Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Adoption Prejudices

I used to be very judgmental about people who would not adopt a black child. I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around it. But then I realized that I have prejudices too, just different ones. I am ashamed of this but we said we would not accept a child with severe non-correctable medical issues or who had been exposed to a lot of drugs during the pregnancy.

At one adoption workshop that Lil Sweetie and I attended as part of the adoptive parents panel, another couple was there with their baby who had been exposed to drugs and alcohol during the pregnancy. Afterwards, they came up to me and told me how brave they thought I was for adopting a black child. I told them I thought they were the brave ones—that we had not been willing to accept a child that was drug-exposed. They were shocked and defensive and more than a little offended, I think.

Now I think that God puts those fears or prejudices in our hearts to get the right babies to the right people. I was meant to be Lil Sweetie’s mom and those other people were meant to parent their little man. If I had been willing to adopt a drug-exposed infant and they had been willing to adopt a black child, things might not have worked out the way that they did, the way that they were meant to.

I also think that if you don’t think you can parent a black child, then you have no business trying. As much as it upsets me, I now thank God that people are willing to be honest about what they are willing to take on in an adopted child. As a friend who is also an adoptive parent told me, a sense of obligation is a poor substitute for love.

Am I making excuses, explaining away my own and other’s bad behavior? Probably. These are things I am still working through.


Milly said...

You're right. We need to know our limits and capabilities not learn them and hurt a child.

Robin Thomas: A Nest With a View said...

Honesty is brave...

Paper Relics said...

Hi there - this is very interesting to read. I guess being that non-white adopted child in an all white family, I never thought about it in this sense - as an adoptive parent. I really enjoyed the insight - thank you.

Also, have you read the English American by Alison Larkin? I made everyone in my family read it - you can see more about it here: http://besottment.typepad.com/besottment/2009/03/the-english-american.html
It is fictional based on the authors life of - but it really addresses feeling adopted children have in a light funny novel.

Sweetie Pie said...
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