In this Senior Voices web extra, Diane Alexander talks about expanding her family through adoption. She shared her story with Dayton Metro Library volunteer interviewer, Cynthia Wallace-King.
Diane Alexander: My children and I adopted a little girl, she was seventeen months old. I was wanting three children, I wanted to adopt, and I thought when my husband and I got a divorce, ‘cause when we divorced my children were very young, that it wouldn’t happen, but I guess God wanted me to have her, because at our church I used to see this older couple come in with a little girl.
They were a white couple, she was African American, they didn’t know what to do with her hair, so her hair was always looking crazy, and I didn’t really know them, so I just had decided so the next time I see them in church with her, I’m just going to go up and ask them can I come do the baby’s hair.
So, I did, I introduced myself and I said, “Would you mind if came to do the baby’s hair, because her hair is not gonna grow properly the way you’re letting her wear it, and they were so happy, you know, that I offered to do that, so in going over I would go twice and week and go do her hair.
Me and my children just fell in love with her, and she got used to us. So, I didn’t feel I could adopt her, ‘cause you know, I was struggling a little bit with my two, but I just happened to mention to the foster mother, I said, “Boy I wish I could adopt her,” I said, “You know, I would.”
She went and told her caseworker and they called me, and they said, “We hear you want to adopt Jenika,” and I said, “Wait a minute, where did you hear that?”
“Well, Henrietta told us.”
I said, “Well, I told her I wish I could.” I said, “But, you know I’m a single mom, and you know, I don’t know if I could handle, you know, another expense like that.”
So, they said, “Well, you know, if that’s the only problem, we can help you with that.” I qualified, and they let me adopt her and they gave me assistance for her, because she turned out to be a fetal alcohol syndrome baby, so she had problems, you know, and she had a lot of occupational therapy and speech therapy and all of that during the time I had her, so they assisted me with all of that, so up until she was eighteen.
Cynthia Wallace-King: So now where are you and her today?
Diane Alexander: She’s in the military in Fort Wayne, Indiana right now. She’s twenty-six years old, she has a little boy, so I have grandson that’s five by her. My oldest daughter, she has, I have a grandson by her, too, and he just turned one in September.
This interview was edited by Community Voices producer Dave Barber. Senior Voices is a collaboration between the Dayton Metro Library, Rebuilding Together Dayton, and WYSO. This series is made possible through the generous support of the Del Mar Healthcare Fund of the Dayton Foundation.