Friday, February 18, 2005

Adoptive Racism

I was posting on our adoptions over at The Dad's Group and decided to take on a subject here that is VERY touchy and difficult. Both of our boys are African-American (AA). You can read about the adoption process over at The Dad's Group and see that both of the adoptions happened VERY quickly. There weren't very many perspective parents willing to adopt AA boys. Both of our boys were born in good health, though Isaac was a bit small and slightly premature. There was really nothing to make them unattractive as adoptive children except for one thing, their skin color. Here are some of the things we have learned about adopting AA children.

In the adoption pecking order, AA boys rank last. Agencies generally have a harder time placing AA boys, regardless of health, than any other child, including disabled. Healthy AA girls are placed a little bit more easily than a disabled child, but they are still far down on the pecking order. Most people would rather travel the world and spend two to four times the money in order to adopt a child that is not African-American. The fact is that most adoptive parents are white, and most white people have such a negative stereotype about AA children, that they can't imagine raising them.

We have found that the support network for parents who adopt AA children is awesome. The resources are plentiful, and every African-American we know has been supportive of us, strongly supportive, in fact. Sure, there are people who see us in a store and look at us a bit odd, wondering what we're doing raising these boys, but the only negative comment we've overheard has been from white folks.

We have found several ADVANTAGES in adopting our AA boys. First, they know they are adopted. There is no doubt in anyone's mind, especially theirs, that they are adopted. We have never had to decide whether or not we'd tell them, it's pretty obvious. Second, because AA children are hard to place, it costs much less to adopt them. In fact, many agencies charge extra for placing children of other races in order to make up the losses that they incur when they place AA children. Related to this, we will get all of the money we spent returned to us through tax credits. We have not paid taxes in a couple of years, and we probably won't pay taxes for another two years, even if we don't adopt another child (which we're planning to do later this year). And third, there is no wait time. When you hear about people waiting two or three years for an adoption, you know that they are not willing to adopt an AA child. Nathan's adoption happened within a week of our completed application, and Isaac's adoption kicked in before we'd even begun the paperwork. There was virtually no wait time for either adoption.

If you are seriously considering an adoption then you should seriously consider adopting an African-American child. If you want more info, check out the PACT website or contact Sunnyridge.