trans-racial adoption

Whenever I’m out in public I often find myself wondering what life will be like when Amos and Story are home with us. How will it be when we all go out? I think about the logistics of things. When we go to a restaurant, we’ll have to get a table for six for just our family. 🙂 When we get in our car there will only be one extra seat in the van. When we go to the grocery store, we’ll have to get one of those super-duper big grocery carts.

After I think logistics I then move on to how our family will look when we’re out in public. I know that when Deacon was a baby I used to think of these things too. What will people wonder about us? Not that this matters to me one bit, I just like to think about it. Now that Deacon is two I never think this about us. We are just “us” to me and there is nothing to think about, so I know I will eventually be that way when all of our kids are home, but for now I find myself wondering these things.

When we adopted Deacon we were open to any race of a child. We didn’t care what color they were, we just wanted to help a child that needed a home. We were told in one of our first meetings that the hardest children to place are black or biracial baby boys. We were shocked to hear that and honestly I still don’t know why. We said, we’ll that’s what we’re here for. We wanted to be available for moms that didn’t have too many options for parents for their babies.

For me I have to sometimes hold my tongue when people talk about not being open to any race. I often find myself judging them and thinking bad thoughts about them. I wonder why they think their race is any better than any other. The number one reason I hear from people is because they are not sure how their family would handle it. I usually have two words for that response. WHO CARES? If you and your spouse are ready and willing to handle a trans-racial family and would love any child that God placed in your home, then I’m not sure what your grandpa in Mississippi or your parents in backwoods GA have any decision making in your life.

So, today as I was reading a blog that I subscribe to called Anti-Racist Parent I was in awe of the stats that they listed there. In their recent entry titled Race preference in adoption they talked about something as simple as taking your daughter to FAO Swartz only find out that all the white baby dolls have been purchased adopted and the only ones left are the black ones. Oh No! Now what!

Here is something that I found in the article to be extremely interesting, but yet sadly not surprising one bit:

Here’s a real-life paralell example: a site that hosts pre-adoptive parent profiles*, families waiting for domestic–usually infant–adoption (NOTE: this site only accepts heterosexual, married couples–and most are Christian as well). Of the hundreds of currently listed waiting families:

  • 88% would ‘accept’ a White baby
  • 33% would ‘accept’ a South American or Hispanic baby
  • 28% would ‘accept’ an Asian baby
  • 26% would ‘accept’ a Native American baby
  • 14% would ‘accept’ a Black baby

I want to encourage you to go and read the article that I linked to above. They put it all much better than I can here on my little rinky-ding blog. Is that a word, rinky-ding? Or is it rinky-dink? You know what I mean.

*Let me just add that I don’t think people should adopt from a different race if they are not willing to educate themselves and not make their child “white”. Also let’s not forget that any child adopted that is from a different race than you would make your family trans-racial. It is not just a white/black thing.

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18 responses to “trans-racial adoption

  1. I love this post. I have been asked more times than I can count why we are choosing a black or biracial child rather than a white child. It is statistics like these that drive us to pursue these kids. That is why we are open to only these 2 options. What I have a hard time with is when people wait for a domestic adoption for 1-2 years for a white child when there was a need for a black child almost immediately! It is so unfair for a white mom to have 30 profiles of families waiting for a white child and for a black mom to maybe have 3. Sorry I am ranting 🙂 I am just really passionate about this because of where we are at right now! 🙂 I know this is all a very sensitive subject and I don’t mean to step on anybody’s toes its just that it breaks my heart for these moms who have made heroic decisions to keep their child in the first place and feel like they don’t have that many options for their child’s future.

  2. Hey Jamie,

    Hope the beach was good today:)!!! I understand your post. AND…now that I have adopted three daughters, all born in China, I just DON’T CARE what others think. I do care what all my children think, however. So, as long as we, seven of us, in our home are happy….well, I’m happy!!!

    I think GOD is doing HUGE things, Jamie. I love the families I see who are such a reflection of Him. I know the statistics look slanted, and they are. It will only be through God moving through our families that our children, their friends, everyday people in the grocery, gas station, churches…people who “look” at our families….and when they really look and see God’s reflection coming back at them, well, I can only hope it is beginning to change hearts.

    Happy beach day, tomorrow,
    Diane…Mama to Joe, Jen, Jana Mei, Jadyn Hua and JOY Hua:)

  3. I completely agree, I’ve always been perplexed by people’s reasoning for their decisions. My mother broke my heart when we told her about adopting our daughter from Haiti – she actually said “why? why would you want to do that with all the prejudice in this world?” I couldn’t even pull words together to call her on it and make her realize it was her fears and prejudices she was worried about. Now she loves our kids no differently than her biological grandchildren – it took seeing and touching that tiny little girl to know it was just a baby needing a mommy.

    I know it’s not always the case – but I also question when people blame their family or where they live on deciding against transracial adoption, I always wonder if they need to examine their own prejudices or if they are actually fearful of the weight of transracial adoption, in their minds anyway. Some people simply don’t want to look or be “different” in the eyes of their community, and that’s fine. I admire people who just say “I don’t think it’s right for us.” Enough said.

    I will add to my novel 🙂 to say I know we saved a little girl from a very hard life in Haiti – but there are definitely times when I question whether we are doing things “right” for her living in this small, mostly white community. Then I see her sing and dance and play with her friends and I know – this is where God led her to be and I can’t imagine he’d make that big of a mistake if we are all this happy together. And heck, how else would I have ever learned to braid such rockstar cornrows??

  4. My family used to be a foster family (we had to stop because after we adopted my two sisters my mom kept wanting to adopt more and more). When we had set the boundaries of the children we would take in, we said we did not want teenagers nor infants, and we chose to not take in children of a race other than our own: white. The reason we chose this is because we come from a very racist community. We told ourselves we were choosing this for the children’s sake. Then, we got the opposite of our request. We got a baby girl who is bi-racial. We had her in the foster program for a year and 1/2. We fell in love with her and started the process for adoption. When that happened, the agency told us that if we adopted her we would also have to adopt her younger sister (who she had never met). We said we could keep her for a couple of months to see how it would work out (it was bringing our family to a family of six). Within the first week we said we wanted her, we were in love with her too! After that, I lost several of my friends and relationships seemed to “fade” away in our extended family, but we didn’t care. As we all look back now, we are thankful for the relationships that ended, we are better for it. I could not see our lives without my two sisters! I love them so much and wouldn’t change a thing!

    So all that to say, who cares what others think or say or choose to do. It is all worth it!

  5. Jamie, I appreciated your post and have been thinking about this topic lately as well:
    http://garcias2chile.blogspot.com/2008/06/racism-reverse-racism.html

    A friend of mine adopted recently (transracially) and I have enjoyed reading her thoughts and some of the things she has chosen to do, like join a “Mocha Moms” group. You might enjoy her blog:
    http://markandrebekah.blogspot.com/

    Have a great day!

  6. How sad, I would take them all if I could. People just don’t know what they are missing out on. What a shame people are worried by what others will think, that they miss out on a blessing. One thing that did bother me about this blog was “make their child “white” I have been told that is what I have done. But, the problem is I only know how to be who I am. What does that mean? How is a black boy suppose to act? I am confused by this. If you have any insite I would love it. I think Alex acts like any boy his age white or black, And I also have to take in to account who told me I have made him “talk and act like a white boy”, so yea that kinda bothers me.

  7. Mandi – thanks for the comment. you are right the whole “make your child white” thing bothers me sometimes too. What I meant by it was taken from the article that I linked too. there was a family that didn’t want their child to learn any of their heritage language. they didn’t want to celebrate things from where they were born. that type of stuff is what I was referring to.

    I too don’t like when people say “they act white” or “they act black”. I don’t think there is a way to act white or black. What they are referring to is simply stereotypes as to how white/black people act. We don’t listen to those in our house.

    Thanks for visiting and thanks for asking!

    :)jamie

  8. You know … when I adopted my son from LA County 13 years ago – you weren’t even allowed to adopt a child that wasn’t your race. I argued with the other potential parents in a MAPP class one time because I thought that we shouldn’t put those lines there.

    I was so frustrated that the people in the county and the potential parents in the class were so close minded as to believe that a child would be better off living in a foster home for YEARS instead of being placed with a family that would love them regardless of color. It was maddening to me!!

    I’m glad to hear that even a smaller portion of the people are at least open to it these days. It certainly wasn’t the case when we went through it – in fact we seemed to be the only ones that didn’t care about skin color at the time. I personally LOVE to see a diverse family. It means that the world is changing – one family at a time.

    One of my favorite stories is when our son was in the 4th grade. My husband took him to school and Zac was sitting next to a boy that he already knew. Later that night, Zac was talking about him and my husband said, “you mean the Asian kid that you were sitting next to?” Zac said, “he’s not Asian”. My husband said, “yeah … the kid that you knew when we went into the class?”. Zac said, “Dad, he’s not Asian, he’s AMERICAN.” My husband and I laughed, “of course – you are right … what I meant to say was he’s Asian American” – haha.

  9. Hey there-
    Thanks for the nice comment on my blog. I totally agree with you. I think the main difference sometimes is that we are living in two different worlds. One family is trying to strive after Christ while the other life is following the world. They will never get adoption especially a transracial adoption. There are times when the world smacks you in the face through the race issues. Your realize how the world works but then God who is so good he is always there putting something encouraging your way. I have meet so many other parents that have adopted and have felt so encouraged. I feel like we have our little community to do this together. To be different then the world to make a difference to be seen in the world. For Christ to be a living testimony through our lives.
    Love,
    Katie

  10. haitirescuecenter

    Jamie—I miss you! Great post! I wanted to say AMEN SISTER! This is something that we should all think about. If only more people would step out and take in, adopt and love a child. I pray that this post touches many hearts to consider adoption.

    “they act white” “you are the white person child”. Thought on that…..maybe it is a little different here in Haiti for me. The only white people I see for weeks is my sis and dad. I am raising one adopted child, and two bio kids that are bi-racial. IT is very important to teach them about there culture, their language, their families, their customs. It is a part of them. I could choose to not talk about it, but that does not make much sense. To be able to show your child their country of birth and show them the culture here—why would you not want to. I believe that they will appreciate it more as they get older. It is the responsibility of the adoptive parent to do that. It is a must. I always try to put myself like they would be. If I was being adopted into a family of a different race, how would i feel with them. What would I want to know about my birth family. Think of the adoption journey as a privilage in the life of a child. You as the parent are just along for the ride and are there to help them grow and become an adult. It is exciting!

    Have you got your tickets yet!

  11. I added you to my blog list it seems we visit all the same sights (: I will follow your story you have some great insight on adoption. Keep in touch!!

  12. Amen! We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia – obviously this will make us a trans-racial family. My husband and I struggled with this decision for many years…not because of what we would endure if our extended family didn’t support or accept us but because of what our future child might. In the end, we came back to the fact that we are only responsible for what God is calling us to do and our families reactions shouldn’t play a role in our decision. Once we shared our hearts and decision, our families were hesitant but eventually on board. They’ve looked past the race card and realized what God has laid on our hearts.

    Thanks so much for your wonderful posts….I started reading a while back for encouragement along the road of our adoption process. Love how open you are!

  13. That’s SO surprising to me. I think I’d prefer a child of a different race. I can’t wait to show off my gorgeous African child. If people have a problem with it then they can kiss my hiney!! I see an African baby and I want to gobble it up whole. But the same goes for any race, I love them all…I just have always had a soft spot for “black” children. I love their hair and their amazingly soft skin (I dated a black guy once and he had the best skin ever) and their heritage. This world is messed.

    I never knew that about American children being adopted. I would totally adopt an African American child from the US!! I would just be concerned about them having FAS as I would be concerned with any race from any country…not just African Americans. I think I’m going to look into that, you’ve inspired me.

  14. YES YES YES!
    We are technically already bi-racial…though I have never thought of Bobby and I as an inter-racial couple, I suppose we are. We just filled out our child preference form last week and all boxes were checked. I don’t care where the kid is from, what he/she looks like. We are called to care for orphans, not just orphans that look like we do.
    jen

  15. I have a friend that was at the bottom of a “waiting to adopt” list. They, almost immediately after being put on the list, got a call saying there was a baby for them. When they asked how that was possible they were told that she was Hispanic and all of the other couples refused a Hispanic baby. We were happy for our friends, but furious at the others on the list. We felt they didn’t deserve to adopt if their hearts were so closed off by racism.

    I can’t understand the mindsets of some people. We have a daughter from China. When we were in the adoption process one of my nieces said, “I don’t want no cousin from China.” (she was living in Alabama at the time, you’ll have to pardon her grammar) Her mother, thankfully, almost had a heart attack and straightened her out real fast. My sister and I were raised in a East Texas town where everyone knew their place. Somehow, we came out of that situation knowing it was wrong and refusing to accept it. Many in my extended family have chosen to ignore those “unwritten rules” and the town is better for it.

  16. I saw these statistics on The Anti-Racist parent, too. It seriously makes my stomach hurt a little. I just don’t get it . . . especially from Christian parents. But I know it is prevalent. We were told the same thing about black boys when we signed up to adopt. That is why we decided we would ONLY adopt black boys . . . because they are the hardest to place, for no reason other than fear.

    We have many friends who have adopted and also made the choice not to accept referrals of black children. They waited a really, really long time for a referral just to avoid adopting a black child. Their reasoning – they were worried about what people would think. That’s a tough one for me. I am not blind to the issues of trans-racial adoption, but there are so many amazing children waiting for homes. It’s sad.

  17. I love this blog! I enjoy reading other points of views and stories about transracial adoptions. I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who’s disappointed in others who won’t even consider adopting a child outside their race. I get especially angry at people who have never adopted, nor who have ever considered adopting a child from their own race, but who have the nerve to say a child would not thrive in a loving home just because my skin color doesn’t match my future child’s.
    I’m adopted myself and I’ve always known I would adopt. Growing up I always wanted, and still do, to adopt from Africa and Vietnam and “hard-to-place” children from foster care. I refuse to let simple minded people dictate which children I should love and care for simply because our skin color matches.

  18. We’re in process of adopting through foster care, and we don’t care what race the child is. But often the agencies do care; I think the logic is that the children have already had so much happen to them in their brief lives that they want to reduce the things to stress them. And we’ve gone back & forth about how a child of another race would feel joining our family, in our suburban mostly-white neighborhood. All we can do is pray that God will show us who He has chose to join our family, and then let Him use us to love that child.

    Thanks for sharing this. I’ll have to go read the article you linked.

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