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Should children of color have to spend the most vulnerable years of their life in foster care or orphanages simply because a family of their race is unavailable? What if a family of a different race could adopt these children? Should they be put into a stable, loving home, or should they be kept in foster homes hoping that a family of the same-race is found? This process of finding same-race families can take years. Why put the children through such hard times when a loving family is available? It is unfair to the children! Interracial adoption benefits the families and children involved and needs acceptance by all Americans.
Opponents of interracial adoption are concerned with identity development and psychological adjustment in children in interracial adoption, because they believe that people cannot raise children of a different race correctly. Therefore, they have referred to it as “cultural genocide.” The National Association of Black Social Workers, the main organization against interracial adoption, believes that their environment and their families influence the children’s values, attitudes, and self-image. Therefore, this organization believes that interracial adoption will diminish their culture.
Though some people believe that children in interracial adoptions will not identify with their own culture, actually exposure to both cultures allows them to bridge the culture gap. The most controversial adoptions are between white and black families; nevertheless, the interracial adoption allows the adopted children to function in both black and white cultures. Children in an interracial family tend not to show any racial preference, unlike children in same-race families who prefer their own race. Children in interracial families have the unique experience of living in a white and black world, and using this experience, they are able to understand and relate with their race and their adoptive parents’ race. Because they are exposed to both ways of life, transracially adopted children are more likely to engage in interracial dating, friendships, and have a general acceptance for those of a different race when they are older rather than children who were adopted by same-race families. Obviously, the evidence proves that contact with both cultures allows the children to connect with their own culture and their parents’ culture, giving them unique experiences, making them well-rounded people.
The child’s feeling of belonging and of having a secure home with a loving family is of more importance than racial matching. Interracial adoption is usually successful in a home that provides love, security, and gives the child a positive sense of his/her racial identity. Interracial adoption is considered a success if the child adjusts well in adolescence and adulthood, has a positive sense of racial identity, has a good self-esteem, and is involved in social relationships with people of different races. Interracial adoptive parents look past the child’s skin color to see a person that deserves to have a secure, loving family regardless of his/her race; furthermore, Americans should stop using skin color as a determinant for what is in the best interest of the child. As a result, interracial adoption would be less controversial and would allow children to have a more stable lifestyle. The quality of parenting is more important than whether the child is adopted interracially or by the same-race. Most people would agree with this statement, because the amount of love, support, and stability a family gives is more important to a child than race matching. In the movie Losing Isaiah, the adoptive mother Maggie is in court fighting to keep her African American adopted son, because his biological mother is trying to reclaim her rights. While being cross-examined, she asks the prosecuting lawyer:
What is your point, Mr. Lewis? That our skin isn’t the right color? That we’re incapable of teaching this child what he needs to learn? That I can’t raise Isaiah to be an honorable man because I’m white? What about love? You haven’t spoken that word here… How does Isaiah fit into all of this? Or is it more important to be politically correct?
Maggie raises important issues in this quote. All of the answers to her questions are no! This interracial family and all interracial families are capable of raising children who are honorable and aware of their racial identity!
An example confirming that interracially adopted children understand their identity is that the majority of children in interracial adoptions in the 1980s and 1990s have grown up to be smart, emotionally stable people with a strong sense of identity. Also, research by experts Silverman and Feigelman indicate that children in interracial adoptions usually identify with both the ethnicity of their parents and their own ethnicity. This is similar to racially mixed children who are not adopted. These conclusions validate that interracially adopted children know who they are and understand their identity; therefore, it should not be an issue against interracial adoption.
In contradiction with opponents, children can feel successfully adjusted in interracial homes if the children receive love and understanding. Experts concluded from data on adoption in 1988 that racial differences between parent and child is not a factor in adolescent development. This conclusion proves that children can adjust well in interracial adoptions. Many studies have concluded that no significant difference in self-esteem levels can be detected between interracial and same-race adoptions. These studies eliminate the claim from the opposition that children will not adjust well in interracial homes. Out of one hundred twenty-five case studies of children in interracial adoptions, at least three fourths of them had fully adjusted by the age of nine.
Interracial adoption is a better alternative than long-term foster care. It improves the lives of the children by getting them out of foster care and orphanages and giving them a stable home. Statistics show that about 440,000 children are in foster care in America, out of which 44 percent are white and 43 percent are black. Approximately 67 percent of people seeking to adopt are white. Since an enormous majority of white adults are seeking to adopt, white children cannot supply the demand; therefore, the white adults adopt the hundreds of ethnic children waiting to be placed in homes. This is why approximately eight percent of all adoptions are interracial. If children were not interracially adopted, thousands of children would be stuck in foster care for most of their adolescence. When children live in foster care or orphanages for a long time, they feel insecure and usually have psychological problems. This is a terrible way to grow up. Being a part of a family and belonging is important to the child’s life. Supporters of interracial adoption realize that interracial adoption is far more desirable than long-term foster care.
A possible solution for this controversial issue is to have families who want to adopt interracially be carefully screened to verify that they are prepared to handle identity and adjustment issues that will arise with the children. This would assure that the children in interracial adoptions would understand their ethnicity and identity, because the adoptive parents would be willing and prepared to teach the children about it. Another solution is to have all interracial adoptive families attend counseling with their adoptive child. Counseling would help the adjustment and assure the child is learning about his/her identity and culture. Therefore, it can be agreed that children should be placed in a loving home that is prepared to deal with the issues no matter what the ethnicity of the child or parent.
Interracial adoption is a topic that I have been interested in for about three years. In high school, my best friend’s family adopted a child of a different race; this is when I was first exposed to this issue. Through her family I learned about how long the adoption process takes, what needs to be done to be able to adopt a child of a different race, and the controversy around interracial adoption. Immediately, I was interested in the argument opponents and supporters hold; as a result, while in college I researched interracial adoption. In the process of doing this task, I have decided to interracially adopt when I am older. I believe strongly that the only argument opponents of interracial adoption have is racism. And this is wrong. Many children need homes, regardless of their race. I have decided to do my part and adopt a child of a different race because I believe that I can make a difference in the child’s life. This is why I strongly support interracial adoption.
It is necessary to support interracial adoption and understand that it benefits the children and families involved. Interracial adoption does have a positive effect on America and needs to be supported!
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