This week, mother and writer Keia Jones-Baldwin went viral after writing a post on Facebook about the time a woman working at a photo booth accused her of kidnapping her own child because she’s Black but her adopted son is white.
“I thought that this would be a fun picture to let Boosie take while the older kids and Dad rode a quick amusement park ride,” she recalled in her post about the incident in 2018 when her son Princeton – known affectionately as Boosie – took part in a family trip to Tennessee.
“I took him inside and was excited to get him all dressed up in this old timey regalia. I noticed the young girl, maybe in her late 20’s was awfully fidgety as she was trying to get him set up.”
The mother of four goes on to explain that the photographer left the room after only taking a few photos. Once she returned with the photos, things escalated quickly.
When she came back, she was holding the photo she’d just snapped of Boosie and photos of another baby side by side and said, ‘I knew it, I knew this was the same baby,’” explained Baldwin. “Confused I said, ‘excuse me?’ She accused me of kidnapping a child that she had recently taken a photo of earlier that month with his ‘white parents.’ I was appalled! Of course, she had already called the police.”
Although she would later go on to adopts Boosie in 2019, at the time of that fateful the child was still in foster care and so Jones-Baldwin had an official clearance letter for him to travel across state lines with her.
The fact that she was prepared with documentation saved the confrontation from getting very far. But, she confessed that the accusations and actions taken by the photographer were deeply upsetting.
“I had to show proof that [we were North Carolina] citizens on top of [providing] them with the foster care paperwork,” she said.
“The officers apologized. Looking quite stupid and embarrassed, her half-apology was not accepted. The manager was very apologetic, sent her home. I explained that I didn’t want her to lose her job but rather get cultural awareness and diversity training. The manager agreed. Then he hands me this photo and said it was ‘free for the hassle.’”