Adoptive mother to Joshua, 2, star of OWN reality show “Raising Whitley” airing on Saturdays at 10 p.m.
It was extremely challenging but sometimes when you don’t know something’s coming, you don’t have time to prepare for or to think, you just do. I had my parents here so they helped me adjust. The thing was, I had to put this child first. Everything and everyone has to revolve around him. The adjustment was grow up real fast. Mature real fast. That was the biggest thing – I had to grow up overnight.
There were some moments of fear in the beginning, taking on a human life. It wasn’t like I got a puppy. The moments when I cried weren’t “Omigod, I’m afraid.” I cried at the times when all mothers cry. Three o’clock in the morning, 5 o’clock in the morning. Every two hours when I had to feed him and I was exhausted. Not having the husband laying in the bed with me so he can get up and go get the baby. Times when I was feeding him and I’d fall asleep and he’d be sliding down my body.
The times when I cried were when do I sleep, when do I take a shower, when can I go get my nails done? I need somebody just to hold me. Those were the moments and then there were the moments of joy.
A young woman Kym mentored identified her to hospital officials as a person to care for the child she could not. Kym got a call and literally had an hour to decide if she wanted to take on a baby.
I believe it has all been ordained by God. My parents said you are 107 years old, your eggs are on strike, it is time for you to make a commitment to something.You’ve been engaged a few times, what you gonna do?
When God puts something in your lap, to feel honored that someone, even the child, would pick me as the mother, I think that was the decision. It was like getting a gift. It was like “Me, really?” [Before I had Joshua] I’d see people with kids and say “Whoo, better them than me! (Laughs).
I would say stuff like being a mother is hard, what is all this talk? Look at them, they’re struggling, ha, ha! I always said I wanted a baby but I came from a traditional family.I thought I’d get the husband first.Then I thought I can do in-vitro, I can do this or that. Always just moving too fast and not stopping to smell the roses. What a baby will do for you is make you stop and smell the roses in life.
Joshua has been [legally] adopted. I say his birth mother is his “tummy mommy.” I do keep in touch with her but it doesn’t really affect anything legally. It will be all my decision and his decision later in life. Of course, I will tell him that he’s adopted. It won’t be a thing where he’s like 16 and I’m like “Oh, guess what?I don’t want him to think his whole life is a lie.I talked to a lot of adopted people to find out what they would have wanted. When they brought the baby, I did ask, what’s the return policy? That was my first question.
Going through the foster system is the first thing I urge anyone to do if you want a child. Take the classes, sign up I have friends who have done it.Once a child is adopted and that ink is on the paper no one can call and take that child unless it is the government. Whether that baby comes to you or through you, that baby is your child.
You start with foster care or if you have a little extra money and you want to do a private adoption, you can. They have a foster place where you can go and see and play with the kids. It can be painful in the foster system because the child can go back to the parents.
But if you sign up foster to adopt, they will only bring you children that are available for potential adoption. You can use the 9 months to prepare as any mother would do. If you’re a single mother or father and you want to adopt that means putting things into place. Everything from child care to medical care. A lot of people don’t realize when you adopt a child, the government helps you. They are the other parent. You prepare yourself by looking at car seats and bed and bassinets and checking out the internet for resale stuff.
And have a baby shower. I don’t care if the child is five years old – I got a new baby! I had the best baby shower. Wendy Raquel Robinson and Valerie Chandler hosted my baby shower. When I say these women came out? I felt like I was pregnant, I walked around and held the fat on my stomach. These women made a circle of love and prayed around me.
Vivica A. Fox backed up the truck to Macy’s and bought out Macy’s. Sherri Shepherd surprised me. All of my regular girlfriends with their corporate jobs just showed up with toys and clothes and diapers. One of my friends gave me a crib and another car seat. Blair Underwood brought over a high chair.
On my TV show, I try to lift the stigma of adoption. People don’t understand. Someone chose to love me? People wear that as a badge of honor and you hide that in the closet. Some of my friends came out of the adoption closet. I’ve been knowing you for years and you’re just now telling me? There is no shame. That’s a wonderful thing. My mama and daddy didn’t have no choice!