*Actress and comedian Kym Whitley has returned with the second season of her hit reality show “Raising Whitley,” a humorous, poignant docs-series following Whitley and her riotous collective of friends – whom she calls “The Village” – as they attempt to raise a baby together.
EUR caught up with Kym ahead of the second season premiere at the OWN lot, where she gushed about being the adoptive mother to budding boy Joshua. She also shared some of the advice she offers single mothers and adoptive parents who hit her up expressing how much her series serves as an inspiration.
What type of response have you received from parents of adopted children, as well as from single moms?
Kym: Adoptive parents always want to now when is a good time to tell your child and how do you tell you child. My best suggestion is with pictures. You make a photo album from the day they’re born, with all the people that love them. Some people have open adoptions, so they might have the birth parents pictures in there. Just a whole picture book where you can tell the story, and leave the book out, don’t hide it, so he can go through it every now and then. Always start the conversation with, ‘I love you and I chose you, and your adoptive parents gave you up but the kind of love for a mother to give up a child is way beyond anything. She really loved you, and she loves you to give you to me.’
“They need to learn how to ask for help to build their support system, which is the village. But what happens is, we think we’re superwomen. Were not gonna ask and somebody is going to suffer and it’s usually the child. You’re not asking for people to babysit. You’re asking people to help you raise your child. That is a whole bigger ask, and people respect that way more than ‘you just want me to watch him so you can go do this…’
“I need you to help me raise (my child)” means being in my life, being my support system every now and then, and offer something to the person when they come over. You make sure your house is comfortable, fully stocked with food. If they like to read books, you better have some books. Have a good couch and Netflix. Make your house inviting, and if you’re not an inviting person, you’re not going to have a support system because they don’t like you, and that’s not fair.
What advice do you give adoptive parents who worry about the possible day the birth parent(s) returns seeking a relationship with the child they gave up?
Kym: That happens a lot. I’ve had friends who have gone through that. The first thing is, that day will come and you have to decide how you’re going to handle it. If you’re going to handle it in front of the child, you can never show any aggression. If they just show up, you take them to the side and ask them to leave or what do they want, because it’s really up to the kid. If the kid wants a relationship with the birth mom or birth dad, it is up to the child. You try to hold it off as long as possible cause you need to bond with the child, and you want the child to have a normal life as long as possible because one thing with children is, they’re always going to worry about their birth parents if they’re not in the house.
Tell us about your growth as a woman and mother throughout this process. Have you learned anything surprising about yourself?
Kym: The biggest thing I’ve learned is that, I can do this. If you can be a parent and a single mom, you are almost superwoman, but it’s about surrounding yourself with people that support you. I’ve learned that it has made me focus more, and that this career is just a career. My wonderful life is my child, and building memories and loving someone everyday.
“Raising Whitley” airs Saturdays at 10/9c on OWN.