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#1 of 16 Old 10-31-2011, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope that wasn't inflammatory.  It was hard to pick a title.

 

Dh and I would like to adopt in the nebulus "someday."  One of the things we've talked about is that while WE are open to anybody joining our family, we aren't sure it's fair to them.  Everyone around us is just like us.  We do not live, and nor is it foreseeable that we would live, in an area with good diversity.  Pbff, with any diversity.

 

Is it okay to bring a child of a different race into a community where there will, quite literally, be no one like them?  I don't think anyone would be racist or mean, I just...feel like a child ought to look a little like *somebody*.  Am I wrong about that?  Is it a valid concern?

 

Thanks for your thoughts.


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#2 of 16 Old 10-31-2011, 11:08 AM
 
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From all the classes I have taken and books I have read that is a very valid concern.  Our little one is mixed but we have "some" diversity where we live.  I know of adoptive families that have moved because they wanted more diversity for their child.  I don't think you should let it stop you from adopting because there is a need for families for black babies, etc but seek advice from other who have been there and done that.  I have read some very interesting articles from young adults and their thoughts on being the only asian or black etc. in an all white city their whole life-very interesting (some are very angry and others thought their parents prepared them well for racism in college ect.).  Check out www.adoptivefamilies.com I am new to this and I would love to hear more from others.


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#3 of 16 Old 10-31-2011, 11:18 AM
 
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I think it is a very valid concern.

 

Personally I knew quite a few adopted children growing up, but because they had grown up in families just like my own (white middle class) I must say I never ever thought about them looking different. In the way they behaved, the way they talked etc. they were literally just like me.

 

I think generally, colour becomes an issue when people make it an issue. But then...anything can become an issue. Me wearing glasses was certainly an issue when I was in school, as was my love of classical music...you just never know.

 

I wouldn't worry. Especially not today, in a society where I am sure you could get into touch with people from your child's cultural background so that she or he could keep in touch with that part of their heritage.

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#4 of 16 Old 10-31-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovesong View Post

I think it is a very valid concern.

 

Personally I knew quite a few adopted children growing up, but because they had grown up in families just like my own (white middle class) I must say I never ever thought about them looking different. In the way they behaved, the way they talked etc. they were literally just like me.

 

I wonder what the actual adoptee's experience was tho.... their perspective. Literally they were not just like you they were adopted and of another race.

You must have noticed it though or you would not be posting it.

 

 

 

I commend the OP for asking this question. I would research not only what adoptive parents think.... I would ask adult adoptee's of the race you want to adopt how it was for them growing up in a similar situation and now how it is for them being adults.  I am sure you will get a spectrum of answers.

You can google adoptee blogs, transracial adoptee blogs, international adoptee blogs and see what they are saying.

 


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#5 of 16 Old 10-31-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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I put 3 years of research, thought, prayer, discussion with my husband and training/licensing into becoming a foster-adoptive parent, and have had our 2 ,3 and 4 year old with us for 3 months now. They are African-American and we are white.

Most of the research shows children of another race than their parents really need SOME connection with the race or culture. So yes, I would think twice if you are unable to move from an area with no racial diversity. However, the greater evil is still minority children are adopted at low rates and age out of the foster system. Statistics for those children are grim...children that age out of the foster system are very likely to end up on the streets, drugs, in prison, pregnant at a young age, etc. 

The area where we live is somewhat racially diverse (I guess I can specify: equally white and Hispanic, but very small African American community). We also are willing to move one day. We are working hard at linking our children with their race, heritage and culture (are visiting an Episcopal church with a black Father, and mostly Hispanic congregation, take them to a black salon with just wonderful ladies that are supporting us, regular play dates with our friend who has 2 African-American foster children and 1 bi-racial adopted child, etc). It will be a life long task. Maybe one day they will be angry at me, and I will sit and listen and not judge them. I anguished over if I was doing the right thing just before bringing them home. I am at peace that the answer is yes, BUT with a LOT of conditions. A lot of work, humility and love. 


Happily married to DH for 6 years, in process to foster-adopt 3 children DD4, DS3 and DS2. We may be bringing half brother age 9 one day as well! We are not infertile, we just have decided that since there are precious children who need homes there is no need for us to have biological children.

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#6 of 16 Old 10-31-2011, 10:53 PM
 
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I would think some of it will depend on you.

 

Personally, I am a blonde, blue-eyed white chick. What do I know about raising a black man? Because, afterall, that is what a young black boy will become. I don't know how to teach him to walk down the street to possible looks I've never gotten. I don't know how to teach him to go to an interview for a post-college job in a primarily white business. I don't know...well, I don't know what I don't know.

 

Plus, he should be raised understanding and participating in his heritage. Whether that's going to Juneteenth celebrations or whatever. Frankly, I'm not interested in that. My interests lay in other areas. Sure, if I brought a black kid into my family I would do that stuff, but I wouldn't really be interested and he would probably pick up on that.

 

For some kids the only chance they have of having a family is to go into a multi-racial home. I don't think that's necessarily the best choice for them, but it may be the only choice and that's better than nothing. I just hope that whoever opens their hearts and their homes to these kids is prepared to teach them all the things I wouldn't know how to teach them.


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#7 of 16 Old 11-01-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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We are adopting transracially. We live in a pretty diverse area with plenty of other transracial families (through interracial marriage, adoption, step-families, etc.). However, I only have a few friends of color and none are very close friends (yet). I've done a lot of reading on the topic and a lot of thinking. And while I do think that it's important for white parents to educate themselves about race issues and to make friends with people of color and expose their children of color to situations where their children are not "othered," I think there are other fundamental things that are more important. For example, lack of permanency is so detrimental to children that exiting from fostercare as quickly as possible should be the highest priority for anyone seriously concerned with child welfare. There is a thread here about that: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1329733/fascinating-article-on-korean-adoption. And the book, Nobody's Children: Abuse and Neglect, Foster Drift, and the Adoption Alternative by Elizabeth Bartholet, addresses the issue in depth.

 

Furthermore, all parents ought to educate themselves about race issues so they can raise anti-racist children. In my opinion, the emphasis on transracial adoptive parents to learn more about race than other white parents is misplaced. In order to combat racism and to provide an environment where all children thrive, ALL parents must learn to reject racism and raise children who reject racism as well. What's worse: children of color who have lost their racial identity and/or suffer from low self-esteem as a result of ignorant yet well-meaning "colorblind" parents or white children who continue to ignore white privilege and prepetuate racism at every turn, blindly oppressing people of color? I'm not sure which is worse, but they're both problematic and I do not believe that race-matching in adoption will solve either problem.

 

In my own path to adoption I have seen firsthand many other issues that I consider to be far more fundamental than race - drugs, poverty, mental illness, abuse, neglect, and instability. Children deserve stable, safe, loving homes and they deserve them now! They can't wait until we live in a post-racial society.

 

However, regarding race, I suggest you read these:

Inside Transracial Adoption by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race-Conscious World by Marguerite A. Wright

Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption by Barbara Katz Rothman and William Loren Katz

http://loveisntenough.com/

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#8 of 16 Old 11-01-2011, 07:44 AM
 
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Marsupial Mom- great post. I really appreciate your statements so much!smile.gif


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#9 of 16 Old 11-01-2011, 08:05 AM
 
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Quote:

 What do I know about raising a black man?


The thing is, one could have a child who has any number of issues that makes that child walk a path different from the parent. What would your husband know about raising a daughter? What would you know about raising a son? What does a hearing parent know about raising a deaf child? I dont think you need to immediately become an expert in all things "black" (for example) to raise a black child. I dont think i know a single black person who celebrates Kwanzaa or Juneteenth. 

 

That being said, adopting a child of another race or culture does come with some added responsibility. You need to be willing to learn and not fall into the "i dont see his color" trap. You need to confront any inner prejudices you might have. You might have to educate your family, your school, your community and you may have to cut ties with anyone or anyplace that is hurting your child.

 

I live in a mostly white area and am raising three black kids as a single white woman (and one redhead, who has gotten waaaaay more intrusive comments throughout his childhood about his looks that my other three ever did!) My daughter who is 9 goes to a school where there are only a few other black students and only one in her class (a suburban biracial girl who i bet the other kids identify as white, while my daughter is quite darkskinned and grew up in the inner city)...she doesnt like it. It sometimes makes her feel uncomfortable (although less so now that a year has passed than when she first moved in.) It helps that she is super outgoing and great at making fast friends. But i believe that giving her permanency and a safe loving home is paramount. I've learned to do her hair and talk openly with her about race. One thing that helps is that we do live in a suburb of a metro area and there are people who "look like her" at the grocery store, the post office, etc.

 

 

Quote:
For some kids the only chance they have of having a family is to go into a multi-racial home. I don't think that's necessarily the best choice for them, but it may be the only choice and that's better than nothing. I just hope that whoever opens their hearts and their homes to these kids is prepared to teach them all the things I wouldn't know how to teach them.

 

I used to think that "all things being equal of family of the same race is preferable"...but in reality it doesnt work like that. I actually fought a relative for two of my kids (she dropped out of consideration before it got too far), and while my children's cultural needs would have likely been met by her, i dont believe their need for safety or living in a healthy environment free from drama would have been met. I dont think our family is "better than nothing" i think especially for one of my son's we are the PERFECT family. There would have been families lined up for him to adopt, in fact the initial foster call was made to another FM (a black woman) but she wasnt home. She actually said to me a year later when we were up at the agency "He was supposed to be mine!" and it gave me the chills. My son has some special emotional needs (nothing major, more like personality quirks) that means he fits so perfectly in our family, we totally "get" him...i think had he gone to a more "normal" typical family, he might have been really hurt.

 

My other son really needs a dad in his family. We have uncles but what he would love is a dad (specifically his bio dad but that of course isnt happening) but his bond to our family is more important than that need.

 

Maybe im not articulating myself well but i do think that as more and more families adopt transracially we need to let go of the idea that "well, its not ideal but since no one wanted these kids, its better than nothing."

 

I dont think anyone should feel guilty for not adopting transracially. Its a personal choice and i applaud anyone for knowing their limits. But i also would hate to see someone close the door on considering it if they feel they first must immerse themselves in their child's birth culture in order to provide a healthy environment for that child because that so far has not been my experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#10 of 16 Old 11-03-2011, 12:54 PM
 
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We are  in the process of adopting a Black infant.  We purposely moved (we were needing to move anyway out of our rental home) to a neighborhood that is equally mixed between Blacks and Whites.  We have cultivated stronger friendships with African Americans in our circles of friends (one of whom has promised to help me with hair so that our child isn't the obvious child of White parents as she put it).  We also attend a church that we love that thankfully has a couple African Americans in positions of leadership and is active in the community with racial reconciliation (our city is extremely racially divided both historically and currently).  We think all these things are important for us as future parents of a Black child.

 

 


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#11 of 16 Old 11-04-2011, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your replies and perspectives.  A lot to think about.


"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#12 of 16 Old 12-04-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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Quote:

 

In my own path to adoption I have seen firsthand many other issues that I consider to be far more fundamental than race - drugs, poverty, mental illness, abuse, neglect, and instability. Children deserve stable, safe, loving homes and they deserve them now! They can't wait until we live in a post-racial society.

 

 


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#13 of 16 Old 12-04-2011, 05:25 PM
 
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I just wanted to add to this thread.

 

I am an adoptee (from Korea to white parents) and grew up in a non-diverse town until I was 8. Honestly, it was really, really awful and I wouldn't recommend it if if you have the choice. People wouldn't believe me that my parents were my parents, kids would always ask why I didn't look like them. It was a lot of explaining and honestly, it was a PITA and made me feel really different and out of place. I was treated very badly by other children *and* adults. Parents would allow their kids to make racist remarks to me and I was discriminated against by teachers at my school.

 

I think this is the danger if you live in a non diverse place - you might not know how racist your neighbours are if they have never been placed in that position! 

 

Feel free to PM me if you would like to talk about this further.

 

Good luck on making your decision


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#14 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 10:56 AM
 
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We have one adopted child...she is Korean-American, we are Euro-American.  Our other children are also Euro-American.  We know a lot of other adoptive families that are White/Asian, but most of them have been smarter than us--they've adopted twice, so that their child has another sibling of the same race and/or ethnicity.  Having dd be the only adopted, and the only Asian, in our family is something I worry about...it's not ideal for her.

 

That's one of the tricky things about being an adoptive family (in my opinion).  Sometimes what's ideal for the adopted member of the family isn't what's ideal for the rest of the family.  Whether it's finances, or where you live...there's often a conflict between what's feasible and what's best for your adopted child.  Or, for another example, a conflict between family goals and what's best for your adopted child....We always wanted to live out in the country somewhere, and we also always wanted to adopt from Asia.  It wasn't until after we'd started the adoption process and were reading into adoption/race quite a bit that we realized (DOH!) taking our Asian-American child out into the all-white rural suburbs of our city might not be the best idea.  It stinks to have two very deep desires (what you envision for your home and lifestyle, and what you want for your child to be happy) conflict like that.

 

I think it's great that you're thinking this through now.

 

We've chosen to modify our future home plans...we'll be staying in the city, where it's diverse and our child can go to school with other children of color, and where we often encounter other adoptive families like us.  That's especially important to us because she is the only Asian in our family...if she doesn't have people "like her" in her family, she sure better have them in her community.


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#15 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post

We have one adopted child...she is Korean-American, we are Euro-American.  Our other children are also Euro-American.  We know a lot of other adoptive families that are White/Asian, but most of them have been smarter than us--they've adopted twice, so that their child has another sibling of the same race and/or ethnicity.  Having dd be the only adopted, and the only Asian, in our family is something I worry about...it's not ideal for her.

 

 

We've thought about this too, particularly if we end up with a boy.  We don't want him to be the only boy child and the only black person in our family.  We may adopt twice specifically for that reason even though I question my sanity with only 2 children, I'm not sure what I would do with 4!


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#16 of 16 Old 12-05-2011, 02:12 PM
 
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Yes, it is. We have adopted from Ethiopia twice, and we live in a community that is 98% white. Our children are happy, and they and we love living in our community. Don't be scared.

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