Above is a shot of Kim Whitley, son Noah, and a really good look.
Three years ago, actress and comedienne Kym Whitley had a big decision to make.
The girl she had been mentoring gave birth and left the baby with the hospital maternity ward—along with Whitley's phone number. Suddenly, Whitley had one hour to decide: Would she adopt this girl's newborn boy?
The actress said yes, named the baby Joshua and asked her friends (aka "The Village") for help—including on-again, off-again love Rodney, who is Joshua's adoptive father.
Whitley is chronicling her parenting adventures on her show Raising Whitley, which just kicked off its second season on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Whitley talked to mom.me about her adventures in motherhood and what she wants 3-year-old Joshua to always know.
What went through
your mind when you got that first phone call?
"This is a joke." I'm like, "This can't be real." That was the
first thing. And the second thing was fear. The third thing was, "What are you
going to do?" That and "This is a gift. You don't want to miss out on an
opportunity." All those thoughts were rushing through my mind.
What do you want
Joshua to know about his birth mom?
Since I used to mentor her, of course I know her, and Joshua
will meet her when the time is right, but I want him to know that he wasn't
abandoned. That his mother loved him enough to make sure that he had a better
life. That she gave him to someone that pretty much was raising her. That's
what I want him to know—that he's loved.
What's been the
biggest challenge for you as a mom—other than that first decision?
There are different challenges every day, but the biggest one
is: Am I doing this right? How and when do you ask for help? Just learning. Life goes so fast. He has allergies, so making sure I'm feeding him right, all
of those challenges.
How are you dealing with Joshua's allergies, and how are you teaching him to deal with those?
Now that he's getting a little older, he actually says the word "peanuts." So he'll say, "peanut allergies." He doesn't really understand, but I tell him, "No peanuts." What I did was create a shirt for him, because I didn't know how to protect him. It's a Don't Feed Me shirt, and I put his name on it. If I send him to a new school, I can check off what he's allergic to, and (he has) a little bag that I put an EpiPen and his Benadryl in.
Is there anything you've done as a mom that you said you'd never do?
Oh yeah. I said, "He's not going to be spoiled." He woke up
last night, it was like midnight, and he was like, "Juice?" I was like, "Oh, I
would never give him juice at night." I gave him a little juice and little
water. He was like, "Can I watch TV?" I was like, "No." He goes, "Just a little
bit?" "Oh, OK." I'm the worst!
know from the beginning that you would have such a tight-knit circle—"The Village"—to help you raise your son?
No. It was shocking that they all agreed. But more
importantly, they all came to me individually and, at one point or another,
said, "Thank you." I had one come to me and say, "Thank you for letting me be part
of Joshua's life. He's made me a better person. I want to buy a house now." So
I was like, "Wow, this little baby has changed a few lives."
You're dating. Do you
have any rules about that when it comes to your son?
In the recent episode, you will see that I have a guest come
in town. And things happen. Later in the season, you'll see how in my momma's
mind, I had to say, "Wait a minute. Things have to be different now because I
have a son." So there are rules—when do you introduce the child to someone
you're dating? Should you introduce them? So it's a whole lotta boundaries
I don't want to fall in love with someone and then my son
falls in love with them and now we break up and now you're breaking up with my
son. That is awful. A child should not have to go through a breakup—many
breakups—because they have plenty of time in life to have breakups.
Do you think you and
Rodney will end up together?
It's going to get spicy! You've got to watch the show, and find out what