Black Baby White Hands A View from the Crib ePUB ✓


Black Baby White Hands A View from the Crib July 15 1968 It is only three months following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and the nation is burning Black and White America are locked in the tense grip of massive change Into this inferno steps an unsuspecting young White couple Neither had truly known even a single African American person while growing up Now a child will change all of that forever In this fateful moment a Black baby becomes perhaps the first in the history of New Mexico to be adopted by a White family Here is a brazenly honest glimpse into the mind and heart of that child a true story for the ages that flows like a soulful river separated from his mother at birth placed into foster care adopted and finally reunited with his biological family in adulthood an astounding journey of personal discovery Jaiya John has opened the floodgates on his own childhood with this piercing memoir Black Baby White Hands a waterfall of jazz splashing over the rocks of love pain and the honoring of family Magically this book finds a way to sing as it cries and to exude compassion even as it dispels well entrenched myths Destined to become a classic this stirring account is sure to find itself well worn stained by tears and brushed by laughter in the lap of parents adolescents educators students and professionals Here comes the rain and the sunshine all at once


10 thoughts on “Black Baby White Hands A View from the Crib

  1. says:

    This book was so difficult for me to read I started it last winter and finally finished it tonight Every time I read from it it took an effort to pick it up I'm relieved it's over I'm going to have to read something fluffy nextI think it's good that I have read it and am going to focus on what I learned from it and not all the fears it raised in me The story is a memoir of the first African American baby to be adopted by a white family in New Mexico He was born in 1968 and his adoptive family lived in an overwhelmingly white community The book focuses on his struggles growing up one of the very few black people in his familycommunityschool This book intimidated me he makes it clear that his adoptive parents did there very best to make him feel loved and every much a part of their family as their biological children were But he didn't It's scary to think about I am going to do my best to learn from his story and be very clear with our daughter about her adoption story I hope so much that we get information about her biological family so that we can share that with her I will strive to keep lines of communication open We will not ignore the color of my daughter's skin We will discuss it and I will do everything I can to help her feel proud of the way she looks and how it represents her culture One of the parts of the story that stuck out to me was when he watched Roots It was very hard for him to watch it and see the horror that was slavery in this country It made his biological mother very uncomfortable and I can't remember the exact uote but she said something like You're being funny about this I could see myself wanting to slip past conversations that will be hard and will make us uncomfortable But it is important to validate my future daughter's feelings and be a support system for her


  2. says:

    I have read this book cover to cover several times I continue to pick it up and take each bite and find myself fed and feeling full As an adoptee I was blown away at how much of this story held my own face and truth He gets it His journey illuminates and brings forth thousands of stories and truths that have yet to make their own way into memoir's and story telling This book paves that way for sure As a student I was mesmerized This book touches on and really digs into all of the subjects and issues that are impacting me and my world presently and helps me to find a way to see these complex topics in a new light It is amazing given the time in which this book was conceived and how it is still so relevant to the world we live in now Astounding Jaiya John is a griot A Healer A vessel Hollowed and purified for the telling and the stirring Deeply grateful for this memoir and for Jaiya


  3. says:

    Oh my God I hated this bookFirst imagine a four year old telling you his every thought Then imagine the opposite of stoicismThen imagine so many double binds and hypocrisies that you want to spit Imagine the tragic sensitive artist digging through issues of race This book was self published which apparently means that he couldn't be troubled by an editorSave yourself some pain Read Sherman Alexie or the Convergence of Race Ethnicity and Gender Multiple Identities in Counseling


  4. says:

    As a white adoptive mom to 2 beautiful brown babies I am so thankful Jaiya John shared his life with us It isn't easy to read that sometimes love isn't enough but it's important to know the kind of thoughts and feelings my kids might have that they don't want to share or can't share


  5. says:

    This book written by Jaiya shares his experience as a black baby adopted by a white family in the late 1960's This was very thoughtfully written about his experience recognizing the challenges that various family members may have and how it impacted him whether they were conscious of the challenges or not Throughout this book Jaiya made it very clear that he valued them all but had to find himself in order to appreciate them even It gave me a greater understanding of who he was and the need for relationships from us all That it's not just about race nor is it about minimizing race but embracing the humanity in us all which INCLUDES our differences race gender abilities etc


  6. says:

    My notes save for J


  7. says:

    Incomplete review I need a way to start a draft and then come back to it without saving it and others seeing it before it's done lolWhile this book was not easy for me to read it was excellent and I think anyone who loves a good book would appreciate this memoir of a Black man's experience growing up in a White family even if said reader is not a White parent to Black children as I amThe author is very introspective and philosophical which I mostly appreciate although sometimes I get a little weary of the navel gazing and his prose is poetic without being annoying I learned so much about racial identity and adoption identity by reading this book and know I'll need to refer back to it repeatedly as I raise these children I've been blessed withIt was hard for me to read because he struggled so much and I hate the thought of my children having similar struggles I do think a lot of his struggle came from his inherent personality I contained a genetic and spiritual predisposition to feel my emotions very deeply Those emotions would last for hours and days This shaped my moods sensitivities and responses to life I thrived on uiet and calm and on large doses of reassurance and reflection Our house was usually filled with noise chaos tough skinned emotional flow and little pause or allowance for pensive silence The contrast affected my attachment in ways that would persist 37It was hard for me to read because like his parents there are so many things I didn't think about before adopting Black children Theirs was an innocent simplicity They wanted children the conseuences of that possibility were not a thing they were designed to dwell upon or hold up life for 297I didn't find my reflection anywhere I looked 39 hurt my heart as I have been trying to adjust our life so that my children have mirrors of Black skinned faces around them on a freuent basis The lack of secure and meaningful attachments to other African American people was a vacuum that bore a hole in the bottom of my self esteem reserve 50 I cringed as he and his brother tried to figure out how to be acceptably Black people in the midst of Whiteness He went hip hard and happy I went bent burrowed and benign We both lost ourselves along the wayIncreasingly I smiled as a way of comforting others letting them know I was friendly and not to be feared 105As he described his developing radar for people's biases I felt a nearly physical ache Some people even extended family members accepted him in spite of his Blackness because he was different from those other Blacks My great grandfather saw no contradiction between his attitudes toward Blacks as a group and his feeling for Greg and me This was a perceptual dichotomy that would prove one of my central sources of woundingThis was simply the shaded love of people who spent their lives distant from people who looked like me Children can discern the subtle difference between embrace ambivalence tolerance and disdain Incongruent emotion was a great bane to me in most of my relationships A person caring for me but feeling less than positive about a group of people that I held myself a part of never was good enough for me 77 He wanted to be loved and accepted for who he was as a Black boy More than unconditional love or bountiful love it was clean love that made the world of difference for me The vibes weren't polluted with a discomfort with my race an avoidance of the idea of my race or a strained tolerance or forgiveness for my race Crisp and clean that's how I needed it 53Now I knew that I had not been crying out for my Blackness to be ignored I just wished that it not be treated as such an alien foreboding stain on my skin that it should not be mentioned I had stood in the intense glare of spotlight not because I was different but because of how people reacted to my particular difference 288I treated all my kids the same When I heard those words a dawning light splashed all around in my mindThis was the explanation finally that allowed me to begin to understand why my parents had so overwhelmingly not addressed in tangible audible ways the undeniable fact that Greg and I were Black and that we were adopted Mom was saying that she had done her best to show that her love for us was eual to that of all her children And she had done it by relating to us as if the facts of our adoption and race didn't exist She had whitened them out 296 other topics colorblindness changing perceptions from cute little to scary Black man Christ is for White people seeing the world the same way and not being challenged what parents could have done self absorption


  8. says:

    I find this book to be self indulgent and than a little repetitive Jaiya John says the same thing in every chapter He had a good life with good parents but felt disconnected from his family and friends because his race wasn't something he could talk about This book would have been an excellent memoir and an important piece of literature for those adopting black children if it had been better editedThe poetry in this book is beautiful and it may be worth reading just for that Jaiya John overdoes the prose however continually using several adjectives adverbs metaphors and similes to describe each detail of his life A person cannot just say something he or she tenderly tells or let words pass through their lips The same points are hammered page after page Somehow the childhood he conveys is one in which he suffered pain shame embarrassment and low self esteem He writes that his brother Greg also black must have had the same thoughts too but Jaiya John apparently either didn't ask him or Greg didn't want his opinions in the book Jaiya John often speaks for other people and we're left with an incomplete picture of his lifeThis book is not the best one about transracial adoption Other than this man's self pity there are maybe a dozen salient points put forth The rest is redundant and overdone


  9. says:

    Happy I read it but it wasn't easy His writing is REALLY indulgent and it is 350 pages of him repeating that he didn't feel he belonged Not that I want to diminish that feeling but it could have used some editing He writes without much structure floating from his emotional turmoil to his spiritual life without grounding these in a certain time or circumstance The book does have powerful moments usually when he actually tells his story in linear time and specific stories I was definitely brought close to tears on several occasions especially when he explains the disconnect between himself and his parents when he confronts them as a young adult about his feelings and their inability to speak to racial difference Many people have said in their reviews that this book is great for people adopting transracially I think some people are missing the point it's not about the white parents While they and siblings like me can certainly benefit from it I think this book can be a resource to the transracially adopted people who are struggling through similar experiences and are feeling the same isolationThat being said I sure hope that people who have adopted transracially read books from this perspective for a little extra insight into their grown children's minds


  10. says:

    The author writes an important story especially for anyone considering transracial adoption But it was so very very tedious to read the melodramatic prose I found myself skimming sections because of the over the top flowery language It is not in chronological order which makes it very hard to follow Still it has lessons for the transracial parent and perhaps validation for the transracial adoptee that are not available in many other books It really portrays the way a child of color internalizes the world's view of race and their own experience of racism within a loving white adoptive family and the rifts that can cause when the adults around them don't see or address their experience of racial difference and racial isolation I especially enjoyed the parts about the author's reunification with his birth family Potential adoptive families may feel uncomfortable or anxious at times reading this but that's an important feeling to experience and be able to sit with because your child may be living with those feelings every day of their lives Especially if raised in racial isolation or without acknowledgment of what they are experiencing in their racial difference from their parents and the loss of their birth family


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