There is a secret in the adoption world. Nobody really wants to say it...but everybody knows it. It is shocking...and shameful. It is race. Our nation's foster children are at a disadvantage because of nothing more than their ethnicity. I know I have already made some of you angry. I am sorry, but please hang with me because it is the truth.
For instance, if you are a childless couple looking to adopt a baby from a private agency and specifically ask for a hispanic or african american child...you may very well be turned away. That is because agencies know that the demand for ethnic babies is very low. Most minority birth mothers are informed that their baby will be hard to place or turned away. It is an ugly thought isn't it...that our society rejects anything other than a HWN (heathy white newborn) but you know it is true. Here is another shocking thought, were do those babies go? Well, foster care, but they aren't always adopted...because of their race and the stigma of the "foster care" label.
Here is an interesting news clip-it is only a few minutes long...notice how the social worker works so hard to "not say it."
Lack of Demand for Adoption Creates "Special Needs" Title For Some Babies.
You know what is even harder to place in an adoptive family? An older child of a minority ethnicity - and if they have siblings their chance becomes almost ZERO of finding a forever family. Yes, I am talking about foster kids again. Why are there not enough families for this kids? Why do people only want HWNs? I truly don't have an answer for this due to the fact that I have 4 children of various ethnic backgrounds and I am so BLESSED to be parenting them. I can't imagine passing them over due to race. My 11 year old was placed in my home at birth from FOSTER CARE...she is a beautiful hispanic girl. She was NOT an abuse or neglect case...she was relinquished by her birthmother in order to provide a "better life." Although I don't know for certain, I suspect she may have been turned away from private adoption agencies. My Korean son came to me at age 4. My filipino daughter came at age 14... We did an adult adoption of an 18 year old...and she is part native american indian.
Recently, K5 was helping my husband manage an adoption information booth at our church. As an over protective parent of my kids from foster care, I worried about her feeling like she was somehow on display as a poster child. However, she was adamant about being at the booth. When she was asked why it was so important to her to be there, my 14 year old had some interesting insight. She said she wanted to be there to help people feel guilty.
Wait...what? I don't know about you, but that comment bothered ME...a LOT. I definitely needed some further explanation. K5's perspective was actually good. Shocking, but to a large extent, right on the money. She explained that she knew that most people just wanted to adopted babies, but our booth was about adopting older kids. She went on to explain that the church sermon helped to make people understand that there were children in need and that those people would feel guilty and want to help. She believed her presence in the booth would allow people to see the reality of foster care adoption of older children because she was a rare success story. Needless to say, she won and we allowed her to help in the booth. I think it some ways it is therapeutic for her to work to help other children in foster care.
Has this blog tweaked your curiosity? Check out this blog by an ex-foster kid kid that was never adopted.
Please, if you are considering adoption...I beg you to consider the children in state care. They deserve a permanent, safe and loving home too.