>First Off, Let’s Rename Her Ashley.

>Because Shinequa Shiquanna Shinnekwa her given name is too hard to spell.

[…] a growing number of white couples [are] pushing past longtime cultural resistance to adopt black children. In 2004, 26 percent of black children adopted from foster care, about 4,200, were adopted transracially, nearly all by whites. That is up from roughly 14 percent, or 2,200, in 1998, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect at Cornell University and from the Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is a significant increase,” said Rita Simon, a sociologist at American University, who has written several books on transracial adoption. “It is getting easier, bureaucratically and socially. With so many people going overseas, people are also increasingly saying, Wait a minute, there are children here who need to be adopted, too.”

Gee, now that’s a “Eureka!” moment, if there ever was one. Black children right here in America who could have been adopted. Who knew? I guess they just feel more pet-like and exotic when you get them overseas.

New York Times: Breaking Through Adoption’s Racial Barriers

19 thoughts on “>First Off, Let’s Rename Her Ashley.

  1. >Okie, dokie, now. On the surface one would think that Americans are changing and that they genuinely want to make homes for these chlidren who, in the past, have lingered in the foster care system because of their age or attitude. Bravo "color blind" Americans. I think not.Before I get to my point, let me state my theory on another issue that is related to adoptions — abortion. By the activity of all those groups who oppose abortion in the name of right to life you may get the notion that these compassionate, god-fearing (yes, with a little g) people really want to save these helpful fetuses (or is it feti?). Again, I say not so. In my opinion, the real abortion issue in THIS country is that there are not enough white babies in the adoption system. Do you think they really care whether a black woman aborts a pregnancy that could possible lead to the birth of the next "Big Willie" who will grow up to rob them and rape their woman. Hell Naw! But I digress.What this article fails to mention (I assume because I didnt' read it) is that the countries that used to freely allow their children to be adopted have closed their borders. Imagine that. They have said, "No, you stinky Americans with your faulty reproductive systems need to find children elsewhere. I say good day, sir."Many of the countries now have processes in place that will take couples up to three years to get a baby (or longer). I have a friend who is trying to adopt a Chinese baby and she and her husband have been trying to do this now for almost 2.5 years and they still are no closer. In a minute they both will be too damn old to be pushing little Sue Lin around in a stroller — hell they'll be using it like a walker.Cynicism aside, I am glad to see these kids are finally making out of the system and, hopefully, into loving homes. I'll save my comments about how "culturally fucked up" I think many of these kids will end up being for another time.

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  2. >Oh, I forgot. There will be a rise in a whole cottage industry of black woman being hired to do the hair of these little girls.To quote a line from BK Jackson's Queen of Harlem — "Black hair is hard."I have a friend who is married to a white woman and they have twin girls. They pay someone to come in three times a week to take care of the girls' hair.American. Land of opportunity.

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  3. >A better question for the masses (black folk) is why aren't we adopting our black kids. My wife and I have several of our own and it's still something we are considering doing. Of course, it may take a few more years to get there, since we're taking care of the ones we have, but for some of us, the thought never even arises. Why is that?

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  4. >Rich, I don't think that is the case. I think we (the black we) are more reluctant to speak about adoption because we try to shield the kids from the truth.I have three children ages 21, 19 and 16, all of whom are adopted and all of whom we had since they were less than one month old. Ironically, my eldest son looks just like his mom (my ex) and my daughter looks just like me. My my grandson (my daughter's son) looks just like my brother. Go figure.So I would say we are adopting but we as well as everyone else are afraid of adopting older children that have already been "tainted" by environment and the system.Barbara Harris a local news person in DC runs a "Wednesday's Child" segment every week where she features a child that has been in foster care longer than they should. She has a phenominal success rate and a high percent of the kids are adopted by African American and Latin families.

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  5. >bravo on the commentary juan & rich…i'm a little foggy on the issue but i was enlighten on the possibilities of other countries "turning us away" on adopting their children.but, i'm curious to know what is the abortion rate in other industrialized nations compared to ours? particularly by age and by race. are they funded by the gov't or private funds? anddo you think the foster care/adoption process would fare better if the gov't allowed a higher tax deduction on adopting children, especially if they're allowing it to be tax shelter already?

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  6. >I can only speak to my thoughts on the latter, Lance. I think people who really want to adopt children for the sake of having a family or for helping out are not driven by "profit." There are some people who are foster parents as their job but I would say that is not the case for adoptions.When we got our kids the processing fees to the agency were in excess of $10K per child. And this is from a non-profit organization. There are some agencies such as the Barker Foundation who charge probably in excess of $35K (it was $25K 20 years ago) to adopt a child. And quite frankly that's a lot of money when you have no guarantees that you'll get a "good kid."

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  7. >wow, i know of two people that were involved in foster care. they had a vested interest in caring for children, but they did mention the financials of being compensated for their services….but on the other hand, given the mindset of others…it would probably be a social worker's nightmare if there was "financial advantage" to foster care/adoption. unqualified people with kids, prone to child abuse for a buck. that ain't good at all.

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  8. >I just hope someone has adopted my kids that are scattered across Ethiopia. I'm sorry. That's a joke. But seriously, I've been involved with a non-profit group in Addis Ababa called AHOPE. This place, that houses about 70+ children, is an orphanage for kids who've not only lost their parents to HIV, but are also themselves infected. Two major developments over at AHOPE were 1) The arrival (finally) of anti-HIV meds for the kids. 2) The gov't over there has finally allowed foreigners to adopt these kids. I really didn't know if this adoption thing was going to fly. Adopting racially different kids is one thing, taking on a kid with a problem as big as HIV is something totally different. I'm not stunned at the rate these kids are being adopted. Shocked, actually. Most of these kids are coming to the US and this process is not cheap, especially factoring in the need for lifelong meds.If I were to marry and settle down, the first thing I would do is start looking to adopt kids out of AHOPE, only to improve their chances for making it once they pass their teen years. Amazingly, only a year ago the kids generally wouldn't make it past around 11 or 12. Now that the meds are saving their lives, new plans have to be drawn up for long term survival. I'm afraid that after their reach their teens they won't be able to find work or continue getting their meds over in Ethiopia. That's why I think it's important to get them here where they'll have more of a fighting chance to live much longer, healthier lives.Hey – and I'm white. Who knew?

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  9. >Matt, your comments are basically the main issue the some of us who are non-whites take issue with.I have always been told that charity began at home. Therefore, while I am extremely compassionate to the children outside the US (particularly those in Africa) who are suffering from HIV, I am more concerned with the ones who are in my own back yard. There are still countless "boarder babies" and children who, to no fault of their own, are infected with the Virus. If I am to do something it will certainly be to benefit those within our shores before I go elsewhere to lend help.And as far as your opening comment:"I just hope someone has adopted my kids that are scattered across Ethiopia. I'm sorry. That's a joke." I know you say it was a joke and perhaps you mean that. However, even as a joke, I must tell you it wasn't funny in the least.Peace.

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  10. >Juan, those are some good points that you make regarding the whole process. There probably are a lot more adopted kids in our community than we know about. Especially when you have situations similar to yours where the kids are a part of the family to begin with and someone takes care of them or does an outright adoption. You know we have a way of doing the "bootleg adoption", if you will, where a relative just raises the kid as their own and the child is none the wiser until much later in life, so those statistics get lost in the cracks. However, I've also seen the flip side of this. — There are foster parents who will hold on to the kids for the sake of the dollars. You have individuals/couples who would like to adopt the kids and the foster's do everything they can to block it. They will accept help with the kids as long as they don't lose out on the dough. Meanwhile the kids continue to suffer. I tried to mentor this kid that was in a family like that and the mother just wouldn't let him go. It was apparent it was about the loot, because she let the boy do whatever the heck he wanted. No structure, just cussing and fussing. Then wanted me to help straighten him out, but when I mentioned adoption, the conversation changed. I know that may be anecdoctal on my part to use that as an example, but I wonder how many more situations like that exist. In the end, we can't run from these kids because they require a little work. We act like they can't be turned around just because of what they have been exposed to. If that were true, what excuse do we have when some of the kids that grow up in their biological households end up bad, regardless of how good they had it. My point is, we (the community at large) have to stop the excuses and become the solution as opposed to finding fault with those of european descent when they decide (for whatever reason) to adopt children of color.

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  11. >Juan,If I've offended you then I apologize. You sound thin skinned. Hey, I contracted HIV over in Ethiopia and have comedian friends who constantly rib me about my condition. Their not being hurtful, they're being funny. Perhaps my humor strikes cords in certain individuals and that is precisely the point.Concerning the 'here at home' vs. 'over there' syndrome, I've never believed in such. This country doesn't house multiple orphanages where HIV positive children go to die. We don't have that problem. If I have to choose between being a "big brother" and buying a PSP for a kid here in the states and giving my hard earned money to kids overseas who will otherwise die, I choose the latter. We're in a very wealthy nation and I realize we have multitudes of poor here, but nothing on the scale of what my eyes have witnessed in Africa. I recall when I started taking my own meds a few years ago the guilt I was riddled with since I just left behind a country of people who would never afford the same luxury of simple existance that I was afforded. And for no other reason than the country I was born in.I propose that we strike out to help any children, regardless of race, regardless of country or religion. 12:09 PM

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  12. >Matt,Thin skinned I am not. Just as people have preferences, my preference is to not laugh at anything I find unamusing as I did with your comment. As an adult, I feel free (at least in this country) to voice my opinion when I am afforded the opportunity (such as in this open forum). My point was not meds vs. video games, my point was comparing apples to apples, i.e., infected kids here in the states to infected kids elsewhere. In case you are not familiar with the term "boarder babies" it refers to infants who were born to mothers who were HIV and who are themselves (at least many of them) HIV and are basically "abandoned" because the mother can't or won't take care of them and there is no place else for them to go. That was one of my volunteer activities at a time when the stigma of AIDS and HIV had many people afraid to even touch an infected person/child/infant. Imagine a baby not being held because someone is fearful of having the "sickness" visited upon them. Not to be misunderstood. My issue with helping kids abroad is that we sometimes skip over the ones in our own neighborhoods to help those on foreign shores. So, unless I have the fortune having unlimited resources then my help will be given to those closer to home where I can see the benefit of my assistance.To further clarify the record, I have a special affection for Ethiopian people. My best friend is Ethiopian and I make the trip to Canada with him quarterly to purchase meds to send to his family back home. On many trips I will spend my own money because I know his resources are limited.Your proposal is a noble one and one that I find appealling but, I again state, charity — at least for me — begins at home.As before, PEACE

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  13. >Rich,Your point is well taken and from one who has experienced it first hand I can tell you that genetics play a bigger role in personality than most people believe.My children have had the same benefits, education, exposure, etc. Their passports by the age of 6 were stamped more times than mine was by the age of 40. However, my daughter is, for lack of a better term, just ghetto. I saw it in her as early as age 18 months. She has had the benefit of the finest schools, camps, extra curricular activities money, time, and love could buy. Yet, there is a disconnect there.Her birth parents were 16 and 15 and I am a firm believer that babies having babies leads to trouble. My youngest son, on the other hand, is from parents who were in the late 30's and he is worlds apart from his siblings.To paragraph Forrest Gump, babies are like a box of chocolates — you don't know what and the hell you gonna get. It's a crap shoot even for your own.

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  14. >Presupposing that all of humanity spawned from Ethiopia, perhaps it is our true home? It's interesting when I meet new Ethiopians and speak Amharic with them, they usually ask, "How do you know Amharic?" My reply is, "Yenee leb Habesha no, yenee coda fareneje bicha…" "My heart is Ethiopian, only my skin is white…" Usually gets a smile or laugh.If anyone's interested, just sending a letter makes these kids day…www.ahopeforchildren.org

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  15. >Don't put that "Big Sister is watching" thing on me. I didn't delete anybody's comments. This is obviously a subject that has touched intense emotions for all involved. I'm going to let it breathe and play itself out, with the hope that everyone is playing fairly and respecting each other.

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  16. >Sorry guys, that deleted comment was mine, I accidentally attributed my comment to Rich instead of Juan. I get confused easily.Lo, I don't see a real polarity here between thoughts. If we feel it is in our best interest to help kids outside of our own families, I think that is a blessed thing. Dedicating needed time and money to kids anywhere on the planet is better than the alternative -helping no one.

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  17. >You're right, Matt. This has been tremendously stimulating dialogue. I feel honored to know such amazing people as the ones who frequent my humble blog.

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