Recently, I read a statement put out by the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) that called transracial adoption genocide and since then I have struggled with how I feel about that.
To be part of a system that some people refer to as genocide it painful. To come to the realization that part of community I feel a bond with doesn’t approve of how I was raised is hurtful. To come to the understanding that there may be some truth in what the NABSW says and in saying that I will hurt and offend some people is conflicting.
Because of the disparity in the child welfare system you have to question why so many children of color are in the child welfare system. 14-15% of all children in the United States are black. Black children represent 35-40% of all children in the child welfare system and that makes no sense. Why is there such a high representation of black children in the welfare system?
Is the answer that black parents are incapable of raising black children successfully?
I refuse to believe or entertain that thought.
Is it because the welfare system is more prone to pull black children out of black homes?
This theory, in my opinion, really needs to be looked into.
Is the welfare system culturally biased making it harder for black children to be returned to black homes?
The numbers show black children are taken from black homes and not returned at a rate much higher than should be expected and because of this huge disproportionality transracial adoption has become more and more necessary.
So some simply see it as a system that is designed to remove black children from black homes and place them more and more in white homes hence supporting the idea of genocide.
Regardless of how we got to this point, I think there needs to be a two step process. We need people to work at correcting a horribly broken and unequal child welfare system.
At the same time we need to concentrate on where we are today. Because of the disproportionality that has been created we need to understand that among other initiatives transracial adoption has to be seen as a viable and necessary option by everyone and supported by EVERYONE.
As a transracial adoptee, the more I look in to comments like the one above, I get incensed. It is not the comment that upsets me because I understand where they are coming from and why they said what they did. My anger begins to simmer when I think about the assistance groups like the NABSW have given to adoptees like me. It is almost as if we were simply written off as a liability and a lost cause. Regardless of whether you support transracial adoption or not, to turn your back on the children that could use your support and assistance is worse than any comment that could be made. It is possible to support a competitive philosophy while supporting the kids who could benefit from your involvement in their lives. As I look back on things growing up and read more and more about groups who disagree with transracial adoption, the anger in me that was simmering is now brought to a boil. What happened to “what is in the best interest of the child?” It serves no one to criticize a way of living and then offer no help. To only offer your support to Black children who are adopted by Black families ignores the part of the population you so passionately say you are protecting. Black children who are part of transracial families are still black children; black children who need all kinds of support.
The black community can play an active role in helping and partnering with white parents to help grow black children that are proud black children and have a strong sense of who they are as black children. By helping the children retain their ties with the black community will prevent the genocide that is feared, while allowing black children to move out of foster care.
The other alternative is keep black children in foster care until the system is corrected; causing even more children to age-out of foster care. We all know the dim future that comes to the average child who ages out of foster care. No child should have to walk alone.