With this two-tiered system, [Jacquelynn Moffett, president of Homes for Black Children in Detroit says] many Black families “simply don’t have the resources to adopt privately because they don’t earn that kind of money,” facilitating an inequitable private process where harder-to-place children cost less to acquire. […]
Of the estimated 430,000 children in foster care, a quarter of them are Black. Given that these children are harder to place, the cost is commonly adjusted to incentivize families — both African-Americans and other parents considering cross-racial adoption — who otherwise might not be able to privately adopt.
There are lots of debates about this topic. Some of them involve whether black children should be adopted and raised by non-black parents—especially because they are harder to place out of foster care. And there isn’t an easy answer to this question. All children deserve to be in homes with loving adults. And, at the same time, there is specific cultural, social and emotional support that black parents specifically provide to black children, especially in a world in which they have to navigate racism. But the world isn’t quite so black and white. There are non-black people raising black children (adopted, biological or otherwise) all the time and doing a good job—the upbringing of America’s 44th president is an excellent example.
Likewise, contrary to beliefs about black people not being interested in adoption, there are many black people who are raising black children who aren’t their own, as kinship lines aren’t always so clearly drawn in the black community. It’s not uncommon for grandparents or aunts or extended family members or even community members to raise children that aren’t biologically theirs if there is a need. But while the above conversations are important to have, it is also important to explore how to make foster care a more attractive option for potential adopters and why these racially tiered adoptions are allowed to continue. Ultimately, the fact that private agencies are cost-prohibitive for certain families, the racism that makes black children less expensive, and the undesirability of adopting children from foster care is preventing black children from finding their forever homes.
“I think it would be a great movement for there to be funding for these services so it’s not a question of which child comes to the front of the line or which family has the money to pay an adoption service.” If it were a publicly funded process, Moffett says, “That would just tear the legs out from under [the current private system] and the fact that people can profit off of it.”
We won’t solve racism in our generation. But wouldn’t it be great if we could manage to do this one thing right and not reduce black children in foster care or adoption agencies down to commodities that ultimately pay the price for this sin?