What about the black child awaiting adoption?




Young, William Louis,1949-

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Purpose The purpose of this study was to describe and analyze the problem of the black adoptable child, using information from professional articles and other sources, including studies of community efforts to cope with the problem, over twenty-year period. It is hoped that a summary of this information and proposed solutions will be useful to those interested in the welfare of black children without homes. Many believe that placing minority group children in homes should be approached as a special problem different and separate from the problem of other hard-to-place children. In the case of these hard-to-place children, the older, the handicapped, and the sibling group, agencies have discovered that homes can be found for them if sufficient initiative, determination, imagination and courage are extended on their behalf. Even with the extension of such efforts on behalf of black children most of the time these efforts prove fruitless. A major portion of these children are top adoptable, in that they are free from any physical or severe emotional problems, yet their chances for adoption are so slim that they are virtually unadoptable. Today may be: First, we have deeper understanding of children’s needs and the importance and extent of damage to their personalities when they are deprived of love and care of permanent homes and placed in institutions. Second, there is a definite lack of sufficient foster homes. A result of this concern is that some public and private agencies have become aware of the problem and are pressuring for a nationwide drive to provide for these children. It is felt that a study of this nature will not only be helpful but extremely useful to anyone interested in this area. Methods This study begins with a slight introduction giving a brief history to hard-to-place children, going back to the very beginning of adoptions and ending with the present situation. This introduction is followed by statistical based plight of the black child and some related literature from research studies and articles in this area. Alternative adoption programs such as subsidized adoption, quasi-adoption or permanent foster homes, interracial adoption and single-parents adoption are discussed with interpretations, conclusions, and recommendations concluding this study. The primary sources of data for this study consist of research evaluating and recording information from various books, articles and periodicals, pamphlets, child welfare league reprints, newspaper articles and the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Findings Having analyzed the collected data, the author has arrived at the following conclusions: 1. The problem of insufficient black adoptive homes for children awaiting placement does not stem from ignorance or apathy in the black community. Adoptions are familiar to the black community and those in a position to adopt do so. Many of these adoptions are arranged between the mother and adoptive families or through the services of a doctor, minster, or interested person. 2. Black applicants are not extremely fearful of the adoption agency or the background of the black children available through these placement agencies. 3. Reluctance of the black applicant to adopt is related to their economic situation. It is the stability of income and employment rather than the size of their income that influences adoption. Presently a majority of blacks have marginal incomes or have newly acquired a middle-class status. Though they are economically secure, psychologically they still contemplate their future as unstable. The addition of a child in this situation would threaten their future, as well as that of the child. 4. Withdrawals of black applicants could possibly be prevented if there were less formality and adherence to rigid procedures, allowing the development of early rapport between caseworker and applicant. 5. Agencies need a self-critical attitude in their polices, requirements, and procedures with reference to black applicants. 6. Development of uniformity among adoption agencies regarding treatment of black applicants would prevent distrust and confusion for prospective applicants. 7. Because of cultural differences between the white and black applicant, there should be differentiation in eligibility requirements. This is not a lowering of standards but a difference in dealing with two separate groups. 8. Cooperation is needed between states, such as an adoption resources exchange, so that no opportunity would be overlooked in placing the available black children. 9. Recruitment programs should explain the needs of the available black children, but with more emphasis on the satisfactions and rewards these children can give to those who adopt them. 10. No matter what device is used to recruit black adoptive families, a routine-coordinated program is necessary. An educational and interpretational program regarding the purpose and philosophy of adoption as well as the rationale for agency requirements and procedures should be a part of the agency’s recruitment of black adoptive families. 11. Two-parent self-sufficient adoptive homes may not be available for all the black children awaiting adoptive placement. This means that other alternatives need to be utilized for these children. 12. The alternative adoption programs, subsidized adoption, quasi-adoption, single-parents adoption, and interracial adoption are presently used infrequently in the United States. More study and experimentation is necessary before an all-out acceptance of any one of these alternative programs may be apparent. This may mean a change in the philosophy of adoption.



Adoption, African American children.