by Tina Fisher
Today, as we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., the subject of race is as relevant as it was five decades ago, when he was taken from this world. Working for many years in the field of adoption, I have often heard opposition to transracial adoption. I would ask myself why. Why would anyone rather see a child languish in foster care or a group home when that child could have a family? I believe that there are more people in the world who aren’t racist than are. I know transracial families who thrive. Why then, so much opposition to families who adopt outside of their race? Perhaps it is a misunderstanding about the number of babies who need homes versus the number of homes available. As an adoption professional, I would always seek to find a family of color for a child of color. The reality though, is that was often very hard to find. The fact is, there are more black children that become available for adoption than there are black families to adopt them. So, what is the solution?
What is the best way to teach all races how to coexist and prosper? It takes a village. Why not celebrate the fact that someone – anyone qualified – chooses to adopt and give a child a home? Why does it have to be about race, especially for those who aren’t adopting? We can provide culturally for our children and teach them that there are wonderful contributions made from people of every race.
We happen to be a trans-racial family. Just last night we were having a discussion about race, which is often the topic in our house simply because we encounter plenty of reasons to talk about it. With all of the craziness these days about “identifying” as another gender or race, our adult daughter is not confused about who she is. In response to a news story, she piped up, “Wait! I was raised by a white family and I don’t identify as white. I am a young black woman.” There is no question that people assume that when a child is raised in a household with parents of another race, they are somehow shortchanged. That isn’t necessarily the case and certainly doesn’t have to be. If we want to embrace diversity, this is the very place it should be taught – within the family.
I know in my heart that plenty of people can and do love children who are not of the same race as they are.To some people, it just doesn’t matter. That seems to be a difficult concept for some. The issue comes from society and the pressure it puts on diverse families. I find it ironic that those screaming the loudest about racism are protesting the most about families who have no motive other than to love their children. Some of the most loving parents I know are raising racially diverse families. We do an injustice to children when we don’t provide each one a home…regardless of race.It’s time to stop letting past generations dictate who we are now. To quote Mr. King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” A very profound statement and more relevant today than ever.
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