Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

5 thoughts

  1. Am I to understand that it is “cultural genocide” for an U.S. white couple to adopt a black or bi-racial child, but it’s perfectly okay if the child is adopted by white non-U.S. Citizens? Does this really make sense? And just because there is a perception that the children will be treated better in another country, that doesn’t necessarily make it so.
    I guess it’s not cultural genocide for the African American community if it isn’t in front of your face every day. Out of sight, out of mind.

  2. This article doesn’t draw a clear distinction between private adoption and state adoption. It really discusses private adoption, in which a mother relinquishes, and not state adoption, in which children, often much older, are already in the state foster care system due to abuse, neglect or incapacity.
    The NABSW statement about “cultural genocide” I think has no influence a private adoption situation in which the mother is relinquishing and decides to place the child internationally. It’s difficult to discuss this topic. Apparently the placing mother believes her baby will face less racism raised in Canada or a country like Switzerland, and under the current system she is free to make that decision.
    However, when the article talks about Canadian adoptions, it doesn’t mention how many of the children were state and how many were private. Canada is the only country that can adopt children from the US foster care system. In these adoptions the parents’ decision is usually not a factor. Ethically, I think Canadian adoption of special needs waiting children is a no-brainer. There are many of these children in the U.S. and not enough families willing to adopt them. It would be great if a black waiting child could go to a suitable black family in the US. Many of them do end up exactly like that. But if there are not enough of those parents, expanding the pool to Canada — a neighbor which shares at least one common language and a lot of history — makes sense to me. If Mexico were a country with better social services, I would support expanding there as well in some cases, especially for Hispanic children.
    It does wound American national pride though. The basic equation is that countries with better child protection systems can adopt from countries with worse child protection services. The sad fact is that our services are worse than many other countries and these countries adopt from us.
    There are many white people who domestically adopt black children from the American foster care system. Especially if when the child is older, factors like race grow less important, because workers are desperate to find permanent parents to keep the child from aging out in foster care.

  3. Canada has over 22000 children waiting in foster care that are legally available for adoption.
    Following the logic mentioned, why aren’t they adopting from their own foster care system instead of adopting internationally (from U.S. or other countries)?
    I think the quote about “cultural genocide” does include all African American children being placed in non-African-American or African Canadian homes. We are talking about taking a child out of a cultural group and placing them into another one, whatever country they are going to. And in addition, these children being adopted to Canada or Europe are also losing their “American” identity too.
    However, I believe *most* of the adoptions of American children to Canada, whatever racial or ethnic group they belong to, are through private arrangements. But it is hard to know exactly because statistics are not kept by the U.S. state department for children adopted out of the country, only for those children issued visas to come *to* the U.S.

  4. Wow, that is a lot of children waiting to be adopted in Canada. 22,000 out of a population of 30 million? That could be a higher percentage than here in the US. Are Canadian child services really worse in some areas?
    What I mean is that the statement about “cultural genocide” doesn’t apply to mothers who make their own placement decision… in other words, a social worker who believes in a strict form of that statement wouldn’t necessarily have influence over a mother doing a private placement. They would have influence in a state adoption situation, but not privately, unless they convinced the mother of their position… that is, unless they managed to convince the placing mother that it was indeed cultural genocide to purposefully place their child with a non-black family.

  5. For the record, as of 2003 (the latest stats available) there were 532,000 children in the foster care system in the U.S. Of those, only 129,000 were available for adoption.
    I somehow don’t buy the argument that, because the mother makes the decision to place the child in a home that isn’t the same as her own race or ethnic background, it isn’t cultural genocide. Unless the reason is that it must happen on a mass scale for cultural genocide to apply?
    I will say that a loving home and family is more important for these children than being in the system. Even foster care, although better than institutional care, isn’t as good as having a mom and dad – a family – you belong to.

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