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breakdown of the middle ground.

biracial and transracial adoption–the other white meat

Their long and lengthy answer was interesting. They brought up the fact that in society those of a white linage are (unfortunately) higher valued. And when white parents adopt a child who is half white, they can appear to unintentionally be emphasizing the part of them that is white—while down playing the black side.

They then quoted biracial author Lisa Funderberg (book entitled, Black, White and Other), “Biracial children should be taught to claim their black side first, because it’s the side that needs sticking up for first.” They support the notion that the non-white ethnic origin be given support priority, due to the white-dominated society we live in.

To read pactadopt.org’s full answer click here.

This I love you just as you are, bubble isn’t enough to live on. Once you step outside the comfort of your family, the love might not be the same.… There is a great DVD out full of adoption stories. Some really excellent ones involving biracial adults, and others adopted by races not their own. Highly recommend it!! (for more information click on that dvd check out: http://www.adoptedthemovie.com/videos/)

What I particularly liked about the rest of Pactadopt.org’s answer was their discussion into the fact that adopting another biracial child alone won’t just instantly create of sense of identity because they “physically match”. African Americans in general, come in all shades of brown. So not everyone biracial half black child is going to even have the same complexion. The biracial experience is highly variable. Biracial children may process the experience vastly different even when raised by their natural parents, let alone to adoptive parents.

And most importantly!! No matter what adopted children inherently have dual identities because they have two families. The one that raised them and the one that they were born from…

A couple weeks ago I was at a gathering with a group of friends and the topic of adoption came up. Three of us were talking and we all in agreement regarding our support of it, but we varied in distinctive ways. My dating preferences suggest that if when I am to be a mom, I will have a biracial child. I would prefer to adopt personally, so I would preferably want a biracial child in accordance to my spouse and mine’s background. And I, while in support of adopting overseas a la celebrity style, I think adopting an American baby should be where I look first.

When I stated this, one of the other ladies immediately jumped in saying that it’s much better to adopt outside of the country because in America birth moms have a period in which they can change their mind. So she plans to look towards Russia or Germany, for someone who looks most like her. And she was frustrated with the concept of adopting outside your race because of the identity struggles, and outward peer struggles the child would have to endure.  Lastly, the other woman would said she’s definitely prefer to adopt outside of America, and of another race as well.

Immediately the one woman kind of annoyed me. I was like attitudes like that are awful and why we haven’t fully progressed. Stop simply expecting these racial hardships, without willing to try to change them, just content to cut yourself off in effort to avoid it. Recognize it YES, but embrace the notion of how changing your own perspective is what changes the future.

Having a sense of group identity as well as personal,  shapes ones sense of belonging. We go out of our way to feel belonged, and be apart of communities with people like us: religion, sexual preference, political, sports, social values, shared language, nationality, shared experiences and so forth.

Before kids hit kindergarten they have an idea about boys and girls, they’re becoming aware of strangers, they can see skin color differences and even speak on it (I have home movies of myself as a toddler asking everyone not the same complexion as me, why they weren’t!). Without positive reinforcement regarding race from day one, they can easily incorporate messages of superiority of one race over another.

But that means more than just talking about it positively. (it’s like the white person who honestly probably has nothing against any other race, but doesn’t make any attempt though to even befriend someone not white. No Asians, Latinos, Blacks, Indians. nada) The black child raised in the all white setting may grow up with feelings of being uncomfortable around those their own race, simply because they never knew them to begin with. Would you be surprised? Not because they ever heard anything negative about blacks, or extra positive about whites, physical communities to interact with is critical. We all want to feel apart of a community, and be recognized as a member of it.

Again it gets complicated when children look at themselves and neither parent matches them most completely, because they are a result of their combination. And because of that many parents seek programs, and other involvement to help their child feel planted in both racial identities. Some adoptive parents get involved in social networks with other adopted across racial line families, also in efforts to show kids you’re not the only one in this situation.  I for one like this. Yay!

An unknown writer online posted these suggested reasons for why white Americans adopt Asians (I posted commentary):

  • It’s easier than adopting black or biracial children because black social workers aim to keep black kids with black families.
    • Less than 20% of Americans adopt internationally—contrary to what we see in the magazines. And before the Hague Conventions in 2008 surpluses of black children were actually adopted by non-Americans.
    • CNN recently not too long ago did an article about the growing popularity   of single black women adopting, but not wanting a child “too dark”
  • There are a lot of Asian children to adopt, especially girls
    • Remember the one child rule going on over there?!? Girls are actually adopted more in general because they are deemed “safer” in terms of behavior dysfunction. And same-sex (male and female) couples data has reveled tend to usually prefer adopting girls’ even more than heterosexual couples. Hispanic babies are as popular as white babies.
  • Asians while not white are light “enough” (Data wise show that Hispanic children are just as desired)

I personally am of the mentality that color factors should not come into play when looking to adopt, to have your own baby. But once it’s come to pass those color lines cannot be ignored!! Just because you try to live a lifestyle that’s colorblind (which is awesome) doesn’t mean the world will. Raise that child to be prepared and able to cope in whatever setting. It takes extra work; it will be a challenge not to be taken lightly.

Deal with it, or don’t do it, but don’t knock those willing to make the effort—support them even more for it. If that is where their heart is, that is awesome! What good is it to embrace an unfavorable status quo anyway?!

I recommend reading the following articles:

Martina Brockway and Mike Timble, a white couple in Chicago who wanted a black baby

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/17/us/17adopt.html?ei=5094&ex=1155873600&amp=;en=537c1c29876db648&pagewanted=print

Overcoming adopting barriers

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/17/us/17adopt.html?pagewanted=2&ei=5088&en=13ef14e4fab5ae58&ex=1313467200

I think the best thing to do, is embrace the past and present (racism was in the past, and lives in our present among all races), and teach a positive message for the future. Perhaps at some point, in some day and age the past will all be the past and the future will all be the present (we will all be colorblind, no one will care if you’re half this or half that, and cultures mixtures will be the welcomes norm). If thinking didn’t change slowly person by person, family by family years ago, the civil right movement would not have happened.

—Posted by Maggie Barnes

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Filed under: bi-racial, Maggie Barnes, , , , ,

9 Responses

  1. Kevin says:

    I’m confused about post. I am not too sure what your point is. I am a biracial adoptee and have never said it is ok to forget about my black side and just connect with my white side.

    Society perceives me as black and I will never pass for white so to ignore my black heritage will catch up with me. Having a biracial child vs an African American means very little. Both children will be precieved as black. I know of an agency that will not allow parents to adopt biracial children if they are not open to adopting aa children because they both come with the same issues and to think raising a biracial child will be easier than an aa child is naive.

    Both biracial and aa have to be connected to their culture.

  2. maggie.maddie.eliza says:

    First of all–thanks for the comment! Let me see if I can clarify a bit better here…I was aiming to illustrate several points. Regardless of how “society” views you, doesn’t automatically dictate how “connected” you may or may not feel on an emotional level(not even biracial) raised by their natural parents, but in all white communities may grow have the possibility of not feeling connected–or even just comfortable, around their own race–I know people in this situation. One person in fact her friends call her the whitest black girl they know. Even admitting by her behavior that they forget she’s “black” because she doesn’t act “stereotypically” black in their eyes) So my point there is if someone of solely one race can feel more connected to a totally different one, so can someone of a mixed race—regardless of their skin tone. The part I said about adoptees feeling like its okay to forget about their non white race—came from pactadopt.com, their program, and people who’ve been involved with them. This is what various people have admitted to them themselves. (I would never assume to say just say that)

    It’s not the fact of forgetting your race, but eagerly embracing both in all outlets. Clearly a biracial (black and white) person can’t forget they’re black, but they should down play the white either. (Hence why I don’t refer to our President as our first black President, he’s our first biracial President, and that’s the fact)
    I try to highlight as best I can in my posts that biracial doesn’t only refer to only black and white, as most assume (as is they dialogue in a lot of the refer to unfortunately). if you’re two races, you’re biracial. so even if a white/Latino or white/Asian are adopted and they do have more chances of passing for white to society. Still both races should be embraced.

    And when I say “embrace” I mean activity participating in both communities–outside of positive words and actions inside the home. Participation to foster feelings of inclusion in BOTH races. And no matter what race your parents are, it doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of assisting in this, and especially if they’re another race the parent should be ready to activity do this, and I support their decision to except this additional challenge.

  3. la india blanca says:

    The point about being one race doesn’t necessarily mean you identify as such is completely true. I have two half Spanish half Scandinavian friends (both one night stand babies) who funnily enough fully identify with their ever absent fathers’ Spanish culture. If monkey see monkey do is the rule for racial self identification than how come so many dual heritage people I know identify with their absent side up to the point of saying they will only teach their children Spanish (which by the way is learnt from an intensive course and broken while thier Danish is perfect)?

  4. […] biracial and transracial adoption – the other white meat (bifactor.wordpress.com) […]

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  7. Christ says:

    This is wrong wrong wrong in many ways. First of all – get your own picture. I know this picture isn’t yours because it’s my cousin. Second – I know MANY transracial adoptive families and they are very well rounded and teach their children about all people – especially the people they come from. Get real.

  8. DeAnn says:

    That is one way to look at it, but this is America…the melding pot. Children in America should be learning equality, they should be learning to be color blind. Your nonsense here only promotes the idea of segregation. Why should blacks need to learn how to be black…why should Asians learn to be Asian….we can value our cultural differences, we can share traditions, and take pride in who we are as individuals, and appreciate the families, belief systems, and culture that shaped us…..life is NOT black and white. Life is variety, it is a gradient rainbow of one color, concept, belief, culture becoming another. It is only definable based on our perception…learn to look a little deeper than just black vs white…..and by the way, I know this family, and I held this baby the day he was born. I am white….well I am German, Hungarian, Native American, English, Irish, Scottish, and a whole lot more, so I am biracial, But none of that matters, that is not what I stand on for my identity. I am a person, a mother, a friend, and the list could go on. The sooner people stop segregating themselves, the offenses of perceived segregation will trickle out and die. If we all accept and mix…really mix as people…the sooner we will all be truly “one race”. I challenge to define race, than find one person on this planet who is not biracial. Certain traits run strong within groups of people throughout separate regions, bit when you bring them all together, new variations, new possibilities, a bigger picture thanost are able to see begins to form…Don’t pick on people for providing warmth, love, care, and devotion to a child that needs a home. His birth mother choose this couple to have her some raised by, and they do keep him connected to her, and his other 8 siblings, in a cultural rich city. He is a strong amazing little boy that is happy, successful, and full of love and compassion. He is truly color blind, and I am glad that you took their picture, because they are the poster child that makes both your point, and mine. Take an eraser, try to undo the hard line that was drawn in your mind, and be open to the idea that your perception has a little room to grow. Promote love, use your blog to encourage, lift up and inspire. The world has plenty of critics, what we need are resources. How can u become a recorce to these children and families instead of an opinionated finger pointer :). Just a little food for thought.

  9. Dave Gerhart says:

    please remove this image. I own the exclusive rights to this photo.

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