AfriGeneas Adoption Forum
Black Couple Adopts White Daughter
When Mark and Terri Riding take their three children to the park where they live in Baltimore, they're usually met by lagging stares, obvious whispering and even people bold enough to come up and question them as parents. Their children are all healthy, normal-looking individuals, but it's their 9-year-old adopted sister/daughter Katie O'Dea-Smith who draws all the attention.You see, the Ridings are Black and Katie is White. The Ridings actually co-parent with Terri's 66-year-old mother, Phyllis, who took in Katie when she was 3-years old and legally adopted her last year. Now that Phyllis is getting older, Terri and Mark have Katie every weekend and she'll be living with them for the entire summer. As a family, they've decided to send Katie to a predominantly Black school and a Black church, and with all those differences, they've noticed she rarely ever talks about race. In a candid interview, ESSENCE.com spoke to the Ridings about why they adopted Katie, how they handle all the misguided attention, and how they plan to have an honest conversation about race with their White daughter.