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Thursday, August 17, 2006

The last resort


Mark Schiefelbein for The New York Times
Nick Mebruer and daughter Maggie. A judge
at first blocked the Mebruers' effort to adopt
a black child.


Breaking Through Adoption’s Racial Barriers

By LYNETTE CLEMETSON and RON NIXON
Published: August 17, 2006

When Martina Brockway and Mike Timble, a white couple in Chicago, decided to adopt a child, Ms. Brockway went to an adoption agency presentation at a black church to make it clear they wanted an African-American baby.Their biological daughter, Rumeur, 3, is accumulating black dolls in preparation for her new brother or sister. Black-themed children’s books like “Please, Baby, Please” by the filmmaker Spike Lee and his wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, share shelf space with Elmo and Dr. Seuss.

But the couple’s decision provoked some uneasy responses. One of Mr. Timble’s white friends asked, “Aren’t there any white kids available?”

Ms. Brockway’s black friends were supportive. “But,” she said, “I also sensed that there was maybe something they weren’t saying.”

Mr. Timble cut in. “Like maybe they were thinking, ‘What do these people think they are doing?’ ”

Ms. Brockway and Mr. Timble are among a growing number of white couples pushing past longtime cultural resistance to adopt black children. In 2004, 26 percent of black children adopted from foster care, about 4,200, were adopted transracially, nearly all by whites. That is up from roughly 14 percent, or 2,200, in 1998, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect at Cornell University and from the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is a significant increase,” said Rita Simon, a sociologist at American University, who has written several books on transracial adoption. “It is getting easier, bureaucratically and socially. With so many people going overseas, people are also increasingly saying, Wait a minute, there are children here who need to be adopted, too.”

The 2000 census — the first in which information on adoptions was collected — showed that just over 16,000 white households included adopted black children. Adoption experts say there has been a notable increase since 2000.

The reasons for the increase are varied. The Multiethnic Placement Act and its amendments prohibited federally financed agencies from denying adoption based on race. The foster care system has sharply changed in recent years and now includes financial incentives for finding more adoptive families


It's really simple: if white families do not adopt these kids, no one will. None of these articles mention the simple fact that it takes a lot for a black child to reach adoptive status. Most extended black families have someone raising a relative's kids for some part of their lives. So it never gets as far as adoption.

These kids will be bounced from foster home to foster home without being adopted. Will there be issues? Sure, it's America. But it beats foster care 100 percent of the time.

posted by Steve @ 2:47:00 AM

2:47:00 AM

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