Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Adoption and race

Adoption issues are near and dear to my heart. One aspect of adoption, particularly adoption of older children, that's been a touchy one for social workers for years now, is the idea that children must not be placed in homes where the adoptive parents are of a different race.

Since two of my three children joined our family via adoption and are also of a different "race" than my husband and I are, I've done a lot of soul-searching over the past ten years concerning the legitimacy of that philosophy.

On one hand, kids need a stable home environment. They deserve to grow up in a family. On the other hand, they need a stable sense of who they are, which some will argue can only come from a family with the same racial makeup.

This has manifested itself in the past in the refusal of many social workers to place children of color into white families for adoption. The result of this tragic and misguided policy was that children of color languished in foster care, devoid of the permanency and security of a place they weren't going to get ripped away from at the whim of an impersonal system.

Thankfully, this policy has fallen into disfavor with the courts (although there are many social workers whose college professors probably brainwashed them into thinking this was really the best thing, and they're still perpetrating this travesty on children regardless of the law).

The one area where this is still an issue is with First Nations people. Because the laws are different for them, they still require tribal approval before First Nations children can be adopted into non-indian families. Rarely is an adoption approved in this situation, and it's a shameful thing.

There is nothing stopping a Caucasian family from doing their homework and adapting some traditions, identities, etc., of each culture represented in their household. That's what we do -- we've never once hidden cultural information from our two daughters, but instead have made it an issue of personal pride. I have allowed them both to explore the issue as far as they're comfortable, and I try not to push anything on them. They need to be who God created them to be, simple as that -- and I have to tell you folks, God didn't create me to be WHITE. He created me to be a teacher, a mom, a piano player, an artist... he created me to be ME. And He did the same thing for YOU. Skin color is a poor substitute for self-identity. It's such a shallow thing.

When I appreciate diversity, I appreciate the incredible diversity that God created within each one of us... and He even told us in His Word that for Him, it ain't about what we look like, it's about the heart.

The reason I pontificated about this today is that I ran across another blogger's post on the subject from yesterday. Kate of RoadKill Diaries has brought to my attention a news item from the CBC (Canada): Court rules against First Nations adoption veto. Here is a link to her post on the subject: First Nations Adoptions. PLEASE go visit the other links she puts in the post... really good stuff. Thank you, Kate, for bringing this up.

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