Survey says trans-racially adopting parents should have training

May 27, 2008 4:30:16 PM PDT
There's a call to change the way federal laws address the issue of race-related issues in adoptions.Under current laws, agencies are ordered to be colorblind. That is, they are told not to let the race of a child or the adopting family factor into the decision. But a new survey says times have changed and the laws should too.

An amendment to the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act governing the adoption of children from foster care calls for race to be taken into consideration in decisions about adoption. A key recommendation suggests race-oriented, pre-adoption training. The Donaldson Institute report concludes that preparing parents who adopt trans-racially benefits everyone.

The Cradle Nursery in Evanston averages between six and 18 newborns. The children stay at the nursery a few weeks before they are placed in homes. Cradle president Julie Tye is on the board of the Donaldson Institute and believes parents should go through training if they hope to adopt trans-racially.

"We take the position that trans-racial adoption works but it works best when families are prepared to meet the needs of the children," Tye said.

Tye says current laws have failed to recruit more adoptive parents of the same race as the children.

Martha King and her husband, Chris Deeney, of Evanston, have adopted four children. Nine year-old Japanese American Grayson Deeney, 7-year-old African American Claudia Deeney, 3-year-old African American Samantha Deeney and infant Sandra. King believes individuals looking to adopt trans-racially should go through special training.

"I think it's wise for parents to know, going in, what the challenges are going to be so that they can decide whether or not they will be able to handle those," said King.

King says she and her husband love having a house full of children from different ethnic backgrounds. Their children are growing up learning to love and respect each other.

"I think it's very important for both parents to have the option of choosing - when they are choosing to place the child for adoption - of choosing between an African American family, a mixed race or Caucasian or whatever it is they would like their child to have," she said.

The National Association of Black Social Workers has taken the stand against the placement of black children in white homes for any reason. They affirm the position of black children in black families where they belong physically, psychologically and culturally in order that they receive the total sense of themselves and develop a sound projection of their future.

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