A recent post at Baggage And Bug and a current discussion at Soul Of Adoption have me thinking about the effects of racism on minority/AA children in foster care.
My neighborhood block captain once asked me why I was placed with mostly black babies. It wasn't a question she really wanted an answer to... and one that I would never be able to explain to her anyway. As a transracial adoptive mom I've come to realize most white folks don't even realize that institutionalized racism exists or even that they are experiencing white priviledge.
Some facts about racism and foster care:
1. There is NOT a higher incidence of abuse or neglect among minority families, but there is a higher likelihood that minority children will end up in foster care.
2. Poor children are more likely to end up in foster care. Although AA families represent only about 12.9% of the population, 23.6% of African-Americans are in poverty.
3. Although white and black women were almost equally likely to test positive for drugs, physicians were 10 times more likely to report AA women to authorities after delivery.
4. African-Americans are likely to serve more prison time than whites for the same offense. Thus AA children in foster care may be separated from their families longer affecting their chances for reunification.
Excerpted from: Ruth McRoy, Expedited Permanency: Implications for African-American Children and Families, 12 Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law 475 -489. 477-481 (2005) (81 Footnotes)
Black children are overrepresented in the foster care system.
Black parents are underrepresented in the potential parent pool. You would think that this leads into transracial adoption...but it doesn't.
The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of American adults prefer to adopt children of their same race. With this trend of same race adoption, the result is that white children are often fought over while non-white children are languishing in a broken foster care system. Even private adoption agencies are likely to price adoption costs of a white baby at twice that of a AA child.
The hardest part of being a transracial adoptive mom is KNOWING that other people are prejudiced and biased against my beautiful brown curly haired daughters. They don't see Lili's infectious smile and strong spirit, they don't see Josie's hilarious mad face or her beautiful singing voice- they see black kids. Ones that they would never open their hearts or homes to, ones that they would never choose.