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Trans-racial Adoption

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Trans-racial Adoption

Post  Joe_Morningstar on Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:21 am

Many adoptions are being taken place in America today. These
adoptions are not always of the same race, transracial adoption is very
popular among eager couples who are willing to adopt. Transracial adoption
is the adoption of a child of one race by a couple of another race.
Adopting children from different races has brought up many controversies
and the government has had to step in. There are mixed views on the case
of transracial adoption, some believe it is culturally damaging to the
child while others believe there is nothing wrong with it. The primary goal
of adoption officials must be to place the child into a home as quickly as
possible which will, in turn, minimize the effects that it will have on the
child , whether it be a white or black family that it is adopted by. There
is nothing wrong with transracial adoption a child can be loved by anyone
who is willing to love it because love is colorblind.
There are many minority children who are without permanent homes in
the United States, crossing the color bar is frowned upon by many people.
The debate over transracial adoption is whether or not it is in the best
interest of the child. The problem in today's society is that foster care
is preferred over transracial adoption. The reason being the children and
youth services would rather put a black child in foster homes of that race
instead of letting a white couple adopt it because they are white. They
believe that putting a black child in white family would culturally damage
that child, that they would grow up not knowing their heritage. They
believe that a parent of a different race is not as equipped to educate a
child about issues of their racial identity(McNair 1). They do not
realize putting a child through years of moving from foster home to foster
home would damage them because they would have no sense of family or love.
Letting the white couple who are willing to adopt the child would be in the
best interest of the child because they would give it a home, family and
love. Transracial adoption has a long history with many controversies.
Beginning in 1968, a law was passed permitting families to adopt outside of
their race. In 1972, an almost unknown black nationalist group called the
National Association of Black Social Workers became famous when they spoke
out against the practice of transracial adoption. They branded this type
of practice was "cultural genocide"(Republic 6). Even though the law
passed in 1968 was never changed, in only one year the number of
transracial adoptions was cut in half to 1,569. By 1975, it had been
drastically cut down again to only 800 (6). Another law regarding
transracial adoption was passed in 1980 stating that the Department of
Health and Human Services is required to monitor adoptable foster care
children every six, twelve, and eighteen months. However this practice is
never enforced(6). We realize that the government has recognized that this
is problem and in 1994 President Clinton passed the Multiethnic Placement
Act(Multi 1).
The Multiethnic Placement Act(MEPA) was proposed by Senator Howard
Metzenbaum, it was designed for many reasons. For one is was to prevent
discrimination in the placement of children on the basis of race, color of
natural origin(Multi 1). It stated that any agency that uses race as a
factor in deciding adoptive placements would be denied federal
financing(Republic 6). The major goal of the act was to increase the
number of children adopted because too many children were waiting too long.
A recent study revealed that in a three month period in New York City 262
children were legally adopted, out of those more than fifty percent had
lived in foster care for at least six years(Christ 2). Many of those
children were held back from being adopted because of racial considerations.
How can one hold a child for that long in foster care when there are
willing parents ready to adopt. Consider four couples who were willing to
adopt four black children who have spent time in the foster care system:
one a ten year old boy with severe learning disabilities, a two year old
girl with fetal alcohol system, a mildly retarded three year old boy with
cerebral palsy and a four year old boy who is one fourth black who was born
drug affected and was sexually abused. Each of the four couples who were
willing to adopt these children of their dreams were denied adoption
permission because they were white(Christ 1). It doesn't matter if the
parents are of a different race because studies have showed that children
raised by parents of different race have had normal culturally aware lives.
Sandra Illionga, a black woman who was adopted by a white family waited ten
years before being adopted she states "What were they doing during those
ten years growing my ideal black family from scratch"(Christ 2). So we see
these children who wait are put through a lot of stress from moving around
to foster homes. The government has realized that there was a problem
that is why they passed the MEPA act. MEPA will help by preventing
discrimination that can cause delays in or denial of adoptive placements
due to race or color.
Today there is split opinion on the adoption of children by a
couple of a different race. Many people are beginning to realize that
color doesn't matter. There are many organizations out there that support
transracial adoption and are helping with adoptions whether they are
transracial or not. One organization Americans for African Adoption was
started and is also run by Cheryl Shott. She herself is a mother of three
adopted African children. As of 1992 her agency has placed eighteen
children from Africa and one from Afghanistan with white families in the
United States(Vogue 12). Along with these supportive agencies the
communities and churches are give their support to transracial adoption.
The younger generations are more apt to be willing to adopt out of race
because they are the younger generation, they have experienced today's
society where interracial couples are becoming more frequent. Less support
is seen among the older generations than the younger ones.
The reason there are so many transracial adoptions today is because
of the abundance of white couples seeking to adopt and their isn't enough
white children for them to adopt. These couples are willing to adopt a
child of different race since the abundance of minority children up for
adoption is high. These white couples are seeking to adopt because of many
reasons one being that they could have a fertility problem. Any couple in
that situation would be grateful to adopt a child of a different race it
would not stop them from loving it any differently. About half of the
adoptable children in foster care are black(Republic 5). With not enough
black families showing interest in adopting these children are left waiting
for a family to adopt. Before the Multiethnic Placement Act was passed
these black children would wait for however long it took for the adoption
agency find them same race parents. Now after the act was passed these
agencies have to if there is no suitable family of the same race willing to
adopt the child allow the white couple to adopt. Now we are back to the
real controversy involving transracial adoption: does transracial adoption
culturally damage the child? No. As a child of different race is adopted
by a white couple it is essential that the child explore his or her own
heritage and ethnic identity. There is a concern that if a child is
adopted out of his culture that they are going to lose their cultural
ties(Smith 1041). It is important that the ethnic identity of the child be
preserved and that the child is able to develop an awareness of their
heritage. Many of the children adopted by white couples are proud of their
racial and ethnic backgrounds, both the biological and the cultural ones(St.
John 152). In a study done by Mcroy and Zurcher, black children raised by
white adoptive parents have the same high self esteem and good self concept
as did a black child raised by black adoptive parents(Pohl 49). Self
esteem is an important aspect for a child that is raised in a transracial
family, and the studies all have shown that a child raised in a transracial
family adjust as well as those adopted by a family of the same race.
The black children that are raised by white families on the
majority has stated that they have a normal life and that their family has
brought them up teaching them about their cultural background. One student
responded to this by saying that her parents made a conscious effort not
only to point out people of color who made positive role models, but also
to help her be open to all cultures(St. John 152). A study done by
American University concluded after analyzing 240 white families who
adopted black children that it does not emotionally hurt the child to be
adopted by a white family. They found that these black children who had
were given white and black dolls did not think of the white dolls as any
smarter, prettier or nicer than the black ones(Republic 7). Many children
through a time of exploring their heritage and they get the best of both
worlds. These adopted children believe that race is an unimportant factor.
In one study the parents reported that racial identity is not a major
problem with their children(Grow 234). Most of the children adopted
transracially say that they would not have preferred to have been adopted
by parents of the same racial background(Jackson 35). It also appears that
they are more accepting of integration and mixed race marriages.
Some people do not like transracial adoption and won't stand for it
but it happens to be that white families are more apt to adopt older and
disabled black children then to be adopted by a black family(Republic Cool.
Black couples don't appear to come forth as much as white couples in the
interest of adoption(Vogue 32). When black couples don't show as much
interest in adopting there still is the same amount of black children up
for adoption out there. These children have the right to have a family,
they need love. If a white family is willing to adopt them and give them
love and life then no one should prevent that from happening because the
studies show that these children do not suffer anything that they wouldn't
suffer from be adopted by a family of their race.
From compelling this paper I have discovered an enormous quantity
of information concerning the practice of transracial adoption and its
effects on the adopted children and the adopting families. Prior to
writing this paper and doing the research I had the impression that
transracial adoptions should not be a problem as long as the child was
brought up in loving and caring environment. As long as the child was
raised correctly there should not have been any problems with the
psychological welfare of the child. Now that I have finished researching
this topic I feel even more strongly towards how transracial adoptions will
not harm the child in any way, be it physically, psychologcally, or
socially. In most cases the child feels that they are much happier in a
different race family then in a family of their race. Most transracially
adopted children feel that they are getting the best of both worlds and
that they would not want it any other way. If the children see it an
advantage to have inroad s into both communities, then how can anyone say
that this is detrimental to the child? As long as the child is happy and
comfortable with their adopted family, then it should not matter what the
color of their skin is. Too many people in today's society base their
opinions on race and color. That should not be the case considering that
race is not important to the children that are adopted. A human being is a
human being no matter what color they are. Everybody is the same inside
and everybody has the same feelings. The only difference in the two
individuals is their skin color. Granted, adoption agencies should try to
find an acceptable black family in which to place a black child, but when
one is not available their should be no problem with placing the child in a
transracial home. The family structure, ability to support the child,
environment, and chemistry between the adopted child and the family should
be more important that the skin colors of the child and family. If an
acceptable black fa mily is not available, it would be more detrimental to
the child to be kept in a foster care system than to be adopted by a white
family. They child would then get a feeling of not being loved or accepted
by anyone. Feelings that they were not "good enough" would arise inside of
them because they think that they are not wanted by anyone. There would be
absolutely no love in their lives. This will give rise to deep feelings of
inferiority which will never go away once they are begun. These few
results of long lengths of time are more disastrous to the child's mental
health than a transracial adoption would ever be. It is close to
impossible to relieve the foster children of these horrible feelings. Many
will live with the feelings acquired during foster care for the remainder
of their lives, however all of them will live with the memory of how it
felt to be unwanted and unloved.
Transracial adoptions are becoming more and more frequently seen
throughout the United States today. Society is left with a choice between
the adoption of children of a different race or letting these children grow
up without the security of a family of their own. As long as the family
offers its undying love and support to the child, there should be no
question as to whether or not that family is allowed to adopt the child of
different race. Transracial adoption is the better alternative to long
periods of time in foster care. Everyone should be given the chance to see
that, as trite it may sound, love really is colorblind.

Joe_Morningstar

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