Judy Madero and her husband love children. In the 1980’s, they became an emergency foster home and took good care of children in need. It took them three years to adopt their first child, a little boy who turned three before the adoption could be finalized. You see, this couple is white, and the child was black. Transracial adoption in the late 80’s and early 90’s was a struggle in some states. Shortly after their son’s adoption, they had another little boy placed in their care. Born premature and addicted to drugs, no one was sure what other problems this newborn would have. But as they cared for him everything appeared to be fine. He was happy and normal until one day he didn’t wake up when he should have from his afternoon nap. Judy checked on him and he had a raging fever. Little Anthony was rushed by ambulance, a torturing 30-minutes to a children’s hospital where he was revived and it was found that he had a birth defect that affected his bladder. He was in the hospital for weeks where Judy stayed with him, day and night. When he was released to go home he required constant care with daily visits to the doctor or lab. Eventually his health returned, but with the stipulation that he continue to have special care. Judy, her husband, and their son loved Anthony as their own. Around this time, Anthony’s social worker stopped by. She informed the Maderos that they were looking for long-term foster care for Anthony, as there were no relatives able to provide the care he required. Because Judy’s family was contracted as an emergency home, they offered to keep Anthony if they could adopt him. They considered Anthony their own, anyway, and were thrilled at the prospect of binding themselves together legally. But it wasn’t to be.
Two hours after the social worker left she called to inform the Maderos that they would be removing Anthony. Anthony’s aunt (one who just two hours earlier couldn’t provide the care he needed) would be caring for him. All kinds of emotions flooded Judy and her husband as they packed everything Anthony would need. Concern ranked high among the strong emotions. This aunt had no telephone, so wouldn’t be able to call 911, didn’t have a car, and probably didn’t have other resources to provide for Anthony. Judy did all she could to help, typing out instructions, ordering the special formula from the pharmacy that Anthony required, scheduled future doctor visits, and offered prepaid five months more of diaper services since Anthony was allergic to disposable diapers. It was a heartbreaking moment when Anthony left.
Just a month later when Judy was at the Social Service office, she met Anthony’s social worker in the restroom. Anxious to hear about their boy, it was a devastating blow when the social worker told Judy that Anthony had died the previous week. The aunt hadn’t kept any doctor appointments and had never picked up the prescriptions. In short, she didn’t take any care required for the little one.
The following week they were asked to bring another child into their home. This infant had been in the NICU for nearly three weeks. The prognosis was that he would be suffer retardation and be physically disabled. Through tender, loving attention and lots of prayers, the infant boy thrived. When he was about four months old he started to show signs of normal baby behavior such as laughing, cooing, and watching things going on around him. At age five months a doctor confirmed that he was fine. When he was a year and a half old the Maderos contacted social services with the request to adopt him. They had loved him and cared for him his entire life, and, just as with Anthony, considered him theirs. But their petition to adopt was denied . . . again, because they were white parents and he was black.
One day Judy met their County Administrator, who, upon hearing the details of their case decided to champion their cause. Thinking in the best interest of the child, he called the Social Service Director, called his attention to the fact that what they were doing by denying adoption based on race was illegal, and instructed them to take action to ensure this little boy was adopted by the Maderos. Nothing happened.
Time passed. The Maderos prayed fervently, petitioning God to step in. Suddenly the boy developed a growth in his nose. The surgeon wanted to remove it immediately, but the politics involved prevented the surgery. Insurance wouldn’t cover the cost, but the Maderos found out that their insurance would …. If he were their son. With a surgeon and a judge on their side, this little black boy – now three years old – was adopted by the parents who loved and cared for him his entire life. He had the surgery, and as far as the parents can tell, being raised by white parents hasn’t hurt him a bit! Now an adult, he is healthy and successful, and will for all eternity be a Madero.