ED GORDON, host:

To go behind the numbers and find out what it's like to be a mixed race family, we talked to Sarah and Dan Giloth. The Giloths wanted to adopt a baby so they went to an agency in Evanston, Illinois called The Cradle to learn more about the process. They came out convinced that they, a white couple, wanted to adopt and African-American child.

The couple was interested in doing this in part because Dan's own family had adopted his younger brother, who is black, in the early 1970s. Here's Sarah and Dan Giloth in their own words.

Ms. SARAH GILOTH (Adopted Black Child): We were in the adoption match process with two other families previous to being placed with Shelby. Both times the birth mother had a change of heart. And now when I look at Shelby, she was the daughter we were supposed to have.

(Soundbite of baby cooing)

Ms. GILOTH: Isn't that right, Shelby?

(Soundbite of baby cooing)

Ms. GILOTH: Meeting Shelby for the first time on December 22, a few days before Christmas, I don't really know if words can express what we felt. We went there with our car seat and our diapers, and all our hopes and joys of becoming parents. And when they brought her out, it was, we were both sort of speechless. Weren't we, Dan? I think that it was hard to imagine that this baby that they were presenting to us was our daughter.

Mr. DAN GILOTH (Adopted Black Child): We're sort of in a honeymoon period now, socially, because a lot of the challenges lay ahead in terms of her developing her identity and us learning to relate to people in a way that supports her as she grows up. And I think it's incumbent that we connect her with her social heritage. And we've already tried to nurture relationships with other families that have adopted African-American children, both White and African-American parents.

I think it's really key that we continue to create that environment for Shelby, so that she not only can know other African-American children, but she can also know other adopted children and other adopted African-American children -because all of those things are going to be part of her identity.

Ms. GILOTH: We've been very aware of that, trying to make sure that Shelby has people that look like her in her neighborhood and her community. The doctor she goes to is African-American, her nanny is African-American - so we've really wanted to make sure that she sees people that look like her in her life.

Mr. GILOTH: I think the one that you have to remain, in this process, is very humble. You have to understand that in our society, racism is the air we breathe. You know, so if you think you're somehow beyond that you're kidding myself.

Ms. GILOTH: I get stared at sometimes. I tell myself that they're not looking at me in a negative way. They're just curious. A specific example, I was taking Shelby for a walk in the stroller, and I had a woman, she was an African-American woman driving by, do a complete double take at Shelby. And she almost drove into something because she was not expecting there to be a black baby in the stroller, by there was.

Mr. GILOTH: When we were young, we went on a trip to California, we stayed in a motel somewhere in Arizona. And there were White folks in the pool. And when my little brother, who is African-American, we were playing with him in the water and other white folks that were there got up and left. And they actually went and complained to the manager. And it made me extremely upset to think that anyone could feel that way about my baby brother.

So I hope there aren't any hurtful things that happen like that with Shelby.

GORDON: That was Sarah and Dan Giloth of Berwyn, Illinois. They're thinking about adopting another African-American baby in the next year or two.

(Soundbite of music)

GORDON: Coming up, Reverend Al Sharpton, eyeing the White House in '08, accuses Tinseltown of glamorizing gansterism.

This is NPR News.

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