2
   

Transracial Adoption

 
 
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 04:58 pm
NEW YORK (AP) -- Several leading child welfare groups Tuesday urged an overhaul of federal laws dealing with transracial adoption, arguing that black children in foster care are ill-served by a "colorblind" approach meant to encourage their adoption by white families.



Recommendations for major changes in the much-debated policy were outlined in a report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.



"Color consciousness -- not 'color blindness' -- should help to shape policy development," the report said.



Groups endorsing its proposals included the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the Child Welfare League of America, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the National Association of Black Social Workers.



At issue is the 1994 Multi-Ethnic Placement Act -- and revisions made to it in 1996 -- governing the adoption of children from foster care.



One part of the law directs state agencies to recruit more adoptive parents of the same race as the children. The new report says this provision hasn't been adequately enforced and calls for better funded efforts to recruit minority parents.



The more contentious part of the legislation prohibits race from being taken into consideration in most decisions about adoption from foster care. For example, white parents seeking to adopt a black child cannot be required to undergo race-oriented training that differs in any way from training that all prospective adoptive parents receive.



A key recommendation in the new report calls for amending the law so race could be considered as a factor in selecting parents for children from foster care. The change also would allow race-oriented pre-adoption training.



"We tried to assess what was working and what wasn't, and came to the conclusion that preparing parents who adopt transracially benefits everyone, especially the children," said Adam Pertman, the Donaldson Institute's executive director.



"The view that we can be colorblind is a wonderful, idealistic perspective, but we don't live there," Pertman said. "If we want to do the best for the kids, we have to look at their realities."



At the heart of the debate is the fact that the foster care system has a disproportionately high number of black children, and on average they languish there nine months longer than white children before moving to permanent homes. The latest federal figures showed 32 percent of the 510,000 children in foster care were black in 2006, compared to 15 percent of all U.S. children.



Of the black children adopted out of foster care, about 20 percent are adopted by white families. The Donaldson report said current federal law, by stressing color blindness, deters child welfare agencies from assessing families' readiness to adopt transracially or preparing them for the distinctive challenges they might face.



"There is a higher rate of problems in minority foster children adopted transracially than in-race," said the report. "All children deserve to be raised in families that respect their cultural heritage."



Pertman stressed that his institute and its allies were not opposed to transracial adoption.



"We want to see more kids in foster care get permanent homes, and we want to see the parents who raise those children be prepared to do so," he said.



Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who directs the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School, believes the concept of striving for color blindness is sound. She foresees problems if race once again becomes a key determinant.



"Giving social workers the chance to do that produced very rigid race matching," she said, referring to pre-1994 policies. "That's one of the reasons to say race can't be used at all -- there's no other way to be sure it doesn't become the overwhelming factor."



Current policy allows standardized pre-adoption training, but wisely prohibits specific screening for parents seeking to adopt transracially, Bartholet said.



"What cannot be done is have a pass/fail test that turns on whether you give the politically correct answers," she said. "If social workers are allowed to use training to determine who can adopt, there's lots of experience showing they abuse that power."



She also questioned whether attempts to boost minority recruitment would succeed.



"Black people are significantly poorer than white people and less likely to be in a position to come forward," Bartholet said. "Recruitment efforts bump up against that fact."



The Donaldson recommendations were embraced as "long overdue" by Michelle Johnson, a black woman raised by white adoptive parents near Minneapolis. Johnson now works on child-welfare matters for the court system there.



Her parents "were not the norm," she said. "They were exceptional in what they did for me... They were very humble in what they didn't know. There was lots of communication."



Too many white adoptive parents, she said, underestimate the enduring presence of racism in America and don't get training that would help them raise a black child.



"As a social worker who used to place children, I know very few families are ready to do this," Johnson said. "When families fail to realize they need assistance, it's dangerous."



Regarding recruitment, Johnson said child welfare agencies should strive to find permanent homes for black children among their extended families before placing them in foster care.



John Mould and Margaret Geiger, an Ambler, Pennsylvania, couple, have two white biological children and five black adopted children, now aged 15 to 23. Mould said transracial adoption is unquestionably challenging, but he worries about any changes that might make training and screening requirements too rigid.

"There are so many kids who need homes," Mould said. "The idea of trying to find the perfect matches -- you're not going to find them."



His adopted children have encountered some difficulties over the years, Mould said, but he believes they've developed resiliency and maturity as a result.



His youngest son, Eric Jones, 15, said the family's makeup sometimes complicates his life, but he's convinced that transracial adoption can succeed.



"White or black doesn't matter," he said. "What counts is whether the parents are ready to take responsibility."



(emphasis added by Finn)



Link to Source



It seems a fair assumption that foster care is not the ideal situation for any child, and so the question should be is a black child better off in foster care than in an adoptive home with white parents? Presumably the legislation which is under attack answered that question, but if it is to be rescinded, the question needs to be asked again.

All things being equal, it is probably less problematic for a black child to be adopted by black parents, but if all things were equal, there would not be an issue. For whatever reasons, unfortunately there are more black children in need of adoption than there are black families wanting to adopt.

I'm not saying it doesn't make sense to try and place black children with black families or their relatives, but, again, if this was just a matter of trying a little harder there wouldn't be an issue. Presumably advocates of rescinding the law believe that having a black family adopt a black child justifies the black child remaining in foster care longer that would be necessary if the law remained in effect. How much longer is acceptable? Obviously not every foster home is a nightmare scenario, but it doesn't take too long to screw up a little kid.

As for the notion of pre-adoption training, the devil is in the details, but I see nothing wrong with requiring white adoptive parents to attend a day of sessions dedicated to helping them understand and deal with the challenges they face. I tend to think though that since the law put a stop to such training, there probably were situations where the training became brow-beating and an effort to disuade.

I am an adoptive parent and when my wife and I went to apply to our county's social services dept, we found ourselves in a room of at least 20 other couples who were all asked to leaf through what seemed like scores of photo albums containing the pictures of "hard to place" kids.a large percentage of these kids were black.

I don't know about the other couples, who happened to be all white, but my wife and I didn't know if we were up to parenting an "easy to place child," let alone one that presented known challenges.

2 years later we were blessed with a four month old white infant. He's presented his own set of challenges, as any kid would, and our success in meeting them has been mixed, as it is for most parents. I have no idea how we would have responded to a "difficult to place" child, but having spent time with other people seeking to adopt, and being familiar with the screening process, I am very confident that the couples who do take on the extra challenge are not doing so from some attraction to novelty.
Of course there must be examples of bad situations, but I would be shocked if they were anything but minimal, and confident that they are far, far fewer than bad foster care situations.

Young Eric Jones is wise beyond his years, but I have to wonder if those who oppose the law care more about politically correct ideology than what is best for Eric and his peers.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 06:10 pm
I find myself in the unaccustomed position of agreeing with Finn.

You'll have to excuse me, I must go now and re-examine my entire belief system.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 07:28 pm
I find myself in the not at all uncommon position of agreeing with joefromchicago. Actually, one distinction that Finn doesn't make-- the issue isn't training (which current law allows), but screening (i.e. rejecting people who don't give the "correct" (i.e. politically correct) answers).

After listening to a debate on this topic on NPR with an open-mind I became confident that the "race as a factor" people are completely full of crap.

They are screening out perfectly good adoptive parents for some ill-advised attempt to save "black culture". Hurting kids for questionable political aims is indefensible.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:15 pm
Hmm...

So... what they are saying is that... as a PERSON I can not adopt whom I choose because I have to have a racial MATCH no matter what I have to offer a child?

They are really turning people away from adoption based on race? Allowing these kids to stay in the system for possibly their entire lives because they have to have a racial match.

This. is. fking . insane.

How many times do we as a society, as a nation, and as PEOPLE have to throw in the race card on issues like this?

WHY does it matter?

WHY do people still make race an issue??

I hate that people think this way. No one in america is a full blood white person. No one is a full blood black, asian, hispanic.. or what ever you want to call yourself.

We are all ONE big muddled group of people. Yet some of us still want to stand by and squack about race as if it is truly important in a situation like this.

Normally.. when I see someone ( not the author of this thread.. the people behind the REASON for this thread) All I want to do is roll my eyes and throw in some tacky racist joke .. because that is how serious I take people with race issues such as this.

But.. 'this race issue' is depriving homeless children. Because.. children who are in the system are TRULY homeless. They survive only on the kindness of strangers, government assistance, and tax dollars. We all take care of these kids.. and when they have an opportunity to have a HOME, have a FAMILY and be loved.. they are turned away.. because they are black and the parents are white?

jesus christ america.
Wake up will ya?
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:18 pm
shewolfnm wrote:
Hmm...

So... what they are saying is that... as a PERSON I can not adopt whom I choose because I have to have a racial MATCH no matter what I have to offer a child?

They are really turning people away from adoption based on race? Allowing these kids to stay in the system for possibly their entire lives because they have to have a racial match.

This. is. fking . insane.

How many times do we as a society, as a nation, and as PEOPLE have to throw in the race card on issues like this?

WHY does it matter?

WHY do people still make race an issue??

I hate that people think this way. No one in america is a full blood white person. No one is a full blood black, asian, hispanic.. or what ever you want to call yourself.

We are all ONE big muddled group of people. Yet some of us still want to stand by and squack about race as if it is truly important in a situation like this.

Normally.. when I see someone ( not the author of this thread.. the people behind the REASON for this thread) All I want to do is roll my eyes and throw in some tacky racist joke .. because that is how serious I take people with race issues such as this.

But.. 'this race issue' is depriving homeless children. Because.. children who are in the system are TRULY homeless. They survive only on the kindness of strangers, government assistance, and tax dollars. We all take care of these kids.. and when they have an opportunity to have a HOME, have a FAMILY and be loved.. they are turned away.. because they are black and the parents are white?

jesus christ america.
Wake up will ya?


Exactly what I believe.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:25 pm
I can't believe I'm agreeing with any of the first three posters, let alone all three at once.


It's about what's good for the kids, that's all. I can't imagine that waiting in foster care for the perfect match is better than being with people who want to be your parents.






<waiting for a lightning bolt>
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:31 pm
ehBeth wrote:
I can't believe I'm agreeing with any of the first three posters, let alone all three at once.


I can.
When it comes to kids even the odd snaKKKe out will want to help them in some way.
kids are ... pieces of gold.. that almost everyone wants to polish and take care of.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:36 pm
Re: Transracial Adoption
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
NEW YORK (AP) -- Several leading child welfare groups Tuesday urged an overhaul of federal laws dealing with transracial adoption, arguing that black children in foster care are ill-served by a "colorblind" approach meant to encourage their adoption by white families.



Recommendations for major changes in the much-debated policy were outlined in a report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.



"Color consciousness -- not 'color blindness' -- should help to shape policy development," the report said.



Groups endorsing its proposals included the North American Council on Adoptable Children, the Child Welfare League of America, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the National Association of Black Social Workers.



At issue is the 1994 Multi-Ethnic Placement Act -- and revisions made to it in 1996 -- governing the adoption of children from foster care.



One part of the law directs state agencies to recruit more adoptive parents of the same race as the children. The new report says this provision hasn't been adequately enforced and calls for better funded efforts to recruit minority parents.



The more contentious part of the legislation prohibits race from being taken into consideration in most decisions about adoption from foster care. For example, white parents seeking to adopt a black child cannot be required to undergo race-oriented training that differs in any way from training that all prospective adoptive parents receive.



A key recommendation in the new report calls for amending the law so race could be considered as a factor in selecting parents for children from foster care. The change also would allow race-oriented pre-adoption training.



"We tried to assess what was working and what wasn't, and came to the conclusion that preparing parents who adopt transracially benefits everyone, especially the children," said Adam Pertman, the Donaldson Institute's executive director.



"The view that we can be colorblind is a wonderful, idealistic perspective, but we don't live there," Pertman said. "If we want to do the best for the kids, we have to look at their realities."



At the heart of the debate is the fact that the foster care system has a disproportionately high number of black children, and on average they languish there nine months longer than white children before moving to permanent homes. The latest federal figures showed 32 percent of the 510,000 children in foster care were black in 2006, compared to 15 percent of all U.S. children.



Of the black children adopted out of foster care, about 20 percent are adopted by white families. The Donaldson report said current federal law, by stressing color blindness, deters child welfare agencies from assessing families' readiness to adopt transracially or preparing them for the distinctive challenges they might face.



"There is a higher rate of problems in minority foster children adopted transracially than in-race," said the report. "All children deserve to be raised in families that respect their cultural heritage."



Pertman stressed that his institute and its allies were not opposed to transracial adoption.



"We want to see more kids in foster care get permanent homes, and we want to see the parents who raise those children be prepared to do so," he said.



Professor Elizabeth Bartholet, who directs the Child Advocacy Program at Harvard Law School, believes the concept of striving for color blindness is sound. She foresees problems if race once again becomes a key determinant.



"Giving social workers the chance to do that produced very rigid race matching," she said, referring to pre-1994 policies. "That's one of the reasons to say race can't be used at all -- there's no other way to be sure it doesn't become the overwhelming factor."



Current policy allows standardized pre-adoption training, but wisely prohibits specific screening for parents seeking to adopt transracially, Bartholet said.



"What cannot be done is have a pass/fail test that turns on whether you give the politically correct answers," she said. "If social workers are allowed to use training to determine who can adopt, there's lots of experience showing they abuse that power."



She also questioned whether attempts to boost minority recruitment would succeed.



"Black people are significantly poorer than white people and less likely to be in a position to come forward," Bartholet said. "Recruitment efforts bump up against that fact."



The Donaldson recommendations were embraced as "long overdue" by Michelle Johnson, a black woman raised by white adoptive parents near Minneapolis. Johnson now works on child-welfare matters for the court system there.



Her parents "were not the norm," she said. "They were exceptional in what they did for me... They were very humble in what they didn't know. There was lots of communication."



Too many white adoptive parents, she said, underestimate the enduring presence of racism in America and don't get training that would help them raise a black child.



"As a social worker who used to place children, I know very few families are ready to do this," Johnson said. "When families fail to realize they need assistance, it's dangerous."



Regarding recruitment, Johnson said child welfare agencies should strive to find permanent homes for black children among their extended families before placing them in foster care.



John Mould and Margaret Geiger, an Ambler, Pennsylvania, couple, have two white biological children and five black adopted children, now aged 15 to 23. Mould said transracial adoption is unquestionably challenging, but he worries about any changes that might make training and screening requirements too rigid.

"There are so many kids who need homes," Mould said. "The idea of trying to find the perfect matches -- you're not going to find them."



His adopted children have encountered some difficulties over the years, Mould said, but he believes they've developed resiliency and maturity as a result.



His youngest son, Eric Jones, 15, said the family's makeup sometimes complicates his life, but he's convinced that transracial adoption can succeed.



"White or black doesn't matter," he said. "What counts is whether the parents are ready to take responsibility."



(emphasis added by Finn)



Link to Source



It seems a fair assumption that foster care is not the ideal situation for any child, and so the question should be is a black child better off in foster care than in an adoptive home with white parents? Presumably the legislation which is under attack answered that question, but if it is to be rescinded, the question needs to be asked again.

All things being equal, it is probably less problematic for a black child to be adopted by black parents, but if all things were equal, there would not be an issue. For whatever reasons, unfortunately there are more black children in need of adoption than there are black families wanting to adopt.

I'm not saying it doesn't make sense to try and place black children with black families or their relatives, but, again, if this was just a matter of trying a little harder there wouldn't be an issue. Presumably advocates of rescinding the law believe that having a black family adopt a black child justifies the black child remaining in foster care longer that would be necessary if the law remained in effect. How much longer is acceptable? Obviously not every foster home is a nightmare scenario, but it doesn't take too long to screw up a little kid.

As for the notion of pre-adoption training, the devil is in the details, but I see nothing wrong with requiring white adoptive parents to attend a day of sessions dedicated to helping them understand and deal with the challenges they face. I tend to think though that since the law put a stop to such training, there probably were situations where the training became brow-beating and an effort to disuade.

I am an adoptive parent and when my wife and I went to apply to our county's social services dept, we found ourselves in a room of at least 20 other couples who were all asked to leaf through what seemed like scores of photo albums containing the pictures of "hard to place" kids.a large percentage of these kids were black.

I don't know about the other couples, who happened to be all white, but my wife and I didn't know if we were up to parenting an "easy to place child," let alone one that presented known challenges.

2 years later we were blessed with a four month old white infant. He's presented his own set of challenges, as any kid would, and our success in meeting them has been mixed, as it is for most parents. I have no idea how we would have responded to a "difficult to place" child, but having spent time with other people seeking to adopt, and being familiar with the screening process, I am very confident that the couples who do take on the extra challenge are not doing so from some attraction to novelty.
Of course there must be examples of bad situations, but I would be shocked if they were anything but minimal, and confident that they are far, far fewer than bad foster care situations.

Young Eric Jones is wise beyond his years, but I have to wonder if those who oppose the law care more about politically correct ideology than what is best for Eric and his peers.



My way of thinking about this is always to look at the least worst option.....because, as Finn says, if a kid needs fostering/adopting there is no perfect solution left.


I have no idea what research there is about the effect of different ethnic adoption/fostering.


What we DO know is that the adults' current attachment status (as measured on the Adult Attachment Interview) is a damn fine predictor, along with a positive maternal/paternal attributions scale, of the nature of the attachment the child will form with the adults...which is in turn a predictor for good outcome.


Australia, with its stolen generation, some of whom were placed with the most well-intentioned of adoptive parents, sadly performed a natural experiment in this area.

I don't know that proper research has been done into this, and I also know that my sort of work means that we see the results of the worst of outcomes, but I would have to say that I saw a very alienated and lost generation of people from that situation.


That being said, the circumstances of the adoptions were terrible, and many of the parents had no idea about the need to connect these kids with aboriginal culture.......


Because of this, the authorities currently bend over backwards to foster aboriginal kids with aboriginal families, and in kinship care, as it is known here.

This, in my view, (as some of these principles do with white kids) can lead to bad things.

Eg: Aboriginal kids being placed with aboriginal carers who themselves have very poor parenting skills. Let's face it, the kids often get placed with the very same people who raised their parents, and didn't do well at all.

Kids being placed in very over-crowded and stressful homes.





My sense is that we should be placing where there is the best parenting AND, if the placement is with a different cultural/ethnic group, people prepared for, and willing to work very hard at, ensuring the child is integrated with their own culture.


Thing is, resources and research in this area is usually so minimal that good decisions are hard to make, and implement.


I'd be fascinated if anyone had some good research.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:36 pm
bookmark.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:37 pm
ehBeth wrote:
I can't believe I'm agreeing with any of the first three posters, let alone all three at once.


It's about what's good for the kids, that's all. I can't imagine that waiting in foster care for the perfect match is better than being with people who want to be your parents.






<waiting>



Scary.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:38 pm
boomerang wrote:
bookmark.


I eagerly await your input..
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:39 pm
ebrown_p wrote:

After listening to a debate on this topic on NPR with an open-mind I became confident that the "race as a factor" people are completely full of crap.


That was an interesting interview. New angles, new info....... same problems.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 09:37 pm
What does the word "culture" mean to someone adopted as an infant or toddler (adopting an older child is different)? The discussion suggesting that culture is genetic (rather than taught) is dubious at best.

There are issues of dealing with physical differences that interracial families need to deal with... and issues of identity are somewhat more complex in these cases

But culture?

It seems obvious to me that you get culture from the people who raise you-- and in a loving family, this is what matters.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 10:24 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
What does the word "culture" mean to someone adopted as an infant or toddler (adopting an older child is different)? The discussion suggesting that culture is genetic (rather than taught) is dubious at best.

There are issues of dealing with physical differences that interracial families need to deal with... and issues of identity are somewhat more complex in these cases

But culture?

It seems obvious to me that you get culture from the people who raise you-- and in a loving family, this is what matters.



Not in this world, sadly, generally.


Of course you get your personal culture from that, and the culture you interact with, and so on....but, for people living where race, for instance, is a difference that is noticed, then, if you are a black baby being raised by whites, then you become aware that you are different from the family raising you, and this becomes something you have to deal with, for good or ill.


Where there is a degree of racism in the broader culture, for instance, then this becomes a difficult thing to deal with.


Your view is sweet, but not borne out in reality.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 10:40 pm
Just to try and illustrate the sorts of issues that can arise even in good situations.....and this is a simpler situation without loss of a birth family or adoption.


I am seeing a little bloke whose parents are from Pakistan.


His parents are well off, and he goes to a great school......but he feels sort of isolated.


He feels different from the Anglo kids around him, and feels sort of bad about being different...helped, of course, by some teasing.


There are a number of kids from his country at school, but, they are from Islamic families. His parents are not Islamic.....therefore he is not seen by the other kids from Pakistan as being really one of them.....though this varies with the degree of intolerance promulgated by the Islamic kids' parents.


He has Anglo friends, but, because his parents are much stricter re sleepovers and such, he cannot really be fully part of their group, because he is not allowed to do a lot of the things they can do.


He feels quite distressed and angry about all of this.


He feels, and is, different, to some degree and he has to negotiate this.




I am by no means promulgating the view that race/birth-culture should be an overwhelming factor, but to deny that it IS a factor is naive to a silly extent.....unless you live in a culture that is blind to such matters, or where there is no baggage attached to such differences.


I'd love to live in a place like that, but sadly I don't.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 04:47 am
I disagree... and I disagree from experience. I grew up in an interracial family (and now the family in which I play the father role is a different mix of interracial).

Part of my disagreement with what you are saying is that I think you are confusing the terms "race" and "culture".

My parents (both lily-white Anglo-Saxon protestants) adopted two African-American babies (which in the 1970s was pretty rare). My sisters' race is African-American. But culturally... well they grew up with my parents.

My parents did some things to experience "black culture". We went to a black church a few times. Much of this experience was at least as good for me (I am as white as paper) as it was for my sisters and it really was a matter of my parent instilling their values in us.

I do remember we had a rather-racist story book that my mother adored. In it a beautiful black princess is captured by an ugly white demon who enslaves her and makes her work and cover up her beauty until she is rescued by a valiant dark-skinned price. But, again, this was more a part of my parent's character then any real part of the "Black-Nationalist culture".

For most of our life, we were culturally who we were. We settled in rural New Hampshire (my sisters were half of the non-white students in their high school) and we were part of a almost all white Congregational church who treated us very well. Some of our friends were African-Americans.. but most of them were from an interesting sub-culture of interracial families that arose.

There were some issues of skin color (which is not culture). There was dealing with the difference of skin color, and teasing and at times some institutional problems of racism. My parents dealt with these the way any mother would of. There is also the issue of identity which any teenaged kid has to deal with. When adolescence comes around, I can say from experience in two generations... kids with a strong family will figure it out fine in their own way.

These are problems of childhood... perhaps made more difficult by a difference of appearance. They require understanding and patience... but "culture" is not that important.

What is important is a strong loving family.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 04:59 am
Dlowan,

If I understand correctly, it seems the story you relate of the Pakistani culture is different than the issue we are discussion. If the parents who are raising him are Pakistani... then culture does apply and this is a wholly different matter.

Darker skin does not set you in a culture either in your own eyes, or in the eyes of society.

Most people can't tell the difference between a Pakistani, a Hispanic or a Native-American (or Aboriginal... in the US this term sounds weird). Society treats each of of these as a different sub-group... yet if you are adopted at birth it is the culture of your parents that impacts how you act, how you view the world, the religion and customs you associate with, and who you identify with.

If you adopt an older child (where culture has already been instilled), I feel strongly that the parents had better understand and appreciate the culture that child comes from.

Babies don't have a culture until they take the one from the family that raises them.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 06:31 am
ebrown_p wrote:
Dlowan,

If I understand correctly, it seems the story you relate of the Pakistani culture is different than the issue we are discussion. If the parents who are raising him are Pakistani... then culture does apply and this is a wholly different matter.

Darker skin does not set you in a culture either in your own eyes, or in the eyes of society.

Most people can't tell the difference between a Pakistani, a Hispanic or a Native-American (or Aboriginal... in the US this term sounds weird). Society treats each of of these as a different sub-group... yet if you are adopted at birth it is the culture of your parents that impacts how you act, how you view the world, the religion and customs you associate with, and who you identify with.

If you adopt an older child (where culture has already been instilled), I feel strongly that the parents had better understand and appreciate the culture that child comes from.

Babies don't have a culture until they take the one from the family that raises them.




Yes....and I also speak from a lot of experience. Thing is, people being different, their responses will be different.


And I think you have entirely missed my point....what I am talking about is the fact that kids end up noticing that they are different from those raising them (if fostered or adopted by people different from their birth parents) or from those whom they mostly live amongst (if they are in a minority cultural/ethnic group that is obviously different from the majority.)


The EFFECT of noticing this difference will differ according to multiple and complex factors ...from indifference, to pleasure, to intense distress and alienation and a multitued of things in between. With a lot of the aboriginal kids I have worked with it has led to drink, despair and imprisonment.


There were factors operating here that made this especially likely, and, as I said, I am not claiming there were not great results, as well.....however, for a group of kids, the effect of being different is very negative.


I won't continue arguing this, but simply say that being in denial of the possible negative effects of fostering/adopting kids very different racially or ethnically or whatever the hell you wanna call it from the new family needs, in my view, to be considered amongst all the other factors in assessing a suitable placement.


To deny the possible effects is, in my view, as silly as only attending to this factor.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 06:32 am
This may be a unique situation but the first thing I think of when I read those latter discussions is Deaf culture. Only 10% of deaf people have deaf parents. Deaf culture is therefore transmitted through deaf schools and other deaf social hubs rather than through the family. I don't think there is anything wrong with this and a lot that is right.

I also don't think that a deaf child should be taken from his or her hearing parents and placed with a Deaf family, though. Which seems more germane to what we're talking about (I think I'll join the chorus there, in terms of least-bad -- all other things being equal, I think there are benefits to a non-white baby being placed with a family from his or her birth culture.) (Composing that sentence led me to an interesting idea -- I'm less concerned with a white baby being placed in a non-white family, even if all other things are equal, because the majority white culture is so accessible for everyone. A white child in America will see people like him/ her everywhere, doing everything.)

Anyway, as someone who entered Deaf culture as an adult rather than someone who was born to it, I very much get the appeal of being grounded in that way, the commonalities, the understanding. I can see that applying to dlowan's Aborigine example too.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 06:36 am
sozobe wrote:
This may be a unique situation but the first thing I think of when I read those latter discussions is Deaf culture. Only 10% of deaf people have deaf parents. Deaf culture is therefore transmitted through deaf schools and other deaf social hubs rather than through the family. I don't think there is anything wrong with this and a lot that is right.

I also don't think that a deaf child should be taken from his or her hearing parents and placed with a Deaf family, though. Which seems more germane to what we're talking about (I think I'll join the chorus there, in terms of least-bad -- all other things being equal, I think there are benefits to a non-white baby being placed with a family from his or her birth culture.) (Composing that sentence led me to an interesting idea -- I'm less concerned with a white baby being placed in a non-white family, even if all other things are equal, because the majority white culture is so accessible for everyone. A white child in America will see people like him/ her everywhere, doing everything.)

Anyway, as someone who entered Deaf culture as an adult rather than someone who was born to it, I very much get the appeal of being grounded in that way, the commonalities, the understanding. I can see that applying to dlowan's Aborigine example too.




Yeah.....it's a damn complex thing.


I suspect one of the factors is how big and dominant and available and well-regarded the kids' birth whatever is in the community...ie the higher the score for that, likely, all other things being equal, the less the difference is likely to be problematic.
0 Replies
 
 

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