Since Emily just gave birth to Elijah 16 days ago, it seems a bit premature to even begin thinking about the possibility of adoption. We haven’t even begun adjusting to having three children under four years old in our home. We’ve only had one night since Elijah was born where we didn’t have help from a loving relative. The labor pangs of chaos haven’t even hinted at emerging. But the reality is that Emily and I have always talked about adopting a child. We can’t think of a better way to fulfill the biblical command to care for orphans than to actually bring one into our home. And should God lead us to adopt we’ve always been intrigued at the possibility of adopting a child from another race. It is for this reason that a recent article caught my attention.

Recently a controversial paper was released by the Adoption Institute about transracial adoption. I haven’t read the article in its entirety so I want to withhold comment for the time being. But recently Denny Burk posted an interesting quote from a New York Times article about the “color-blind” approach to adoption that many agencies take – which is apparently the point of the controversial paper.

“Minority children in foster care are being ill-served by a federal law that plays down race and culture in adoptions, a report released on Monday said.

“The report, based on an examination of the law’s impact over a decade, said that minority children adopted into white households face special challenges and that white parents need preparation and training for what might lie ahead.

“But it found that social workers and state agencies fear litigation and stiff penalties under the law for even discussing race with adopting couples. As a result, families often do not get the counseling they need. It also found that states have ignored an aspect of the law that requires diligent recruitment of black parents.

“The report recommends that the law — the Multiethnic Placement Act, which covers agencies receiving federal dollars and promotes a color-blind approach — be amended to permit agencies to consider race and culture as one of many factors when selecting parents for children for foster care.”

As I have thought about adoption I’ve anticipated significant challenges in adopting a child into my family from a different race/ethnicity. I don’t think that an individual’s race should prohibit one from adopting a child from another race/nationality/ethnicity. However, I also think that it is imperative that adoption agencies properly prepare adoptive parents for the cultural challenges of transracial adoption.To think that adoption agencies are turning a blind eye and deaf ear to this issue as if it is not their concern is blatantly irresponsible at best and unethical at worst. Adoption agencies are supposed to place children in the best possible environment in accordance with all of the resources and knowledge available to them. But it is not in the best interest of any child to place them into an environment with parents who are ill-equipped to deal with the unique challenges of transracial adoption.

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