Adoption. At first glance it’s just another word in the dictionary. But its power is vested in the weight of the word – conjuring images of abandonment, cherished blessings, adamant secrecy and self discovery.I've posted before about barriers to African-Americans adopting, so I was pleased to read about the efforts of this agency.
For African Americans adoption has yet another layer of imagery. Families being torn apart by drug use, poverty, homelessness and even death. At any given moment there are 500,000 children in foster care across the United States with 26% being African American according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2010 statistics.
This statistic gives pause to Gloria King, executive director of the Oakland, Calf, based Black Adoption and Placement Resource Center. Founded in 1983 BAPRC was among the first “specialty” agencies to distill the myths surrounding adoption eligibility criteria that kept countless prospective parents from applying.
“We have been very successful in promoting African American children being adopted and bringing the message to the community about families of color being needed to adopt,” says King of BAPRC that serves 11 counties in Califoria. “Targeted recruitment has always been a part of our mission, but let me make it clear – we do not discriminate. We have always served bi-racial families, same gender loving families, couples and singles as part of our outreach efforts.”
King explained that the origin of modern adoption was not conceived with minorities in mind. It was designed for children who had been orphaned due to war; during theThe Civil War children would be placed up on boxes so they could be looked over by potential parents, hence the term “put up” for adoption.
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Although the number of minorities adopting is low, federal government figures show that half of all minority adoptions are by single, black women between the ages of 30 and 50. Furthermore, these women are more likely to adopt older children and sibling groups.
In fact at BAPRC the number of singles applying to adopt is split equally among males and females. King contends that anyone who really understands the selfless job of parenting and is willing to provide a “forever space for a child” that meets their needs should strongly consider adoption because you don’t have to be Ozzie and Harriet.
“We like to show families that are single or older in our advertisements. Showing people in these rolls, especially in the African American community help people start to consider adoption,” she said, “and when they do, they say, oh yes, I can do that – and they step up.”
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