New Visions Commentary

The National Leadership Network of Conservative African-Americans

Transcending Ideals About Trans-Racial Adoptions


by Tara Wall

A New Visions Commentary paper published February 2000 by The National Center
for Public Policy Research, 501 Capitol Court, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002,
202/543-4110, Fax 202/543-5975, E-Mail [email protected], Web
http://www.nationalcenter.org. Reprints permitted provided source
is credited.


Imagine yourself as a child without a home, parents, siblings or anything to call your own. Think of the torment and feelings of despair of not being wanted and unloved.

Then one day a caring, loving couple comes along that wants to envelop you in their arms, give you the home you never had and provide the opportunity for you to become all that you want to be.

But that's all brought to a screeching halt when you're told "well, there was a family who wanted to take you home and make you a part of their family, but we can't allow it because of your skin color."

This isn't a made-up tale or something that happens in other countries.

This happens to black children every day in our democratic land of milk and honey where, the last time I checked, it was still "illegal" to discriminate on the basis of race.

Trans-racial or trans-cultural adoption means placing a child of one race or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another race or ethnic group.

Despite the rapid advancement of our society into the 21st century, this idea continues to draw controversy and criticism.

Why? Because, as the argument goes, a child should be placed with parents of the same race or culture. This is so the child can develop a strong racial or cultural identity.

But I argue on the contrary. As we embark on a new century, a new millennium, and continue to extend ourselves globally and internationally as a nation, we too must transcend this line of thinking.

Statistically, most of the kids waiting to be adopted in the U.S. are black. Most of the parents on adoption waiting lists are white, many of whom want to adopt black children but can't.

While it's illegal, many adoption caseworkers nonetheless are admittedly discouraging, even thwarting, black/white trans-racial/cultural adoptions.

But they only seem to make their case for black/white adoptions, when there are so many other types of trans-racial/cultural adoptions.

The most popular interracial adoptions are those of Asian children. Where is the outcry that these children are being denied their cultural affiliation when adopted by white families?

And while these so-called adoption "advocates" say they are keeping the child's interests in mind when denying otherwise ideal parents the right to adopt because of race, they're not even listening to the children.

When interviewed, a group of black teens that spent their entire lives in foster homes said they'd rather be adopted by a loving white family than no family. Black actor/comedian Tommy Davison is another example. Davison, adopted and raised by a white family, says he had the most loving home any child could, and feels he didn't miss out on anything. And, I bet, when he looks in the mirror he knows that he's black.

Furthermore, debunking the social-elitist mentality that only one race should raise their own, it stands to reason that if a couple adopts a child of a different race they are much more inclined to make sure that child learns "who" he is.

With the abundance of resources, literature, library and bookstore materials, the Internet and politically correct school curriculums, how can a black adopted child not learn about her black heritage?

One group, The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, goes as far as to instruct, supervise and offer guidelines to families adopting children of a different race.

Beyond that, how much is there really to teach? The last time I checked our primary "culture" is American culture.

Considering the vast shortage of adoptive black parents for black children, I think it is a travesty to disregard the desires of loving, willing Caucasian, Hispanic and even Asian parents who are more than willing and able to bring these children into their homes.

How can we teach children that racism is wrong and then tell them they can't be adopted because of their race? It's heartbreaking, and it's not a position we should be taking into a new millennium.

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(Tara Wall is a member of the National Advisory Council of Project 21 and a former education reporter. She currently works for Michigan governor John Engler.)


Note: New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.


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