February 14, 2005

The exporting of Black Babies...

60 minutes ran a piece last night about the exporting of Black Babies born in America to white families outside the U.S. I have in the past voiced my concern and objection to white families adopting Black children. My concern and objection was met with the remarks that “in order for these children to have some stability and a chance, being adopted by a white family may be necessary especially when there is no Black family available.” Black Children are far less likely to get adopted than all other children and Black children make up the bulk of children in foster care waiting for adoption. This reality is often thought to mean that Black men and women are not adopting Black children but the truth is Black men and women are adopting Children in numbers higher than we ever have and there was a significant Rise in Black single men adopting Black Children in the mid to late nineties. The real problem lies in the bureaucracy that keep Black folk from adopting Black children and there is more Black children in need of homes and families than there are Black men and women willing to deal with all the scrutiny they get when trying to adopt, thus if these children are to find a home it may be with a non-Black family because of the racism that has infected the adoption process.

We all have seen the stories of white folk in America adopting Russian, Chinese and various other Babies from around the Globe. This reality is born from the fact that Racism is a problem that white folk are aware of and are not ready to deal with here in the U.S. I am not advocating the adoption of Black babies by white folk in America, I am simply pointing to their actions being acknowledgement of deep seated racism in this country that they would rather not face or deal with. This is not true for all white folk as there are plenty of white folk raising Black children here in the U.S. However we can say generally speaking this is true. What is it about the Black and White dynamic here in America that lead white folk here to pay thousand of dollars to get a baby from another country? While white folk outside the U.S. are paying thousands of dollars to get a Black baby from the U.S.?

My objection and concern with white folk adopting Black children is rooted in things I have heard from men and women who were adopted by white folk. The most difficult time for a Black child in a white family is the teenage years when we all start trying to discover who we are. Many Black children that grow up in white families in white towns and attended majority white school found themselves confused and the target of racist comments and remarks and living with parent who had no idea how to deal with the racism targeted at their Black Child nor did they know how to comfort their Black Child, thus the child in many instances rebel and the rest is history.

One of the things I liked about the white families that are adopting Black children in Canada as noted in the 60 minutes piece is that there are so many of them and they all have come together and they have play dates and they bring in Black mentors and Black adults to interact with their adopted Black children. A few of the white families have what is referred to as an open adoption which means the birth parents are still involved in the children’s life and are a big part of the child’s life. 60 minutes profiled this one young Brother whom mom wanted to finish school and thus gave her son up for adoption. She went on to get her masters degree and is doing very well for herself and her daughter; her son that was adopted by the white family is a part of their life. They visit him in Canada and he visits them in Houston.

Can transracial Adoption work? It has worked in instances where the white family that adopts a Black child understands the racism that their adopted child or children will deal with, when they make an assertive effort to connect that child with the culture and history of his or her people and when the birth parents are involved in the life of the adopted child.

The biggest of all questions is still how can we stop the exporting of Black Babies and help defeat the bureaucracy that Black men and women face when trying to adopt a child. It is commonly known and understood that the scrutiny Black families get when trying to adopt a child is overbearing and often times lead to the families changing their minds or simply being told for what ever reason they can not adopt although they are more than qualified.

One of the comments a white couple received when they took their adopted Black child to school was “The school Basketball program just got a big shot in the arm.” The parent’s response was that they can not blame people that speak like this for their comments because families like theirs are unusual in their town. This to me is white folk covering for white folk; the comments made were not that the science or other scholastic subjects just got a Big shot in the arm it was that a sport just got a big shot in the arm. This is an example of the commonly held belief by white folk that Black men and women are superior when it comes to sports and athleticism but the underline and unspoken part of that is we are inferior when it comes to academics. This reality escapes even the adopted parents and to me represents a future of uncertainty for this Black child with this white family in regards to the racism he will face that his parents may otherwise miss or not understand that would immediately be picked up by a Black family.


At 1:35 PM, Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

I think, when it all comes down to it, I'd rather be adopted by a white family than to waste away in foster care.
I am a lawyer and I've done a ton of pro-bono adoption cases, some being interracial adoptions. I even had a black woman from Watts adopt a blonde white baby!! In those cases, I'm just so happy to see the kid get some "parents" that I could care less what planet, let alone country, the parents are from. Love sees no color.

The adoption bureacracy is a plus and a minus. The bureacracy ostensibly protects kids from sexual predators, etc, of which there are MILLIONS. On the other hand, it makes adopting an American child damn near impossible.

Also, I live on the same street as a white British couple that has an adopted black son. Each day, I sit outside with my dog and chill, just about at sunset. Each day, they walk by with their kid. Each day, they do not speak. I believe it is very difficult for whites to understand the unique meaning of being black in America. Therefore, they don't understand why their kid stares at me so.

In any case, I have no problem with interracial adoption. Because, just as you love your daughter, love can transcend racial lines, and very easily. In fact, some might call it the "greatest love of all."

At 2:29 PM, Blogger Faheem said...

Let’s not use cliché bombs. Love is an emotion so it is easy to say something as simple as love sees no color. Love has no eyes but the human being out of whom love comes has eyes and many biases. You can personally have no problem with transracial adoption but the problems that are apart of these adoption are not dependent on our view of this kind of adoption thus we must deal with the fallout from such adoption and what is best for Black children being adopted by whites. The kind of coping mechanism that are necessary for Black men and women to have in America to deal with its structural racist system and people can not be taught by white parents or white people and this should be our concern when it come to putting Black Children in homes with white families that have absolutely no connection with the Black community or Black people. Black children are not like pets that can be put in any home and go along with the family, Black children have a history that connects them with their people and helps them understand who they are and from whence they came.

At 3:53 PM, Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

Faheem, I agree that, if at all possible, black children should be placed with black parents, but it's just simply not possible all the time. I agree that it is very difficult to be black in america and also that white people cannot teach a black child how to cope. But, at the same time, I'd rather see the kid with food, clothing and a warped racial sense than have him strung out like a dog in foster care. Foster care is TERRIBLE. It's like jail for kids.

Even though I literally lay awake at night hating white people for what they did to us, and what they continue to do, I still believe in a human essence that transcends race. There is such a good thing as a "good white person," though they are few and far between, I undertand...

At 3:05 PM, Blogger abw said...

Bombs over Baghdad, I would like a child to be adopted rather than lanquishing in the foster care system anyday of the week. Yes, I prefer adoption over neglect any day of the week. Still, I think blacks have a right to question this phenomenon. Whose to say that some of these adopted black kids are not abused in these homes precisely because some of these parents do not respect the child's color or culture or other. Abuse happens outside situations like this so whose to say it does not happen in these situations more. I have heard of some cases of children of color have problems with some of their white adopted parents, not to mention that some of the adoption of children of color, comes across as being the political, chic, trendy thing for some parents to do as opposed to love. I do not hate white people although I get tired of the stuff they still do, but too many black folks have a warped racial sense without adoption, why encourage this phenomenon. I know there are some good white parents that respect the background and history of their child but I do not think that many of the parents do that adopt kids. I don't mind other people adopting black children but blacks should be able to adopt their own without as many barriers.


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