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Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America

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In America, Mother = White That's what Nefertiti, a single African American woman, discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked when people started asking her why she wanted to adopt a "crack baby" or said that she would never be able to raise a Black son on In America, Mother = White That's what Nefertiti, a single African American woman, discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked when people started asking her why she wanted to adopt a "crack baby" or said that she would never be able to raise a Black son on her own. She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build. Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti's fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single, Black motherhood, and confronts the reality of raising children of color in racially charged, modern-day America. Honest, vulnerable, and uplifting, Motherhood So White reveals what Nefertiti knew all along―that the only requirement for a successful family is one raised with love.


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In America, Mother = White That's what Nefertiti, a single African American woman, discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked when people started asking her why she wanted to adopt a "crack baby" or said that she would never be able to raise a Black son on In America, Mother = White That's what Nefertiti, a single African American woman, discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked when people started asking her why she wanted to adopt a "crack baby" or said that she would never be able to raise a Black son on her own. She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build. Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti's fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single, Black motherhood, and confronts the reality of raising children of color in racially charged, modern-day America. Honest, vulnerable, and uplifting, Motherhood So White reveals what Nefertiti knew all along―that the only requirement for a successful family is one raised with love.

30 review for Motherhood So White: A Memoir of Race, Gender, and Parenting in America

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Giveaway win! I devoured this book like it was a bag of mini Reese's Cups. Nefertiti Austin took the age old advice that "If you can't find the book you want to read, write it yourself" Nefertiti Austin was a single Black woman who had just adopted a sweet little black boy. Despite searching high and low she couldn't find a book written for or about black motherhood. And as far as books about adoption, it seemed as though only white people did that. Nefertiti was further shocked to hear people as Giveaway win! I devoured this book like it was a bag of mini Reese's Cups. Nefertiti Austin took the age old advice that "If you can't find the book you want to read, write it yourself" Nefertiti Austin was a single Black woman who had just adopted a sweet little black boy. Despite searching high and low she couldn't find a book written for or about black motherhood. And as far as books about adoption, it seemed as though only white people did that. Nefertiti was further shocked to hear people ask her why she wanted to adopt a "crack baby". She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens and she set out to do her part to change that. I don't have kids and I don't want any either but I have so much respect mothers especially black mothers, because my mom was THE GREATEST MOTHER WHO EVER LIVED!( I'm sure your mom's okay too!). And I too have noticed how black mothers are treated in our society. Black woman in the United States die in childbirth or in pregnancy related incidents at a rate of over 3x that of white woman. A black child's behavior isn't viewed in the same light as a white child. A white child who shouts out an answer in class is seen as eager and energetic. But a black child who does the same thing is seen as aggressive, a problem. To butcher a Malcolm X quote "Black women are the most disrespected people in the world" But beautiful and smart women like Nefertiti Austin are trying to change that. READ THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    LaToya King

    I received a DIGITAL ADVANCE READER’S COPY of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I recently read a tweet that identified white privilege as everyone learning to empathize and cater to whiteness. Unfortunately, we live in a society that does just that; we teach people to empathize and cater to whiteness in fairytales (think Goldilocks), in religion (white Jesus), and even in parenting. As a mother of two, I have seen the lack of inclusivity in books on expecting, parenting, I received a DIGITAL ADVANCE READER’S COPY of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I recently read a tweet that identified white privilege as everyone learning to empathize and cater to whiteness. Unfortunately, we live in a society that does just that; we teach people to empathize and cater to whiteness in fairytales (think Goldilocks), in religion (white Jesus), and even in parenting. As a mother of two, I have seen the lack of inclusivity in books on expecting, parenting, and living. In a realm that often discredits or neglects the stories of Blacks, let alone Black women, in walks Nefertiti Austin and Motherhood So White. The book enters as a memoir on Austin’s experience adopting as a single Black woman, and narrates the experience of parenting. I was immediately drawn into Austin’s experience as she narrates it as a mother after the devastating death of Trayvon Martin. I, too, found myself rocked by the murder of this young man as I realized that he could have been my son. Beginning her story here was a perfect hook; it grabbed me with the familiarity of the story and it made me go back to the intersectionality among myself, Sabrina Fulton, and Nefertiti Austin; we are (Black) mothers of Black boys. Austin narrates a tale sharing her longing for motherhood. She shares the celebrations and the critiques of her choice to become a mother. She examines her family dynamics and how they factored into her decision. Austin candidly shares the choices she has had to make to be intentional in raising a Black boy. Among her decisions are: who is family, who gets a say, what’s in a name, and when and how to explain adoption. Austin does what any mother has to do; she makes decisions to help her child thrive. While she includes social context, Austin shows that although parenting is always an affair of the heart, there are experiences unique to race. She frames the narrative so that it is not just diverse but inclusive. The book is a good read. It is both informational and relatable.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andre

    A book that will be a useful resource for Black women considering adoption........ Wasn’t it Toni Morrison who said, “if you can’t find the book you want to read, it’s your responsibility to write it.” Well that is exactly what Nefertiti Austin has done. Wanting to be a mother, Nefertiti found scant resources and texts available centered around Black women adopting Black children. So this book details her journey to motherhood through adoption and discovery that white women are normalized and un A book that will be a useful resource for Black women considering adoption........ Wasn’t it Toni Morrison who said, “if you can’t find the book you want to read, it’s your responsibility to write it.” Well that is exactly what Nefertiti Austin has done. Wanting to be a mother, Nefertiti found scant resources and texts available centered around Black women adopting Black children. So this book details her journey to motherhood through adoption and discovery that white women are normalized and universalized around motherhood. It is a bit of surprise that Nefertiti was so taken aback by this. It’s no secret that white people occupy the default position in this society, so for her to be surprised and shocked that this also extends to motherhood is disconcerting. “Despite the long history of relationships between Black mammies, nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers for white children, our consistent erasure in parenting literature confirmed that mother in America would always be read as white.” She details her journey here to adopting a black boy. She is to be commended for that and often writes in such a way that says, ‘I should be celebrated’, though I’m not sure if that’s intentional. In any event, there is now, by her hand a text that will help walk others through the adoption process, while providing support and answers to a myriad of questions. “While Black adoption was common in my community, I was an outlier for wanting to adopt a child I did not know. I was also an outlier among whites for defying stereotypes around single, Black motherhood, but none of this was in writing.” Well now thanks to Nefertiti Austin there is something in writing and hopefully this will lead to others making the choice of adoption and providing a loving home to children, who are all deserving of such an opportunity. Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for an advanced DRC. Book drops Sept. 24, 2019

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This memoir of adoption and motherhood by Neferiti Austin also provides a much needed voice of black women adopting black children. She covers the process, dealing with birth families, dealing with new forms of mansplaining, and funny moments like teaching her son to pee standing up. I think the idea that unifies her experience with other experiences I've heard from adoptive parents is the importance of the community that emerges, which isn't always the people you had in your life before adopting This memoir of adoption and motherhood by Neferiti Austin also provides a much needed voice of black women adopting black children. She covers the process, dealing with birth families, dealing with new forms of mansplaining, and funny moments like teaching her son to pee standing up. I think the idea that unifies her experience with other experiences I've heard from adoptive parents is the importance of the community that emerges, which isn't always the people you had in your life before adopting. I had a copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley and it came out September 24, 2019.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Victoria B.

    I am very conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I appreciate her attempt to bridge the gap on the lack of mom books for Black families, especially those going through adoption. I think many of her thoughts are spot on (especially how too many people assume that adoptable Black children are "crack babies."), and I saw many similarities between the author's experiences and that which my siblings who adopted experienced - the difficulties within the legal process, the unexpected exhaustion o I am very conflicted about this book. On the one hand, I appreciate her attempt to bridge the gap on the lack of mom books for Black families, especially those going through adoption. I think many of her thoughts are spot on (especially how too many people assume that adoptable Black children are "crack babies."), and I saw many similarities between the author's experiences and that which my siblings who adopted experienced - the difficulties within the legal process, the unexpected exhaustion of this tiny bundle of energy, the litany of unknowns. On the other hand, I feel like the author is somewhat judgmental and stereotyping as she condemns others for being judgmental and stereotyping. She blames whites for the lack of representation in adoption literature: "...Black adoptive parents had to be responsible for documenting our own experiences; otherwise we wouldn't even exist in books and imaginations of white people." I get what she's saying, but if white people were to write what she proposes, they would be written through the lens of whiteness and privilege looking in on experiences that we can never fully understand, which would be a huge disservice. We would get it wrong, and there would be anger because we got it wrong. We can't speak for the Black community, nor should we. As women, as mothers, we should all support each other on our journey. Being a mother is hard, no matter how it goes (adoption, IVF, surrogacy, natural, MOMs, etc). I fully recognize that for some parents, they will have many more difficulties than I will in raising our children, and I think that the author does an excellent job of making that clear as well. This book is a thought-provoking, conversation starter for sure. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for my honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    willaful

    Although I was interested in the topic, I couldn't finish this book, because I was so disgusted by the author's smugness. Other women are just baby-making machines to her. She pats herself on the back numerous times for her "altruistic" adoption of a black child -- though she wasn't altruistic enough to accept a child with any kind of issues. The final straw for me was her decision to not let her son have any contact with his biological family, which includes many older siblings who clearly love Although I was interested in the topic, I couldn't finish this book, because I was so disgusted by the author's smugness. Other women are just baby-making machines to her. She pats herself on the back numerous times for her "altruistic" adoption of a black child -- though she wasn't altruistic enough to accept a child with any kind of issues. The final straw for me was her decision to not let her son have any contact with his biological family, which includes many older siblings who clearly loved him. I'm glad she wrote this book because it increases the chances he will find out about his siblings and they will have an idea of how to find him, though I feel terrible for the devastation he'll likely feel when he learns what he was deprived of. Two stars just for the importance of the topic, though it strikes me as a slap in the face to any black mother who decided to have her child adopted or lost custody of her child.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Hupe

    I am a white mother of two white boys. I am trying my best to educate them about race and gender. I want them to be a part of the healing of this country. In order to do that, I need to educate myself. Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin is a memoir that tackles race, gender, and parenting in America. Nefertiti goes through her upbringing and how she was raised by her grandparents because her own parents were young parents and were often gone. When Nefertiti realizes that she is ready to be I am a white mother of two white boys. I am trying my best to educate them about race and gender. I want them to be a part of the healing of this country. In order to do that, I need to educate myself. Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin is a memoir that tackles race, gender, and parenting in America. Nefertiti goes through her upbringing and how she was raised by her grandparents because her own parents were young parents and were often gone. When Nefertiti realizes that she is ready to be a mother, she is single and wanting to adopt a child of her own. She discusses the adoption process but how the system is catered to white parents. When she adopts her son, she is desperate for information to only find there is no information for a single black woman raising a black boy. The world is terrifying for mothers, but we will never know the fear that black mothers experience. The parenting world has no diversity, leaving black mothers behind. “Racism as veiled compliments for Black folks was nothing new. Society could not imagine us as disciplined, hard working committed to perfecting our craft. Rather, strong Black women must be super Negroes with mythical powers who white people could safely cheer for because they were rare enough to be unthreatening. The inhumanity of this gaze is the problem and exactly the point I hoped to make with this book. Motherhood is so white and in need of a revolution.” MOTHERHOOD SO WHITE Wow. This is a beautiful memoir. It is touching, informative, educational, and inspirational. She provides a voice for black mothers, especially mothers adopting black babies. As a mother myself, community is so important. I am a part of a local mom’s group. However, the majority of the moms in the group are white. They are a wonderful group but there are experiences that we couldn’t understand as white women. We need to help this world become more inclusive to ALL mothers. To be more inclusive, we need more representation in every aspect in motherhood, like parenting books. But it goes so much further than that. We live in a society filled with systemic racism. Black women are more likely to die in childbirth. Black boys have a target on their back from birth. Black mothers in the adoption process are seen as “welfare queens”–the only reason why they are fostering or adopting is for the money. Black babies up for adoption being called “crack babies.” Nefertiti Austin really shines a light on a broken system that is meant for white women. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    MikaNici

    This book is rife with respectability politics. The writer makes sweeping (inaccurate) generalizations about Black people as a whole while asserting herself as the authoritative spokesperson for an entire people. Her tone and opinions throughout the book reveal that she has a very low opinion of black people and the black experience. She has absorbed the attitudes of white supremacy about the lives and worth of black people and accepted it as fact.... although she writes (and probably believes) This book is rife with respectability politics. The writer makes sweeping (inaccurate) generalizations about Black people as a whole while asserting herself as the authoritative spokesperson for an entire people. Her tone and opinions throughout the book reveal that she has a very low opinion of black people and the black experience. She has absorbed the attitudes of white supremacy about the lives and worth of black people and accepted it as fact.... although she writes (and probably believes) that she is speaking in opposition of these ideals. I won’t judge the choices she made as a mother, as she is free to do so, however I will say that a great percentage of Black women would not have stripped these two kids of their black identifying names to replace with “acceptable” white passing ones. I hate that she presented that as if it’s a decision that must be made. Nefertiti Austin does not speak for me or many, many of the black people that I know. While I appreciate the contribution to the choice mom community and her sharing her experience as a single adoptive black mother, the writer and this book was largely insufferable. It’s unfortunate that her offering was so ruined by her declaring that she speaks for and represents all rather than just giving an account of her singular experience in this process.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stacie C

    I remember what it was like being pregnant with my son, flipping through the pages of What To Expect When You’re Expecting and preparing my house for a newborn. I was overwhelmed and excited. Motherhood hadn’t been a dream of mine, but with my husband I wanted an addition to my family. I didn’t gravitate towards books about motherhood having helped raise my two nephews and being around younger children throughout my life. It’s now after being a mother for eleven years, after knowing what it’s li I remember what it was like being pregnant with my son, flipping through the pages of What To Expect When You’re Expecting and preparing my house for a newborn. I was overwhelmed and excited. Motherhood hadn’t been a dream of mine, but with my husband I wanted an addition to my family. I didn’t gravitate towards books about motherhood having helped raise my two nephews and being around younger children throughout my life. It’s now after being a mother for eleven years, after knowing what it’s like to raise a Black child that I’ve gravitated towards stories of other Black mothers. This is a memoir outside of my realm. I don’t know what it’s like to adopt a child and what that experience entails. But the more Austin wrote about raising her Black son, who is only a year older than my own child, I felt a kinship. Nothing about being a mother is easy and raising a Black child adds a certain amount of stress that you wouldn’t understand unless you talked to their parents. I learned so much while reading this book and I am so glad that Austin was willing and able to put in to words her experience with adopting a child as a single Black woman. It’s an experience I don’t see in the mainstream anywhere. Austin, within the pages of this memoir, discusses her upbringing and how for various reasons her grandparents stepped in and unofficially adopted her and her younger brother. She expresses the loss she felt not having her parents in the home and the struggle to connect to her mother. She discusses the moment that she wanted to do adopt a child. And one of the most important things that she discusses is the reaction by her community to adopt a child not of her own family relation or kin. We don’t discuss enough how the political language used to describe Black mothers as “welfare queens” and their children as “crack babies” still lingers and affects the way people view adopting Black children, which results in so many Black children being left in foster care. It’s been years since I’ve watched “Losing Isaiah” and though I appreciate the performance of Halle Berry, Samuel L. Jackson and Jessica Lange, I’ll never be able to watch it again. It promotes too many negative stereotypes about Black women and uplifts white saviorism in a way that I can’t and won’t tolerate. Austin does her best to dispel those myths and discuss what it was really like to adopt. These notions have got to be dismantled if we want these children to have good homes. Learning from Austin how to navigate this system and successfully foster/adopt Black children will help so many people in similar situations. The honest truth is that motherhood has centered white women for far too long and it’s beyond time for that to change. Books like this will force that change to happen. We live in a time when Black women are lifting their voices and telling their stories. Austin’s addition to those voices helps promote further change. It’s important to read outside of your experience and the experiences only being promoted in the mainstream. I’ll happily recommend this book. Austin is a great writer who in these pages was able to express succinctly her life and journey to motherhood. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. Thank you Netgalley for this book in exchange for an honest review

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mandi Grasmeyer

    Laughed, cried, and learned so much from this book. So very grateful people like Nefertiti choose to share their stories! See full review at: http://mandigrasmeyer.com/book-review... Laughed, cried, and learned so much from this book. So very grateful people like Nefertiti choose to share their stories! See full review at: http://mandigrasmeyer.com/book-review...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I absolutely hated this book. The author has such a huge chip on her shoulder. Instead of focusing on the universal experience of motherhood and the adoption process, the entire book was a racist rant. No thanks.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it. When Nefertiti Austin, a single African-American woman, decided she wanted to adopt a black baby boy out of the foster care system, she was unprepared for the fact that there is no place for black women in the “mommy wars.” Austin set off on her path without the ability to seek g I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it. When Nefertiti Austin, a single African-American woman, decided she wanted to adopt a black baby boy out of the foster care system, she was unprepared for the fact that there is no place for black women in the “mommy wars.” Austin set off on her path without the ability to seek guidance from others who looked like her or shared her experience. She soon realized that she would not only have to navigate scepticism from the adoption community, who deal almost exclusively with white women but surprisingly, from her own family and friends as well. Motherhood So White is the story of Nefertiti’s fight to create the family she always knew she was meant to have and the story of motherhood that all American families need now. In this unflinching account of her parenting journey, Nefertiti examines the history of adoption in the African American community, faces off against stereotypes of single, black motherhood, and confronts the reality of raising children of colour in racially charged, modern-day America. The only great thing about chicken pox at age 52 (and being a super- speed reader) is you can easily read and review four+++ books a day..and this was an excellent book to have spent an hour or two (or many more on your side) with. This was a gritty, shocking read: I (as a white woman) had no idea this was going on in the USA. I had heard that in general black babies (and infants, and children, and tween-agers and teenagers: you get the drift...) are not adopted readily as most people seek out the "healthy white infant child" that never seems to be found amongst the plethora of mixed-race and coloured children in the system. I was adopted as well but my parents certainly didn't go through what Nefertiti went through: this is an amazing #bookcub worthy book - you may want to read it twice (as I am planning to do) as it is so shocking in its content that I am gladly adding it to my book club's roster of fall 2019 reads. PUT IT ON YOUR SEPTEMBER 2019 reading list, people!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fabulous Book Fiend

    This memoir was truly eye opening and brutally honest. Full review to come...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennice

    So I hear about this book via a new-to-me podcast,Woke Mommy Chatter. What peaked my interest was that Miss Austin was an adoptive parent of two Black children, a boy and a girl and had experienced " Black adoption" in herownupbringing. I am also a product of adoption,though I was legally adopted into my own biological family. I loved the perspective that Miss Austin had on being single, Black, and adopting. I remember my adoption story very well and my mother loves to discuss our journey a lot. So I hear about this book via a new-to-me podcast,Woke Mommy Chatter. What peaked my interest was that Miss Austin was an adoptive parent of two Black children, a boy and a girl and had experienced " Black adoption" in herownupbringing. I am also a product of adoption,though I was legally adopted into my own biological family. I loved the perspective that Miss Austin had on being single, Black, and adopting. I remember my adoption story very well and my mother loves to discuss our journey a lot. She never explained to me how her race and gender played a role in my adoption but this memoir inspired me to ask her about it. I enjoyed hearing how the lack of Black representation in parenting books coaxed Miss Austin to start discussing it openly and honestly with others via public speaking and blogging. I'm more grateful to my mother for altering her life in such a big way to make sure my brothers and I were safe and happy. Miss Austin's experience is real and relatable to me in a big way and I appreciate her candor as well.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    Fills in a glaring gap in motherhood lit. Most parenting books are focused on cishet white women, far less are focused on adoption, and almost none are focused on Black women adopting Black babies, especially if they're male. Austin navigates a world in which her family seem baffled by her choice to adopt, male coworkers mansplain masculinity to her and seem doubtful she can raise a son in a way they approve of, she has to deal with her son's birth family, and she helps forge a community for her Fills in a glaring gap in motherhood lit. Most parenting books are focused on cishet white women, far less are focused on adoption, and almost none are focused on Black women adopting Black babies, especially if they're male. Austin navigates a world in which her family seem baffled by her choice to adopt, male coworkers mansplain masculinity to her and seem doubtful she can raise a son in a way they approve of, she has to deal with her son's birth family, and she helps forge a community for her son. She has a lot of stereotypes about Black babies in the system lobbed at her, even her own family is critical about both the baby she will be adopting and the baby's birth mother. This memoir is enlightening, uplifting, and features more than Austin's necessary voice, she includes several interviews with other Black women who have adopted Black babies.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    I read quite a few parenting books when I was pregnant with my first child back in 2013, but quickly found that most of them followed a strict pattern, centering the middle class white American woman. I ended up resorting to searching for more relatable (to me) motherhood blogs, and also writing my own stories, because I couldn’t see myself in a lot of the content I was reading, and/or it made me feel as if I were failing motherhood in some way. I can’t even imagine how much harder it must have I read quite a few parenting books when I was pregnant with my first child back in 2013, but quickly found that most of them followed a strict pattern, centering the middle class white American woman. I ended up resorting to searching for more relatable (to me) motherhood blogs, and also writing my own stories, because I couldn’t see myself in a lot of the content I was reading, and/or it made me feel as if I were failing motherhood in some way. I can’t even imagine how much harder it must have been for Nefertiti Austin when she started her motherhood journey a few years before I started mine. I can however imagine the constant frustration she must have felt in trying to find information that would be helpful to her own situation and coming up blank, even though you know full well that motherhood experiences exist in all shapes and forms. I’m so happy that Nefertiti Austin wrote her own story, for herself, and for all of us. First of all because motherhood is a unique path that has many intersections, and too many of them are erased (especially stories of Black motherhood). Secondly because we rarely read about Black women and adoption in the US (or elsewhere for that matter), and it is important for everyone to be able to find information that they identify with, but it is also important to be able to read information that helps us all to be better humans (and parents) in general. How can I learn to be a better parent if I only read stories that I relate to? In order to grow, and to help our children grow, we must be willing to learn about all types of experiences. Motherhood So White is beautifully written, and balances Nefertiti’s personal experiences growing up, and her journey as a single black woman through the Californian foster care system in order to adopt a little boy, with the stark realities of what it is like to navigate systems that are dominated by white supremacy. I love how honest she is about her journey into motherhood, how she juggles so many hats, and how she uses her own experience as a way to help others on their own journeys. I learnt so much from this book, especially about the importance of creating your own village, both for parent and child, and hope that it makes it onto all of the top 10 lists this year. These are the parenting stories that should be highlighted, the ones that we shouldn’t have to search for, the ones that are so much more true to life and reality than the ones that are too readily available. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the advance copy, and thanks to Nefertiti Austin for her beautiful, and necessary, memoir.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    I didn't know what to expect with this book. I saw it in one of my Facebook groups so I decide to read it. Some of the reviews that I have read for this book seem a little unfair but everyone is entitled to their opinion. Here is mine...... This book is a about a single African American woman, Nefertit Austin who is over the age of 36 and decides to adopt a child. In the book she discusses how she came to this decision and why she felt it was the right thing for her. She also talks about why she I didn't know what to expect with this book. I saw it in one of my Facebook groups so I decide to read it. Some of the reviews that I have read for this book seem a little unfair but everyone is entitled to their opinion. Here is mine...... This book is a about a single African American woman, Nefertit Austin who is over the age of 36 and decides to adopt a child. In the book she discusses how she came to this decision and why she felt it was the right thing for her. She also talks about why she decide to adopt a child in America as oppose to looking to an outside country like some people chose to do. She also using the term "black adoption", something I have never hear of until reading this book yet it is a concept I know very well since it happens all the time. The author talks about the decision to keep her son away from his biological siblings, regardless of the future fight with him that she know is coming. She talks about her decision to adopt a second child, who happens to be her son's biological sister. She discusses the importance of having her "village", her family and friends who helped her and supported her decision. Granted, she was adopting with or without their support but it was nice to have people to call for advice and support. The book is also about the obstacles she faced when she was trying to research other women like her (who have adopted a child). She was looking for books by women of color and she couldn't find too many. When she did find some, the narrative wasn't positive. Where Caucasian women were praised for doing it on their own, etc., African American women were seen as looking for benefits and free money, etc. I think it is great that the author decide to write a book about her experience. She didn't find many books about single African American women who decide to adopt so she wrote a book about her experience to give a reference/guide to those that do.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Advanced Reading Copies of Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin were provided to my library book club by the Book Club Cookbook through their Galley Match. Along with receiving copies of the book for all our regular book club members we also had a Skype visit with the author! Austin's experience as a single black woman adopting an African American boy inspired her to write her memoir. She discovered a dearth of books that spoke to her personal situation, as if motherhood and adoption were whit Advanced Reading Copies of Motherhood So White by Nefertiti Austin were provided to my library book club by the Book Club Cookbook through their Galley Match. Along with receiving copies of the book for all our regular book club members we also had a Skype visit with the author! Austin's experience as a single black woman adopting an African American boy inspired her to write her memoir. She discovered a dearth of books that spoke to her personal situation, as if motherhood and adoption were white-only experiences. Austin addresses issues of systemic racism and stereotypes, the demands of California's adoption system, and the work and joy of raising a child as a single parent. The book club has immensely enjoyed talking to the authors of our book selections, both because the writers become 'real' and so we can ask questions. We learned that Austin's editor said her first draft was too impersonal, her second draft too revealing! That makes three drafts on the road to publication! Also that she changed names to protect people's privacy. Overall, our readers felt the book was educational and thought-provoking and thought Austin was delightful. Several readers 'loved' the book, one did not care for it. Several people also gained insight into the African American worldview and experience that was new to them.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is a fantastic memoir about black motherhood, about being a black adoptive mother, and about all the ways that the way our society equates motherhood with whiteness, and how deeply that harms parents, kids, and families. It's a good blend of personal narrative--Austin is candid and open about her whole experience with adoption--and broader social commentary, both about the way black single and adoptive mothers are perceived and treated, and about the lack of books, resources, and media abou This is a fantastic memoir about black motherhood, about being a black adoptive mother, and about all the ways that the way our society equates motherhood with whiteness, and how deeply that harms parents, kids, and families. It's a good blend of personal narrative--Austin is candid and open about her whole experience with adoption--and broader social commentary, both about the way black single and adoptive mothers are perceived and treated, and about the lack of books, resources, and media about/for/created by black mothers.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lorilin

    Learned a lot from this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jill Laker

    Probably one of the most important books I will ingest this year. Amazing how bias so easily slips into everything, even with families and caring for children. While I can commiserate with the purely motherhood parts of this book, learning the culture around minority adoption and parenting was very emotional for me. I long for us to live in a simpler world with open eyes and a heart set towards understanding.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    This book was recommended to me after I read All the Sweeter: Families Share Their Stories of Adopting from Foster Care by Jean Minton. Both books detail the experience of adopting through the U.S. Foster system, with a focus on California. However, Ms. Austin's book is a much more personal accounting of not only her journey into motherhood, but her own life story as a Black woman and the experiences that impacted her decision to adopt a Black boy from the foster system. As a white woman, I found This book was recommended to me after I read All the Sweeter: Families Share Their Stories of Adopting from Foster Care by Jean Minton. Both books detail the experience of adopting through the U.S. Foster system, with a focus on California. However, Ms. Austin's book is a much more personal accounting of not only her journey into motherhood, but her own life story as a Black woman and the experiences that impacted her decision to adopt a Black boy from the foster system. As a white woman, I found this book to be so informative and enlightening, as well as heartbreaking. I feel for Nefertiti's experiences as a young girl trying to find her way and figure out how she will define herself, as well as her struggles as a new mother looking for resources that can provide the information she seeks - and the frustration of not finding much of anything out there that represents her situation. I'm also extremely impressed by her determination and resourcefulness in building a support network that met her needs and allowed her to be the mother she wanted and knew she would be. As the exhausted mother of a toddler, I'm in awe. I also really appreciated her inclusion of some short case studies/interviews with other single Black women who had adopted children. I read this as her practicing what she preached and providing a much needed resource for other women who might be looking for the same resources she had been. Now they will be lucky enough to find this gem! Important reading for anyone interested in adopting from the foster system, as well as those (read: white people) striving to increase their own knowledge and understanding of Black culture and the impact of racism, implicit bias, prejudice, stereotypes on the decisions and actions Black parents take to provide their children with the best possible life.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    College history instructor Nefertiti Austin could not find a parenting book that spoke to her experience as the Black single mother of an adopted Black son. She writes, “[M]y quest for narratives about Black mothers would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but the white woman’s story would be told over and over.” Her book is not, however, primarily a manifesto or academic take examining this form of white centrality, though it certainly does do that. It is at heart a memoir, peppered wi College history instructor Nefertiti Austin could not find a parenting book that spoke to her experience as the Black single mother of an adopted Black son. She writes, “[M]y quest for narratives about Black mothers would be like looking for a needle in a haystack, but the white woman’s story would be told over and over.” Her book is not, however, primarily a manifesto or academic take examining this form of white centrality, though it certainly does do that. It is at heart a memoir, peppered with historical and cultural knowledge, meant to fill the gap she identified and give Black women encouragement in deciding “how to curate a family.” In other words, "Motherhood So White" is not written for me, and every word of this review should be taken with a grain of that salt. That said, Austin also writes to “begin to bridge the racial divide that currently encapsulates motherhood.” She seeks to inform white mothers what it’s like to have the word “single” synonymized with “welfare” when you happen to be Black. What it’s like to tell your child “that no one would look at him and assume he was a train aficionado or catcher for the championship Cardinals. The opposite would be true. White people would see a Black boy and judge him according to their preconceived notions.” What it’s like to have white teachers call a boy “angry” whenever he “may have been frustrated or annoyed or irritated.” What it’s like to be denied affection and softness, inculcated into “a hypermasculine culture that would protect [an African American male] on the outside but slowly kill him on the inside.” Women like me need to be informed and reminded of these differences between the two experiences of motherhood, as well as our duty to “be aware of … privilege and seek to build community with all mothers, regardless of race, religion, or socioeconomics.” On the flip side, Austin seeks to remind us that “Black mothers have a lot of child-rearing experience and plenty to say about the state of preschool, family leave, healthcare, nutrition, bullying, video games, and our socioeconomically segregated school system.” If we can focus on these commonalities and “coalesce[] around even one of these issues, it would ease the emotional and financial burden of parenting we all experience,” she writes. It is undoubtedly a worthy endeavor. As for execution, Austin’s prose not infrequently disappoints, becoming repetitive at both the level of theme and detail. But it can sing too, especially when she reflects on her father: “He never kicked his drug habit and was hooked on heroin when he was murdered in 1991, a victim of his own misdeeds and Black men’s expendability in America.” Austin also nails her takedown of a CNN article: “Blake did what mainstream media typically did to communities of color: affixed a label and then left us holding a bag filled with scandalous statistics, half-truths, and self-loathing.” All told, "Motherhood So White" is both a worthwhile read and a valuable addition to the genre, even for those sitting outside the target audience. (Gail Cornwall is a former lawyer and public school teacher who now works as a stay-at-home mother and freelance writer in San Francisco.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Echo C

    Another book that I didn’t hate. I didn’t love it either but it had its moments. First thing, I’m not sure what the author’s actual name is. She recalls a childhood memory of learning how to write her name. During this time, she spells her name N E F F E T I T I and refers to it as her parents’ spin on Nefertiti. In every other instance her name is spelled N E F E R T I T I. It’s not a big deal but it left me a little confused. Maybe I missed the part where she changes her name. IDK Reading the s Another book that I didn’t hate. I didn’t love it either but it had its moments. First thing, I’m not sure what the author’s actual name is. She recalls a childhood memory of learning how to write her name. During this time, she spells her name N E F F E T I T I and refers to it as her parents’ spin on Nefertiti. In every other instance her name is spelled N E F E R T I T I. It’s not a big deal but it left me a little confused. Maybe I missed the part where she changes her name. IDK Reading the section entitled “A Conversation with the Author” ultimately led me to my real issue with this book. She writes “...this observer perspective did not bode well for a memoir, and early versions were too academic. Since I wanted to connect with readers, I took a deep breath and stepped out of my comfort zone.” It definitely shows. I think she swung too far in the opposite direction. This book rightfully focuses on her experiences BUT I would have appreciated more factual information provided as background to her experiences. All in all, it wasn’t a terrible book but it left me wanting more.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Susie Dumond

    When Nefertiti Austin set out to adopt, she searched for resources for single Black moms of adopted children. She wasn't surprised by the dearth of materials. But she was surprised when she couldn't even find race-neutral resources. Based on the total lack of narratives like hers, she sat down to write the memoir/resource the world was missing. Motherhood So White is such an important book, and it will be crucial to many mothers and children that don't see their experience reflected in media. Au When Nefertiti Austin set out to adopt, she searched for resources for single Black moms of adopted children. She wasn't surprised by the dearth of materials. But she was surprised when she couldn't even find race-neutral resources. Based on the total lack of narratives like hers, she sat down to write the memoir/resource the world was missing. Motherhood So White is such an important book, and it will be crucial to many mothers and children that don't see their experience reflected in media. Austin struck a great balance of her own experience, research, and examination of how society treats single Black mothers of adopted kids. Her story is engaging, eye-opening, and definitely worth a read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    The description alone is rather racist (and also kinda sexist). Also couples have a better chance of adopting. And too many black women get an abortion (or 2).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kayo

    So informative. Great information if your looking to foster or adopt . Loved the realness. Like to know an update on authors life now. Nice book. Thanks to author,publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book. While I got the book for free,it had no bearing on the rating I gave it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Basma

    When I first saw the title I immediately requested an advanced copy because I realized out of all the books I read that deal with motherhood in any way; the experience of being a mother, of not being a mother, of choosing to be childfree, of choosing adoption..etc, non of the ones I read or the ones I am able to find and access as easily are written by Black or Brown women. I hope this books gets as hyped as the rest of the motherhood books because it deserves it. This book is about Nefertiti Aus When I first saw the title I immediately requested an advanced copy because I realized out of all the books I read that deal with motherhood in any way; the experience of being a mother, of not being a mother, of choosing to be childfree, of choosing adoption..etc, non of the ones I read or the ones I am able to find and access as easily are written by Black or Brown women. I hope this books gets as hyped as the rest of the motherhood books because it deserves it. This book is about Nefertiti Austin's journey to being a single mother adopting first a black boy from the foster system and later adopting a little girl. There's so much about Nefertiti's story, her experience, her upbringing and her support system that is so different from all the ones I read previously and I can see how important this is as a resource. It was interesting and informative. Nefertiti explains how when she was going through the process herself she barely found books or resources to fall back on and had to rely on her community and if she did find any it was 1-2 books and they still didn't cover the process she was going through exactly. There is so much to unpick from this book from the stories of single mothers, single black mothers, the foster system, the crack baby stereotypes, the school system, literature and the intersection of being black and a woman and what that entails within the black community. The introduction of this book was powerful. How can you teach a young kid about racism and police brutality and finding a balance between making him aware but not scaring him too much? How can you teach a young kid that wearing your hood is seen as a form of danger or that people will never believe you're as young as you say you are? It's scary and I can't image what that is like. Black and brown kids are getting taught what prejudice is, what systematic racism and privilege is from a very young age and that's scary but also very very important considering the current political climate. We all view parenting differently or could have different experiences and whether or not you are on board with how certain aspects are being handled or certain points of view, I think reading from different voices is vital. (I received a free e-book copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Cavar

    There was so much to love and to hate about this book. I loved its approach to Black motherhood, I love its unique perspective on foster kids/ the "crack baby" myth, the meaning of "family," and the face of adoptive parenthood. Generally not a fan of mommy memoirs, this was fresh and exciting, well-written, too. And yet. The gender-essentialism, especially toward the end, was unbearable. This is especially true given Austin's defiant approach to single-parenting a boy, which I really rooted for There was so much to love and to hate about this book. I loved its approach to Black motherhood, I love its unique perspective on foster kids/ the "crack baby" myth, the meaning of "family," and the face of adoptive parenthood. Generally not a fan of mommy memoirs, this was fresh and exciting, well-written, too. And yet. The gender-essentialism, especially toward the end, was unbearable. This is especially true given Austin's defiant approach to single-parenting a boy, which I really rooted for in the first ~2/3! She somehow claims (truthfully) that she is not deficient as a single mom, but later (falsely) that there exist traits inherent to daughters and sons that make them differently-desirable, and that gender-preference in birth and adoption is something that should be approached uncritically! I was also really, really disappointed with the approach to class, drugs, and disability here. From the framing of her son's birth mother ("insane") to the desperate reassurance that her son was normal, that is, not neurodivergent, despite his mother's struggles, was painful to read. It seemed like she was making the case for the adoption of "problem children", but only because they may be turned "normal" by the Right kind of parent. Ditto when the daughter came into her life –– I couldn't help but roll my eyes when she spoke gratefully that, in fact, the girl wasn't developmentally delayed, but simply undersocialized! A world in which "normal" kids are a celebration will always be one in which disabled kids are "tragedies." I fear her children will grow up internalizing these attitudes, including about their poor, disabled birth mom, too. I also think the picture of adoption this painted was a bit rosy, not in the sense that it was "easy" but rather in the sense that it was, apart from unaccepting AP family members, morally uncomplicated. I've been reading more about what adoptees and former foster kids have to say about this system and the issues I outlined above, and I have to say, Austin's pitches for the value of adoption suggest that she hasn't been in conversation with a lot of the most outspoken adoptee activists. So, I'm very mixed here. Very. Take what you will, and I think, regardless, this book is worth a very-critical read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I won this book via Goodread's First Reads, it was a recent win and I have many other books to read (as always), I moved it up on my to-read list due to the current climate in the US. I wanted to try to understand the black experience better and in an area outside of the current public discussion. The book is written in a very conversational tone, the authors goals for the book are clearly stated, and it is very personable and friendly. This book gave me insight into several things: adoption in I won this book via Goodread's First Reads, it was a recent win and I have many other books to read (as always), I moved it up on my to-read list due to the current climate in the US. I wanted to try to understand the black experience better and in an area outside of the current public discussion. The book is written in a very conversational tone, the authors goals for the book are clearly stated, and it is very personable and friendly. This book gave me insight into several things: adoption in general, single motherhood, and being a black mom. It explored stereotypes of black moms, black children, foster care, adoption, and kids in the foster care system. Some of these stereotypes I was familiar with, others were new to me. Nefertiti's story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. (I'm sorry for your losses.) It is terrible sad how young black men are when they are perceived as threats by so many people (they are still practically babies), I can't imagine the difficulty of trying to explain this to your son well enough to make him cautious while avoiding making him scared to go outside and live a normal life. The amount of energy, emotional and mental, it must take to constantly be hyper-vigilant while also not appearing tense must be utterly exhausting. If you are interested in what it's like to be a single, black adoptive mother, I highly recommend this book.

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