Monday, February 20, 2012

Who Doesn't Love A Good Rant and Ramble About An Article

In case you haven't seen this article, it's a good one on what research says about adopted children and forming a racial identity.  Some favorite quotes...

What we find is that parents are pretty good about the culture part, but not very good about the race part.
There was a point in my past where I thought the two were interchangeable terms, they are however, quite different.  

Groza said parents generally don’t create an atmosphere where it’s all right to talk about race as their transracially adopted children grow up in what are typically white communities.
Your child is not colorblind.  Pretending that they are is romanticizing at best.  You either talk about it now, or expect them to not be able to talk about it later.

Most of the adoptees surveyed said they grew up in majority white communities, and some expressed anger.  “Sticking a child in a place where no one else looked like them in a dinky town is, in my opinion, child abuse,” one respondent said. 
This is part of the reason we live where we live and why we are choosing to adopt an African American child.  If we lived in rural Missouri instead and felt the call to adopt an AA child, I believe we would have had to move.  In my mind this goes for if you choose to adopt internationally as well.  The rate of children being adopted from Africa is growing rapidly, I just hope that those children don't have to be a town spectacle as the only black child around.

So far, Goff said, they have had to work through the hard questions about Ning’s birthparents, which he said isn’t so different from the questions any adopted child might ask. Otherwise, the biggest challenge they face is from other parents. Goff said parents  ask about whether the girls are “real” sisters or questions about their “real” parents when the girls are in earshot.
Children who were adopted are real.  Their siblings are their real siblings.   Their parents are their real parents.  It is not appropriate to ask deeply personal and potentially insulting questions to others just out of your curiosity.  Here is a great post, Is It Ok To Ask If Someone's Kids Are Adopted.

Kim, now 43, a doctoral candidate at the University of Minnesota-School of Social Work, said culture is the easy part, the beautiful part, but convincing parents that living in a more diverse area might be better for their child’s racial development is a hard sell. Ultimately, she said, parents don’t want to be the ones outside their comfort zones.
This is always bothersome to me.  Parents don't want to move because it makes them feel uncomfortable or out of place, but have no qualms about making their child be the one to feel out of place?  Seriously?

Although Holt (An agency they discuss in the article) may make racial challenges clear, Kim said most agencies do not and will not.
“At the end of the day, they don’t want to scare away parents from adopting,” she said. “That’s why there’s not as strong of an effort to push that as there could be and needs to be, at times.”Nevertheless, Groza said the opportunities adoption offers to children who would otherwise be institutionalized or shuffled through the foster system can outweigh the possible risks.
Sigh.  They don't want to scare parents away from adopting.  They care more about scaring parents away than telling them the truth or telling them they need to make hard choices if they want to adopt trans-racially.  Yes, it is better for an African, Asian, Hispanic, or African American child to be adopted into a family in the middle of nowhere with only White people for 50 miles than to languish in an institution.  But why in the world are those seen as the only two options when those parents could make some life changes for the betterment of their children?  Yes, making a move far from home is a huge life change and it would be hard to leave your home, job, friends, and area you know.  Oh wait, that's what is happening to the child you are adopting.  You are just being asked to potentially move a few towns over.  Nevermind.

Sorry if I sound too snarky.  Just a bit of a soapbox for me.


  1. To "adoptive mommy" who commented on this post: You had a wonderful comment and I really appreciated it, but for some reason blogger decided I hit delete instead of publish! So sorry. If you'd like to redo it you are welcome to and I will be sure it gets published this time.

  2. I can't remember exactly what I wrote so here goes... this post is one of the best blog posts I have ever read! You have wonderful insight and bring up excellent thought provoking points. I honestly wish more adoptive and prospective adoptive parents felt this way. Despite the research there seem to be many who hold onto the thought that love is enough. Race is a factor in this country as is racism and ignoring it doesn't help the problem. This entry was very timely on a personal note since I have had several recent comments (which I chose not to publish) saying that racism doesn't happen and I need to relax and just live and let live...I think it is far better to speak out and speak up and applaud your efforts and passion to becoming a fantastic adoptive mommy- btw I already think you are a fabulous bio mommy. :)