Interacial Adoptions

Interracial Adoptions

Interracial Adoptions
Louis Grow
Dr. Seibert
Social Problems
December 03, 1998

Interracial Adoptions

Interracial Adoptions

Interracial Adoptions is when a family adopts a child of another race or culture. Traditionally adoption has been a relatively straight forward procedure. Children were mostly adopted by heterosexual, dual-parent households of the same race. But, America is changing. American’s are becoming more tolerant of interracial adoptions, adoptions by single-parent families and adoptions by gay and lesbian couples. Adoptions is now more than a moral issue, it is now a ethnic issue also.

Adoptions date back to the early nineteenth century. “In 1851, Massachusetts passed a legislation that enabled parents of adopted children to have legal parental rights to their children.” (Twohig, 1997). Before Massachusetts passed this legislation, a parent had to be genetically related to a child to have any legal rights to their children. “In 1881, a Michigan legislature passed a law that required judges to investigate and evaluate the families that wanted to adopt a child.” (Twohig, 1997). Different legislation’s basically set the stage for child rights in regards to adoption procedures.

Interracial Adoptions

The adoption process got pretty crazy as a result of the World Wars. Numerous children were left orphaned and homeless. These children were in desperate need of homes. Because of this, there was an uprising in adoptions. The more uprising that occurred, the more legislation regulated adoptions.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s another monumental shift changed the views of adoption. With unwed mothers lessening and the legalization of abortion by the 1973 Roe v. Wade trial, the number of healthy, white infants adoptees dropped. Even though there wasn’t that many white babies to be adopted, African-American babies swamped the adoption agencies. Their weren’t enough African-American families interested or able to adopt these children. The interracial adoption debate became an ethical and moral dilemma. Childless couples only had one option and their option was to adopt a baby of a different race. There was a great deal of opposition when children were being adopted by a family of a different race and ethnicity. Major groups of opposition were from the ethnic based organizations, such as the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW).

Interracial Adoptions

The National Association of Black Social Workers is an international organization composed of social workers and others in related fields. The purpose of the NABSW is to address the issues of social welfare effecting African-Americans. The NABSW was primarily responsible for the freezing of interracial adoptions . The NABSW made strong public statements against placing colored children in white homes. Their primary concern was the identity crisis the children would face as they grew up and the preservation of cultural heritage. The NABSW would rather have a child in a foster home than endanger the child’s understanding of what is means to be an African-American.

In 1972, The NABSW is used a resolution opposing the growing practice of placing African-American children in need of adoptive homes with white parents. “The resolution as not based on racial hatred or bigotry, nor was it an attack on white parents. The resolution was not based on any belief that white families could not love black children, nor did we want African-American children to languish in foster care rather than be placed in White adoptive homes.” (Neal, 1993). It was said that African-American families, who tried to adopt children often had to deal with discrimination or discouragement.

Interracial Adoptions

“The National Association of Black Social Worker to position against transracial adoption in order to: (1) preserve African-American families and culture; (2) enable African-American children to appreciate their culture of origin through living within a family of the same race and culture; (3) enable African-American children to learn how to
cope with racism through living with families who experience racism daily and have learned to function well in spite of that racism; and (4) to break down the systemic barriers that make it difficult for African-American and other families of color to adopt.” (Smith 1994).

Those who also opposed interracial adoptions believed that White families chose to adopt African-American children simply because of the shortage of healthy, white babies. White couples who were interested in interracial adoption viewed the adoption as a positive opportunity. The majority of couples looking to adopt did so because they couldn’t