Transracial adoption is a "hot" topic in the media and in adoption circles. There is quite a lot of activity in this area of adoption practice. We offer the following brief sections for your information.
The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC) often receives questions about which adoption agencies place children transculturally or transracially. The answer is twofold. Their names often signal the kinds of adoptions they conduct (for example, if they have the word "international" in their name). These agencies are marked with an asterisk in NAIC's National Adoption Directory. However, many agencies are not as open about their policy on transracial adoption because of some of the controversial issues surrounding this type of adoption. Ask your local adoption agencies about their policies in this area, especially if you are strongly considering this type of adoption.
In 1994, transracial adoption was the subject of a bill before Congress submitted by Senator Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio. After intense debate, the Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) passed both houses of Congress. One positive outcome of the debate is that people who historically have been on opposite sides of the question are beginning to reach some common ground. One point that everyone agrees on is that adults of all cultures need to work together to help adopted children of all cultures reach their highest potential.
Although available statistics are rough estimates (see link above), several sources show that the percentage of transracial or transcultural adoptions in the United States is significant. For example, one source estimates that 1,000 to 2,000 African-American children are adopted by Caucasian families each year. Data from the Immigration and Naturalization Service show that U.S. families adopted 7,088 children from other countries in 1990. This means that there were roughly 8,500 transracial or transcultural adoptions in 1990. In that same year, there were almost 119,000 adoptions of all kinds. Since approximately half of the adoptions in any year are stepparent or relative adoptions, in 1990 there were about 59,500 nonrelative adoptions. The percentage of transracial/transcultural adoptions (8,500 of 59,500) then, comes out to more than 14 percent.
Adopting a child of another race or culture can be a richly rewarding choice for many families, although there are also many unique challenges and concerns. Hopefully the information provided in this fact sheet will provide food for thought and become part of the ongoing discussion in your home.
© Debra G. Smith, ACSW
Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (http://www.childwelfare.gov)
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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.