Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Transracial Adoption News

Isn't this always the case? As soon as something comes into your life, it's all over the place? Transracial Adoption has hit the news lately. First, there was an article from the Associated Press: Major changes urged in transracial adoption. This article basically states that race and racial training should be an element of the adoption process, when said adoption crosses racial lines.

“The view that we can be colorblind is a wonderful, idealistic perspective, but we don’t live there,” said Adam Pertman, the Donaldson Institute’s executive director.

The crux of the problem may be that a disproportionately high number of black children are in foster care. U.S. laws require discounting race in placing those children, but some believe race, or at least race education, should be a major factor.
If you've been reading this blog for more than a day, I think you'd know that Duffy & I agree with that sentiment. The statement appears to be made more toward foster adoptions, though, as those are decisions made by the state.

Next is this story from National Public Radio: Transracial Adoption Insights. This is much more along the lines of what I believe Duffy & I are going to go through (perhaps I'm saying this with rose-colored glasses, but I really think I'm quite a realist). Here is the story of a well-adjusted adult African American who grew up with white parents.

"My dad was always my dad, and my mom was always my mom. The only time it became an issue was when I'd bring new friends home from school."
The story here is that we need to make the show the effort to bring cultural experiences to the child. I think it's a really well-written piece, and made me chuckle.

This brings us to the adoption books that we're reading. I remember hearing of a study while taking a psychology course about unhappy women in marriages (I have a point - stay with me). Apparently, some time before my time, a magazine found that something like 80% of all married women were involved in affairs - as this magazine sent out a questionnaire to a large number of women, and 80% of those that were returned stated that the participant was involved in an affair. Normally, this would be huge news. But, the questionnaire took several hours to fill out -- and only those people who were unhappy really had the time to write up everything. So, the "boring" responses would have been filled out by people who never would bother to fill out such paperwork. I think we're finding much the same in the books we're reading about transracial adoption. People who had bad experiences wrote books. People who had "boring" experiences either didn't bother to write a book or never thought that there was any reason to bother writing as nobody would ever want to read it.

In what we do read, there have been tons of cases where a "child of color" was raised "white". We get tons of anecdotes:

  • African American boy trying to figure out why his hair doesn't work the way daddy's does
  • Asian kid trying to get his eyes to "straighten out" so that he'll fit in with his friends
  • African American girl using makeup to make her skin look lighter
We will not be hiding the fact of adoption (hence the term "Open Adoption"), and we will most certainly not be hiding the issue of race. This child will not "look like us", but it's going to be loved like no other. I'll fully admit that I'm looking forward to this challenge, and to celebrate a few new items (Kwanzaa (which I'll have you know is an African American cultural holiday and in no way "competes" with Christmas or Hanukkah), Juneteenth, and others as we discover them).

1 comment:

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