Ronald Jackson, a one-year-old African American boy, is anxiously waiting to be adopted. Unfortunately, there seems to be an insufficient number of couples of his race willing to adopt. There are two alternatives, he could either remain in the child welfare system or a suitable Caucasian couple could adopt him. It is evident that transracial adoption makes up 3.9 percent of all adoptions. Although permitting whites to adopt might be a reasonable solution, is troubling to the American society because many believe that it is morally incorrect to adopt outside of ones race. Since the increase of interracial adoption in the 1950s and 1960s, partisans of both sides have been explaining their viewpoints on the controversial issue. Why should one s skin color hinder him or her from being adopted if there are couples that are ready and able? Despite the opposition to racially integrate, numerous studies have indicated that African American transracial adoptees are generally well adjusted.
The U.S. Judicial System has allowed whites to adopt blacks since1948 (Curtis, 156). Because the number of minority children in the placement system is increasing and not enough minorities are adopting them, the problem is being resolve by enabling white parents to adopt children from other races (Forde-Mazrui, 961). Moreover, although other minorities such as Asians and Hispanics being adopted by whites, African American transracial adoptions are more scrutinized due to the skin color factor. By the year 1972, transracial adoption fell 39 percent. In 1976, there was a decrease in interracial adoption because the National Association of Black Social Workers strongly opposed this form of adoption (Brodzinsky and Schecthter, 189). Nonetheless, in 1985, Simon and Altstein reported that transracial adoption became legal in all states.
The National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) is a group of 500 black social workers that dislike the idea of Caucasians adopting African American Children. In fact, they believe that this form of adoption should be abolished because it is a cultural genocide , which contributes to the reduction of black culture (Curtis, 160).
Further, the Association is concerned that whites are incapable of teaching black children how to cope with racism. As a result, they fear that black children will be confused about their self-worth and true identity. According to NABSW,
The Association affirms the position that African American children belong with African American families physiologically, psychologically and culturally in order that they receive the total sense of themselves and develop a sound projection of their future (Curtis, 161).
The association rejects the fact that whites can contribute to the upbringing of black children.
The NABSW believes that the ethnicity of black children is crucial to their being. Thus, the Association notes that black children should be raised by their biological parents or immediate family, regardless of their economic instability (Hollingsworth, 109). However, if the family is unable to take the responsibility, adoption agencies should seek out same race families that are willing to adopt. After all attempts have been tried out and are unsuccessful, it is then that the transracial adoption could be considered. Nevertheless, social workers must work diligently to decrease the possibilities of interethnic adoption by providing services to prospective African American families. For example, agencies should hold conferences to inform the minority communities that there are black children in need of parents. Also, ample funds should be given to minority foster parents to encourage them to adopt. The NABSW has been arguing for nearly 20 years and still today, they are trying to enforce same race adoption for black children. Moreover, the Children s Protective Service is another group that is trying to increase the African American community to adopt black children. They have joined forces with black congregations to recruit both adoptive and foster families.
There are roughly100,000 adoptable children in the nations child welfare system. Unfortunately, about 40,000 of them are African Americans. Why should groups like the NABSW oppose whites from adopting unwanted children? Even lawmakers view mixing races as socially and morally wrong. Nonetheless, whites believe that disabling them from adopting black children is discriminating. The Transracial Adoption Group is an organization formed by adult transracial adoptees that ensure a nondiscriminatory adoption process for potential parents. It is in the best interest of the child to be adopted by any race that is willing to give him or her a good home. One Caucasian couple, the Scofields try to accommodate the needs of their adoptive African American son, Joseph by changing their church so that he can interact with other blacks and learn about his culture (Taylor, A1). Whites are incorporating into their lifestyle black music, books and other cultural paraphernalia so that their adoptive child have a better understanding of him or herself. Furthermore, race cannot be the sole factor in adoption placement, but agencies are capable of denying placement to white parents if they lack racial or cultural awareness and sensitivity (Harvard Law Review, 1352). In 1994, the Multiethnic Placement Act was passed and signed into law by president Bill Clinton, which prohibits race as a factor in placing children for adoption (Curtis, 161). Therefore, agencies will be punished if they prevent a white couple from adopting a black child.
Researchers such as Grow, Shapiro, Altstein and Simon, during the 1970s and 1980s had numerous studies done to prove that Caucasians are fit to adopt minority American children. Grow and Shapiro in 1974 administered personality test to black adopted children and compared it to white adopted children. They found that about 77% of transracial children adjusted well (Curtis, 159). Overall, black transracial adoptees self-esteem, social adjustment and sense of racial identity are equally or better than those that are adopted by same race families Harvard Law Review, 1354). In fact, researchers found that they even had a better IQ than same race African American adoption. Furthermore, studies have shown that transracially adopted blacks place less significance on their race and still feel positive about being black than inracially adopted children. Atlstein and Simon s 20-year study found that one out every five transracially adopted children has had a problem because of their race (113). Nevertheless, 74 percent of the adoptive parents responded that their adopted black child is doing quite well in every aspect of life. There are benefits for transracially adopted African Americans in life because studies show that they have a successful career and are socially integrated because of their understanding of both the black and white culture (Forde-Mazrui, 964).
In conclusion, transracial adoption should not be a controversial issue because African American children in the child welfare system are being given the opportunity to be loved by Caucasian parents. They are provided a stable home where they can be nurtured and cared for by predisposed couples. African American children should not be deprived of a family simply due to the color of their skin or because it is said to be immoral . Love is colorless. It is an emotional feeling, a commitment that many whites are capable of giving to adoptable African American children. Studies have shown that transracially adopted black children are well adjusted to their white families. In addition, many remain proud of their heritage, but have an appreciation for the white race as well. Prolonging the wait for adoption in the attempt to find black homes can be psychologically detrimental to minority children. As the years pass by, it becomes difficult to find a home for them. Giving preference to same race adoption denies thousands of minority children a stable home. Thus, the emphasis should not be placed on same race adoption, but on the love that one could give to another that is desperately in need of it.