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  • Background of Interracial Adoption in the US

  • Pros and Cons of Interracial Adoption

  • Statistical Perspective of Interracial Adoption

  • Conclusion

  • Statistics

Backgroundof Interracial Adoption in the US

Topicsconcerning the role of ethnic differences in adoption processes havebeen at the global heart discourse for decades now. The prominence ofthe issue follows after successful studies that have highlighted howchildren from ethnic minority groups make up the biggest proportionof children in foster care, whereas other predict a high chance offailure or incompatibility whenever parents try to adopt childrenfrom other races. The fact remains that interracial adoption is stilla new concept throughout the globe, and researchers are yet to findcommon grounds as to whether transracial adoption should beencouraged. What out not to be factored out is that it wassignificantly rare for white parents to adopt children from otherracial backgrounds until the end of World War II. In fact, theadoption system sorted to match children with families by usingcolour and religious similarities as principal criterion until the1940’s when the Girl and Boy Society engaged in an initiative toreduce the numbers of minority children awaiting adoption with afocus on Native American, African American, and Asian Americanheritage (Fine &amp Fern, 2013).

Althoughthe impact of the Opera Brown Baby campaign (1947) was felt wellafter 1947 (the number of interracial adoption had increased from 733in 1968 to nearly 2574 in 1971), the 1990’s saw a dramatic drop inthis practice after the Association of Black Social Workers opposedinterracial adoption, citing that such would lead to poor racialidentity because of diminished contact between children and rolemodels with similar ethnic backgrounds (Fine &amp Fern, 2013). Thismovement not only brought interracial adoption a complete halt buthas over the years triggered numerous discussions, with scholarsreforming into groups that argue for or against the practice. Thecurrent premise in geared to takes an objective view of understandingwhether interracial adoption should be encouraged. To reach thisgoal, the researcher is geared to exploring the positions of scholarsarguing for and against interracial adoption. Statistical findingswill also be used as instruments of weighing the practicality ofthese arguments. Below is a pros-and-cons analysis of interracialadoption.

Prosand Cons of Interracial Adoption

Interracialadoption has long been a controversial matter even among passionateadoption advocates. It is well-founded in research that, whileinterracial adoption stands out as one of the most promising answersto reducing the proportion of children from ethnic minority awaitingadoption, the issue is associated with significant disadvantages thatneed to be considered. The matter always compels individuals toconsider the disadvantages and advantages of interracial adoptionbearing in mind that adoption is a life-long commitment that affectsthe life of the adopted child as well other members of the familythat the child joins (Kennedy, 2003).

Amongthe advantages of interracial adoption, as implied in the preliminaryparagraph, is that such a practice promises to reduce the number ofAsian, Hispanic, and black children who are waiting for adoption. Itis statistically proven that only 24% of adopted children end up withrelatives and that nearly 40% of the 76% and up with international ordomestic adopters whose races are different from the children’sbiological parents. The implication in this place is that a whitecouple wanting to adopt a white newborn will typically have to waitlonger or incur prohibitive costs as compared to cases of domestic orinternational transracial adoptions (Fine &amp Fern, 2013).

Ithas also been reported that transracial adoption can be highlysuccessful both for the adopted children and parents provided thereceiving family mutually accepts the adoption. However, many arecases where such adoption arrangements often come to dramatic twistbecause of lack support and acceptance from other family members.Patton (2000), for example, contends that it is mostly unlikely forgrandparents to make sense out of interracial adoptions bearing inmind that they were brought up in surroundings where people fromdiverse races never mixed. Many older parents had minimalinteractions with individuals from other races, and this may causethem to worry of how adopting a child from another race may affecttheir children. Regardless of the state of scenario, reports have itthat giving family members time to become accustomed to the idea ofinterracial adoption or giving them a chance to know the adoptedchild often leads to better acceptance and support (InterracialAdoption, 2010).

Interracialadoption can, however, be seen as disadvantageous when it comes toprotecting the adopted child’s racial identity that, according toWright (2008), requires a sustained contact between the child androle models from the same race. The same argument exists in the worksof scholars who believe that children care less about skin colourdifferences provided they are constantly given love and care.However, as the child gains self-awareness as it approachesadolescence and this may trigger numerous questions or even doubtsconcerning their place in the family. The notion that it can be hardto hide the fact that the child was adopted is always seen as adisadvantage of interracial adoption. Other reports show how parentsexperience difficulties in deciding when or whether to tell theirchildren that they were adopted (Kennedy, 2003).

Anothercontroversy arises because the US is always a colour-sensitivesociety. As such, there are high chances for people to view familiesthat adopt children from other races as somewhat different. Whileparents who adopt children from other races may be seen as rolemodels and symbols of racial equality, such families may experienceopposition from racists. The issue may also affect an adopted childas he grows because he might start feeling overwhelmed by thedifference. This contention is well founded in Patton (2000) studywhere the researcher pointed out that approximately 50% of black andAsian adoptees felt uneasiness because of their racial appearance. Assuch, individuals who wish to adopt children from other races mightbe forced to use more efforts in ensuring that the adopted childdevelops pride in himself and develops a connection to his racialheritage (Kennedy, 2003).

Evenwith these controversies brought on board, Wright (2008) compared theability of children from minority races that were adoptedinterracially to those adopted by people from the same race to arguethat the first group was more able to handle identity issues than thelatter. Interracial adoption has recently started gaining attentionas a method to help children deal with adoption uncertainties theyexperience before growth into adolescents, and this is highlybeneficial for the child’s psychological development.

StatisticalPerspective of Interracial Adoption

Recentfindings have it that nearly 65% of children babies awaiting adoptionare from ethnic minorities while only 32% of them are white. Amongthe largest groups of those waiting in foster care are black (52%)and Hispanic (11%), followed by Asian/Pacific, Islander, andAmerican Indian children, each making up 1% of those awaitingadoption (Interracial Adoption, 2010). Given this disparity, itbecomes increasingly disturbing that Patton (2000) notes that whitechildren are experiencing a higher rate of adoption than other races,including black children that make up the largest group of childrenin foster care. For instance, the US Census (2000) reported thatwhite children made up the biggest proportion (58%) of adoptees.Meanwhile, only 410 black children (compared to 2,700 mixed racechildren) were adopted between 2001 and 2003 in the UK (Kennedy,2003).


Statisticalfindings concerning interracial adoption show a significant need todecrease the number of children with a non-Caucasian background infoster care facilities. Interracial adoption, as observed in theabove discussion, has numerous advantaged both to the adoptee and thefamilies that adopt children from other races. For example, it hasbeen discussed that interracially adopted children as inherentlybetter equipped to handle identity challenges than theircounterparts, while studies show that interracial adoptions can besuccessful provided the adoptees find adequate support from familymembers. Nonetheless, interracial adoption is said to be problematicfactoring in that many children who get adopted interraciallyexperience a high level of discomfort in their new homes, and thatsome of them even questioning their place as members of a raciallydifferent family. Although the idea that interracial adoption maycause children to lose their racial identity makes interracialadoption seem problematic, static evidence supports a new approach toadoption one that does not rely on racial similarities as a measureto predict successful adoption arrangements. Even so, there is a needto emphasize that parents who are interested in adopting childrenfrom different races should be sensitive to their need to develop aconnection with their heritage and confidence in their racialidentity.


Fine,Marlene G, and Fern L. Johnson. The Interracial Adoption Option:Creating a Family Across Race. Philadelphia: Jessica KingsleyPublishers, 2013. Internet resource.

InterracialAdoption. Detroit, Mich: Gale, 2010. Internet resource.

Kennedy,Randall. Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, andAdoption. New York: Pantheon, 2003. Print.

Patton,Sandra L. Birthmarks: Transracial Adoption in Contemporary America.New York: New York University Press, 2000. Internet resource.

Wright,Bil. When the Black Girl Sings. New York: Simon &amp Schuster Booksfor Young Readers, 2008. Print.