It is a dream of mine to adopt our next baby. I so want to provide a family for a brown baby in foster care.

  20. Thank you for this AWESOME post!!! I agree with you 100%. I also love that Sandra did a domestic adoption, that she didn't get special treatment and that she didn't make a big deal about it :)
    My son is the joy of my life and is the BIGGEST blessing that my husband and I have! I couldn't imagine our lives without him and we are currently homestudy approved and hoping to adopt again..hopefully much sooner than later :)


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