Open Mic Night: #POC adopting white children

...It made me think do white people view blacks as incapable of adopting a white child? We always hear about white people adopting people of all races but when it's a POC adopting a white child its a novelty. It's been at the back of my mind ever since. My boyfriend and I want to adopt and to be honest I never cared about the race of the child before but now I think would I get weird looks for adopting a black child or a white child. Would people look at us and say oh she/he must of had kids with someone else. Then it would be a jerk move to say OH NO THEY ARE ADOPTED! Because the child would feel inadequate oh I'm just adopted! I spoke about my concerns with [my boyfriend] he told me "Bump what people think or say there will always be people finding faults in others anyways. I love you and want to have a family with you under God to love, protect and cherish".

Well honestly what is your thoughts on POC adopting white children. I'd love to see you or others write an article about it.

- a reader
This is pretty much an open thread on this topic, but before we dive in, I've got words.


This reader's timing is almost spooky; I recently saw this image on Facebook, and pretty much agreed, except I think the last one has a bit more to it.

Now...before I talk about Detective Joe West and the Barry/Iris dynamic, I'mma need all The Flash fans in attendance to pause, take a breath, and remember that the overall theme of this thread is on people of color adopting and raise white kids. Sooooo, when you respond, please don't rant about white fandom's reaction to WestAllen.  That's not the topic of this thread.

As many nerds already know, in the original Flash comics, Detective Joe West and his daughter Iris are white.  However, in 2014, the CW decided to make Iris West and her father black.  Not only that, due to a family tragedy, our hero Barry Allen was legally adopted by Joe West and raised by Joe until adulthood.  Actors Jessie L. Martin (Joe West) and Grant Gustin (Barry Allen) have been lauded for convincingly portraying a very healthy father-son relationship.  Now, some folks have argued that this technically makes Barry and Iris siblings, ergo they can't be love interests.  Naturally, we call bull because the Joe/Barry dynamic is completely separate from the Barry/Iris dynamic, as it can be in real life.

And while it may annoy us to see yet another black man cast to mentor and nurture and father a young white man (while black men are routinely vilified in real life as deadbeats and absentees), this dynamic is more complicated than the others posted above it.  Joe isn't "like a dad" to Barry; Joe is his dad (think Regina Mills and Henry on Once Upon a Time).  Barry lived in his house, came home to Joe every day; Joe was the one who fed, clothed, educated him, bandaged his knee scrapes, taught him to box, and counseled on him girls.

In a recent episode featuring flashbacks to Barry's lightning-induced coma, viewers noticed that when Dr. Harrison Wells shows up offering to help, he doesn't say, "Hey...let me help out with that kid sent to live at your house for all these years 'cause his dad went to jail for allegedly killing his mom."  Instead, Wells specifically and repeatedly states, "Let me try to save your son."

The fact that when we see this type of relationship, and a part of our brain rejects it on sight, is a testament to just how royally fucked this society is.

And yes, slavery and Jim Crow are the root cause of it.  When brown folks see people like us in acting in a parental role towards white children, I think some of us wince.  It's like our minds automatically think of mammies and Devious Maids, Bagger Vances and karate teachers -  in other words, unwilling caregivers forced to be there, faking smiles and affection, while inwardly longing to go home to their "real" families.  It doesn't occur to most of us that maybe - just maybe - they really are family, and whatever affection they share is genuine.

Of course...POC rarely adopt white children unless there's a specific and often major reason: marrying someone who already has a white child (one of my classmates from high school recently did), close friend of the family dying, extended kin moving in, etc.  To me, these are perfectly understandable scenarios.  But to go out and specifically adopt a random white child?  Highly unlikely.

White parents specifically seeking to adopt white children often have to wait an eternity, especially if they want a baby, so I'm sure they're probably shown "preference" over families of color.  We also have to consider the laws of supply and demand; a lot of white people like to adopt kids of color for various reasons - no other options available, exoticism, celebrity trend, racial insurance, etc. - while POC who can afford to adopt seem to prefer children of color (with the exception of Michael Jackson, of course).

So my verdict on the subject would be 1) do you, 2) if it's not for you but you see it elsewhere, assume nothing, and 3) pause to contemplate just how royally fucked this society is.

Comments

  1. Nah, for me there are just too man children of color in the foster care system or where ever that need homes and like you said white kids above any other race of kids are preferred for adoption the most. As for whites adopting children of color, I think there are just simply more whites adopting period. If more people of color adopted this might not be such an issue. So for the people of color that are adopting I think it would be best if they adopted a child or children of color because they have a harder time getting adopted. POC doing everything Whites do can come at a cost and in this case that cost could be a child of color not getting a home because the family chose a white kid instead.

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  2. In the movie "Fakin' da Funk" a black family adopt an Asian baby. Now that raises eyes but for an interracial family to adopt a child whose race is full black or full white would the child feel like Dante did in that movie?

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    Replies
    1. Probably not, depending on the race of the parents.

      Also, we're talking about adoption but we must still consider the "white and black twins: Maria and Lucy. Once again, biology is way ahead of sociology, thus reiterating what I was saying about this country being royally fucked.

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    2. There's also the case of children with "white" phenotypes being born to black parents and even children with "black" phenotypes being born to white parents. I suppose we're more likely to run into this situation with adoptions, but this can most certainly happen naturally in non-mixed families.

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  3. http://www.lifenews.com/2014/05/15/couple-prays-to-adopt-baby-with-down-syndrome-watch-them-meet-their-beautiful-daughter/

    Just came across this article today! Never thought I'd see an interracial couple adoption advertised like this.

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  4. That's a lovely adoption story. And it makes me think about how we construct this concept of what a "healthy" adoptable baby is. Generally people are not looking to adopt children with "special needs." But children with dis/abilities can very well be healthy, they're just differently abled. But in our language dis/abilities can become synonymous with deficiencies in health.

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  5. It's so much to break down about the adoption/foster care system and it differs from state to state. I'm from Chicago so in Illinois they went through different phases depending on he decade. I used to work for an adoption resource center I wasn't a case worker I worked on the IT side but between the private agencies and DCFS the state doled out what it wanted. In the 90's it was more focus and push on adoption. In 00' they pushed the focus on foster care and by 2010 it was still foster care but having extended families foster. This is where most black children end up through foster care with extended families. Of course there are the discrimination of case workers who did not want white kids adopted by black families and sometimes fostered. You also had the problems with older teens and siblings being split because everyone wants the younger children who might not have as many special needs. If you have a sibling of 4 and 3 are say 2, 4, and 6 but the oldest is 11...

    I know this is about POC adopting white children and I'm rambling, But it's so much intersectionailty to this system. I mean just discussing the children that are stolen/traffic is a whole another can of worms.

    -Meanie

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