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I thought this article was pretty interesting and did a good job of exploring some of the issues.

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Is it racism? The Ridings tend to think so, and it's hard to blame them. To shadow them for a day, as I recently did, is to feel the unease, notice the negative attention and realize that the same note of fear isn't in the air when they attend to their two biological children, who are 2 and 5 years old.

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At present, agencies that receive public funding are forbidden from taking race into account when screening potential parents. They are also banned from asking parents to reflect on their readiness to deal with race-related issues, or from requiring them to undergo sensitivity training. But a well-meaning policy intended to ensure colorblindness appears to be backfiring. According to a study published last year by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, transracial parents are often ill equipped to raise children who are themselves unprepared for the world's racial realities
Would love a discussion
 

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Sounds to me like this child has had the colossal good luck to find a permanent family despite being a difficult foster placement, and that she's deeply loved by three adults. Loved so much, in fact, that they were willing to put aside their strongly held ideals of what an adoption placement should "look like" vis-a-vis the races of the participants.

But I think it's possible to celebrate this family and be happy for this child while still wishing that the very limited pool of African-American adoptive parents be reserved for African-American children. It sounds like this particular family was never really part of that pool, though, and came to adoption without really having the intent to go down that road. So it's not as though some Black kid somewhere "lost out" on a same-race placement because these people happened to fall in love with a white foster kid.
 

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But why shouldn't black families be able to choose the "type" of child they want to adopt? Are you saying that families shouldn't adopt children who are of a different race and that it's ok for white families to adopt black children (because they are more "plentiful") but not the reverse?
 

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Honestly, these people are dead-on with highlighting the problems with ALL transracial adoptions. I just think they're in an excellent position to publicize it in an era when it's become almost "chic" for whites to adopt non-white children. Like it's somehow okay and a trip to their homeland, celebrating a few holidays and maybe some special recipes will just make up for it.

I am in the process of adopting a Hispanic infant from foster care and we are Caucasian. I have no delusions that I will ever be able to replicate the richness of heritage that my daughter would feel had she been raised by Hispanic parents. It doesn't mean I won't try, it just means that I don't try to claim it's the same because of my level of effort... kwim? We live in a community where at least 1/3 is from central America (where her mother is from) so at the very least, we have some guidance and more exposure than some would have. To be honest, having grown up as the only Cauc. kid in an AA neighborhood with an AA stepfather and mixed half-brother, I would've felt more prepared for an AA child.

It's really hard to make the argument, though, for children languishing in foster care while they wait for a same-race family. I guess it becomes the lesser of two evils.

And yeah--with the majority of adoptive families being white, why DIDN'T a white family step up for this kid? I mean, they're happy to take all kinds of special needs children. Why not her? That's disturbing. And it gave me a very racist feeling like AAs were again second class citizens who got what the whites were unwilling to take. I realize that sounds ridiculous; but that's what it felt like reading those comments.
 

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Interesting article. I think it's sad that people automatically assume that she is in danger because her dad is keeping an eye on her.

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At present, agencies that receive public funding are forbidden from taking race into account when screening potential parents. They are also banned from asking parents to reflect on their readiness to deal with race-related issues, or from requiring them to undergo sensitivity training. But a well-meaning policy intended to ensure colorblindness appears to be backfiring. According to a study published last year by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, transracial parents are often ill equipped to raise children who are themselves unprepared for the world's racial realities
In our state, in order to license with the TRA program we are using we had to take race-related sensitivity training. I'm so glad we did too.

I think as far as the "Angelina Jolie" fad goes, yeah, it's not always good, but it's not all bad either. As mixed-race families become more and more the norm, people get less weird about it.

I read a story on the Adoption.com boards about two adoptive moms going shopping together. One mom was black with a white kid and the other mom was white with a black kid. People stared and even asked if they were looking after each other's kids. They just laughed and said, no, we have it right!
 

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I didn't get that feeling at all. It might be partially because I know a black family who adopted their white foster children. It just seems normal to me. I don't feel that Polliwog should be adopted by a Hispanic family if one was available.

I'm going to post this on the list for my local transracial/cultural adoptive families group and see what others locally have to say.
 

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"But why shouldn't black families be able to choose the "type" of child they want to adopt?"

I don't think any family should get to specify the race of an infant that they want to adopt. I think that agencies should view same-race placement as the ideal, with the understanding that they are not always possible and that transracial adoption is about five zillion times better than no adoption at all.

When it comes to foster placements that lead to adoption, it makes total sense to me that the bond formed between the kids and the foster parents overrides any concerns about transracial issues and the foster parents are the first choice for the adoptive placement.

What bugs me is not the existence of transracial adoptions, but people (not you!) who don't acknowledge that the losing the opportunity to grow up in one's national and/or ethnic community is one more loss on the tremendous pile of losses that an adopted child is going to have to deal with throughout their life.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

I don't think any family should get to specify the race of an infant that they want to adopt.
Ooh. I do.

I could envision a family saying "we feel able to parent a white child but not a minority child" or something about where they live, who they know, or who is in their family (as a PP mentioned) and saying "I feel best equipped to adopt a AA child." People should be honest about what they feel they can do, and what they feel they can do well.

On the other hand, I don't think skin color is a good reason to go picking certain races...when parents say something like "I'd like to adopt a white baby, or an Asian baby, or a pale Hispanic baby, but NOT a black baby!" I feel queezy.
But if it comes down to cultural connections, or affinity, or something tied to the benefit of the child...then yeah, I think parents should be able to be clear that they feel they'd prefer parenting a child of a certain race.
 

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I agree with ROM, it's important for parents to be able to choose the race of their adopted kids -- or, more specifically, to rule out any race based on whatever criteria they wish. It's sad, and unfortunate that anyone would wish to do that, but all different kinds of people adopt for all different kinds of reasons, and if a black/white/hispanic/presbyterian child would be miserable with a family, that should be prevented at all costs.
 

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"I could envision a family saying "we feel able to parent a white child but not a minority child" or something about where they live, who they know, or who is in their family (as a PP mentioned) and saying "I feel best equipped to adopt a AA child." People should be honest about what they feel they can do, and what they feel they can do well."

I can envision that as well - and that's why potential adoptive parents should always have the right to refuse a placement without getting "bumped" to the bottom of the "list." I think it's also reasonable to have agencies that strive for same-race placements, and for families to choose those agencies. I don't know about y'all, but I have certainly watched white people pursue white infants with lots of success. It's not something that is impossible by any stretch.

WRT to a family of race A specifically asking for a child of race B, I think that motivations run the gamut from very sensible to scary-as-heck, and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by somebody who is an expert in transracial adoption. Which is theoretically what happens now in both domestic and international transracial adoptions, although obviously it's not a perfect system.

If stating a preference and explaining the substantive, non-racist reason for preference counts as "specifying" the race of a potential adopted child, then I guess I AM all right with that. But anybody who wants to do that should be prepared to answer hard questions about why, and be prepared for some agencies to prefer not to work with them (if for no other reason than they may have a very limited pool of kids that fit the stated race criteria, and don't want the family to wait for years when another agency could get them a faster placement).

I can't imagine specifying a racial preference in adoption, but maybe I'm a great big weirdo.
 

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We haven't specified race, necessarily, but all the countries we have been looking at adopting from (mostly choosing based on the need of the country for adoptive parents) are countries where the child would, with absolute certainty, be black. Very different heritages, as we were looking at a lot of different countries, but still "black" by north american mainstream culture's limited definition.

So, when we took a brief peek at US domestic infant adoption, I felt most drawn to adopting an AA baby -- if any other race had been referred to us first, we would have been fine with that, but I was mostly interested in submitting our profile (had we gotten that far) to AA moms, due to their sometimes limited choices in adoptive families in some areas. So there are reasons why people would specify race, and not all of them horrible, or based on what the celebs (all two of them!) are up to
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
But anybody who wants to do that should be prepared to answer hard questions about why, and be prepared for some agencies to prefer not to work with them (if for no other reason than they may have a very limited pool of kids that fit the stated race criteria, and don't want the family to wait for years when another agency could get them a faster placement).
IME, social workers and agencies are actually MUCH more comfortable with a PAP who can admit that they feel unequipped for certain kids and why, than someone who claims to be able to handle anything with no basis.

I think that PAPs should ideally be able to answer hard questions about why they think they CAN provide a supportive and safe environment for a child that is a different race, as well as vice versa.
 

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Interesting discussion.

With our agency, we did have to answer a lot of questions about "why they think they CAN provide a supportive and safe environment for a child that is a different race, as well as vice versa. " A LOT. I was very glad for that. We also had to take classes about it.

Smithie, I guess I'm thinking about international adoption...almost every person adopting from the US internationally is adopting a child of a different race or culture. We're all going into it wanting, specifically, a child of a different race. I totally agree with you that there should be good reasons, and good preparation, behind it. Too often I've seen these reasons for adopting from Korea: no (biological) parent rights, a closed adoption, healthy kid, and no travel requirement.



In my mind, none of those are acceptable reasons to specifically seek out parenting a Korean child. There needs to be so much more. The decision to become a transracial family needs to be about more than convenience for the parents' adoption process.
 

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I read the article, not sure how i feel about it. I think alot of the questioning of the dad in the article has more to do with our society's fear and mistrust of black men, than any adoption issue.

My agency didnt offer any transracial parenting classes (though i suspect most of their adoptions arent transracial...i think most are probably AA parents adopting AA foster kids)...my previous (sucky) agency, i asked my sw (a black woman) if they had any classes/training and she said "no, but if my white adoptive parents have any questions, like about hair, they just ask me"


So far, i havent gotten any negative feedback about adopting an AA child....though i have yet to get ANY feedback about whether he is adopted or not, no one has ever mentioned it. I usually get ALOT of positive attention from AA people about my son. i dont know what they are actually thinking, but never got the impression that they thought i shouldnt have him.

I used to be of the mind that i couldnt imagine why anyone would not want to adopt transracially but now that i have actually done it, i get it. Little simple things take on more significance....like, with my bio son, i'd often go out and about with his hair a mess, he hated me to brush it, i didnt care, no big deal. But with my AA baby (who until recently had a big huge afro, that i recently all cut off)...i feel this overwhelming pressure that his hair MUST look good, that if it doesnt i've somehow failed in parenting an AA child, even that he "belongs" to people he's never met just because they share the same ethnicity....thats the thing that is weird for me the most, that because he is of another race that complete strangers somehow have a vested interest. I actually cut off all his beautiful hair, for many reasons (fd kept pulling it, it would be really hot in summer) but the main one being i couldnt get it to look "nice" enough to not feel guilty when we went out. (Though i must say he got sooo much attention from black people for his hair, people would practically fall all over themselves.....i learned the right answer no matter what is "pink lotion", so i would just say that when they asked what i use).

So, if someone doesnt want to always have to deal with that, i get that. Not to mention whether they feel they can effectively parent a child from another race or culture.

The article made it seem like it was illegal to require training for transracial adoptions, but that isnt true is it?

I would say that AA people adopting CC children isnt that typical, in that same race placements are probably preferred *all things being equal* (which they rarely are)....but i dont think its THAT uncommon. Most kids who are adopted are adopted by their foster parents, and most foster parents are willing to take a child of any race. So i bet that if a white child came into my agency they would be just as likely if not more likely to be placed with an AA family, as AA people seem to be the majority w/ my agency (both workers and FPs).

Katherine
 

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"...almost every person adopting from the US internationally is adopting a child of a different race or culture. We're all going into it wanting, specifically, a child of a different race. I totally agree with you that there should be good reasons, and good preparation, behind it. Too often I've seen these reasons for adopting from Korea: no (biological) parent rights, a closed adoption, healthy kid, and no travel requirement."

Every person I have ever met IRL who has adopted from Korea or China has done it for reasons related to the process, or, in the case of China, reasons related to gender (wanting a daughter, hating that girls were thrown away in China while boys were cherished). I guess I have always assumed that willingness, but not a specific desire, to parent a child of a different race was the "right" way to feel when pursuing an international adoption, with process-related concerns being the #1 reason that international adoption was the course being pursued. (And process-related reasons being the #1 reason that a corrupt international program is such an awful thing.) But I see what you're saying - maybe the best PAPs for a child from a foreign country are parents who are actually eager to parent a child of that nationality, rather than simply accepting of the difference and aware of the extra measures they will have to take to minimize the cultural dislocation.

I dunno, I guess I've been trained to think of race as something that will sure as heck affect your life, but does not indicate anything concrete about your personality or the kind of lifestyle you "should" have. Especially with an infant, it feels weird to me to think of having a desire to parent Baby A and no desire to parent Baby B based on the color of their skin, given that non-adopted-out members of both the A and B groups can and do live in an infinite variety of settings in America. But maybe that perspective is less useful for an international adoption.
 

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For us it is an issue of eagerness...we wanted to be interested in and excited about our daughter's culture--both in Korea and in Korean-American culture. I suppose we could have adopted from another area of the world, or even Europe, but we felt drawn to Asian cultures and Asian-American cultures. There were other issues at first...ideas of social justice, etc...but over time that wasn't as big a deal.

I don't think it's so much that we wanted to parent an Asian child because of the color of their skin. It's more that we didn't feel drawn to parenting a child from Africa or a child from Eastern Europe or Central America, but did feel drawn to Asia. I grew up in a community with a large Asian-American community, and I felt like I knew more about (and was more naturally interested in) Asian-American cultures. I couldn't say the same for other continents, or other adoption programs, so adopting from those areas (no matter what the process) didn't seem like a good idea.

There were program concerns, but honestly...I don't care how great the program matches a family, I think the actual adoption process is too short and too fleeting in importance to make it the reason to choose a child. There are probably exceptions to that, but I sure wish people would arrive at adopting from Korea for better reasons than "oh...you can use an escort?"
 

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I will also say, though, that wanting to adopt from Africa/Haiti/US AA infant or anywhere else where you'll be bringing home a child who is black is currently really taunted and teased, with the whole Madonna/Brangelina thing -- it is seen as trendy, and therefore, when I talk about my reasons why I want to adopt from a country in Africa, I do feel compelled to pull out every single reason why, and I would guess that any of our reasons (aside from the obvious need in many of these countries, which is not why we're adopting, but does factor into why we're adopting from the country we are adopting from) could be twisted and mocked by the very cynical... but I try not to listen to them anyway...


It is interesting, though, to see how different people are pulled (for good reasons) towards different regions... I really *did* want to adopt from a country where our whole family could go together and spend a significant amount of time there in our new children's country -- some people will turn that into "trying to get a vacation out of adopting", but it's pretty easy to go on vacation without adopting
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One other thing I wanted to add about the original topic was that it would be a little more confusing for people (who usually like to have things all figured out) to see a black parent with a white child, because genetically, that isn't likely to happen, yk? A white parent and a black parent will produce a child that is on the darker end of the spectrum 99% of the time, so to see a white child with a black dad might make people stop and stare and try to figure the situation out -- yes, I'm sure racism plays a big part, though I don't think the simple 'genetic math' not adding up can be totally discounted here...
 

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Most kids who are adopted are adopted by their foster parents, and most foster parents are willing to take a child of any race.
I don't know that that's true- when we were asked our racial preference or racial limits, our SWs were shocked when we said we'd take whoever. Maybe because we're white? IME, 99% of the foster parents around here are black, so maybe black parents are open to either, but white parents tend to favor white kids?

It was a wierd conversation.

Our FDS is half white and half black, but apparently looks like he's ours. It's sort of an challenging thing to know how to parent a child who does have a racial background of being mixed and will have to sort that out as he gets older, but can certainly "pass" for white, Hispanic, or any other slightly darker group, like Italian, Greek, etc. People think he's all sorts of ethnicities when we go out.
 
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