Adoption and Black History Month

Today is the last day of February, making it the last day of Black History Month. Adoption STAR welcomes ALL clients, but unfortunately adoption has not always been as open.

Sammy Davis Jr., who was an original member of Frank Sinatra’s famous Rat Pack, broke color barriers in the 1960’s by not only marrying Swedish-born actress May Britt, but by adopting two sons with Britt. When Davis and Britt were married in 1960 many states forbade interracial marriages.

Today, there is still a stigma in the African American culture regarding adoption. In an earlier Adoption STAR blog post, birth mother “C”, who is African American, said that she made her adoption plan knowing that it went against the ideals of many African Americans.

“In the black community, adoption is really frowned upon,” “C” said. “I’m probably one of the first people in my entire family that’s ever done it…It was something that I knew needed to do, so I just did it.”

Despite this stigma, Adoption STAR statistics show that the African American culture may be opening itself more to adoption. In 2011, 21 percent of the babies who were adopted by Adoption STAR families were African American.

In the United Kingdom, it is currently acceptable for adoption agencies to base their adoption matching process on race to prevent transracial adoptions. However Education Secretary, Michael Grove, has said that he will fight to change these regulations.

“I won’t deny that an ethnic match between adopters and child can be a bonus. But it is outrageous to deny a child the chance of adoption because of a misguided belief that race is more important than any other factor,” Grove said in a article in The Guardian. Grove also said that African American children in the UK are currently three times less likely to be adopted then Caucasian children.

It’s great to see the UK is moving towards transforming its transracial adoption policies, however it is not enough to just adopt a child of a different race. It is important for the adoptive parents, and surrounding family and friends to allow the child to form his/her own identity, and educate them about their birth culture. It’s important to celebrate your child’s birth culture and adopt some of the traditional customs into your own family’s traditions.

On this final day of Black History Month, we invite everyone who is considering growing their family through adoption, to have a discussion with their loved ones on whether they are truly ready to adopt a child of a different race. Please visit the Adoption STAR website for more information on Adoption STAR’s adoption programs, including transracial adoption. You can also email the agency or call us Toll-Free at 1(866)691-3300