Transracial Adoption: It's Complicated

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt with two of their adopted kids, Zahara and Maddox.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt with two of their adopted kids, Zahara and Maddox. Source: Sevastian D'Souza/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Sevastian D'Souza/AFP/Getty Images

In the interest of getting as many minority kids out of foster care and into loving homes as possible, the Multiethnic Placement Act promotes a color-blind approach to adoptions... In other words, it's legally prohibited "the delay or denial of any adoption or placement in foster care due to the race, color, or national origin of the child or of the foster or adoptive parents." On the face, it sounds good — more kids in solid, intact families instead of the ups and downs of foster care. Like most things, though, it's more complicated than that.

According to a new report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and endorsed by a multitude of others, the act has caused agencies to shy away from discussions of race at all, leaving adoptive parents unprepared to help their new children through the challenges of growing up in a family of a different race. Have you adopted children of another race, or did you grow up in a family where your parents didn't look like you? What sorts of resources could have made the process easier?

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I find this issue very interesting- I am a white woman married to a black African man and we have one child together. Like one of your callers, we live in a small town that is predominantly white. As a white woman, I have never had to deal with racism and my husband grew up in Africa, so he didn't encounter things that my daughter does. Although our daughter is our biological child, I would think that we experience some of the same issues that transracial adoptive parents do. I doubt that anyone would suggest that we need a training course, though.

Sent by Mary Henry | 2:24 PM | 5-27-2008

It seems as though the "problem" only exists in the context of black kids being adopted by whites. Does anyone question Asian kids being adopted by whites? In fact, it's something of a clich??.

A question I have is, how do so many black kids end up in foster care? I can hazard a guess that it's due to teen pregnancy, parents in chaos, and etc., but what are the actual facts of the matter?

Sent by chicago listener | 2:27 PM | 5-27-2008

It makes me very, very sad to hear that children who need love and care are being kept from loving parents because of some "politically correct" attitudes. Clearly, these "theoretical" considerations mean absolutely nothing compared to placing needful children in a loving, stable homes.

Sent by Julia | 2:27 PM | 5-27-2008

Do the guests have any statistics on opportunities for Black families to adopt White kids and has race created a barrier in that direction as well?

Sent by Ije | 2:28 PM | 5-27-2008

I am so glad to see this program air. I am a lesbian mom of 2 adopted sons. Both were in foster care. One of my sons is white and the other is black. I am a white woman. I am responsible to raise both of my sons with an awareness of white privilege and how it plays out in daily life and our institutions. I am also responsible to raise them in communities that are diverse and give them a wide and deep scope of identity options. Most important is that I continue to uproot and explore where my own whiteness and racism come to play.
I agree that we as adopting parents are NOT given the best preparation. Fortuntatly here in the Bay area we have resources like Pact: An adoption alliance and iPride, both organizations that help to ground my parenting in reality regarding transracial families.

Sent by Nann Phoenixx-Dawn | 2:29 PM | 5-27-2008

I am European-American and I met my Asian daughter when she was nearly 6 months old--she's now 13. I began teaching her about sexism and racism along with her ABC's and still, there is much, much I don't know. She learns from other Asian girls with European-American parents about managing as a racial minority. So many parents in our group still deny racism. For most it's the first time in their lives they've looked at race. I advocate that white people learn about racism long before adopting a child of color. Due diligence!

Sent by Deb | 2:29 PM | 5-27-2008

I'm a CPS worker in Portland OR and wanted to make a few comments.

First, the foster care/adoption system is in major crisis. There are not enough families period, let alone african american families. No barriers should be in place to permanency for these kids. The general public doesn't seem to understand the depth of the foster care crisis, particularly for kids of color.

There ARE a disproportionate number of black children in substitute care, a look at the reasons for this are in order.

Sent by juliet | 2:31 PM | 5-27-2008

May I point out that biracial children are also half white. Why is placement with a white couple more problematic then with a black family? When we finally realize that we are all brothers and sisters we will get past this. Can you imagine the questions and wink-wink when my flaming red hair appeared in a family of blondes and brunettes?

Sent by Claire | 2:33 PM | 5-27-2008

Very disappointing show. We are not TALKING about the issue- we are hearing these 2 argueing with each other.

I'm an adoptive mother of Guatemalan born children. I have really not learned anything.

Let the families talk.

Thanks

Sent by Sara | 2:34 PM | 5-27-2008

It seems to me that both Mr. Pertman and professor Bartlett agree on the same outcome but are arguing how to achieve that outcome. I think that rather then them pushing against each other, they get together and figure out a good solution.

Sent by Dan Dangler | 2:35 PM | 5-27-2008

The Indian Child Welfare Act is a prime example of how ludicrous and ineffective laws mandating children of color must go to families of color when placed for adoption. In the state of Oklahoma, 80% of the Native American children placed for adoption remain in foster care, because there are not enough Native American families waiting to adopt them. In 1986, my late husband and I--both white--went through a workshop on special needs' adoption. We were placed on a list to adopt a newborn with Down Syndrome. Three months later, a newborn with Down Syndrome came up for adoption who also happened to be Native American. We had to have both parental and tribal consent, because of our race. There was a Native American family waiting to adopt her, but when she was born with Down Syndrome, they walked away to wait for a perfect child. We were waiting. This beautiful little girl is now 21 and the light of our lives. Three years later, we adopted a newborn boy born addicted to cocaine. He's half-Hawaiian, 1/4 black, and 1/4 white. He's beautiful and perfectly normal now, no thanks to his abusive birth mother. We have one birth child, who is 26. None of us have ever been concerned about race. It simply isn't an issue. We're open and honest, but don't make a big deal about it. Why should anyone make a big deal about it? My son knows all he has to do is ask for information and I'll give it to him. He also knows his birth mother used cocaine while she was pregnant with him. We don't worry about diversity in schools or neighborhoods. We bring it with us. The welfare of the child is much, much more important than the color of their skin. Children care more about being loved and wanted than about growing up in the "right" neighborhood for their race. This is utterly ridiculous. Family is important. Race is not.

Sent by Deb Stover | 2:36 PM | 5-27-2008

Doesn't this entire conversation make the problematic assumption that "black parents" are all the same, and raise their change in some essentially "black way"? Would they not let a black family adopt a black child if they lived in a predominantly white neighborhood, didn't socialize with other black families, and so on?

Until we recognize that there is no one way to be "black," "white," or anything else, our policies will always fail.

Sent by Alexandra Gerber | 2:37 PM | 5-27-2008

My husband and I are white and are considering adopting a black child. I have no agenda except to learn more about this experience. But listening to the guests, I am wondering what the training is intended to accomplish. If it is to encourage agencies to place black kids with white families, doesn't that assume that agencies are not doing this as much as they could, for whatever reasons, and doesn't that suggest that allowing the race of the parents explicitly to be considered could backfire and mean fewer kids would be adopted?

Sent by Mandy | 2:39 PM | 5-27-2008

After listening to your segment on "colorblind" adoptions, I remain confused about the true nature of the argument. Neither Adam Pertman nor Professor Bartholet made concrete arguments for their view on the Multiethnic Placement Act.

It seems that Mr. Pertman wants to change MEPA because it has not encouraged crossracial adoption. However, he did not suggest ANY solutions that would actually result in more of those adoptions. It seems he proposes to let nature take its course.

On the other hand, Professor Bartholet spent most her time attacking Mr. Pertman rather than taking an honest look at the effectiveness of MEPA. She should have suggested stricter enforcement of the policy or an expansion of it; but she failed to do event that.

These two sounded more like politicians than policy experts. I expected a more balanced discussion about such an incredibly important issue.

Sent by Kristen | 2:51 PM | 5-27-2008

I am friends with a white couple who adopted a biracial baby a year ago. They knew that their son's birth mother was white and his father black. They had to go through a lot of questionnaires, interviews with psychiatrists, etc. to adopt him, and a lot of what they heard stressed their fitness to parent a child of color.

My friend says that she has always wondered if the baby's white birth mother would have been put through that kind of a wringer had she chosen to take him home rather than adopt him out? Would anyone have questioned her fitness as a white woman to raise a "child of color", or would they just have assumed she was okay to do it because she was his birth mother? What if she'd married a white man, would the adoption police have put him through reeducation to determine his fitness to raise his biracial stepson?

On TV the other night I saw a show about a woman who killed her adoptive daughter. The child was white, she'd come from a Russian orphanage and had reactive attachment disorder. Her behavior was so disruptive that her adoptive mother lost her cool and beat the child to death. Don't you think it would be more productive to put time and effort into educating people about other pitfalls of parenthood, rather than stressing so hard about who is colorful enough to raise children who are not white?

Sent by Julie | 2:56 PM | 5-27-2008

The entire discussion, I believe, missed the most important consideration. "The best interest of the child" in any adoption should be the only determining criteria. You cannot, I believe, make a global determination of this criteria based on only one dominant factor such as race. A Black and/or transracial child must have the skills and ability to function in the American society as a Black child. Because they will be viewed as a Black child by the larger race conscious society. For such a child to be successful in society they must feel and be confident as a Black person. Any perspective adoptive parents of a Black and/or Transracial child must demonstrate an ability to provide the child with this capacity. The love and nurturing of the adoptive parents are necessary but not sufficient to endow the child with this capacity.
Other factors such as the attitude of the extended family, community, and neighbors of the adoptive parents should also be a determinant factor. The ability and/or willingness of the adoptive parents to have relationships with multi-racial ethnic groups but especially Black is critical to the development the child's capacity to successfully function in the larger society. The age of the child at the time of adoption is another factor as different age groups have different needs.
We go to great lenghts to determine whether a potential adoptive family of a child with disabilities have the capacity to meet the needs of that child. Transracial adoption is no different.

Finally, the primary problem rests with the adoption process in general.The hell that we as a society put potential adoptive parents through is simply unforgiveable and unnecessary. Any woman with the reproductive equipment can drop as many children as her body can tolerate. As a Social Worker in Child Protective Services for decades I have witnessed a large number of women turn out drug affected babies and walk away from them at the hospital. No one challenges these women's or the father's reproductive rights or held them accountably in any way. Yet a potential adoptive parent has to allow the state to go through every intimate detail of their life. Its as if we do not want children adopted in this country. Is it any wonder potential adoptive parents travel to other countries to adopt. Get it right people. Children are depending on us. Stop your petty arguments and work together for the best interest of the children not your particular philosophical orientation. You are both right and you are both wrong.

Sent by Michael | 2:58 PM | 5-27-2008

My family has been facing this problem for the last 19 years. We have two adopted biracial children. Our son, who will be attending an Ivy League college this fall, and our daughter, who will be attending another fine, but smaller, 4 year liberal arts college have had to put up a lot of racist behavior, very often from parents. From the white side they, or I, have heard "you have done well, all things considered......." Both have been accused of being "too white" or "not black enough" often simply because they tell their friends they should not judge people based on color.

I am sorry if some feel we have done a bad job in raising our kids, but I resent someone who has not been there and has an obvious pre conceived mind set telling me that we should have done something different. Our kids are self assured, self reliant, and proud of themselves and their background, and we are proud of them.

Rasing a kid is hard work, no matter what color you are.

Sent by Brian Angell | 2:58 PM | 5-27-2008

I support inter-racial adoptions because every child deserves and safe and loving home, but one of my concerns is the effect of racist behaviors by parents who adopt children of another race. My aunt has two children of color (she is white) and I have watched her push both of her children to be downwardly mobile by discouraging them from going to college and instead to pursue jobs in the trades.

This would be fine if that was their inclination, but it is not. Granted they are not ambitious enough to push through her pressure, but when asked point blank what they want to do with their lives, becoming a plumber was never an answer.

I really do question whether she would have behaved differently if her adopted children had been white.

Sent by Eva | 3:41 PM | 5-27-2008

I am white. I have a bio daughter who is white/black. My husband is Mexican/Native American/Romanian. We have adopted three kids from the foster care system in Michigan. Our first was 12 when he came home and is White/Native American, next our daughter who came at age 6 is black and our youngest son came at age 4 and is also black. Our entire family is a melting pot. What bothers me is how many kids desperately need homes. Race simply should not be a legal factor. I believe that in the classes that are required for adoption from foster care that racial issues that someone may face should be addressed, but should no way be used as a measure of deciding placement for a child.

Both of my adopted black children had been in previous foster and adoptive placements with parents of both races, but none were willing to face the extreme challenges that my kids presented. It took me a long time to get the appropriate dx of Fetal Alcohol Exposure, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, etc in order to bring them to a place in life where they can succeed. The child that I have the most difficulty with is my child that is white. Race is not the issue. The issue is attachment and the ability to merge into a healthy family rather than whatever type of home they are coming from.

We do live in a primarily white area, with the schools system having a 3-4 % black population. The kids have had to make adjustments, not just with race, but with the change of inner city vs suburb living. That is ok, all of the people that they meet are educated. Their playmates lives and minds are broadened by knowing my kids, as are the parents that we come in contact with, and the schools, etc.

Quite honestly, what my kids care about is that I am there. I am mom, and dad is dad. We are at their sporting events cheering them on, and we are at the table with them while they do their homework. We care if they eat their veggies, that they get enough sleep and that they know how to treat people. We play with them, eat dinner with them and tuck them in at night. We talk and we listen. That is what kids need. The color of the person who gives it to them, that really isn't an issue. I guarantee that my kids could tell you that, because they lived where that was not how life was. They were molested, and beaten, neglected and rejected. A white mom, who maybe doesn't do the best job on cornrows, is really a good thing in their book!!

Sent by Jen Valdez | 3:46 PM | 5-27-2008

If we care so much about the welfare of children of color, how about ASKING HOW WE CAN alleviate poverty (the ill effects of which are often read as "bad parenting") and support reunification efforts that would allow for strong, happy, healthy families of origin. Left out of the online discussion so far is consideration of *why* so many African American kids have been removed from their families. Since the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act and the Adoption and Safe Families Act, child welfare services are incentivized by tax breaks to rapidly abandon reunification as an option and to put kids on the fast track toward adoption. So, *many* more kids have been put up for adoption, WITHOUT any kind of substantial increase in the number of transracial adoptions! The laws are not having the effects they ostensibly seek. Read Dorothy Roberts and Sandra Patton for a crucial corrective to the distorted tale spun by Elizabeth Bartholet.

Sent by Simone Davis | 4:28 PM | 5-27-2008

As a transracial adoptive mom, I understand how critically important it is for me to create an extended family and life that can support my daughter's racial identity development. No matter how culturally competent I become, I cannot do that alone.

When my second-grade daughter was subjected to racial bullying this year, it was her black godfather and Asian mom of a close friend who were able to offer her the most important input and support. Parenting transracially DOES take more than love!

If folks would listen to the voices of adult adoptees who have been deeply wounded by having their racial identities maginalized or destroyed by well meaning but "color blind" adoptive parents, we would understand how important the position of the Evan B. Donaldson Institute (and their supporting organizations) is. The Institute is simply arguing in favor of better preparation of prospective transracial adoptive parents. Adoptive children deserve the right to be raised by parents who understand the importance of their racial identity and are equipped to do a responsible, good job rearing their kids. This is not about political correctness; it's about the very identities and health of the vulnerable children in question.

Sent by Randi | 4:56 PM | 5-27-2008

As a social scientist with biracial grandchildren (Black, Asian, White and Latino) I have some observations. Just look at the reactions to a biracial man who is a presidential hopeful.Skin color can be seen as being important. If you say otherwise you are in denial. But also we have social class as important. Many Blacks have reduced their ethnic identity as they have become upward mobile or higher in social class (classic model is O.J.Simpson)Who would want him telling a child about having a healthy ethnic self awareness? As a Harlem musician, I have met many white people who were more sensitive to the Black experience then those who were Black and trying to deny or escape it.(don't forget the Black reactions to Obama as to "Is he Black enough?") Not too accepting, kind or sensitive.So we ALL need and would benefit from skin color oriented multicultural training---including Dr. Elizabeth Bartholet who really did not understand the past position of the National Association of Black Social Workers. She sounded like the academic elite who forget the problem of the masses. So Adam Pertman is correct. We must give recognition to race in preparing parents for transracial adoption---but also social class. We need multicultural training that has quality content and competent insructors.In this society we all suffer from the "Jim Crow" halo effect of the past. It is like a national infection and disease. But even children know you catch germs from others and need some medicine.

Sent by Donald K. Cheek | 5:04 PM | 5-27-2008

One thing that I noticed about the story was that Elizabeth Bartholet used the term 'social worker' both incorrectly and negatively. Social Workers are trained professionals with a bachelors, masters, or doctorate in social work. Not all individuals who work in child welfare are Social Workers. In my state the only requirement for work in child welfare is a bachelors degree, it can be and often is in any profession. There are many individuals with psychology, business, philospohy, or other degrees working in this field next to the social workers. However research demonstrates that social workers, especially those with a masters degree, have better results and out comes for the children. They also tend to make fewer mistakes. The social work field does have a negative stigma attached to it. While some of this is the fault of a few of our profession's actions much of it is due to those who are given the title without earning it. Ms. Bartholet's uninformed words and tone show ignorance and belittle a profession that already faces many difficulties.

Sent by G Petersen MSW | 5:51 PM | 5-27-2008

My Caucasian parents adopted three Mexican-American children. There is a significant Hispanic population here; but I wonder what my brother and sisters have missed on by not being in a Mexican home and knowing more first-hand where they come from.

Sent by Jenny | 6:27 PM | 5-27-2008

As an adoptive parent, a therapist specializing in adoption, and as an author of a book on openness in adoption,(Making Room In Our Hearts: Keeping Family Ties Through Open Adoption) I was struck by the Ms. Bartholet's attempt to discredit the "advocacy" position of the of the Adoption Institute. She labeled it as "politically correct" that potential adoptive parents receive adequate training in raising a child of another race/ethnicity. I would liken her position to those that disagree that race should be taken into consideration in any way in college admissions. In both cases, instead of creating a better way to acknowledge and address the effects of institutionalized racism, there exists a refusal to recognize that the US is neither a race neutral or color-blind environment. African Americans and other People of Color still face institutionalized racism in both its pervasive and more insidious forms, and adoptive parents need to be adequately prepared to help them identify and cope with that reality. Adoptive parents need support and education as they unpack their own accumulated stereotypes/prejudices and misconceptions about race if they are able to assist their children in developing positive self esteem.

While I agree that obstacles to adoption should be lessened to ensure that every child has a safe and secure home as soon as possible, Ms Bartholet's position leave little room for a realistic consideration of race as an important factor in placement decisions. I welcome and applaud the recent efforts of the Evan P. Donaldson Adoption Institute as they advocate for change and examine the social/psychological costs of adoption on adoptees and birth parents, not only on adoptive parents whose voices have been historically more priviledged.
Micky Duxbury, MFT, www.mickyduxbury.com

Sent by micky duxbury | 7:44 PM | 5-27-2008

All that bickering about how to deal with the problem didn't do anything to address the cause of the problem.

Poverty places horrible stress on families, creates all kinds of problems and makes everyday problems much harder to solve. Thus, poverty frequently causes child neglect, and increases the likelihood of abuse. Not (as many would tell you) because poor people are bad people who don't love their kids and shouldn't be allowed to breed, but because being poor sucks, and it's hard to be a good parent while working 2 jobs and still not making enough money to cover basic needs and have anything left over for emergencies, much less fun stuff. Dr Bartholet just doesn't understand- it's easy to be judgemental while sitting in an ivory tower and not worrying about paying rent.

As long as African-Americans are disproportionately in poverty, and our government would rather take children from their families than help families out of poverty, then there will be a disproportionate number of African-American children in foster care. Wouldn't it be better to do something about the racism and poverty that creates this situation than argue about details of how to help rich white people deal with raising poor black kids?

Sent by Denelle | 8:29 PM | 5-27-2008

The idea that not enough time and energy is spent on reunification is a naive statement. Way too much time is spent, all the while the kids in care are loosing their childhood while waiting for their parents to accept the responsibility of parenting. My kids spent 2+ years waiting for their parents to quit doing drugs and to find a home for them. It never happened. It wasn't poverty, it was drugs and alcohol. It was a cycle that the parents had lived as kids. These biological parents were not capable of rising above for their kids, let alone for themselves. It is wrong for kids to live their lives in a holding pattern for years while bios try to get it together. The more time that passes, the less likely a child is to be able to attach to a new family, regardless of race.

Sent by Jen Valdez | 10:55 AM | 5-28-2008

As someone with both direct service and research experience in child welfare, I resented Elizabeth Bartholet's oversimplification of the need to provide some protections for children with marginalized racial identities adopted into families who may or may not be prepared to help them cope with those challenges. Her repeated harping about holding transracial adopting parents to some sort of arbitrary standard of "political correctness" seemed to me an attempt to rile reactionary sentiment against the reasonable questions raised by the Donaldson Institute Report. I also second a previous poster's suggestion to read Dorothy Roberts' work on racial disproportionality in the child welfare system.

Sent by Diane | 12:53 PM | 5-28-2008

Mr. Pertman's comments on how we need to consider race because we're not a color blind society makes me wonder how we'll ever reach that point.

The easiest and most effective place to start in making the USA a color blind society is with our children but if we're going to teach them that a white family can't love and nurture a black child... well, maybe we should just give up on the Dream.

Sent by Eugene | 5:26 PM | 5-28-2008

Those who have asked me why my husband and I chose international adoption over domestic need look no further than this program. Listening to the bickering of these guests demonstrates how well meaning people have turned the adoption process in the U.S. into an utter fiasco at the expense of the children. A child is a child; a family is a family. Unconditional love is just that. Most parents and most children alike just want to form a family and be recognized as such. It is not the adopting persons who need educating, it is the population who continue to stand in judgment. And I'm afraid nothing can ever be done about some people's bigotry.

Sent by Kelly Bhirdo (bird oh) | 7:33 PM | 5-28-2008

I am really glad you addressed this issue. Though MEPA has been on the books since 1994, transracial adoption is still a barrier for some in the foster system. My husband and I are licensed foster parents (I will not mention the state, as there could be repercussions for posting this), and we have been turned down for adopting African-American children because we are Caucasian. Of course, we were not told this was the reason, but twice we were turned down and the children were placed with African-American families although we are highly qualified parents. The problem of racial bias in child placement is notorious in our county, and it mostly trickles down through one judge and guardian ad litem. If they are involved in a child's case, those down the system know not to pass them a transracial adoption, as it will not be approved. In the case of one child we wanted to adopt, the placement hearing was delayed *twice* because there were not enough "appropriate" potential adoptive parents who had expressed interest in the adoption, though there were more than enough to be considered. All adoptive parents were white, and the child was African-American. I did a bit of digging around, and I found enough evidence of bias in his case to contact the ACLU. Since we were just one family and were not currently being considered to adopt, the ACLU wanted to add more families to the complaint. While I was able to find many who had experienced even worse bias than we had, we were not able to find any willing to step forward and risk facing retribution from the Children's Division. We have since adopted our daughter, who is biracial, through a private agency. A year and a half later, we are now trying to adopt #2 through the state and are again facing bias.

Sent by Christi | 4:23 PM | 5-30-2008

In Mr. Pertman's interview he comments that any action to discuss race in domestic adoption would be against the law, yet I know family after family who have experienced just that and more.
While these families might not have been given race training (which I agree would benefit everyone), they WERE in fact bombarded with road blocks in their transracial adoption process.
My own family had already adopted two (white) children, and we did expect racial training, but a similar adoption process itself when we adopted our third, a Black son. We were confronted through out our process...who were our Black friends, what did we know of Black history, how would we expose our son to his heritage. We lived in constant fear our son would be removed because we did not measure up to the invisible "rule" of what was acceptable, and if so there would also be nothing his birth parents could do about it. We and his birth parents were also threatened through out the adoption with his removal if "someone" (the judge?) did not feel this was in the child's best interests. Of course the judge had terminated the birth parents legal rights, so they could not regain custody if the court did not approve our adoption plan.
All THIS and we were a private, newborn adoption! I can't imagine the stress fostering parents additionally have. Our family was chosen by both his birth parents, and we told the courts and social workers all the while that it would be an open adoption. It is very open, and our son benefits from seeing his Black birth family and their friends. Our son has been in a stable home since his birth, he sees both his birth parents and their friends and family, and we have done much to challenge our own perceptions of race, and reach out to our Black friends and family for assistance. How is that a bad thing for our son? Of course there is loss, but we have worked to limit is as much as possible. For him to wait for the "appropriate" Black family would have only added stress to his young life.

The thing that most bothers me about this recent debate, is that the Black social workers of America have made their first point that ALL adoptions should be under this 1994 law they hope to roll-back, and this would cover private placements as well. If that is the case, that the courts should be given a wide sweeping hand to decide all adoptions based on the best interests (card) then private placements could become unfairly disrupted. Why should a birth parent not have the right to chose a family, and trust that the adoption will not be declined by the courts (based on this twist of the law) leaving their own hands tied? The rights of the first parents are routinely terminated before an adoption petition is granted to adoptive parents, so what recourse would a first mother have if the courts did not grant the adoption to the parents of her choosing? NONE, and that is a dangerous clause in this proposal.
Mr. Pertman's study may have shown flaws in the current practice, but to revert back the previous mode of operation is flawed as well.
We must offer ALL families training, about adoption and race issues. We must give all biological parents the freedom to chose qualified families for private placements, and be assured that the courts will not unfairly disregard and disrupt their wishes. We must be sure that children do not wait longer in foster care for a qualified Black (or Hispanic, or Indian, or Asian) family, even though a White family is ready and willing to adopt, especially a family that the child might have already lived with for years.
There is a ton of work to be done, and simply turning the clock back to 1994 is NOT in the best interests of any child, period.

Sent by Deb | 11:11 PM | 6-3-2008