Video about Transracial Adoption

The Colors NW Magazine  article, Shades of Transracial Adoption" I posted a couple weeks ago has a video to go along with the article. The magazine has a blog that I recommend you check out here and the YouTube version is pasted below. 

From the website: Meet Michelle Bagshaw, Sarah Kim Randolph and Jill Dziko as you watch this short documentary. Then read more about Transracial Adoption in the February 2007 issue of Colors NW Magazine.

Discriminating against communities of color in the child welfare system

ShatteredbondsIn trying to figure out how to begin this
post on communities of color and child protection issues, I found it
difficult to know where to begin and where to end. Trying to finger the
exact places and times that the child welfare system discriminates
against communities of color is like trying to pick out which piece of
hay in the haystack is to blame. The issues are so intertwined that it
is impossible to sort through.

The discrimination occurs on micro,
mezzo and macro levels; everything from the federal legislations that
either purposely targeted communities of color or structurally
supported hidden bias against these populations to the individual
social worker whose inexperience or bias resulted in discriminatory
treatment. Most of the time, it’s a combination of many levels of
discriminatory interventions by the child welfare system and society at

To begin, I feel it is important to clarify some definitions and themes that you will often see in discussions and research about communities of color and child welfare:

  • When we talk about research we need to keep in mind that correlation does not equal causation.
    One thing often miss-communicated in articles about child welfare is
    when a correlation becomes misrepresented as causation. For example,
    there is a correlation between being poor or in poverty and having
    child protection interventions. This does not mean that being poor or
    in poverty causes child protection interventions; it means that
    of those people involved in child protection there is a stronger
    likelihood of being poor or in poverty.
  • Over-representation refers to a group’s percentage or number is larger than other groups. An example of over representation would be the number of African American men in prison in the U.S. in 2003. Of the 1,316,415 men in prison that year, 586,300 were African American versus 454,300 white males. African American men are overrepresented.
  • Disproportionate refers to a higher percentage in a
    given circumstance than in the overall population. An example of
    disproportionate would be that African American children were 21.4% of
    the children in foster care for the state of Minnesota in 2003– despite the fact that African American children made up only 5% of the overall population.

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Towers: “Adoption is a picture of the Gospel, Stinson and Moore say”

This article pushes almost every button I have.

Adoption is a picture of the Gospel, Stinson and Moore say

The last sentence is the embodiment of why I wrote the chapter "Scattered Seeds" in the Outsiders Within anthology.

"The girls we adopted were in a situation of worshipping their ancestors," he said. "We rescued them out of that life, out of life with no parents, and brought them into a Christian home."

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Add to the celebrity adoption queue

Looks like Queen Latifah and Jessica Simpson are the latest celebrities to be talking about adoption. Recently, on the Ellen Degeneres Show,

Latifah says she would prefer to "help a kid in the hood" and wants to adopt her children stateside. "I want to adopt an American baby … there’s just so many kids that could use a home."

And Jessica Simpson told Britain’s Star Magazine that she wants to have a big

“I want to adopt before I actually have my own kids. I want
three kids—but I don’t know if I can give birth three times. I’ll have
to see how much pain is involved first time round!”

Jessica went on, saying, “I think Angelina Jolie has done amazing
things. Ever since I was a kid I said I wanted to save the world
somehow. I didn’t know how. I think I’ll end up doing things that can
touch somebody in some way that’s good—like through orphanages.”

Perhaps it’s time for Jessica to read my Open Letter again . . .


A brief history of child removal/child protection

Seesaw_1 One of the first things that a social worker who focuses on child welfare issues soon realizes is that the practice of child welfare is fraught with several inherent value and ethical conflicts.

At the core of this conflict is the question of whose rights take precedence: the parent or the child.

Over the past 200 years, our society has struggled with this conflict. Thus, at some points in history we will find that the rights of the child are considered more important; at other times we see laws and policies that support the rights of the parents.

We tend to think that child abuse happens squarely within the context of a nuclear family and often, we blame those who are responsible for the day to day care of said child or children. But I agree with Pecora, Whittaker, et. al (2000) who also place the responsibility for care of children in the hands of society at large – on the community, social and institutional levels. With that perspective, we might claim that any society or community that does not provide safe housing, adequate nutrition and education or violence-free environments as committing child maltreatment.

Shireman (2003) points out that on an institutional level, for example, our society is guilty of maltreatment when “schools, legal authorities, or institutions designed to care for children and families fail to provide adequately for all children.” To me, this includes the structural discrimination that negatively targets certain populations. I’ll delve into this further in my next post, but think of things such as equal education, housing, medical care, finance, employment, etc. that have/continue to purposely discriminated against some populations. If we are structurally contributing to suppressing the opportunities for targeted populations, and those children suffer as a result, then we are guilty for the maltreatment of those children.

This is not to say that individual parents should not be held responsible for the care and treatment of their children; but I believe that our institutions and policies also need to be responsible.

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