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Transracial Adoption

 
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 06:47 am
Forgive me ... I am posting what is going through my head with out reading everyones posts in detail.. and I only have a vague idea of what you are discussing..

But this discussion has lead me to wonder about mixed race "natural" families.. Meaning.. families that have their own kids, yet the parents are mixed race.

My mother is white/cherokee
My father is black and we believe part cherokee too. But no one can locate him to prove that anymore.


I grew up in a primarily white home, yet I am very dark skinned.. tight spiral hair, black woman ..


Am I now , uncultured?

I dont know a lot about african history.
I know my father was born in africa to an american mother and an african father. His mother brought him back here. Sometimes I want to say he is from Johannesburg . Other times I want to say he is from a distinct small tribe. I truly do not remember anything about him .

My mothers skin is white. She has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Her father looks like an indian straight off of the plains.
Yet, all of his children look like my mother.
THEIR children look like him. If I braid my hair in a native american style I no longer look like a black woman. it is odd.. but that is not my point.

My point is that I am no where near as cultured in my history as I should be. But that does not detract from my home, my acceptance from my family, my security in myself and my place in this world.

As a child, I was at the mercy of adults as to what it was they would teach me. As an adult, it is up to me if I want to learn both of my cultures, or just stay as is.

If someone told me that I suffered as a child because my mom did not take me to 'black areas' or did not ' walk me to a reservation' I would laugh in their face.

Again.. this is SO much about race it is sickening.

Any white person can teach a child about black famous people, black heritage and older deeper black religions ( houdoo anyone?)

Any black family can teach a native american child about their heritage.

You dont have to have a matching skin tone to teach properly.

Unless you really want to get down to some racist ideas like.. young black people in america only show thier pride in their race by dressing a certain way, speaking a certain way and they should also like a certain type of music.. I think this whole news story is mind boggling and I am sorry to see people fighting against adoptions based on race alone. Because that is all it comes down to.

A black person is not better at teaching black history then the white person.
An Indian is not better at teaching Hindu then an Asian person.

it is all up to the parents to teach history. And history I think should never be about a single race.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 06:58 am
shewolfnm wrote:
Forgive me ... I am posting what is going through my head with out reading everyones posts in detail.. and I only have a vague idea of what you are discussing..

But this discussion has lead me to wonder about mixed race "natural" families.. Meaning.. families that have their own kids, yet the parents are mixed race.

My mother is white/cherokee
My father is black and we believe part cherokee too. But no one can locate him to prove that anymore.


I grew up in a primarily white home, yet I am very dark skinned.. tight spiral hair, black woman ..


Am I now , uncultured?

I dont know a lot about african history.
I know my father was born in africa to an american mother and an african father. His mother brought him back here. Sometimes I want to say he is from Johannesburg . Other times I want to say he is from a distinct small tribe. I truly do not remember anything about him .

My mothers skin is white. She has blonde hair and blue eyes.
Her father looks like an indian straight off of the plains.
Yet, all of his children look like my mother.
THEIR children look like him. If I braid my hair in a native american style I no longer look like a black woman. it is odd.. but that is not my point.

My point is that I am no where near as cultured in my history as I should be. But that does not detract from my home, my acceptance from my family, my security in myself and my place in this world.

As a child, I was at the mercy of adults as to what it was they would teach me. As an adult, it is up to me if I want to learn both of my cultures, or just stay as is.

If someone told me that I suffered as a child because my mom did not take me to 'black areas' or did not ' walk me to a reservation' I would laugh in their face.

Again.. this is SO much about race it is sickening.

Any white person can teach a child about black famous people, black heritage and older deeper black religions ( houdoo anyone?)

Any black family can teach a native american child about their heritage.

You dont have to have a matching skin tone to teach properly.

Unless you really want to get down to some racist ideas like.. young black people in america only show thier pride in their race by dressing a certain way, speaking a certain way and they should also like a certain type of music.. I think this whole news story is mind boggling and I am sorry to see people fighting against adoptions based on race alone. Because that is all it comes down to.

A black person is not better at teaching black history then the white person.
An Indian is not better at teaching Hindu then an Asian person.

it is all up to the parents to teach history. And history I think should never be about a single race.






Yeah, it's complex.


SOME kids, when placed outside their culture, DO feel "uncultured" and lost etc.


Along with dealing with not being with birth parents, which can be a huge thing for some kids.


Some don't.


I think it's important to recall the not with birth parents thing, too, as opposed to being raised with bio people.


The difficulty in discussing this is people get all polarized and emotional, as though one is saying race is the most important thing.


It is one thing, though.


I suspect both our countries (and Canada) are likely still deeply affected by the terrible results of our shared history of forcibly removing indigenous kids from parents and attempting to extirpate their culture and language by forbidding them to practise them.....and thus prone, perhaps, to over value race.


I think awful decisions are made for aboriginal kids because of this...both in failing to remove them, privileging aboriginality of placement over other things too much, and not challenging the aboriginal-run agencies managing these placements at times when they are clearly wrong in what they do.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 07:20 am
American Indian children are not placed for adoption within the general population and only very rarely placed outside their own tribe. Courts do not have any jurisdiction over the placement.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 07:22 am
Quote:
The difficulty in discussing this is people get all polarized and emotional, as though one is saying race is the most important thing.


Aiye.

please dont ever take my posts to be radical. Im angry that we , as an advanced society ( The entire world) still have to pay close attention to race and that we can not just look at each other as PEOPLE with out it.

but Im no screaming lunatic. I never will be. That just isnt me
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 08:50 am
I'm still organizing my mixed thoughts but this caught my eye....

Quote:
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.

<snip>

"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."


The fact that some kids thrive, not languish, in foster care aside, I have to wonder if it isn't spending additional time in foster care that creates the "higher rate of problems" than it is a disrespect for their cultural heritage.
0 Replies
 
onyxelle
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 09:02 am
*reading with interest*
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 09:22 am
I keep going back and rereading the article thinking I'm missing something. Adoption advocacy groups creating barriers to adoption? Aren't there enough barriers already?

They investigate everything - criminal history, financial history, health, education, biography; they leave no stone unturned.

Are gay couples or single people allowed to adopt from foster care or does that remain as a private adoption option only? If not allowed that's another barrier.

I adopted an older child and we have an open adoption, our biggest cultural mindfuck is about religion. Should they try to match children by religious belief? If you adopt a child from, say, China, should you be required to be Buddhist?

In some ways it kind of makes sense for them to do that but in other ways it just seems stupid.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 09:33 am
I would like to throw one additional variable into the analysis:

What if a white Jewish couple adopted a Black child. The child is raised in the Jewish faith, perhaps not Orthodox, but celebrates the main Jewish holidays, as many mostly secular Jews might.

Now, how does society look upon this Black, Jewish individual? Black yes, but also Jewish. This is sort of like the Ethiopian Jews that were air evacuated to Israel, starting in the 1980's, and now on some news footage from Israel, one may see a Black soldier, or Black policeman. With time they will inter-marry with other Israelis, I have to believe.

Anyway, would the experience of being raised by white parents be the same for a Black adopted child, if the parents were Jewish, and the child raised in the Jewish faith? I personally believe there's a good chance that it might not be exactly the same (as being adopted by white Christian parents), since the Jewish parents would likely live in an area with other Jewish families, and the Black child would likely have other Jewish children as friends, and would be considered Jewish by most people in his/her childhood world.

In other words, does this variable of being raised Jewish change the experience of being Black? Also, does it change others' perceptions?
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 10:07 am
A few years back I had a doctor, a black woman, in maybe her 60s. She had grown up in Oregon where there are no very few black people but more than there were when she was a child.

One day I asked her what that was like. She said "Everyone wanted to touch my hair. It drove me crazy! I was a teenage girl, trying to fit in and everyone wanted to touch my hair."

Not long ago I was telling a friend this story - she's white, her husband is black and their kid, while bi-racial, looks black. R said "OH MY GOD. Nothing has changed. NOTHING. People do that to D (her son) all the time. It drives him crazy."

So I suppose I can see where trans-racial adoption presents some problems that most people don't really think about, like how do you respond when everyone wants to touch your child's hair.

It all seems kind of silly but obviously for a kid it's a pretty big deal.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 11:10 am
Foofie wrote:

Now, how does society look upon this Black, Jewish individual?


Probably the same as Native American christians.

it is an oxy moron. But that does not take away from that persons right to be loved, accepted, and allowed to thrive.

Again.. I have to ask people WHY they really look at someones race?
Why would a black person raise an issue in Jewish culture?

Does Jewish belief SPECIFY that the followers can only have dark hair, light skin and big noses?
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 11:27 am
Family is far more important than race or culture. Here is another example from personal experience.

My kids (who are part-Hispanic) are raised to be bi-lingual. This is important to me and my is now a big part of my kids identity. This week, we met a new (adult) neighbor and one of the first things my three year old daughter announced is "I speak two languages". But, this says a lot about who my wife and I are, then how my kids need to be raised.

A while ago, one of my coworkers adopted a boy from Guatemala. Neither he nor his partner Speak Spanish... nor do I look down on this. In fact they are raising him with in a distinctly American family. My kids are exposed to Latin Music and the formal family rituals that are common to Latin culture. This kid will not get this at all.

What is important is not whether he learns to greet older women with kisses, or eat Tamales, or if will insist on tortillas and salsa with dinner... but whether they have a strong, loving and healthy family.

The issues of hair, dealing with idiots in society or questions of identity are important, but each family (and each individual kid will deal with these in different ways). My individual sisters resolved these issues in different ways... and my kids are very different from each other (one is pretty all-American except for being bilingual, the other finds his Latino heritage is a very important part of his identity).

I don't like the idea of restrictions on what types of families can adopt waiting kids.

Yes, adoption has challenges (and from what I understand, even same-race adoptions lead to identity crises) and parents need to be prepared.

But if a family is loving and stable... they shouldn't be screened out.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 05:07 pm
I am very pleasently surprised by the response to this topic.I anticipated some charges of racism, but am delighted to see the nature of the discourse. Thank you all for participating.

Would just like to add:

Cultures come and go.This is a historical fact. They rarely, if ever, dissappear without violence or suffering, but both are undeniable and integral parts of the human experience.

This is not to say that efforts should not be made to preserve endangered cultures, but it is to say that children should not be forced to bear the burden of preserving them at the risk of their personal happiness and security.

All cultures share common fundamentals based on the human experience. This is what children need to be taught, not that there is something superior to a more narrow culture based on race, or geography.

I am the last person in the world who wishes to see the homogeneous human. I love that we have vibrant differences in culture and hope (against ultimate reality) that we will preserve these distinctions, but, again, the effort should not be on the backs of kids.

I'm sure there are difficulties involved with white parents adopting a black child, but there are difficulties with everything we do, and certainly so with same race adoptions.

What troubles me is the apparent tendency to allow ideology to overwhelm not only common sense but basic human empathy.

Ask a child in foster care if he or she would rather be adopted by a family of another race or culture who wants them as a part of their family, or wait for someone more like them to eventually come along.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 06:26 pm
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
I am very pleasently surprised by the response to this topic.I anticipated some charges of racism, but am delighted to see the nature of the discourse. Thank you all for participating.

It's a rare topic indeed where I agree with you, agree with joefromchicago, and (kinda) disagree with dlowan. But this must be one of those topics.

I have a dream, you see, that prospective parents will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. This dream is worth pursuing even with a few rough patches along the way. And I find it depressing to see child welfare groups trying to stop and even reverse the pursuit of this dream.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 07:04 pm
Well Finn... I have never seen you express such a liberal opinion before.

See, I have no problems supporting you when you take reasonable positions.
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hanno
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 07:13 pm
I'm for it. I mean, rock and roll meant a different thing before Hendrix died - I near crapped my pants when I heard Boy George called blue-eyed-soul in a meritorious context (not that I object to his lifestyle, just the flashy part, it's like the antithesis of rocker-ism, like Wilde-to-Machen, Beatles-to-Stones) but then there was Fine Young Cannibals in the same vane...


She Drives Me Crazy
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 07:27 pm
Congratulations on the adoption of your son Finn- I know he will bring you so much joy. Please express my congratulations to your wife as well.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 08:11 pm
I wouldnt consider his answer liberal.

I would consider it human.

We as humans all care for children to some degree.
As I said before, if there is ever a common , neutral ground, you can most often find it dealing with concerns and care of children.

Thats not liberal, democratic, republican or 'green party' Wink
0 Replies
 
Chumly
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 09:12 pm
I wonder how my cat must feel, being adopted by a human family......what must he think when he sees we have no fur!

The trauma, the horror, the pure awful alienation of it all.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 May, 2008 11:11 pm
What worries me is how people in this area seem to have such trouble holding in their minds multiple factors, and how thinking polarises into black and white.


E.g Race has no effect/race is supremely important.


This is reflected the extreme swings in social policy I have observed in my career.....


One minute this is the most important, another minute the other is....what happens in the child welfare world, at least here, is that a policy is adopted, with the best of intentions, based (hopefully) on current knowledge. This policy affects everything...eg here, possible family re-unification is privileged above considering the need for a child to have a permanent home.


This was a major shift away from permanent removal being something that happened more easily, because everyone got to see the downside of permanent removal.

Now, we are seeing the dangers of the current system......I suspect we are in danger of another broad-stroke shift that throws the good parts of the current system out with the bad...


This is why I am kind of fanatical about the dangers of people thinking there is a RIGHT solution.....there isn't a right solution, there is only the best solution we know how to offer a particular child with the resources we have.


I would love to see the same world some of you guys want to see........but wishes and dreams do not make realities go away, and I am not sure that these kids are the best people to experiment with.


My saying that will make some of you think I am against trans-racial fostering/adoption.....I am not. I have just been part of a fight that has been excruciatingly difficult and savage to get an aboriginal kid with the best possible carers....who are NOT aboriginal.


However, for some of our kids in some situations race etc WILL be a factor.......and I have seen so many kids for whom it was, that I am simply not prepared to deny its part in proper planning. And these were kids from very loving adoptive families.



It is not about whether culture is inborn...that is laughable...it is about how a kid feels, and whether their being different from their care family is noticeable to them, and what that difference comes to mean to them. There are multiple factors which will affect this.


Of course a loving family is of pivotal importance, as I said in my first post.......but there are many factors involved in placement decisions.



I find it quite distressing how often the discussions here about these things is so simplistic and manichean.


I would love to have some of you guys join us in the crucible of the real world of making these decisions, and see how long you thought there was a simple way of knowing the best option, and that you could always be right...
0 Replies
 
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 May, 2008 04:37 am
I don't think it's simplistic. I do think that if a family of the child's own race is available that's the kindest and most logical placement for that child.

I know when I adopted my daughter, her birth mother had asked that she be placed with people who loved music...I kid you not...and along with the blanket she sent for her, she sent a portable tape player (this was 1992 before ipods). She was very specific - she wanted her child to have music in her life.

She was a black woman - I am not. But my children's father is black - and I have to tell you, that has always been a real source of comfort to me in my situation to know that since I have a black son - he has a black man in his life to help him know what it is to be a black man. I have a black daughter - at times I've felt unsure about how to tell her to be a black woman...I don't have that experience. Her father is not a black female - but he was also not raised by his biological family and he can connect with her on that point as well as with her blackness in this society.

But I don't think it (race) trumps any or everything else. And at this point - people tell me (a fair-skinned white woman) that my daughter looks 'so much like me'. I just laugh - I think it's because of what ebrown says- when you're a family and you live together and you love each other - you adopt each other. The child has to adapt to and adopt the parent as much as the parent adopts the child.
And I think what the black woman raised by the white family who is the social worker now said is true - her white family admitted what they didn't know - they approached it with humbleness and accepted help when they needed it.
I think that makes all the difference.
I think it is important to ask questions though- aside from - would you adopt a child outside of your race. I think it's important to ascertain that the extended family is not racist - how is that child going to feel if they go to Grandma and Papa's and they're treated differently than the other grandchildren. I think it's important to ask questions about how older siblings might feel. I know my son was interviewed right along with us...there are a lot of issues - so no it can't be so simplistically approached if you want it to be successful.
Because a disrupted adoption (which happens more often than you might think) only makes it inifinitely harder for that child to ever be successfully placed.

I adopted my daughter in Maine- one of the states in the nation with the lowest population of minorities.
Every other family we were in classes with (for adoption information) was white. Each of them adopted black children. I've kept in touch and I feel that those children have been exceptionally lucky in their placements as they are exceptionally wanted and loved.
Maybe it doesn't always work out that way - but sixteen years later- I don't know of one placement that turned out unsuccessfully.
I think that's pretty inspiring.
0 Replies
 
 

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