Jeena Wilder is a happy wife and mom. This 32-year-old African-American who lives in Greenville, South Carolina, has five little wonders aged 2 months to 9 years, whose names she prefers not to give. In the middle of the siblings are two 7-year-old girls whom Jeena calls “the twins” because they are only two months apart. “My girls know they don’t look alike. We don’t try to tell them otherwise,” Jeena told People magazine. The couple already had three children when their adoption file was validated. A 2-year-old blond girl then joined their family.
“We quickly realized that she hadn’t been introduced to a lot of black people or people of color,” Jeena told To-day. For the couple, being a family has nothing to do with skin color. “Drue, my husband, and I are an interracial couple. We tell our kids, ‘Mom and dad don’t look alike but we love each other and we made our family.'” Jeena even opened an account on Instagram where she distills advice on motherhood and education and where she regularly posts photos of her children. She has 200,000 subscribers, including a certain Jessica Alba!
In everyday life, Jeena is often mistaken for her adopted daughter’s nanny.
But Jeena’s family happiness does not appeal to everyone. Attacked on social networks, the young woman regularly receives hateful and racist comments about her mixed family and the adoption of her daughter. “At first I showed indifference, but now I laugh at them. After all, I have the right to defend my people! I have blocked many people who think they are allowed everything because that they are hidden behind their computer, but sometimes these messages hurt me because they are cruel”, explains this mother who, in everyday life, is often taken for the nanny of her adopted daughter.
For Jeena, unconditional love for her children means remaining attentive to their particularities and explaining to them the racism of a part of the society in which they must grow up. A constant attention which allowed the little blonde of the family to find her place. “The day my adopted daughter called me ‘Mom’ was about a year after she moved in, she recalls. There I was like, ‘OK. My daughter feels my love. My daughter has the ‘feeling like part of this family’, and that’s all that matters.” Adoption requires patience, open-mindedness and great adaptability.
“Children waiting for a family need to be welcomed by loving people”
“I would so much like adoption to be valued more. Children awaiting a family have sometimes experienced trauma and overcome hardships. They need so much to be welcomed by loving people. And why not by parents with another skin color? It’s the difference that creates wealth and you shouldn’t erase it, but cultivate it”, concludes Jeena.
Jeena and Drue Wilder © INSTAGRAM JEENAWILDER