The subject of interracial adoption has been widely debated by people of all races. White liberals argue that children need loving homes no matter the race of the child. On the other end of the spectrum, minorities argue that minority children must be raised by minority parents in order to prepare fro the discrimination they may face in American society. However, there is a solution to the debate over interracial adoption that incorporates both views on the subject.
The current debate over interracial adoption has many white liberals up in arms defending the right of white individuals to adopt minority children; particularly black children. Advocates for white families that wish to adopt black children argue that these parents can raise black children in a loving and supportive environment. They also contend that white parents can raise minority children in an environment that is color blind and therefore supportive of their special ethnic needs. However, their strongest argument lies in the fact that without these white individuals, certain children may never find a home and be turned over to the foster system.
Conversely, minority advocates point out that minority children require special guidance because of their unique experiences encountering racism later on in life. They argue that minority children must be prepared for this type of discrimination, and white parents cannot do the job. According to these advocates, white parents provide the minority child with an environment where the child is taught equality of the races. However, they contend that this type of idealism does not prepare the child for the degree of discrimination and prejudice they may face in society.
In addition, a case is made for the culture certain minority children will miss out on when adopted by white parents. For example, a black child may not be taught the story of slavery or put in touch with black music, such as jazz. Opponents of interracial adoption argue that this puts the child at a disadvantage when they pursue relationships with others of the same ethnic background.
Each side of the debate makes strong arguments for their stance on interracial adoption. Supporters of interracial adoption are correct in their assertion that a white home for minority children is better than no home. On the other hand, opponents of interracial adoption make a valid point when state that minority children must be educated on their ancestral culture and discrimination they may face in the future. However, there is a middle ground which would serve the best interests of the child in most cases.
Minority children waiting to be adopted need loving, supportive homes. Neither side disputes that fact. However, opponents of interracial adoption would say that it is more beneficial for social workers to wait for a home of similar ethnicity, then to allow the first qualified home to adopt the child. However, the fact is that a home, is better than no home. If a social worker waits to find the “perfect fit” for the child, it may never come. Furthermore, the child may wait so long to be adopted that it may encounter developmental problems due to the lack of human contact. In addition, the child may reach an age at which they become undesirable for adoption because many families request infants. This would leave the child in the foster care system which is notorious for its lack of stability, which is essential in child development.
Opponents of interracial adoption also contend that minority children raise in white homes will not be educated in their heritage, culture, and racism. However, this is no reason to deny a white family the right to adopt a minority child. The state could allocate funds from the foster care cost they would have incurred and place this funding into classes for white adoptive parents of minority children. These courses would provide parents with instruction on how to educate their child on their ethnic history, culture, and any discrimination the child may encounter. Additionally, the state could put white adoptive parents in contact with individuals of the same minority group as the child. These individuals would aid in education on culture and discrimination and act in a similar capacity to Big Brothers and Big Sisters.
However, there are some cases in which the ethnicity of the adoptive parent(s) must be considered. If there is a situation in which both a white family and a family of the same minority as the child want to adopt, the situation must be examined in more detail. If all things are equal, including income and parenting abilities, the minority family should be given first priority in adopting the child. This is because it will in fact be easier for an individual of the same minority to raise a minority child in its ethnic culture and educate the child on racism.
Furthermore, even if the minority family has a lower income, which is still substantial enough to support the child sufficiently, the minority family should be given preference. This is because a child can be raise just as well in a lower middle class home as an upper middle class home. True, the child may not attend private schools or have all the things they wish for, but as long as a family can provide food, clothing, shelter, and loving support, the minority family must be favored for its unique advantage in education on culture and racism.
The ultimate deciding factor in any adoption case should be in the best interest of the child. Still, there are situations such as interracial adoption where the state must pay closer attention to what exactly that “best interest” is. Both sides of the interracial adoption debate have valid point however the solution to the dilemma lies somewhere in the middle. Adoption agencies must give special consideration to minority families wishing to adopt minority children while not turning down a white home if there is no alternative. This resolution will be practical, and serve the best interests of the child. Perhaps such a plan can move us closer to a color blind society while acknowledging that we are not quite there yet.