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I was adopted as an infant by white parents and at age 30 I am just now beginning to understand that I am Hispanic, but I don't know how to be Hispanic. So for now, I guess that I'm still white.
"Your data suggests a slight automatic preference for White people over Black people."
I like to think that I'm less racist than my neighbours, but this forces me to remember that I automatically make negative assumptions about people based on their dark skin.
"Your data suggests a strong automatic preference for Barack Obama over John McCain."
See Spot. See Spot run. See Jane. See Jane run...
I am a white foster parent of a child of color. Your article gave voice to thoughts I have had, but have not been able to articulate. It has inspired me to look even more closely at my own privilege, and how much my foster child has lost: not just his birth family, but an easily accessible sense of cultural identity.
Our foster son lost his daily contact with his mother and siblings due to poverty, mental illness, domestic violence and racism. This is a tragedy. Yet the number one comment white people make when they learn he is living with us is that he is "so lucky." There is nothing "lucky" about his situation, and I never want him to feel obligated to be grateful to us.
I'm very inspired by this article and will share it far and wide with other foster parents and social workers. Thank you.
But the truth is, there's lots of kids of color in foster care. And if you don't specify that you want a white one (I'm not sure they ever asked), you'll probably get one that's not white. Especially if you live in a more diverse area. So, what do we do? I haven't changed my friendships, because that feels false. I don't want to seek out friends just because of their race. That's weird. But I feel guilty for not having many black friends.
This was a great article. I don't know the answer, but it seems like a first step is talking about it.
One other point: there are so many multiracial children now with more in every subsequent generation, will this debate be moot in 50 years? 100 years?
Seriously, people. Why there is even a debate over this is harmful!
I'm white. My daughter is Cambodian. Has she ever wondered "Why are my parents white"?
But then there's the fact that we love her just as much as we love our black son, and our white foster child.
Love is enough. Do I think that transracial might be better with parents of the same race? Oh, yes.
But that's not going to happen in America. Most adoptive parents are white. And I'd rather have my children in my home then being shuttled around in a faulty foster-care system.
Commenter number one is right: No one gets an ideal family. This doesn't deserve issue status.
This is such a non-issue. Dangerously sentimental. Should gay parents be allowed to adopt straight children?
As the article said, we have to deal with the discomfort rather than just denying it or making lame white-guilt liberal white guilt arguments about "love being enough." White defensiveness is part of the problem.
Comparing the experience of racism in America to white people "losing their culture" is offensive, lame and clueless. You don't get it.
And Abby, so you feel that your bad childhood negates other people's right to have their own experience of their childhood? Is it a contest? Get some therapy.
I'm not sure that you didn't mean this the other way around, but saying, "Should gay parents be allowed to adopt straight children?" doesn't fit. Straight children adopted by gay parents will never go to schools populated by solely gay teachers and gay students. It is nearly impossible to cut a child off from straight culture; it is nowhere near as difficult to totally immerse a child is white culture, even when the child is not white. Furthermore, gay people are generally raised by straight people among other straight family members, meaning gay parents can't be as ignorant about straight people as white people can be about black people. The analogy of your earlier post (I'm a lesbian; should I have been raised by homosexuals?) is more fitting. And maybe that’s what you meant.
Although, honestly, you might get a lot of people saying "yes" to your earlier question if homosexuality in a child was as evident as a child's race. But, like it or not, we aren't able to look at that three year old that Mr. and Mrs. Jones want to adopt and figure out if s/he is gay or straight. So it's rather a moot point.
And don't group all white people together as a race. I do not consider myself to be of White heritage- I am a second-generation American of Italian descent. Grouping all white people together is as insulting as saying all black people listen to hip-hop and eat watermelon.
Yeah, America is a long way away from being post-racial, and pretending issues don't exist when they do is absurd. But so is the idea that lifestyle is genetically determined, and no dark-skinned child could be whole without filling themselves with elements of a modern, transitive, temporary culture. You are what you've been up until now - letting yourself be that defined by social constructs and the opinions of people you will likely never interact with is a weakness, not a virtue.
Maybe it's the almost impossible decision white parents must make if they want their adopted black children to connect with their racial/ethnic background: which aspects of African-American culture do black children need to experience or feel a part of in order to feel "black enough"? How on earth is a white parent supposed to decide which parts of the American black experience are appropriate or "authentic" enough to make her transracially adopted child feel at ease in his own skin? Do biological children of black parents feel more at ease in their own skin, just because their parents are black? Who decides what it means to be African-American (beyond the mere fact of skin color), and who is to say that all African-American kids are comfortable with the way their African-American parents are modeling what this means for them? The black community is not one monolithic voice, and does not lay claim to one set of values.
Completely anecdotally, all the white adoptive parents of black children I've known have exposed their kids to cherry-picked aspects of the "black experience" based - it would seem - on socio-economic status. The kids read about civil rights leaders and go to African American barbershops/salons to get their hair done, but they won't be going to school with any black kids because they are choosing to homeschool instead.
Brown is the new black AND white.
Two more generations and all this is mostly moot. Sorry, but mother nature want the gene pools to mix, and, so they will.
Look around. Lingering on all the stuff from the last 200 years is basically useless - of course - many will cling.
I come from six national and ethnic strains - and who gives a fuck - not me, nor anyone I know.
Melting pot comes to fruition - indeed - and it is good biological stuff, sexual attractions, and breeding and new age families and BROWN is the new America.
By the way, in my family, going back a generation, ALL the white women married non white males, Black, Hispanic, Asian, and even the fags have partners that are not white.
Education wins too, ma nature's logical partner!!!
Whether an African-American child has any same race role models/examples in his life is important, but not as important as the recognition by white parents that race still matters and will be a factor in their child's life.
Like Obama I was raised by white people in a primarily white environment, I experienced racism, angst and a search for identity, but my white mom never tried to feed me pap about how my struggle with the racial order wasn't "real" because of the unity of humanity. She never thought her love would be "enough" to make my experiences as a non-white person irrelevant, she thought her love would help me cope, and it did, but her recognition that race and racism is real helped even more. This is some of the same idea that children can get from an association with Black culture.
As an adoptive parent I have encountered too many other aparents who can't even make the basic step of accepting that race will matter for their child, and that it matters for them. (much less that it mattered before when they were just white people in the world) That is why articles like this are so needed.
My birth mother, whom I have met, was poor, unmarried, bipolar. While I'm incredibly grateful she gave birth to me instead of having an abortion, I do not think of her as my mother.
My adoptive parents, who raised me, cared for me, will always be my parents. When people say that Wwite parents can't raise children of color, I take it as a personal affront to them. Before adopting me, my parents had lived in DC, Ethiopia, and the Navajo Reservation. They were broad minded, but did not have Mexican (though they do have Hispanic) friends. My childhood role models were Harrit Tubman and Teddy Roosevelt, a black woman and a white man.
I grew up with some white privlilege by proxy, and it's a double edged sword. Speaking english as a first language, getting a liberal arts education, has opened all sorts of doors for me. But I "talk white," and I grew up in New Mexico, where there is a much felt white/hispanic divide. At school, I felt like I never belonged with either the hispanic kids or the white kids. Whoever wrote that comment that "kids don't care about race or orientation" obviously has never set foot in an integrated junior high school. Sometimes I cried and wished I was white, sometimes I got offended when people didn't realize I was Mexican.
I can promise you, Abby, that this sure as hell was never a "non-issue" for me and my brother, who are both queer, by the way. There are lots of white gays and lesbians who like to play the homosexual card as though it is equal to the race card, and it isn't. I'm living in a very homophobic country in Eastern Europe right now (people shot water guns filled with acid at people in the last gay pride parade) and I am very careful about whom I out myself to. But I can't hide my skin color.
Last time I flew to the States, a customs officer started speaking to me in Spanish--after I handed him my U.S. passport. When I tried to get a CT driver's license at school, they asked me for a green card.
Yes, gays and lesbians are treated like second-class citizens, but as a Mexican born American, I'm often treated like I'm not a citizen at all. And there are lots of hardworking, law abiding, tax paying, undoccumented persons in this country who would give an arm and a leg to have the US passport it took me a mere 6 months of beaurocratic bullshit to get. And I feel guilty about that.
I've spent most of my life trying to come to terms with my identity. I've learned Spanish but I'll never speak it like a native. I have hispanic friends, but I don't kid myself and pretend I'm one of them. I sought out my birth mother because I wanted answers but realized I'm too confused and angry to have a relationship with her yet.
I've definately lost something, but it feels somehow imperialist to try to claim it back. I went on stike and protested for "Day Without a Mexican," and I felt like an impostor. There is an emptiness created (that, Lady_cow is right, I think many White people also feel) whenever people have lost their culture. But, as someone should tell white rastafarians everywhere, trying to emulate someone else's culture only shows you are arrogant enough to think its your right to take it as your own.
I will probably adopt children, if I have children. I will probably adopt children of color, because they're the ones who need homes. They will probably struggle, as I've struggled. I will endevour to love and support them and not feel guilty about it.
From the training and extensive reading, I take away a couple guiding principles for my own transracial parenting:
* never, ever downplay the reality of race consciousness and racism in U.S. society;
* prepare your child in advance -- through age-appropriate discussion and role playing -- for bigotry (in our case, both racist and homophobic bigotry); and
* assure through whatever means necessary (personal friendships or otherwise) that your child has same-race (or, again in our case, same races) role models.
* Oh, and one more: never, ever let your kid go outside with bad hair!
Interestingly, I think the research and certainly the first-hand experiences I've read or heard are mixed about the value of bringing up black kids in black neighborhoods. Many adoptees think that this made it harder and made them feel more estranged, especially if there was a class divide between them and their black peers in addition to a family divide. Research also seems to be mixed about the degree to emphasize specific cultural heritage. Some is good, certainly. But I've heard adoptees complain that it was overkill or inappropriate (e.g. celebrating a Chinese identity when a child might actually have a very different Chinese-American identity).
I would've liked to heard the point-of-view of non-white foster children who aged out of foster care without ever being adopted. Would they have agreed with the transracial adoptees or would they (like you seem to be saying) that any stable home would have been better than foster care.
@ Kris Kime
go fuck yourself.
I know someone like that. She'd been in foster care for about 10 years and aged out. She was with her last family for something like 1.5 years and they would have adopted her, but she got better financial aid by being legally family-less. Most of her foster parents had been white, and she thought that white people should never adopt black kids.
Now she was 19 at the time, so maybe when she gets older she'll change her mind. I don't know. She's just one person.
She also had trouble with foster parents of color, and her longest and last placement was with a white couple she referred to as "her moms," she liked them a lot. She just felt entirely adrift as a black girl floating through the white world.
Die in a fire.
I can't say anything in particular about transracial adoption. I can say that my first father died when I was three and I was adopted by my Dad when he married Mom. (All three parents are white.) I felt, particularly in my teens and twenties that there was something missing because I never knew my first father. I suspect that it is a common phenomenon when your life changes radically as a child, that regrets and what-might-have-beens haunt you. I'd also guess that minority children need to know how to handle racism in ways that white cultures don't have the tools for, so they do need specific knowledge that may only be available from people of their own heritage.
He grew up with white grandparents, without black role models. His Kenyan father and his Kansas mother were not constant presences. As an upperclassman in high school, he realized what it meant to be black in a white world and became sick with the particular loneliness of a transracial adoptee.
You're right, Jen ... no doubt it was Barack's white family that caused him to turn to drugs. And it was probably his white family that kept him from realizing his full potential before this. In fact, I don't recall a single African American I know who turned to drugs unless he was raised white. Had he been raised by an AA family, I have no doubt Barack would have avoided all contact with the drug culture, started college at Harvard, not lowly Occidental and become president at age 35, sparing the world 8 years of George W Bush.
It is common knowledge that our prisons are filled with African American men who grew up knowing the particular loneliness of transracial adoption. It's a lesser known fact, but gangster rap and some of the worst nihilistic impulses within the AA community are actually "white" culture that was forcefed to vulnerable transracially adopted AA's. The foolish focus on sports success versus academics ... ditto. When we compare the stunted success of transracial AAs (or blacks raised "white" like Barack) to the universally recognized success of black people raised black, we can only conclude that this is part of an isidious plan to drag the AA community down from it's lofty position.
Thank you, Jen. While others are celebrating Barack Obama of an example of African American achievement, only you have the strength of logic to point out the vicitimization he suffered at the hands of uncaring caucasians and the negative impact his allegedly "loving" family had on his development.
You wrote, "Her point: If you don't silence these disgruntled adopted adults, then adoption policy could become race-conscious, and if adoption policy becomes race-conscious but white people still mostly aren't, then white people could be denied the right to adopt, and if that happens, then children of color are going to go without good, permanent homes.
"Don't talk is the idea—it can't lead to anything good. All it leads to is shouting, and suing, and then, finally, resilencing."
Jen, you are not being honest. That was NOT my point, but there must have been something in what I wrote - in my family's experience - that did not fit well with your argument, because instead of just ignoring what I wrote, you revised it.
Who is silencing whom?
Could this be because we have a government that gives help to people in need in the form of welfare, and other countries do not?
before you ask, no i'm not a transracial adoptee (my sister is) and my family is friends with pam and bill and their two beautiful children. i gave this article to my mom and sis to read, and i'm waiting to hear back from them, as they know far more about transracial adoption then i do, and far more than fuckbrains like soul on ice (eldridge cleaver, well aren't you one hip dude?).
jen, let's hope this starts a national dialogue. again, great job!
Seriously all of humanity is messed up, shouldn't we try and find the least messed up families available a the moment to raise children in foster care or orphanages? Give them the best chance we can?
Just a question.
On a real note. Hey Kris! Did you know that the disproportionate amount of black on black crime can be traced to a legacy of racism and poverty enforced by whites. Oh and your fun little rape citation. You are talking about REPORTED and PROSECUTED cases of rape. Did you know that most cases of reported rape at the hands of a white man are never prosecuted but that almost all cases of reported rape at the hands of a black man are prosecuted? And of course that is just what is reported. Did you know that if you have sex with a drunk woman that she is unable to provide consent and that makes you a rapist? Do you think every time a drunk woman has sex that she reports that she was raped? Do you think that those things might skew your statistics.
Oh yeah, and ever if your argument were valid and your statistics sound: go fuck yourself.
And to all the folks who post on here about how lame seattle liberals are: why arent you reading your own local paper? Dont you have anything better to do than dog on Seattle and the sympathetics who post on these discussion boards? Do you think that maybe because you spend your free time in your mothers basement in Macon Georgia parusing left leaning internet discussion boards just to make biased not well thought out 'liberals are stupid, get over the past 200 years already (btw columbus got to this hemisphere and began the still relevant racist cultural apocalypse over 500 years ago)' then maybe you are the whiny pasty dumbass?
Yeah I know I could have a better more coherent post, but I am too busy engaging myself in the region in which I live.
No, because it is so fucking hilarious to make lameass naive Seattle liberals get their panties all in a wad. Go live in a teepee.
For example, while I think KK_ just copied and pasted some bullshit statistics off of a convenient website (unless we get footnotes!), his comment also illustrates how frighteningly dismissive we can be of dialogue. It's vogue to rattle off statistics in a "so there!" fashion without acknowledging the issue at hand. I also <3 the person who called this article racist and said "FYI: White is a race too," along with the person who denies that they are white, instead preferring second-generation Italian. All of these points indicate a severe miseducation of what exactly race is, how firmly implicated each of us are in it as a social construction, how it perpetuates itself, and how conditioned we are to the way it warps our lives. But none of these things can happen without conversation! So thanks, Jen. Now if only we could get more POCs writing for the Stranger...
A 1995 study also found that transracial adoption was not detrimental for the adoptee in terms of adjustment, self-esteem, academic achievement, peer relationships, parental and adult relationships (Sharma, McGue, Benson, 1996).
Sharma, A.R., McGue, M.K. and Benson, P.L. (1996). The emotional and behavioral adjustment of United States adopted adolescents: part 1. An overview. Children & Youth Services Review, 18, 83-100.
Oh, and he was cheaper to adopt - same agency as me, but a discount for his color. No joke. At least this sort of dialogue can contribute to addressing such issues before they torpedo a kid's chances.
For example, there is nowhere a "a young Korean man. He is gay. He is also transgender." would have felt comfortable. Growing up in Korea or with Korean parents might potentially have been even harder.
I think being adopted by loving parents will always be better than living with foster parents or cycling through the system. I believe we as human beings are more similar than we are different. I believe there are better answers than segregation.
You are way off the mark when you say whites adopt children of other races to keep up with the Jones. After struggling with infertility for 12 years, my greatest miracle and joy was to adopt my AA daughter. Though she does not look like me, she is as much mine as a biological child would be. This is not the first I heard this bias however (and it as biased and prejudicial a statement as anything KK has said). A black member of our church came and told me how she defended my husband and I against this charge with a friend of hers in California. She had told him that if he ever saw how we interacted with our daughter, he also would have no doubts. Do you even know any families who have raised a child of a different race?
As a white person who has struggled with coming to terms with my own inherent racism, I think the first reaction of many liberal whites is to ignore racism and then get incredibly defensive when it is discussed.
I don't think the goal of this article was to prevent white parents from adopting children of color. I think no one disagrees that there are already too many children in foster care or awaiting adoption.
The aim of this article is to perhaps let white adoptive parents really confront their own internal racism that their adopted children are bound to realize even if their parents do not. I know it's something I try to be conscious of as much as possible.
As a white, gay male with a mixed race (half white/half black) niece, I worry about what preconceived notions I bring to the table when dealing with her. Her father has never been part of the picture, so her main upbringing has been our doting white, lesbian grandparents and her single, white mother who has been struggling to raise her while finishing school and working to support a family.
I can assure you, there is not a single moment that my niece doesn't feel loved and cherished, but I'm still concerned that our entire support circle isn't fully equipped to prepare her for the world as it is today (and was yesterday and will still be tomorrow).
I can only hope that she turns out as amazing as other children of color raised by white parents, such as Chad Goller-Sojourner (an amazingly eloquent writer and speaker) and of course, that new guy in the White House who you know, might just save the world.
Nurturing Connection, Morning View, Ky
Tell me, who's fault is that really?
These adopted children have parents who love them and that will hopefully help them through any identity crises they may have as they grow and learn.
Besides, would we rather they were raised in the foster care system?
I'm not trying to rip on people who adopt out of their race. I think it is a very compassionate thing to do, however, I am very suspicious about people who go out and adopt children in the Angelina Jolie sense and treat them as is they are a good PR photo opportunity. I'm really being cynical here and I'm sorry if it might have rubbed you the wrong way.
lola, angelina jolie does not adopt children because they are a good PR photo opportunity. that's madonna's job.
A baboon walks up to a zebra and asks, “Are you a white horse with black stripes, or a black horse with white stripes?”
After a moment the zebra replied: “No. I’m a fucking zebra.”
Reading through the comments you can see that most people have complicated ways of looking at their self and simple ways of looking at others. We live in a society with many cultures and a huge number of assumptions.
Everyone of us, regardless of where or how, needs to construct our identity. Don't put on blinders about the real issue, parenting. Chad sums it up very well:
"What I'd ask parents is, are you willing to be the uncomfortable one?"
When you raise a child you need to accept that they are going to have issues and needs that you don't directly understand, but you still need to help them.
The article is long but I can't help but think that you did this to quell some white guilt that you have over your reasoning for considering a transracial adoption. Your reasoning for wanting a child of color is quite flawed and steeped in privilege. I would hate to lump all white people who adopt a child of color and live in a community of largely white people in this same group though.
The real question to ask is to consider why kids are up for adoption in the first place, which is not addressed at all. You can blame yourself for that too. But there are many couples out there that who can't have children, and who aren't the same race as their potential adoptees. Should they restructure their social lives to feel "comfortable" or less guilty? I would argue that a well adjusted home, regardless of how those homes relate to all races at all places is a better home than no home at all. In fact, it's better than a dysfunctional home.
This is a great article for introspection on reasons for adopting but when it comes down to providing a good home, love really does factor in quite a bit.
None of these will be corrected anytime soon. Why not, give a child a home now while also working on the bigger picture?
I think the biggest curse of the (white) liberal (elite) is that we overthink things well into the time when we should be taking action. Is this situation complicated? Yes. But navel-gazing and hand-wringing can only go on for so long before it's time to do something.
Yeah, some people had difficult childhoods. Does that mean that social policy and family structures need to be revamped to address those difficulties?
Who knows? This article is just a collection of engaging personal annecdotes and a pointer to an amusing internet distraction. There is no data in this article that might for the basis for any conclusions.
"How implicit associations affect our judgments and behaviors is not well understood and may be influenced by a number of variables. As such, the score should serve as an opportunity for self-reflection, not as a definitive assessment of your implicit thoughts or feelings. This and future research will clarify the way in which implicit thinking and feelings affects our perception, judgment, and action."
Nowhere does it indicate that an automatic preference equals racism. This is an important point because so much of the current race discussion relies on the necessity of admission of white racism. It's supposed to be cathartic, self healing, and so on, but I don't think it does much to get at the roots of the problem. It doesn't ask why we feel the way we do, which of our feelings are legitimate, or how we can change those that are not. It's almost too easy.
In the case of inter-racial adoptions, I don't think the problem stems from subconscious racism in white adoptive parents, but the failure of adoptive parents to understand that race matters, and that unless they make conscious, consistent and concerted efforts to maintain and act upon awareness of race, they are going to hurt the children they love.
Because, regardless of other issues, children of inter-racial adoptions are surely loved. At the end of the day, that love may be worth a lot more than any argument against such adoptions. That love may transcends racism, and it is out of love that many wonderful adoptive parents leave their personal comfort zones behind for the sake of their children. And I don't believe the parents who live up to the bulk of the challenges presented by inter-racial adoption are free of subconscious racial preferences, but I don't believe that they are racists either.
What stood out the most for me was Jen's admission that part of her interest in adopting was to 'teach a lesson" to her racist family - which is inherently also a racist thing to do. To use a child in such a way clearly shows yet one more reason why many people are not thinking about a child's best interest when they choose to adopt. Moderate racist is still a racist, even if you assuage the guilt by admitting it.
People who adopt are often well-meaning, liberal-minded people. Well-meaning people are often misguided people who adopt for their own self interests, to fill a hole in their live, or because they savior complexes or all of the above. Liberal-minded people are often the culture appropriating people who adopt to prove how evolved and racially tolerant they are to themselves and the world.
One of the most damaging parts about growing up as a transracial adoptee is encountering the racism of your own parents towards the only people who look like you. Your liberal parents don't realize when they are sending you racist messages. You are too young and unsophisticated to realize they are sending you racist messages. It's a gross understatement to say this can mess a person up.
To correct other previous comments, I would like to interject here that being raised in mixed race families is nothing like being raised in a transracial family. There are zero cultural cues we get from our parents. The cultural information we do get from them is ALL ACADEMIC.
As stated well in the article, but not strong enough, as an experiment in social engineering transracial adoption imposes its message of racial harmony at the expense of the child. It is the child who must suffer the consequences of the adoptive parent's rainbow family dreams.
As a child of color, part of you longs to be accepted fully by those who look like you, but because you are raised without a thorough grounding in their culture, they don't fully accept you. As a child of color, you quickly learn that society views your race as second class, so you are conflicted and ashamed, instead of proud or your race. This is called internalized racism. It is not a fun place to grow up. As a child of color with white parents who are white culture and who have the most influence over your life, of course you are going to identify with their culture more. But society will see your skin and identify you with your race. And your race will see your lack of culture and see you as white. It is not having the best of both worlds. It is having no place in the world to belong to. There has been practically zero research into the alienation transracial adoptees feel, but there was a study in Sweden which compared intercountry (transracial) adoptees against immigrant children and non-adopted children, and the intercountry adoptees had a suicide rate five times higher than the non-adopted children.
Racial matching in adoption should be facilitated whenever possible. It is the best way for a child of color to be spared unnecessary emotional hardship on top of their already difficult beginnings.
As to the disproportionate amount of children of color in our domestic foster care and group homes, and the disparaging comments by other posters about black crack ho's, etc. It should be understood that African Americans already exceed whites proportionally with the amount of inter-family adoptions they step up to the plate for, many of these being unofficial.
Adoption exists and "orphans" are created (term in quotes because very few children up for adoption are there because they have no living parents) primarily because all us saviors choose to do nothing about our larger domestic social problems. Each child we save is merely a symptom of this pathology, a siphoning off from a continuous flow of tragedy. We should work to reduce and eliminate the creation of "orphans" in the first place. Reducing the amount of minority children being put up for adoption has everything to do with respecting women and providing hope and dignity to EVERYONE in our country.
We have an adopted AA child. We are two white lesbians with lots of foster and adopted kids. Still we are talked about in our child's hearing at the store about what ho's we are by whites and blacks (they assume one of us is straight and slept with a black man). To which we sweetly reply, it is so much worse than you imagine, we chose to adopt her together...Our child is always better hairdo'd and dressed than any white child, but is the first to blame in any scuffle at the park, the last to be chosen by the librarian to sit on her lap, the first one that relatives that "forget" her birthday, the one that black and white women turn their children away when they see us playing with her at the park, she gets it all. And then the gay family stuff. She is very bright and beautiful, tall and strong; perhaps they are all jealous, I say to her.
But what was her personal choice as a baby, really? Dozens of family members came forward to claim her for fostering/adoption and all were rejected due to drug use, poverty and violent criminal records. Black girls and boys are the last to be fostered, the last to be adopted in America.
There is no Pow-Wow where she can meet with her culture like the Native peoples or Chinese classes for Chinese adoptees, precious few MLK, Kwanza and Juneteenth events locally. With the increase in interracial families locally, we hope that folks will get over themselves, especially all those folks with Obama stickers, eventually, but my daughter needs to grow up safe and happy with her preschool, sports, church now.
We do as much as we know how with black culture and talk about racism and just keep paying into the therapy fund. We are in contact with her birth family but they are active drug users, and so much of what they say is angry and hateful, which she would not understand right now, so she only sees pictures and notes until they are better or she is older and can understand.
Please direct your justifiable racial rage about economic in-equalities else-where towards education, home mortgage equity and drug and domestic abuse prevention funding, we are on your side. We do the best we know how with love. As the kids on the playground know, love someone black and your family is black too. After all, she will get our money for college and inheritance and that is the start of a kind of wealth redistribution. Just like the Obamas and the adopted girls from China, our adopted Black kids will have to grow-up and work to redefine our culture again as more interracial than we know.
I have 10 bio. (white) children, and 3 adopted (black) children from Africa. While we live in a very white community, our children do know and see other adopted black children. But, we do not want our white children or our black children to choose their friends on the basis of the color of their skin.
I, as a lowly white child, attended elementary school on the hilltop of Tacoma, when Stanley Elementary was 98% black. I loved my black friends. I didn't care that my skin was a different color. I hope the same for my black children.
We are in the midst of adopting a black girl and I can assure you the social workers DO discuss race quite a bit. They DO want to know who we hang out with and even want to know what ethnic restaurants we like. We had to take a class concerning this issue and unlike the one described by one person in this article, ours was very thorough and did not shy away from any topic.
There was also inherent prejudice displayed in this article because it made the assumption that all children react to their situations the same way, or they have the same level of angst concerning their situation. Not all black children need the same kind of treatment. It is the same with children in adoption in genera: Not ALL of them are obsessed with connecting with their birthparents. It is important to LISTEN to the child and be attentive to possible issues and have a tool box of possible remedies. It is not a good idea to be and overly self critical white liberal who moves to a black community and fakes it if that is not where they want to live. I can't stand the city and that is where 95% of the black people in this state live. This article appears to be advocating I move there and pretend I like it. That is living a lie and your kid will eventually figure that out.
Be who you are and respect who your child is. Respect their need to connect with other black people and help them find role models, but don't let this overwhelm your lives. We all grow up with "issues" we have to deal with.
If there's a choice between leaving a child in poverty and violence, but in a place where every one has the same color skin, or giving them a better life but in a place where they're "different"? Let the safe, educated adult be pissed off. And for those who say "Why not subsidize a poor family?" Part of the deal is that adoptive parents want to be parents, not private charities. (Not to mention that "natural" families have kids for all kinds of reasons, some of them horribly self-serving)
To all those who say "But I don't fit in anywhere!" Lots of us don't fit in. Be glad you live in a time and place where you can make your life more than your background.
The black people who shouted on a bus or from a car at the white adoptive mother were not raised by competent parents. That behavior, so oblivious of its effect on the children, is cruel and unacceptable.
I'm surprised at the anger towards "Kris Kime" in the comments toward the end of this list. That moniker is the name of the young white man killed by a young black man in the Mardi Gras brawl in 2001.
I live in a predominantly white neighborhood and wondered whether my 10 year old felt different than the other kids. His answer was PROFOUND. Do you know what he said to me? "I don't feel different at all. Not from black people or white people. I am BOTH." From the mouths of babes.
So my own personal complaint? Why is it if a child is mixed that we discount the caucasian part of them and only recognize the black, hispanic, korean portion? Barack Obama is not JUST a black man - he is a white man as well. He is an american of mixed race. My son is very like skinned with nappy hair. White people call him black. Black people call him white. I call him my son. He is not a *whatever box you want him in to suit yourself*.
This is not about race, unless of course we are talking about the self poverty of the human race.
I think that people have such a poverty of soul that they are unable to be grateful, to recognize the opportunities that they had in this world.
For every individual who was adopted and loved by white parents and feels they got ripped off, I am sure there are 10 children from a variety of races that would have given anything to be in a home where they were wanted and loved - being loved would have been enough.
- I would much rather have my college educated privileged life than one spent in the foster care system or even worse with seriously impaired bith parents.
- Transracial adoptees who are always whining about "not knowing who they are...", "something is missing...", and assorted bullshit should get a life. No one can fix your life for you. It's lovely to have someone else to blame. Therapy, Oprah, and the Jerry Springer show wouldn't exist if white america was all peaches and cream. It's true, adopted white parents can be insensitive to race. But most people in the white western industrial world (let's throw in China and Japan too) are insensitive to race, adoptee parents at least are trying.
- And lastly I have to say the people in this article that enraged me the most are the women with the black son who were proud of his "speaking black". I have many accomplished black friends, and they just speak like well educated people. Guess what?! There are many white people who speak in an uneducated manner too. Somehow, I bet these white women aren't striving to emulate thier manner of speech. What's the point of taking the boy out of the Ghetto if they're destined to put him back in it. tsk tsk
I think rather than transracial adoption-specific information, would-be white adopters of Black children should take African American studies courses and get a long-view of the impact of race on this country (and individuals within it) over time.
I'm pretty torn about it, as a PhD who specializes in Black and white race relations and as a white adoptive mom of Black children.
But I also think that the attention on domestic Black/white adoption is disproportionate to the number of those adoptions and I worry a bit more about Chinese American (for example) children growing up, yes, in white gated Minnesota communities because their white parents think Asian doesn't really count as "race" the way African American does. There is not nearly as much scrutiny on other transracial adoptions as on white/Black ones.
And there is a kind of possibility in domestic transracial adoptions that is sadly, just not there in most international, transracial adoptions--that's the possibility of children growing up to know their birth culture well because it's easily accessible to their adoptive families--as long as their adoptive families have the guts to access it. My kids are growing up with plenty of Black people around them including their birth families and that is as good as it gets as far as transracial adoption goes, I think.
Finally 2 race points. First, while many transracial adoptees grow up to be healthy human beings, as one told me this afternoon- many of her transracial adoptee peers have engaged in therapy. ( And most of the therapists are clueless about adoption). It is not that there is anything wrong with therapy, but some transracial adoptees have to look outside their families ( many who have very loving families) to help navigate finding a healthy racial identity, adoptee identity, self identity, and /or dealing with a race conscious society. A parents' job, one of many, is to help their child navigate this world. That includes navigating a race conscious society that often treats people of color as less than fully American. If a child does get this help from his or her parents they will get it from someone else, hopefully someone good, or they develop self hate. Have you ever met a transracial adoptee who hates people of their race? I have. Talk about self hate. And watching them be scared of people who look like them is sad. And equally devestating is if they choose to have contact with their birth parents. How do they have contact when they hate people of their parents race?
Second, the assumption that becuase some Biracial kids consider themselves as "both" that the world will be all peachy keen and that they see the world in a post racial society is a false assumption. First young kids understand race differently than adults. Second, even when they see each themselves as both does not mean the rest of America sees them as both. And third Biracial adults who identify as Biracial are keenly aware that the choice to identify as Biracial is not always easy. Worth it but not always easy. And just becuase a Biracial person does not chooose to identify as Biracial but as a single race is a personal decision that is not usually made to offend Whites and or to reject Whites. But the choice has personal, political, ans social implications. For many it is just easier when people percieve them as a person of color to identify with the minority race.See www.mixedheritagecenter
P.S. The movie Losing Isaiah would NEVER happen in real life as it did in the theatres. It is based on faulty legal theories. They could have made a movie that addressed the issue with a possible fact scenario but they choose not too.