Recently ABC World News edition did a segment called “Race and Adoption” on the moral question of whether White people should be adopting Black children. There was a Black man on the segment, Phil Bertelson, who was adopted by a White family and was discussing how he felt as a child being the “outsider” in the relatively large family, which was mainly White. In addition, the National Association of Black Social Workers’s Sonia Batiste Roberts expressed her concerns with this not so recent trend, stating that Blacks deserve to be placed with families who “look like them”, share common culture and who can relate to them. Well, of course this ignited a debate, although not a massive one, at least amongst the hosts and guest co-host of ABC’s The View. Host Joy Behar and guest co-host Vanessa Williams somewhat agreed with Ms. Roberts’ view while the rest of the panel of hosts saw the humanity element in the interracial adoptions and dismissed any criticism of interracial adoptions.
We can all agree that ideally, any child living in a home remiss of love, nurture and stability should not be deprived of the possibility of getting all of these merely because of race. However, first off, I would like to personally mention that there are some adoptive/foster parents who are abusive and neglectful too. I have represented several adopted children, in Family Court in New York, on cases ranging from child support non-payment to child abuse or neglect and the circumstances were just as egregious as the ones that were with their biological families. Not to minimize the magnanimity in taking in a child that you have no blood ties to, whether bound culturally, ethically or racially or not, but these adoptive parents do not always have good intentions. But for me it goes along the same line of interracial marriages, I don’t think it does anything to strengthen our lineage or our community, let alone one’s sense of self and sense of pride to condone miscegenation. It’s enough that we live in a world where education, the media, the arts, news, etc. are mainly from a White perspective, I don’t trust that a White family would make every effort to expose a Black child to their own cultural perspectives on the real world. Now, you may not see the need for having a sense of belonging or identifying, when faced with the horrific option of living without love or the basis needs to sustain. However, it is exactly the lack of confidence, low self-esteem and feeling of isolation that perpetuates this “self-hate” that is replete in our community as manifests itself in poverty, poor health, sub-par education and destruction of Black family. Only we know what we need and only we will ensure that we get it!
Furthermore, today on CNN there was a segment titled “Pregnancy and Deaths” which mentioned the number of pregnancy associated deaths and how that number has soared in the past decade. The problem is not just the fact that there are now 9.5 deaths per 1,000, but the fact that that number almost quadruples for Black women to 32.7 deaths per 1,000 is more troubling. The reasons mentioned are the increase in C-section births, but the reasons that are most pertinent to Black women is the rise in late age pregnancies and diabetic women having babies. Although these numbers may not be that alarming, we’re talking a mere 3%, however it is when you consider the fact that according to Amnesty International (http://blog.amnestyusa.org/us/knock-on-congress-door-to-stop-pregnancy-related-deaths/) half of these deaths are preventable. I say this to say, that not only do Black women have other issues (which we will address on later posts) that interfere with their desire to become a mother, there is the not so popular option of adoption. For some reason it’s a thought furthest from many Black women’s minds to consider adoption when they are trying to start a family. I can assume that costs, eligibility or stigma can be some of the concerns. But in today’s society, these concerns may not matter as much as they used too. For instance, I know that although there are some costs associated with adoption, those costs are, in some instances, nominal. As a family law attorney I know for a fact that some adoptions are actually subsidized by the government and go a lot smoother than one might think.
The bottom line is that there is always a way to become proactive. I don’t believe in just bringing up the problem, I pride myself in being part of the solution.