Friday, May 7, 2010

Transracial Adoption: A 'feel good' act or 'no big deal'

CNN does a follow-up piece about transracial adoption after their piece on Sandra Bullock's adoption of an African-American infant.  They start with reader comments on the Bullock story:
"White people adopt black kids to make themselves feel good... A black child needs black parents to raise it." "Maybe she adopted one because the blacks in the community wouldn't step forward and adopt?" "What's the big deal? If no white person ever adopted a black child, they'd be saying why don't white people adopt black children." "Who cares what race they are? A woman got a child, a child got a's BEAUTIFUL!!! And yes I am black...if it matters."

These impassioned comments and thousands more poured in earlier this week when CNN published a story on the stirred-up debate surrounding Sandra Bullock's recent adoption.
Despite the sensationalized title and opener, and the sensationalized (yet interesting) theme implying that a black woman adopting a white child raises the same issues as a white woman adopting an African-American child (it's actually far more complicated than equating the two suggests) the article does a fairly good job of discussing some of the issues in transracial adoption, though you have to keep reading to the end to get to those points.  For example, the article includes this important reminder:
When handled well, transracial adoption is "a very positive thing," says Rita Simon, who has been studying these adoptions for 30 years and has written 65 books, including Adoption, Race & Identity: From Infancy to Young Adulthood.

"But love is not enough," said Simon, a professor of justice and public policy at American University in Washington. "You really have to make some changes in your life if you adopt a child of another race."

In the case of a white parent adopting a black child, that might mean living in an integrated neighborhood, having pictures in the home of black heroes, seeking out other families in similar situations, attending a black church and finding role models or godparents who are black. The same need to integrate a child's culture applies across the board, whether parents are adopting from Asia, Central America or elsewhere. [emphasis added]
An interesting read, which I don't say often about CNN stories, which tend to be far to short to deal with anything complex.

1 comment:

Mei Ling said...

I'm reading the comments.

I'm also fucking speechless. I thought we moved past the "race doesn't matter" colorblind theory back in the 1970-1980s?!!?