June 21, 2007 by multiracialsky
I am speaking at the Loving Decision Conference tomorrow on the enormous topics of Race and Adoption, specifically Adoption as a First Choice and Multiracial Families. I wrote my presentation abstract back in January and, of course, some of my thinking has changed in the past five months. This is the central part of my abstract:
The majority of families seeking to adopt are infertile White couples, and most potential adoptive parents are unwilling or unable to parent a child of another race. In domestic infant adoptions, social work practice often pairs a pregnant woman with hopeful adoptive parents instead of matching them by the pregnant woman’s criteria. Pairing is more common practice when a child is multiracial, especially with African American heritage, because few adopting couples are willing to transracially parent a Black child.
Race can be the largest barrier for a woman in the United States considering an adoption plan for her child of color. Multiracial babies are often placed with monoracial White families, and their mothers are forced to choose an adoptive family from the available candidates.
Some adoptive families are unwilling to embrace their child’s multiracial identity, and most transracially adopting couples (domestic adopters) will only adopt multiracial children with one White birthparent.
My concluding paragraph is somewhat of a pitch for fertile multiracial families to consider adoption because, “Multiracial families are practiced at uniting diverse pieces into a cohesive whole–the most important skill of a successful adoptive family.”
My previous post explains my increasing disillusionment with many transracially adoptive parents. And so I must explain my personal connection to adoption (I am not adopted, nor was anyone in my immediate family when I was growing up), and why I chose to adopt some of my children in close concert with the birth of my biological children.
My very first friend was adopted, as were his subsequent siblings. I had friends in high school who had been domestically adopted as infants and as older children out of foster care. In college, my best friend was adopted as an infant from Korea. I grew up (and still am) connected to various adoptee perspectives.
What I have slowly come to realize (a lot in the past two years), is that most adoptive parents do not share my connection with adult adoptees. I’ve also begun to acknowledge the power of the infertility-adoption connection. Because infertility is not part of my experience/story, I find myself alienated from the most prevalent viewpoint of the adoptive parent community.
It is not a perfect world, nor do I expect it to become one in my lifetime. I imagine there will be a need for adoptive families as long as I am alive. And so I advocate an unusual position: Multiracial families with and without biological children need to consider adoption. I’m talking about Adoption as a First Choice.