‘Are you her nanny?’ ‘Did you kidnap her?’ I had a mom call me her Au Pair at gymnastics. We get stared down.’: Single black mom adopts 2 white siblings, is constantly judged by strangers but urges, ‘Love goes beyond skin color’

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“‘Why did you adopt these white kids?’

Let’s start from the beginning. My name is Kimberly Holden, and when I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to adopt. Three of my aunts opened their hearts and homes to children who weren’t biologically theirs, and that sparked something in my heart that stayed with me up into adulthood. My Aunt Gloria (who we all called Mama) was my biggest inspiration, and right before she passed away, I whispered in her ear, ‘Mama, I’m going to be a foster mom.’

When I was 21, I got married and still wanted to adopt, but my husband at the time did not. After almost 3 years of marriage, we divorced and my want to help children grew stronger.

In 2011, I became a foster parent. I was so excited to start this journey, but also a little nervous, because I was doing this as a single parent. In my class, I was the only single person there. Everyone else was there with their spouse and at first, I felt weird being there – but I knew I couldn’t give up. I had a purpose to fulfill.

Courtesy of Kimberly Holden

I fostered 5 children (whom all were reunified with their birth families). Each time I had to say goodbye to a precious little child, it hurt my heart more and more that I had to take a break from being a foster parent. It felt like the loss of a family member.

I knew I needed to keep going, but I also needed some time for my heart to heal. Then one night, (after almost a year-long break from foster care), God told me he needed me again. I cried that night, but I knew I couldn’t tell God ‘No.’ He knew he had a child that needed me and I had to obey my Lord and open my home again. So 7 days after that night, I met Elizabeth. She was this little 8-month-old baby who needed me. When she showed up with her social worker, I realized she wasn’t Black, but I didn’t care. She needed me.

Courtesy of Kimberly Holden

Yes, she wasn’t Black, but she was a baby who needed my home and heart that I was willing to give. Elizabeth and I didn’t care that we looked different from one another, because all we saw were each other’s hearts (and those look the same). Many people would give me weird and crazy looks while we were out together. Looks like, ‘Are you her nanny?’ or ‘Did you kidnap her?’

There were times I would be at the park with her and would be asked, ‘Are you her nanny? She is so cute.’

When she was in gymnastics, I had a mom call me the nanny in another language (Au Pair). When I would tell them that I’m her mom, they would reply with, ‘Ohhhh. She must look like her dad then.’ While in the line at stores, I would get stared down, so I would say out loud to Elizabeth, ‘Mommy loves you!’ And she would reply, ‘I love you mommy.’ That would make the people so confused, it was like you could see their brain cells burning with confusion. Whenever Elizabeth would misbehave in public, I knew it was going to be something, because people would stare so hard and close to see how the ‘nanny’ was going to handle the situation.  Sometimes I would say, ‘You can stop looking. I’m her mother.’ And they would walk away. Many times, people wouldn’t even talk to me, nor give me eye contact. They would only talk to Elizabeth. Why are you going to only talk to the child, and not the adult that the child is with? Children are taught to not speak to strangers, so she is not going to respond to you. This world still has a long way to go.

Courtesy of Kimberly Holden
Courtesy of Kimberly Holden

In August of 2015, I was notified by her social worker that Elizabeth had a baby brother, Edgar, that needed a home. At that time, I was so scared to take a newborn with the job that I had. (Because it didn’t offer maternity leave). Her social worker told me it was okay because they had a home for him to go to. They just wanted to ask me to see if I could take him in. Little did I know at the time that God had other plans for us as a family.

On October 30, 2015, (after 486 days in foster care), I adopted Elizabeth. It was one of the best days of our lives. We were now a Forever Family! That day I thought my family was complete, but I was wrong.

Courtesy of Kimberly Holden

In January of 2016, I received a call from Elizabeth’s old social worker. She said, ‘Hey Kim. Remember when I told you that Elizabeth had a baby brother? Well, I need you. He needs you. Can you help?’ At that moment, I knew it was God asking for my help and I had to say ‘Yes!’ That is when Edgar was welcomed into our home.

Courtesy of Kimberly Holden
Courtesy of Kimberly Holden
Courtesy of Kimberly Holden

Fostering Edgar was a long and stressful journey. A lot of ups and downs, highs and lows. A lot of tears, fear and anger, but I never gave up. After 1,072 days in foster care, on July 6, 2018, I adopted Edgar. That day was AMAZING!

Courtesy of Kimberly Holden
Courtesy of Kimberly Holden

Now my family is complete. I have my daughter and my son. Although we see ourselves as a family, there are many people who don’t. See, Edgar looks ‘more white’ than Elizabeth (I have actually been told this). So I get even more stares in public with him. I am still being asked if I am their babysitter/nanny, and now being boldly asked online, ‘Why did you adopt these White kids? There are plenty of Black kids that need a home. Don’t you care about your own people? You have a case of self-hate.’ I have been called cruel and derogatory names from people because of me being Black and my children not. Elizabeth and Edgar are Puerto Rican, Greek and Cherokee.

We are classified as a Transracial Family.

Courtesy of Kimberly Holden
Courtesy of Kimberly Holden

They are so proud of their culture and they are so intrigued with mine. I am teaching them about their culture. They are always asking about my culture, so I am teaching them about mine too. Kids in Elizabeth’s school have asked her, ‘That’s your mom? But she’s Black.’ And Elizabeth stood up proud and replied to them, ‘YES! This is my mom. Yes she is Black, and Yes I’m not. This is the way God made us!’  

Courtesy of Kimberly Holden

I am so proud of her.

See racism is taught, and Elizabeth and Edgar are being taught to love EVERYONE! Not just the people who look like them, but EVERYONE!

Years ago, I use to do YouTube videos on hair and makeup, but I realized that wasn’t my calling.  I immediately transitioned to Inspiring others, and even though many people give us the ‘looks’ and say their disrespectful comments…. I continue to push through and inspire others to foster and adopt. I have received so many comments and emails from others who have begun the foster care process because of me. They tell me they see that you can love a child who is not biologically yours, and you can love someone of a different race unconditionally. Every time I read those messages I cry, and have the biggest smile on my face, because I know that another child is going to have a loving home.

Love goes beyond skin color. It doesn’t matter what color someone is… LOVE THEM! I am so happy that I have the ability to share my story with people from all over the world to inspire, encourage and inform them. I know I’m just a little Black girl from Connecticut, but I am going to try my hardest to show people that love sees no color and we don’t have to judge others based on their race. We need to stop racism… it’s stupid.

And my motto is: ‘No Matter Home Hard Life Gets, Keep… HOLDEN IT DOWN!’”

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Courtesy of Kimberly Holden

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kimberly Holden of Connecticut. You can follow their journey on Instagram and YouTube. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more powerful stories like this:

‘Oh, are you babysitting?’ ‘They’re mine.’ I’m a 30-year-old single black woman with 3 white kids. Love has no color in my home.’: Woman adopts 1 boy, 2 siblings from foster care, ‘love is love, no matter the color’

‘I stood there holding my 3-month-old baby boy as she sent me pictures of an ultrasound of the baby growing in her stomach. I was speechless. But I also knew. Deep down I knew.’: Mom’s breathtaking journey adopting 2 newborn babies only 4 months apart

‘What are you doing? STOP.’ An older gentleman approached me in the store. ‘You stole that baby!’: Mom adopts ‘beautiful white baby boy’ from foster care, claims ‘love is colorful!’

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