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Black Baby White Hands

Black Baby White Hands

5.0 6
by Jaiya John
July 15, 1968. It is only three months following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the nation is burning. Black and White America are locked in the tense grip of massive change. Into this inferno steps an unsuspecting young White couple. Neither had truly known even a single African American person while growing up. Now, a child will change all of that


July 15, 1968. It is only three months following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the nation is burning. Black and White America are locked in the tense grip of massive change. Into this inferno steps an unsuspecting young White couple. Neither had truly known even a single African American person while growing up. Now, a child will change all of that forever. In this fateful moment, a Black baby becomes perhaps the first in the history of New Mexico to be adopted by a White family.

Here is a brazenly honest glimpse into the mind and heart of that child, a true story for the ages that flows like a soulful river-separated from his mother at birth, placed into foster care, adopted, and finally reunited with his biological family in adulthood-an astounding journey of personal discovery.

Jaiya John has opened the floodgates on his own childhood with this piercing memoir. Black Baby White Hands, a waterfall of jazz splashing over the rocks of love, pain and the honoring of family. Magically, this book finds a way to sing as it cries, and to exude compassion even as it dispels well-entrenched myths. Destined to become a classic, this stirring account is sure to find itself well worn, stained by tears, and brushed by laughter in the lap of parents, adolescents, educators, students, and professionals. Here comes the rain and the sunshine, all at once.

Editorial Reviews

Writer's Digest
"Powerful. This book is not only beautifully written, it also deserves a wide audience."

Product Details

Soul Water Rising
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are Saying About This

Sydney Duncan
"This is a pot of gold for adoptive parents, and especially for transracially adoptive parents. But more than that, this book is priceless for anyone who cares to voyage into the wonderland that is a child's heart."
MSW, Founding Executive, Homes for Black Children, The nation's first African American adoption agency

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5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
A must read for all adoptive parents, adoptees and anyone wanting to read a story of love, family and personal growth! You will love it! I recommend it to all I meet! The beauty of this book begins on the beautiful book cover!
Anonymous 7 months ago
Honest, Insightful, Inspired, Wise, Courageous, Uplifting, Compassionate. This is a priceless, unflinching glimpse through child's eyes of reality of trans-racial adoption in anything but "post-racial" America. The book is a labor of Love, tears, and hard-earned maturity and wisdom. I am deeply humbled and grateful for Dr. John’s courage and compassion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was just speechless. I had no words to really express the impact this book had on me. It was wonderful. I mean really really wonderful.....on so many different levels. I picked up the book with the intent of reading a little before I went to sleep. I read the whole book before I could go to sleep. Jaiya John is a good story teller. That's a rare and precious gift. I went through the full range of emotions while immersed in the book. I could relate to this family: I had no clue what the foster children in our home felt unless they said something. I thought since I felt like I belonged and was loved, any child who lived in that home would automatically feel that way. I was moved by the connection and pride Jaiya related when finally looking into a face that looked like his own.....how we take that for granted. I have always had my dad's face and have been able to look into it. I have always had the sway of my mother's hips when I walk. I won't ever take those `little¿ things for granted again. I thank Jaiya for sharing his uplifting story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I laugh. I shake my head and feel kinship. I cry and take long walks. I sigh and realize my parents didn't know how to protect me¿it wasn't malice. I get why I am the way I am. 36 years of baggage is disappearing. I am so thankful that Jaiya John wrote his story and that I was lead to it. I marvel at the similarities in our circumstances that I thought only I owned. I have a new level of understanding about why I do the things I do to this day. It is such a relief to me that after all these years there is proof that I wasn't making up stories about feeling lost and alone. This book have given me a self-assurance I never had before and because of it I walk in the world differently because I know I deserve to. Conversations about my life are being spoken. I got an apology from my biological father...and felt peace. People have no idea how much this book has changed my life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What an incredible book! The journey that Dr John illustrates so beautifully will benefit those of us who have chosen to create cross-cultural families. I am deeply grateful to him for his courage in pouring his heart and soul onto paper and sharing his experiences the world. Being an adoptee and an adoptive parent, I was moved by his story on many levels. The realm of adoption contains so many layers and he has addressed them all so wonderfully. I would recommend this book to those who would consider becoming parents through fostering or adoption. It is an honest portrayal, which calls one to think more deeply on the subject of race and the responsibilities of raising our children with honor and dignity. I also think that professionals within the field of child welfare should be required to read his book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are a book lover, you will enjoy reading this vivid, colorful storytelling. It is descriptive and dramatic, like reading a novel. But as a social worker, I also know that this book has changed the lives of many of my client-families. The author does a great job of capturing the nature of a child's emotions and thoughts, which can only shed light for all parents and those who work with children. It also makes lights go on inside your head about what it is like to be a Black child in a mostly White environment. Honest but compassionate. The child described here gains increasing appreciation for the challenges of his circumstance as he gets older. Finally, he finds great purpose in the way his life has unfolded. Jaiya John has told a very hopeful, yet eye-opening, story. I can see why so many child-serving agencies and schools have adopted this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a review of the revised second edition, which is shorter in length, more polished and better edited than the first edition. Black Baby White Hands is a story true to its intent: to provide the reader with an intense tunnel-vision of the experience of this child (and many children) on the journey of transracial adoption. Unlike many other memoirs, this storytelling remains focused on the thoughts and feelings of the child, rather than diluting that perspective within those of others in his life. It accomplishes a potent display of the intensity with which children experience their thoughts and emotions. The gold here lies not in the fleshing out of various characters, but in the narrative's disciplined faithfulness to the stream-of-consciousness of the child and to the child's interpretation of the world around him. This makes the book a touching window into the nature of children, parents and families in general. The poetry throughout is frosting on the cake.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This true story reads like a novel and more importantly is sure to touch the childhood memories and sensitivies of every reader. It is no so much about race or adoption as it is about being human and the dizzying experience of human relationships that are never as simple as we would like. Poetic and promising for those who seek to reconnect with the magical chaos of childhood!