Mom’s Photo Series Outlines Racism & Discrimination

Just when you thought we’ve come so far as a society, we hear some ugly truths.

Not to say there aren’t millions of loving and accepting people out there — because there truly are. But one mom’s story will have you shaking your head in disbelief.

When Kim Kelley-Wagner adopted two little girls from China, now ages 13 and 7, she never imagined the racism and hate they would encounter.

Though the 55-year-old Charlottesville, Virginia resident never married, Kelley-Wagner always knew that she wanted kids. And when she did her research, she discovered that China was one of the only countries that allowed single parents to adopt.

So in 2001, Kelley-Wagner adopted 10-month-old Liliana, and in 2008, she adopted Meika, then a 2-year-old with special needs who had a bilateral cleft lip and palate when she was born.

And while the new mom was overjoyed with her daughters, her community was less than thrilled.

“The comments began right from the start,” Kelley-Wagner told Yahoo. “We would be shopping, and cashiers or store clerks would say things like, ‘How much did she cost?’ or ‘You could have bought a car for what it probably cost to adopt her.’ I would answer, ‘Are you interested in adoption?’ If they said no, I’d say, ‘Why are you asking?’ My response made them consider the impact of their words and sometimes they apologized.”

After hearing a plethora of inappropriate questions and comments over the years, Kelley-Wagner was inspired to shatter the shame.

“I wanted to turn this into a teachable moment, especially because I don’t want the girls to internalize this negativity,” she said, and after asking her daughters if they felt comfortable posing for photos while holding signs with the comments, “They were all for it,” she said. “Lily even said, ‘I think people need to know how rude people are.’ We sat down and made a list and I was surprised at how many incidents the girls remembered that I didn’t.”

The mom-of-two went on to title the project, “Things said to or about my adopted daughters,” and in January, she posted it on Facebook.

Here are a few examples of the ignorance and hatred this family has endured.

kkw17__605 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-17 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-16 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-15 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-14 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-13 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-12 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-11 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-10 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-9 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-8 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-7 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-6 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-5 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-4 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-3 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-2 The-Horrible-Things-They-Said-About-My-Adopted-Daughters-1

What a powerful project by this mother and her daughters!

To see the 30+ photos, head over to Kelley-Wagner’s  Facebook page.

Has this photo series made you think twice about how you view adoption and race?

Have you ever encountered hateful comments like this? Please share your story in the comments!

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