Interracial adoption vs same-race placement

Posted on mai 12, 2012


Charlize Theron & adopted son Jackson
Source: Premiere

Charlize Theron, the white actress from South Africa has adopted Jackson, an African-American boy. Two days ago, the journalists were finally able to get their hands on the picture that sells. Nice photo, multiculturalism at its best you may think.

Paradoxically to me it was just another so-so news. I don’t want to sound radical but I am very skeptical about celebrities who turn to ethnic adoption and walk around with Black or Asian children.

It seems to be the latest celebrity trend, it looks like showing off. But after all, who am I to judge the motivations and intentions of an adoptive mother?

Interracial adoption

Apart from the big celebrity buzz, many couples are turning to interracial adoption.

Brad Pitt & Angelina with their adoptive children, 2011.
(Photo credit: Audrey Magazine

A lot of Blacks are very judgmental towards Whites who adopt Black children. In the end, I am wondering why Blacks don’t adopt all these Blacks kids instead of grumbling against Whites who do so. Only 24% of black children available for adoption find a family against 43% of white children being adopted. 1. (These statistics come from the U.S. but the same disparity has been observed in other countries).

Why do Blacks seldom adopt? For social and cultural reasons. Part of the answer can be found in South Africa where non-White families (Blacks, Indians and other ethnicities) already have an extended family composed of nephews under their care. 2. We can deduct that non-White families adopt a lot in their entourage. However, these kind of adoptions are not taken into consideration when associations compile data necessary for statistics.

After all, even if non-Whites adopted as much as Whites, would it really be necessary to ensure that they turn to same-race adoption?

Same-race adoption, the best solution?

Is it reasonable to be narrow-minded and favour the ethnic approach? In the UK some administrations have been accused of delaying the placement of many children because they were desperately trying to do an ethnic-matching placement. 3.

Is it easy to find parents of the same ethnic group? For example, what kind of couple should have the right to adopt a mixed-race sino-African kid? Should we only consider a couple made of a Black and an Asian mate or a couple made of two sino-African mates? It will take a lot of to find the perfect combination!

DeMarcus Ware & Marley
Source: Black Celeb Kids

Since the ethnic combination is not an exact science, interracial adoption emerges as the best option. But does it always work? I wonder what would be the outcome if a Black couple adopted a White kid or if an Asian couple adopted an Arab kid. Would it be as acceptable or as questionable as allowing a White parent to adopt a child of a different race?

Natural children, adopted culture

Cultural issues do not only happen with interracial adoption. For example, while reading the biography of President Obama  I have learnt how a Black kid (biracial to me more exact) can experience cultural instability even when growing with his biological white family. It will never occur to anybody to remove custody from a white mother simply because her biological son is of a different race. Similarly, I think it would be ridiculous to oppose interracial adoption for a matter of race of color.

Basically despite the fact that this Hollywood trend is getting on my nerves, I am not against interracial adoption.

However, I don’t necessarily believe interracial adoption should be encouraged. The best parents are those who are able to love whatever the color, those who can adopt without caring for the race of their future children. They are not looking for a Black child or a White child, they are looking for a child in need.

Sources :

  1. (Back to paragraph) Hopkins, Ashley. 2011. « Black parents who adopt white children confront myths ». The Grio. Lundi 24 octobre.
  2. (Back to paragraph) Cessou, Sabine. 2011. « Afrique du Sud, l’adoption en noir et blanc ». [Johannesburg]. Slate Afrique. Mardi , 14 septembre.
  3. (Back to paragraph) 2012. “Adoption process will be made fairer and faster, says David Cameron”. The Guardian. Samedi 10 mars.