The issue of race is still a touchy subject in lots of areas and adoption is no exception. There’s an uncomfortable, but common practice of reducing adoption fees for non-white children, particularly for black children. This policy isn’t universal, but it is widely practiced by both nonprofit and for-profit groups.
The cold, hard fact of the matter is that there are more black and biracial children waiting for adoption. A lot more.
You can ascribe whatever reasons you want to that, but that’s how it is. Certainly one contributing factor is that there simply aren’t as many families actively looking to adopt black children as there are black children available. (We’ll get to why that might be below.)
An adoption service only has so many ways to incentivize the adoption of any particular child. As bad as it may sound, offering a reduction in fees is one of those few options. And it works. Offering a reduction in fees gets families to reconsider adopting a black child and makes adoption available to families that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it at all.
But why do adoptive families sometimes need an extra nudge at all? Shouldn’t they be open to any child, regardless of race or any other factor? With so many people waiting to adopt, shouldn’t there be lots of families who would love to have a black child?
There are lots of families who would love to have a black child. Lots of families are open to children of any race. There are, however, families that don’t think that taking in a child of a particular race is the right move in their situation. It might be tempting to write off such families as racist or otherwise intolerant, but we don’t think that accurately characterizes the families that we work with.
When families tell us that they have some preference in race, it’s out of concern for the children whom they might adopt. Some families don’t think they can provide the best cultural support for a child with a race other than their own. Others are afraid that in the region where they live the child would have to grow up overhearing racist comments by people who really are intolerant of a transracial family.
On the other hand, we’ve also had white families specifically look to adopt black children because they know that they have the hardest time finding families. These families know that an interracial adoption comes with unique challenges, but they feel that they are up to the task. Of course there are also black parents who would like to adopt black children.
A child’s race is not a non-issue. Regardless of the race of the potential adoptive parents, special consideration needs to be given to the child’s racial and cultural background. Sometimes the difficult decision is made not to place a child because race related circumstances. Nevertheless, we (like all reputable adoption services) are dedicated to doing what it takes to find a loving home for every child, no matter what.