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Pet Sins November 2005

Discrimination in international adoption - agencies accept whites as adoptive parents but not blacks

Black Americans who want the option of adopting internationally face many layers of challenges. On the US side, they face agency discrimination. Many white social workers have the attitude that "whites can adopt interracially, but people of color shouldn't". S, a member of the honeybeefamilies yahoogroup, reported some US agencies' attempts to derail her adoption plans in a 2005 posting:

... my husband and I are both black and we are adopting from China. When we initially started the process, we were told by two agencies that China discourages blacks from adopting. At the time I was interviewing several agencies. I mentioned this to my current agency and they were outraged. She immediately phoned China to assure me that that they do not discriminate against blacks. We have been pre-approved to adopt. We just need to finish the paperwork.

For each black American parent who has been blatantly turned down by US adoption agencies on account of race, there must be dozens more whose applications were 'accepted' and then rejected for 'non-racial' reasons. I once talked to a social worker about the possibility of personal bias in the rejection of potential parents. She said, "If you want to find a reason to reject someone, it is quite easy to do so - you can always cite 'psychological' issues that the parents need to deal with."

On the foreign front, non-white parents have to deal with racial biases too. For example, a number of American prospective adoptive parents have reported being turned down by Korean adoption officials on account of 'race'. Some of these stories have been shared on the honeybeefamilies yahoogroup.

D posted in May 2005:

My husband is black and I am white. We have to beautiful daughters from China. One is 3 and the other is 15 months. When we started the adoption process we were thinking of adopting a boy from Korea first since the Korea program was quick. When we told our agency about our plan they told us that we could not adopt from Korea because my husband is black and Korean's do not like black people. My husband wanted to fight it but we decided it would probably take and long time and probably do no good.

L posted in July 2005:

I am Caucasian and and my husband is African American...We are looking into our adoption from Korea and were told that Korea won't let African Americans adopt Korean babies becuase there are enough African American babies in the US to adopt. ...

We had considered adopting domestically but with my dh being in the military and the whole issue of possible deployment at any time, we really wanted something with specific times and really didn't like the idea of having to wait for a birth mother to choose us... With an overseas adoption that doesn't matter and since we are already a multi-racial family it just made sense. What's 1 more race and culture to add to the mix?

The social worker didn't seem at all like it was coming from her in any way, she was very kind about the whole issue and did contact Korea to ask permission to work with us, but the answer was no.

Fortunately, many families of color have been persistent and worked through the hurdles. And despite the existence of some bigoted agencies and officials, others are fair. So Black/Latino/Asian interracial families are still forming through adoption despite the double-standards of those who see interracial relations as the exclusive right of white parents.