Presently, you may be thinking about adopting a child. Further, you may be considering adopting a child who is of a different culture, ethnic background, or race. Most families have different thoughts on the matter. Some people prefer to adopt a child who can blend in with their family without having the problems of, for instance, culture differences. However, other families look upon this issue with excitement to adopt a child with a different ethnic background, race or culture.
In the US, 40% of children waiting to be adopted are from ethnic minority. Studies have shown that the wait for them to be adopted is three times as long as four white children. So, comparative to the population of the USA, the amount of children from ethnic minorities is overrepresented in the care system.
In recent years, there has been a change of direction when placing children of an ethnic minority into prospective adopting homes. It is now deemed unacceptable that a child is denied the opportunity to share their life with adoptive parents who are loving, solely on the grounds that the prospective parents do not share the same cultural background, or race as the child.
So, what is the situation now?
In the United States there has been a change of opinion in the range of possibilities for prospective adoptive parents. We now have a situation where African American or Hispanic children are being adopted by Caucasian couples and vice versa. There’s also been a tremendous amount of Jewish people who have been to South America or China in order to adopt children.
What does difference really mean?
Pros – If you adopt a child who is the same race as yourself, it’s very easy for the child to fit in with the family. The child may have the following similarities:
- Skin colour
- Eye colour
- Cultural heritage
Cons – if the child is of a different race and cultural background, then it’s possible that some initial adjustment will need to be made by both the child and in particular the new parents.
- The child may look much different to the new parent, which may raise some questions with enquiring people.
- The child depending on its age, may wonder why they look different from their new parents.
- There could also initially be an issue if the child’s first language is different from the new parents, or if indeed they do not speak English at all.
What do people want?
Some individuals or couples come to adoption as they’re unable to have children of their own. Of course, many of these people ideally had notions of having children who look like themselves. However, if a couple for instance have been experiencing infertility problems, and are unable to have their own children, no doubt they will open their mind to having children who do not look exactly like them.
If you are considering about adopting a child who is from a different race than your’s, then you must think carefully as to whether the child will be happy in the new environment or not. For instance, if you are from a Jewish family and are considering adopting an Asian child. Obviously depending on how old that child is, you must think whether the child will be comfortable with your faith.
Of course ,it’s now considered essential by many experts who work within the adoption process, that the culture, race and ethnic background is an extremely important issue. There will be many circumstances where the background of the child does not match with that of the new parents. In this situation, it is essential that the child’s birth culture is made part of the family. This can be done in many ways. For example:
- Making sure that the child continues with their mother language
- Being part of multicultural groups
- Sending the child to a school with children from different backgrounds and races
- Incorporating the child’s culture within the new family’s daily life
These of course are just selected samples. This also very important to make sure that the child feels part of the family. You don’t want the child to feel like an outsider by making them feel different. With each child’s personality, the parents will need to decide how much of the child’s previous culture and background needs to be incorporated into their daily life. It’s much like a case of celebrating the differences!