When a mother gives her baby up for adoption she chooses who will be the new parents by looking at photo and reading about their lives. “Naturally, a gay couple isn’t always the first to be chosen,” – Feldman Feldman In Fran McDermid and Sylvia Feldman’s case the couple got exactly what they were looking for.
Fran McDermid, 45, and Sylvia Feldman, 54, who live in State College, Pennsylvania had finally completed the adoption process after waiting three long years. On August 27, 2011 the couple unexpectedly received a phone call. The birth mother of their soon to be twin children was going into labor, 5 weeks early, over 2,400 miles away in Reno, Nevada. Making their way to Nevada was difficult with many flights on the East Coast booked due to Hurricane Irene. Finally, they found a flight in Cleveland. Weary of their travels and a lifetime of waiting Sylvia and Fran held their newborn twins, Noah and Sorijah, for the first time. “In spite of a good bit of fatigue, exhilaration, and healthy bit of fear. I’d say there was a whole mixture of emotions going on when we finally laid eyes on our kids. It was profoundly and indescribably incredible” – Feldman
At their age Fran and Sylvia wanted to adopt twins because they knew how long the adoption process would take. “I was going to love our kids, I can’t say I was hoping for white kids over brown kids but I knew I was going to love our kids”- Feldman
Growing up in a predominantly white upper class area of Connecticut Fran said “I’d be naive to say I didn’t have racial biases”- McDermid. Her perception of race was based on what she had been taught and what she had seen. “I’ve come to learn that everybody has [racial biases] and growth comes from admitting you have them”- McDermid
Born and raised in State College, Pennsylvania, Sylvia, who remembers two black families growing up and noticed very little racial diversity. “I didn’t really think about race growing up. I wouldn’t say I’m aware of bias but I probably have one internalized.” – Feldman
According to the US Census, in 2015 the State College population is 42,129. 79% are white, 10% are Asian, 4% are black, and 4% are Hispanic. Most individuals of different racial backgrounds come to State College for the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs.
Noah and Sorijah attend the State College Friends Pre-School, where they are the only biracial children in their class and the Milbrook Marsh Outdoor School. Fran and Sylvia meet with the twin’s teachers throughout the year, but were initially surprised to see a lack of racial diverse learning material in the school. Learning material that represents different ethnic and cultural backgrounds introduces students to the diverse world they live in today. The schools now provide various books that represent culturally diverse backgrounds. As Noah and Sorijah move onto kindergarten next year, their teachers predict they won’t be the only biracial children in attendance.
During their first 5 years as parents Fran and Sylvia have felt an overwhelming amount of acceptance as two mothers with biracial twins in the State College area. They aim to surround themselves and their children with encouraging people and groups.