Here is the deal! Blacks don’t adopt! Especially when you look at the statistics of our caucasian counterparts. And here is the sad truth! African American children are the largest segment of children in the Foster Care system.**** So then why don’t Black people adopt?
According to the article “African American Perceptions of Adoption” by Azzizi Powell there are several reasons why and for the purpose of this blog I will share 3 reasons. If you would like to read Powell’s complete article you can check that out here.
I should start by saying that 5 years ago we successfully adopted a little boy. But getting started was challenging. My husband and I didn’t know where to start, and I had misinformation about the costs involved. I thought adopting a child would cost us tens of thousands of dollars. I am so glad we were wrong. There are several types of adoption but I will talk most deeply about the two general different forms. First, private adoptions is the adoption that we most often think about. It is the one that generally costs money and generally is where people adopt babies from. Another option is called Fost/Adopt, which means you can adopt a child from foster care.
Both private and fost/adopt have their pros and cons. We decided to Fost/Adopt because instead of paying to adopt our son, the state gave us a small monthly stipend to help us with our son. We were surprised to learn that the small stipend didn’t go away after he was officially part of our family and no longer in foster care. I wish I would have known that we could adopt a little boy with almost nothing out of pocket, we probably would have started the process sooner.
According to Powell, there is a stigma that many African American families perceive adoption as a way to only adopt white babies. It is a misconception that African American babies are not available for adoption through private or fost/adopt. In fact, there are several programs created to encourage and support African American families in the adoption process, and there are many African American babies who are in need of a permanent home.
When we were going through the adoption process we told our social worker that we were specifically looking for a 1 year old African American male. I was realized and saddened to see how many options of children were in that age range. And the number of teenage children is even more startling! Through this process we learned that you can adopt children through foster care from ages 0 to 18, and these children are eagerly awaiting families to call their own.
Another reason why blacks don’t adopt according to Powell, is the lack of obligation to non-blood kin. This one breaks my heart the most. When I think about what makes other communities and races so strong is the sense of ownership to their own. I wonder if many of the plagues on the black community could be positively impacted. If more of us would open our homes to raise children that ultimately ARE our kin. Truth be told, this was my husband’s biggest initial hesitation. I do not want to downplay that this is a real hurdle to consider while working through the adoption process. This is also why more African American children who grow up without a permanent home than any other race. ^^^ And why, we as African American people, should really consider adoption.
I appreciate Powell for sharing that:
You guys know I keep it 100! So let me stay true to that here! I have 4 children, and for one child, it was love at first sight, and for the rest…. I eventually fell in love with. For me, falling in love with each child did become easier the more children I had.
And… you are going to think I am terrible for saying this but for me, my first emotion for each child was a determination to see the child thrive. I think love came as I developed a relationship for with the child. I know every mother is different here, but I say this to help communicate that adoption is NO different then having a biological child in the sense of “love.” Some of us will fall in love with the child right away. Some of us will develop love for the child over time. I have never heard a biological mother be openly fearful of not loving their child, I would argue that the love between an adoptive mother and child is no different!
I don’t want to sugar coat the adoption process, there are definitely ups and downs. Our son is our second child and we use to blame many of his personality challenges on him being adopted. Then shortly after we had our third, and she reminded us that his personality has quirks has very little to do with his adoption and more to do with who he just is. (My third child is super challenging and I can only blame my own genes for that one LOL). There are many more reasons why blacks don’t adopt, if you would like to hear more on this topic, please let me know in the comments.
I hope if you are on the fence to adopt a child, that you make the jump. Our community needs brave individuals to love on OUR children. If we don’t, who will?
xo- Mommi Chantea
Check out my other blog post, Don’t Block Your Blessings!