I was searching for something else, when I stumbled across an article titled, “Overseas adoptions rise – for black American children.” Huh? I was shocked. How can this be? I know families that have waited years to adopt domestically.
I thought for sure the article must be a fluke. So I dug a little deeper. Turns out, there are dozens of articles on the topic, all from reliable sources, all reporting the same basic storyline: America has a surplus of black, adoptable children.
Of adoptive families in the US, only 14% say that they will accept a black child. (Don’t you hate that terminology – accept?) By the way, over 90% of families say they will accept a white child. International adoption is not exempt from this trend either. Only 7% of international adoptees over the past 10 years are black. As a family currently adopting from an African country, every time I hear, “White people adopt black babies because it is trendy. Look at all the celebrities doing it,” I cringe. If only you knew how few families are open to adopting black children, I think to myself.
For families overseas (mostly from Western Europe and Canada) looking to adopt, many are told that if they want a fast and more predictable adoption process, without all of the governmental red tape and corruption, to adopt a child of African American decent from the US. For most of these nations, adopting a child of a different race has become an adoption norm. The result is a growing community of families in nations like the Netherlands who have adopted black children from the US.
While there is an alarming lack of openness to accepting a child of any race other than white in the US, in a handful of instances, the birth mother selected a family abroad to parent their black child because she felt that her child wouldn’t grow up experiencing the same levels of racism.
Being a multiracial adoptive family in the US certainly comes with a number of challenges. There is no hiding that you are an adoptive family so you are often subjected to nosy and inappropriate questions from others everywhere you go. You must teach your child about prejudices and stereotypes that you have never dealt with personally, as well as incorporate your child’s unique background into your family’s traditions. These are all valid challenges. However, some parents and apparently, states think these challenges are insurmountable. Did you know that even today some states maintain policies that have inhibited black children from being placed in homes with willing white families, even when no family of a “matching race” was available? This baffles me. The article below goes into more detail on these policies’ history and effects today. Why would anyone choose a discriminatory practice that ends up forcing most of these children to wait for a loving family? Is that really in the best interests of the child? Even from a financial standpoint, these policies don’t make sense. These children will end up in the state funded Foster Care system if they aren’t placed with an adoptive family.
With so few families willing to accept black children and discriminatory placing practices active in some states, it is no wonder why there are so many black children in the US, some of them infants, waiting for adoptive homes.
Internationally, some of the countries with the highest per capita number of adoptable orphans are located in Africa. There certainly is an expensive price tag associated with all international adoptions. However the fact is, nations like Poland and the Ukraine’s adoption fees are over 65% more expensive than that of Uganda or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Why? Adoptive nations pricing strategies are real life Economics 101 supply and demand models. A surplus of supply and insufficient demand equate to a lower price tag in African – read: black – nations. Only in this scenario, the supplied “product” is a living, breathing child without a family.
I will leave you with this: Just about any decent person will tell you that love makes a family, not skin color or genetics. So in our supposedly progressive and modern society, how are we so stuck on race?