Forty percent of children adopted domestically and internationally by Americans are a different race or culture from their adoptive parents, according to a 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents, the most recent study of its kind conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Legislation passed by Congress in 1994 and 1996 prohibits agencies getting federal help from discriminating against would-be parents based on race or national origin.
How adoptive parents have approached transracial adoptions has changed with time, says Chuck Johnson, acting chief executive of the National Council for Adoption.
“In the old days, meaning the ’70s and ’80s, there was this notion that these parents need to be colorblind. This sounds wonderful, but by being colorblind you’re denying they’re of a different race and culture,” Johnson says. “Families that are successful are those that acknowledge race. … It’s not a curse. It’s not an impossible feat. They just need to work harder to give a child a sense of self-identity.”
It may be ideal and less complicated to match children available for adoption with same-race, same-culture families, says Johnson, who advocates that children be raised in their own countries whenever possible, too.
“But timeliness is of the utmost importance,” he says. “It’s better to find permanency and a loving home.”
The latest figures show that there are 463,000 American kids in the foster-care system, of which 123,000 are available for adoption, Johnson says. Of those, he says, 30 percent are black, 39 percent are white, 21 percent are Hispanic and the rest are of other origins.
Some varied responses to this complete article:
People who adopt babies of a different race do it to get attention. A child is not a fashion accessory! The notion of “it doesn’t matter whether the parents and child are the same race, all that matters is love” is naïve. Kids need to identify with a group and one such group is race and culture. When parents of one race adopt a child of a different race it severely confuses the child, and causes some rejection by all groups. I would think twice about being friends with a black or white family that adopted a white or black baby, respectively. Keep children with their own kind whenever possible. A child is not a Versacci purse!
People against interracial adoptions are probably also against interracial marriages. People of different “races” marry and have children whose skin doesn’t necessarily match the color of their parents. Is that wrong, too? Having loving parents is always a good thing.
As one who was adopted from communist Russia, with blonde hair and green eyes, I certainly did feel separated from my siblings with olive skin and dark eyes. But any feeling of difference rapidly disappeared as I got older. My parents always let me know where I was from and I was always free to ask questions without fear of negative consequences. Whenever anyone from Russia was on TV or anything about Russia was in the media would tell me about it and my parents would encourage me to study Russia. This crossing of cultures was good for everyone in my family and was not some horrible, detrimental experience. The idea that you can’t adopt across cultures is ridiculous. As long as that child is loved like any other child and let to explore their heritage like any
My fiance’ and his brother were adopted from the Philipines when he was around 2 years old and his brother was about a year old. They were adopted by white parents who had 3 biological (blond-haired, blue-eyed) daughters. They had a great up bringing and have a close relationship with their family. I think my fiance’ sometimes is a bit self conscious about his looks, especially in the area where we live, its rural and there’s not a whole lot of racial diversity. But as far as I’m concerned, I don’t look at him and see a Filipino, I look at him and see an awesome person. And the idea of adopting children might be an option for us in the future, and whether the child be white, black, asian, indian or native, it doesn’t matter. We would just want to love and care for a child regardless of what color their skin is.