"Single Ladies" Adoptee

April 5, 2010

Whoa. Talk about an issues intersect. Anyone have a race-spotting moment when they saw this viral vid? Yeah, me too.

My friends (and favorite blogs) turned me on to this video because of the gender-policing moment that went bad. Three children in the backseat of a car start dancing to Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)" and the Dad immediately jokes to the toddler son that he isn't a single lady. The boy melts down and both parents jump in to reassure him that he is a single lady, can do that, and to apologize for "hurting his feelings."

But I was more interested in the racial component of the family ... and I wasn't the only one. Turns out that Carlos and Heather Whittaker's already multiracial family went for more pieces parts when they adopted not-a-single-lady Losiah from South Korea. As per usual on MeanTube, plenty of other people got a cognitively dissonant eyeball kick from seeing Losiah in the back of Carlos and Heather's car, and made nasty racialized comments (at least, according to Carlos in the interview below; comments have been disabled on the vid itself.)

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Carlos and Heather are bloggers and evangelical Christians, complete with homeschooled kids. (Here's Carlos' blog and here's Heather's blog. And, yes, here's Carlos' pastor Dad's blog and Mom's blog.) Carlos is both a pastor, and a tattooed musician who just released an album with Integrity Music, a Christian media concern. They come across as very Gen X, urban, Obama-supporting parents, with a twist. But I couldn't find any information on political opinions on hot button topics, and I couldn't find any information on why they decided specifically to adopt a child from South Korea. (The info may be there, but I couldn't find it.) Makes you wonder if they're deliberately avoiding any controversy.

That's a pity, because this family's opinions on transracial adoption (into a multiracial family) would be interesting to say the least. Their reasons for the adoption would be enlightening (all I could find on their blogs was an item on Heather's bucket list to adopt, and a fundraiser on both blogs to defray some of the adoption costs.) And, while whether or not to talk publicly about their family-building ideas remains their private choice, their true take on exposing their kids to public scrutiny -- and racial backlash -- is already overdue, given the fact that they've chosen to go public with it on national TV.

Plus, in light of the viral vid, I just wanna find out about their gender/sexuality issues. If Losiah grew up to be this kind of "Single Ladies" fan, would his parents' reaction skew more evangelical Christian, or more tattooed, urban, Obama-supporter?

But, regardless of all these issues, it's nice to see such an "unusual" family highlighted for reasons that have nothing to do with their race, religion, or politics. Perhaps it's because they're no longer that unusual. Welcome to the 21st century!




Hey Claire...Or I think it's Claire?!

It's Carlos Whittaker here.  The dad in the vid.  I'd love to talk a bit about the questions you raised.  All great questions...

Here is the deal.

I am unapologetically Christian.  Yes.  You are right.  And Heather and I decided to adopt because we wanted to give a child who was orphaned a life outside of an orphanage.  Sometimes things are not as "conspiracy theory" as you think.  lol.  We looked at many countries...

India, China, AMERICA, Korean, Russia...ect.  And some things that most don't know is that the country normally chooses you.  South Korea was the best fit for our family for many reasons.  Some being the age of my wife at the time of adoption...health issues...waiting child issues...ect.

I am proud to be a Panamania/Mexican American and am proud to have a Korean son.  But when I look at him I see my son whom I love and would give my life for...not a Korean son whom I love and would give my life for.

Yes.  We treasure his heratige.  Next year he is starting Korean school and I am starting Korean at the community college.  We shall bathe him in kimchi and burritos. I look forward to teaching him about his heratige as he learns about mine.  I can't wait.

And as far as the gender thing...Seriously...he is three.  He watched Alvin and the chipmonks that week and had been singing it for 4 days.  He also sings Jay-Z's Empire State Of Mind (clean version of'course) but that doesn;t make him a black man from New York who loves that city and how rich he is.

But if he ended up like that video you are talking about or a married man with 45 kids I would love him the same.  He's my son.  We don't get to choose that stuff.  I didn't choose him...He chose me. 

And on the racial public scrutiny, I have gotten it everyday of my life and my girls have some once we moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta...but we have found ourselves very supported as well.  When people get to heaven...some are going to be VERY surprised that it's not going to be a KKK ralley.  I protect them from the nastiness but they have gotten it in the grocery store LONG before this...But it built character in me and I'm sure it will with them.  I will parent them the best I can through it.

I loved your blog.  It was very well thought out and I find less and less of that online these days.  Keep writing and doing what you do...you are very good at it. 


Hey Carlos! Thanks for dropping in!

I didn't actually have a conspiracy theory, just a lot of questions in the Angelina Jolie/Madonna era of adoption. Thanks for answering them, especially since it really wasn't any of my business!

I hear you about the public racial scrutiny; I think all multiracial families get that, although certainly less so these days out in the SF Bay Area, where I am. I used to hate having my picture on the internet because it was just another way people could stare at me (even though I wasn't there for it, I could feel their pixelated gaze.) So I do appreciate folks who put themselves and their families out there for people to look at ... and see ... and get used to. I still have trouble managing the constant gaze, but I do think it helps diversify people's minds, to have multiracial families in the spotlight, doing a variety of non-stereotyped things (even if some of them are the balloon-boy Heenes.)

And I love how the media has kind of ignored the racial element in this video, to the extent that you sometimes have to be the one to bring it up. Mostly what the newscasters seem to be reacting to is how funny it is, and how cute the kids are (and they're adorable!)

I first saw the video on Angryasianman, thought it was so cute, shared it with all my friends.

Loved your blog post Claire, and your responses on MSNBC and to this post, Carlos.

I'm being just a little bit nitpicky, but I just wanted to put out there that Kurt (guy from Glee video) could end up being a married man with 45 kids... depending on the laws of the time and where he ends up.

But I definitely appreciate the fact that you are such a supportive and loving father, and you are definitely blessings to each other and to the world. I hope fathers/parents all over the world will learn to do the same.

Peace be with you.