Friday, May 01, 2009

When Black People Adopt White Children


Newsweek magazine recently ran this article about a Black family who "adopted" a White child. The family structure is a bit unconventional but for all intents and purposes a little White girl is now calling Black people mommy and daddy.

The purpose of the Newsweek article, as far as I can tell, is to reflect on the fact that despite the large number of transracial adoptions in this country, namely where White people adopt children of color, society at large, cannot wrap their minds around Black people raising White children. It makes White people uncomfortable, and suspicious. It makes Black people angry and frustrated. From the article:

"Decades after the racial integration of offices, buses and water fountains, persistent double standards mean that African-American parents are still largely viewed with unease as caretakers of any children other than their own—or those they are paid to look after. As Yale historian Matthew Frye Jacobson has asked: "Why is it that in the United States, a white woman can have black children but a black woman cannot have white children?"

In my opinion the article doesn't break any new ground, but of course it opens up an interesting topic of discussion, as evidenced by the almost 500 posted comments to the article.

And really, when it comes down to numbers and economics, this isn't going to be a new trend. I don't foresee a future of Black people scrambling to adopt White children, but if they wanted to, would that be okay? Is there any reason Black people should consider adopting White children? Indeed if more Black people got in line to raise White people, would that be a surefire way to dismantle racism in this country? You think I'm kidding, but Megachurch minister, the Reverend Creflo Dollar and his wife adopted a White child for just that reason. "It was God's solution for my racist attitude," Dollar told AOL. That's why he adopted his son. Of course, that child is now a man and about to publish a tell-all about growing up in the Dollar household. So stay tuned on that one.

What do you think? Is there a reason Black people should or should not adopt White children? I would love to hear from any White people out there who were raised by Black parents. What was your experience like? And finally, does anyone else feel like the Newsweek author was out of line by printing the fact that the adopted White child's mother was the town prostitute? Isn't that private information? Thoughts?

Peace!
(Photo of Creflo Dollar and family)

37 comments:

jstele said...

Due to cultural reasons, I think it is best if a child is matched with a couple of the same race, especially in America. A couple of the same race is better equipped to help the child adapt to being a member of that race in society. But I also recognize that it is not feasible. The group of children available will not necessarily match the race of prospective parents.

I see nothing wrong with adopting interracially.

I do feel the comment about the mother being a prostitute was an invasion of the child's privacy even if it was shared by the adoptive parent. Perhaps the author was trying to garner greater sympathy for the black parents so that readers would think they were great to adopt someone from a troubled background.

I think it's racist for people to get uncomfortable when black parents adopt white children. If black women are good enough to hire to babysit your kids, then why are they not good enough to raise white children? I know that some nannies do raise the children they take care of.

I think the Newsweek couple should be applauded. That little girl was in too many foster homes and they gave her a home. I think it is better for black couples to adopt a black child because the supply of black children exceeds the demand. But in certain cases, I think it is ideal for them to adopt a white child. I know of a black woman who adopted the white half-sister of a black child that she also adopted. She wanted to keep the two girls together. So sometimes, it's the ideal choice. But never is it wrong.

I do know of black parents who adopted Hispanic or Asian children. I've also heard of Asian parents who adopt white children. There's more to interracial adopting than white parents/children of color.

Anonymous said...

Coming from a biracial woman, If the potential parents are providing love & a stable home for the children then I do not see the big deal in adopting out of your race. It's ashame that in our society we are quick to look at a persons color instead of seeing who they are as an individuals.

~Alissa

Miles Marshall Lewis said...

waitaminnit: "the reverend creflo dollar"? there's a reverend creflo dollar? you couldn't make that up.

JBH said...

Well...now you're talkin'! You know me - an asian adopted by a white family in a closed adoption. I'm very pro-adoption (as an adoptee), but I am pro-awareness and education when families adopt transracially.

Whether it's black adopting white, white adopting black, whichever race adopting across racial lines...parents must be aware of what the adoptee will go through whens/he hits adolesence.

The adoptee's "search for self" is quite profound when it's an adoption that has no racial crossing. Imagine how much more so when the adoptee's family is of another race (or mixed race)? The issue of race only adds to the complexity of the "who am I? " question. This is especially true for closed adoptions.

Thanks for sharing the article!

LT said...

Jstle,
Thanks for your comments.

Alissa,

I agree.

MML,
You mean you haven't heard of the good reverend's ministry of prosperity? Get on it.

JBH,
Thanks for sharing your insider's perspective.

Eileen Flanagan said...

Did you hear the Don Cheadle comment? According to USA Weekend: "Asked for his thoughts about how celebrities like Madonna or Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are adopting African babies, and Cheadle doesn't miss a beat: 'My wife and I wanted to adopt a white kid from an affluent family that's bored with it.'"

abbynah said...

nice. no reason why it should be called wrong for a black family to adopt a white child or vice versa.that's from my inexperienced point of view of course and many kids in such situations apparently do have some emotional issues!I've blogged on a related issue recently. do check it out>> http://ruminationsoftheheart.blogspot.com/2008/08/should-black-children-only-be-adopted_28.html

myperspective08 said...

im biracial (black/white), i can see why some whites would find it weird...i mean, when you think about it, the only reason whites adopt black is because the wait in line for a white child is VERY long...

and the fact that black children are least adopted, its kinda assumed you'd adopt black, if you are black.

its not a matter of is transracial adoptions wrong...but like interracial relationships with a biracial child as a result...one has to be racially aware (my mom, who is white, was sooooo not racially aware, and still isnt, and it can be hard at times when she dismisses me or tries to justify her attitude by saying "im white not black".)

i hate "colorblind adoptions" because they dont require the parents to take classes that could help them with dealing with another race and/or culture. the reality is, love isnt enough to pull the child through in a world that is very racist.

im not against transracial adoptions, im just against how they are carried out.

what i would find interesting, is how would white people act if a biracial women had a biological white child? i think they would have a heart attack.

so far, i have found very few stories about moms who happen to be half black/half white...i have no kids, im only 20, but id like to know more about biracial moms, i just dont know where to look.

i know that was completely off topic.

Anonymous said...

The most important thing to remember, people, is that we are all beautifully created in God's image. Red, yellow, black. or white are all equal in His sight. People like Angelina and Madonna get this. That is why they were not afraid to "think outside of the box". And neither am I. I am a black woman who has been thinking of adopting a white child myself. Who is anyone else to say I would not love her and treat her like my very own? Doesn't matter what any one else says or thinks. The bottom line is that I know I will be a loving, devoted mother to my child. That's the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

my husband and I are african american. our children are bi-racial, but more white than black. it's does not matter to us. we love them and they love us. but, yes, there are many comments and stares when we go out. people stop their cars to look at us. At the park another mother wanted to know what nanny agency I was hired through. At the hospital another mother scolding her child said,"next time I will send you with the nanny like that little boy over three". and there is so much more on a daily basis!
None of that matters to us. and life goes on!

Anonymous said...

I have biracial children through a past relationship. I get more evil looks by black people. I am a white man who plans on adopting children of all races in the future that are older than 2. The reason for this is the need of these children to have a home. Most people want to adopt newborns etc and forget all the other children that are shuffled around in the foster care system. Black people need to step it up and adopt more black babies and kids. I know everyone can't afford it, but there are plenty of black people who can afford to take on a child of there race. I have no problem with black couples adopting a white child. However, I myself will adopt based off of the need. Waiting around for a white child to be thrown at you just seems wrong when there are so many kids that need you right now! Do what is right and adopt for the right reasons. I know you want a family, but God probably kept most of you from having children so you would take responsibilty for the ones who have not parents. My wife probably will not be able to have children. I am not selective on the issue of race and will adopt based off the need of the children...not my own.

Anonymous said...

maybe im missing something,why are all theses white people adopting all theses children from third world countries,are there no white american children that need help or is that not sheik would sting not approve, you got to be kidding me i never here about will smith or other well to do black people looking to adopt white kids,dont get me wrong my heart is breaking over the devastation in hati,and i will send money and would vouleenteer to go there if i wasnt so old color dosent make a difference , but dam it just seems so phony so PC WHITE KIDS NEED HELP TOO!

Anonymous said...

Iam a white male 54 years old, i just posted white kids need help too, let me just say to theses black families that are adopting white THANK YOU! dont worry about what others think ,just think of all the good you are doing and how much that child loves you...thank you ...old white guy:)

The Masked Mama said...

I am white but have a mixed son from a previous relationship as well. My other 3 kids are white.
We didn't bring up his color until he was 6 or so, when we noticed he was having a really hard time with his identity. His biological father has never been a part of his life. We sat down and explained to him why he was different and that the man he calls daddy will always be his daddy.
I feel with love and understanding it doesn't matter what race raises what race. I get "the looks" too and it is annoying, I've noticed I get many more stares from black people than from white's as well.

Stephen said...

As a white male, I see no problem with black parents adopting a white child. I believe that issues of race will continue to be an uncomfortable topic to discuss, until people address race with their actions.

I think this topic of interracial adoption is an important one and I celebrate it because it helps to further understanding amongst people. It also shines a light on the privilege enjoyed by whites as a whole and the power differential that continues from institutional oppression to this day.

Thank you for this discussion and everyone's posts!

Anonymous said...

What happens to adopting a child just because you love them, and want them to be a part of family. I am a single black woman, I have 2black sons(one biological), 1biracial son(hispanic/black), and three white(triplet daughters),they're 5 yrs old, and I've had them since they came home from the hospital. All of my kids but one is adopted. We Are Family!!!! We love each other! Period. Our family looks different, but if you saw us together, it soon becomes obvious that we belong together. Sure, we get the looks, some admiration and some negative but I don't let that
have any affect on us as a family. My children are raised among all cultures, so far we're okay. I started out as a foster mom, looking for 1 daughter, my life has been enriched many times over. I call my family beautiful. We are not the typical family. I love all my kids and it is sooo obvious they all love me. If people had the ability to open there hearts a little, you'd be surprised how alike the human race is. You have positive and negative in every race, it goes deeper than skin color. I am so thankful for the parents I have, they raised me to see people as they are, not as a skin tag.

LT said...

Everyone,
This post seems to get so many comments from folks new to the Meltingpot. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring stories. Keep them coming please!

Anonymous said...

As an adoption specialist, there are hundreds of white families looking to adopt white children and hundreds of black children with no black families to adopt them. To see one of the few black families with means to adopt privately adopt a white child is just plain ridiculous if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

The whole question just reflects the sad historical path taken in the USA. People are just people. There is a continuum of variation around the planet. It's just that in the USA some people chose to make something of some of the variation which really is like making much ado about the colour of one's hair or the clothes someone is wearing. Regardless of what racists spew, it's really that and no more. However, a small mole hill was taken and turned into a mountain range- a great psychological divide. It has had the most profound and ineffable negative effects. A whole nation has been disfigured by it through it's history.

Unfortunately, it has been pounded into the psyches of people for centuries. The USA is trapped by that "original sin". What was done was a crime that is being felt to this day and beyond.

I don't know what the answer is. Maybe trans-"racial" adoption will help along with a deconstruction and of that criminal "racial myth" over time.

Joey Driven said...

What if West Side Story had been written, composed and choreographed by Latinos?

Anonymous said...

I'm Biracial so I have no problem with people adopting outside of their race as long as the parents are going to love that child. However I dont believe that they adopted a white child for the right reasons, she said she " wanted to adopt a white child to help her get rid of her racist attitude " , and I think that is the wrong reason because she should have resolved her racist attitude before she adopted a child of another race.

The child is not a guinea pig or a racial experiment.

What happens if she is unable to get rid of her racist attitude while raising the child, that child will suffer for it.

If you harbor racist views adopting a child of a different race won't help you to not be racist, thats like a white person saying ... " Well, I adopted a Black baby in hopes that it will help me get rid of my racist views " all hell would of broke loose if a white person stated that as the reason why they adopted a Black child . People would of been like ... " Dont you think you should of worked that out within yourself before adopting a Black baby ?

Are they even going to raise this child to know that their white or are they going to raise this child to pass themselves off as Black just very very light skinned and tell that child that " Black people come in all colors thats why you're so light but you're STILL Black " even when they know he/she is not?
- Biracial_GirL1977

Anonymous said...

I am white and I would have no problem with black people raising white kids. The white birth rate is so ridiculously low that we can't afford to have any of our children fall through the cracks.

Ri said...

I'm white and I'm adopted by a black family. First things first, I know I'm white (So I know who I am) My ancestry is English but I'm American so yeah hehe. Um, I guess its okay for a family to raise a child of a different race I know I'm loved by my parents and thats all that matters to me. We get stares EVERYTIME we go out, sometimes people ask us questions and we're not afraid of answering them, they're curious, and if you see anyone with a differemt race of a family you're bound to ask questions anyway. I can see why some white people are uncomfortable like its different I guess to them, I don't know if people are still stuck in the 60's 50's etc or just I don't know. I guess growing up with a black family is just like any other family, but then sometimes you go to places like camp, school and such and kids stare at you. I used to be self concious about it in my pre-teen years but I don't really care about it now hehe.

Maria said...

At last Pacquiao moved forward against Floyd Mayweather allegation that Pacquaio use steroid.

gabriel said...

I see Brad Pitt formal wear fashion statement and I want to adopt his fashion style.

bernice.watson@gmail.com said...

Loves knows no colour. Every child deserves to be loved and cared for. I think when a Black family adopts a white child, it provides that child with an education that may be superior to what a white family may offer.The Black family may teach the child the valuable lesson of inclusion, diversity and unity and that we're all people regardless of race, colour or creed.
Having said that I am sure that there are more Black children waiting for adoption in America and they have less of a pool of people who may want to adopt them therefore Black people may want to pick up the slack where other races may not want to go.
The persian poet says it best in the Prophet "Children come through us but are not for us but for the world" - something to that effect. We must begain to see children as coming into the world to fulfill their own destiny and so having them look like us is unimportant. Thanks for this blog. Very interesting.

Anonymous said...

I believe if there love in the family-they can afford to take care of a child-they have cleaned record. I think if your white and you raised by different background-than white both cultures should be educated on each background. I believe education the key in every adoption,and race-teach at home so they can understand it about love-but here what your cultural is about-this is who your are . we can share both sides.

Anonymous said...

I am a 38 year old African-American who has bi-racial children from my past marriage. My ex-husband (Filipino and white)and I fostered and then adopted his white (3rd)cousin. We split when she was 3, but she's has been with our family since she was 9 days old and calls me mommy and him daddy. She is now 7 and is a happy, healthy girl who is excelling in school, church, and home life. The adoption is open and we see her birth parents 3 times a year. She loves her brother and sister (my birth children)and they love her, and have from day one. None of this is to say that life is perfect; but would it be if she had been adopted by a white family? I think not. Life is not perfect, nor was it meant to be. Each of us have experiences that shape us into the people that God created us to be. My pryaer for all of my children is that this experience of living in a multiracial environment will help them to be able to see things from others' perspectives and to learn how to live peacefully while respecting each others' differences.
I personally think it's ludcicrous to say that people cannot adopt ourside of their race. My ex-husband and I had no idea that we were going to be blessed with a third child! Should we have turned our backs when the time came for her to go to foster care simply because she was white and i'm not? Or was it acceptable because she was "family" and I technically wasn't "robbing" her of the opportunity to be raised by white parents?
What people are getting so caught up in here is race. The fact that these children came from parents who were biologically the same, including in race, but that they were unfit or unable to take care of these children. That's it. If we can find parents who are loving, responsible, upstanding members of society that are able to support and nurture these chldren the way they were meant to be nurtured, and with a healthy respect for all people, does it really matter what race we are?

Anonymous said...

There is alot confused people out there. A white woman Cannot have a black child, if that woman is white her makeup messes up the race if that child, the child is Biracial. No matter if the woman is "black" and the father white. The writer Ri made the statement " people are still stuck in 50's or 60's...." this is the problem with these mixed families - no one tells them that slavery still exists in both ends if the spectrum. The white's who adopt "African American" not black children and blacks who adopt white children . As a true African America female I experience 21st century racism and bigotry. These families never give them a reality check. It's just like people think they can raise a lion cub and as it gets older it "will" rely on it's basic instincts no matter what environment they grew up in. People especially my african American people STOP belittling what my ancestors and my parents went through with white america's hatred towards slaves and African Americans, (I am not s color ) and sweep it under the rug. It did happen and it still is happening.

ses43 said...

Being in foster care all i can say and this came from many of African American kids in the system is we don't care about the color of skin we just wanted someone to give us a chance to have parents or a parent .We all knew that once you are a certain age and you are black there are no chances of getting adopted and black families are not knocking down the door to adopt. So forget slavery forget race and just focus on the fact that there are some people who are opening their homes to unwanted kids. I was blessed that pass the age of 13 i still got adopted by an Indian couple (yes they are from India ). who till this day i proudly call them mom and dad and my kids call their grandparents.

Anonymous said...

Why not go to the nearest orphanage and ask for the child that been there the longest? I would be thrilled to adopt a child of any age or color.

Anonymous said...

I actual have to write a paper on interracial adoption and I keep searching if its legal for black people adopt a white child or asian and havent found any documentational evidence like gov to back up my claim just blogs and people thoughts. This family stories is remarkable but they are legal surrogates not guardians and only get to see the child on weekends and sometimes during the week.

NJMpurpleSk8terGirl said...

creflo dollar is a good man and it doesnt matter about race and all that it all matters about love and doing what u want to do so no hatting on him because he is a good man of GOD

Anonymous said...

I really wish people would stop insisting that things like interracial adoption, interracial marriage and multiculturalism are necessary to get people to stop being
'racist'.

There has never been a point in history where people were hated simply because of the color of their skin, humans are just out for themselves and that is the way we are as a species.

Black people should adopt both white children and black children right now, not because some of some prejudice but because of the imbalance of so many white families adopting black kids and so few(but it is growing)black families adopting white kids(or adopting period).

People also need to stop pretending that white people are morally inferior(like Bernice did), we are mostly out for ourselves like everyone else is, it is time so called 'anti racists' realized that and mostly just shut up altogether because they are only causing more racial animosity.

Anonymous said...

This is digusting. When did Europeans become the baby-sitters of the world? Why do you hate your own race?

Stop supporting the GENOCIDE of your own people.

Anonymous said...

I personally oppose interracial adoption.I think we`ve all had enough racial "equality",miscegenation, and "diversity" crammed down our throats.I think its time we rebelled against the agenda to further integrate and amalgamate the races.Whites should adopt whites,blacks should adopt blacks.Besides,we already know that the races are inherently different and that children raised by another race develop major identity issues,besides being denied the nurturing and cultural education that only a parent of the same race can provide.

Laura Paola said...

I am not adopted or raised by parents of another race, but I grew up with a single mother and her multi-ethnic family. Our BIG family is very close and tight-knit, most relatives married out of their race and raised bi-racial children (or children of another race). For every racist moment I experienced growing up (I am Mexican, and was picked on as a kid), the love of my caucasian aunt countered that. For every "Wetback" or "go home Mexican" I heard, I didn't automatically assume (like most children do) that ALL white people are racist, because of my white relatives. There are other races/ethnicities in my family, and I can say that this (in my opinion) was a bonus. I was not only raised with Mexican traditions, but also American and Asian (Thai). I didn't grow up confused, my biracial cousin didn't grow up confused about her identity. My white cousin (raised by a Mexican adoptive father) is not confused about his identity nor is my Philipino sister-in-law who was adopted as a baby by white parents. Sheltering a child by raising them by their own race to "help the child adapt as a member of that race" doesn't make a difference when they grow up and face racism. Instead of raising a child as a member of a race, why not raise a child as a member of a SOCIETY-- a society of diverse backgrounds. THAT better equips the child to deal with culture shock.