Trans-Racial Adoption

Introduction

Adoption involves intersection of the life of the child, the birth family and the adoptive family. The intersection of the three parties proves complicated at times, bringing issues of the family structure, maltreatment, absence of facial resemblance, search of identity and cultural roots, relationship and connection with adoptive parents and psychological distresses.

The law has therefore enforced policies in various child support services to expedite the process of adoption by removing children from their birth families and foster care into adoptive homes.

Though this arrangement has been successive over the years, research claims the arrangement to be hostile manifestation of white power and the adoption policy makers on the other hand have not done anything to change the unreasonable claims. Adoption policies reveal a number of challenges and paradoxes encountered by children in adoptive families. Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) policies support the adoption of children across trans-racial cultures.

To dispel myths and stereotypes about trans-racial it’s important to understand the psychological and cultural issues surrounding the trans-racial adoption paradoxes. First, how do parents and adopted children make efforts to overcome the ethical differences that exist between them? We look at different unique experiences children face including the psychological consequences of growing up trans-racial. It’s therefore imperative to keep an open mind on this topic in order to overcome trans-racial paradoxes.

Although psychological agony of adoption is similar for both interracial and same race adoptees, interracial adoptees may feel more disturbed due to absence of facial resemblance, and maltreatment. Race should not be a considered matter when adopting, however, the process should be cautious of negative effects of race-conscious society on the children in need of adoption, and whether or not it will be in the best interest of the child.

Nonetheless, children of the international adoption sometimes suffer from various social problems concerning their adoption status, and background. Same race and trans-racial adoptees both suffer from similar distress. For example, both groups may keep private anguish due to troubling search for identity, family heritage, and cultural roots.

Trans-Racial Adoption

Controversies surrounding trans-racial adoption in the United States collectively attempt to answer the question of whether trans-racial adoption should be allowed or not. White parents adopt children who are considered to be the minority of the American culture. The racial differences between the adopted children and adopted parents have led to the social and political controversies in both local and international adoption of trans-racial children.

Debates around trans-racial adoption issues cannot be fruitful unless the consequences of ASFA law, both positive and negative for the adopted child and adoptee family, are clearly understood. Relationship and connection between the adopted child and the adoptee family reveal such consequences by touching on the multiple factors of invested players across the country involved in trans-racial adoption (Simon & Altstein 4).

Historical Background

The study analyses the adoption cases specifically in the United States to determine the prejudice and racial inherent within the system. Adoption cases in the United States goes way back to World War II when America responded to the flow of the Korean children flowed into the country.

Thousands of war orphaned Korean Children and the American military personnel children were adopted after the war greatly increasing the number of trans-racial adoption in the country. The number of North Korean adoption increased to nearly half of the inter-country adoption by 1970s. It’s also estimated that over 110,000 children from South Korea were adopted into the United States between 1955 and 2001 (Ittig 4).

The typical American adopting parents are either the Euro-American, middle to upper class with histories of infertility (Hoksberg 15). ( UNICEF 1) argues that the number of adopted children have reduced significantly over the years due to the affordability of medical care such as abortion and contraceptive, reduced stigmatization of single mothers and availability of state support.

Statistics

Since the passage of child-abuse reporting laws in 1960s, the number of children available for adoption have increased drastically. (Curtis 157) posits that over 588,000 children were available for adoption in March 2000 which has doubled in number since 1984. Research continues to argue that 64% of the foster population represented children of color with the majority number coming from African by 42%.

As the needs of children growing up in child welfare systems, adoption and social services agencies assumed a more subjective orientation of trans-racial adoption, the trans-racial adoption. Children of racial backgrounds were placed into adoption homes, and by 1960s and early 1970s, over 10,000 African American children were available for adoption (Future of Children 1).

The law focuses on the best interest of the child by placing the child into a permanent, safe and nurturing home which gives them the right to determine the fate of the child. It however appears that adoption agencies are motivated by the primary efforts of shaping the identity development by offering the child of what is assumed to be a stable and more conducive environment trying to obtain a color blind society and erase the effects of past discrimination which the society views as impossible.

Absence of Facial Resemblance

Trans-racial adoption has been a controversial issue for long time due to many children’s maladjustment to the society. As the children’s meaning of adoption grows, they also tend to realize that they are different from their parents, siblings, and classmates. One of the major stress factors is the absence of facial resemblance from the parents, siblings, and friends.

Sometimes, the children tend get self-conscious about their facial appearances, and get stressed about how they are different outside, but not inside. An example would a girl named lynn connor, a Asian adoptee, who had difficulties coping with facial appearance. She said, “I think in my head, I was white, until high school, when I was in elementary the little boys would do the thing with the stretched eyes, but it didn’t register in my head the differences.”

She would share these problems with her adoptive mother, but her mother would just pass if off with saying that she was too sensitive. She had to deal with these problems on her own, and anguish about how she is physically Asian, but mentally white.

She also said that, “…I didn’t want it to find it out, If I did that, it would be like admitting that I was a freak and never fit it in, I guess I was in a denial, I just held on to the belief that I was white.” Like the above example, facial resemblance is a one of the environmental factor in the agony of transracially adoption.

For non adopted people, it’s easier to fend off these racist offends without much damage, because they are Asians, from their own country, and have a pride in the fact they know who they are and where they are from.

However, the Trans racial adoptees, the answers are not laid in front of them. Absence of facial resemblance is huge part of and transracially adopted individual’s life. They have to carry this burden of idea that they are different from look, and people judge them as Asians before even getting to know him or her.

Psychological Distress

Adopted Children can experience depression, anxiety disorders from the negative effects of trans-racial adoption. The children can lead to low self-esteem, low self-efficacy and low sense of self control which can lead serious problems affecting the children’s health itself.

Children or young adults sometimes go into self-denial, blame about the whole idea of trans-racial adoption, thinking that they don’t belong here, and they do fit in this world. Some of the psychological consequences of children growing up in trans-racial adoptive families include both behavioral and emotional distresses.

A psychological study was done to determine the outcome of trans-racial adoption in consideration of the children’s psychological problems and adjustment of the racial adoptees without considering racial and ethical experiences. The empirical studies focused on the relationships of both parties and racial and ethical experiences, and identity developments of trans-racial adoptees.

The outcome based on this study revealed that the underlying assumption of psychological distress inherent within trans-racial adoption does not necessarily mean the child is subjected at higher risks for behavioral and emotions problems when adopted by white parents.

To support this analysis, approximately 80% of trans-racial adoptee has less behavioral and emotional problems (Benson et al 200). Studies also performed on same race adoptees showed the same results in the levels of self-esteem and social adjustment (Bagley 179). We doubt if this studies can be relied upon since they fail to directly measure the racial and ethnic experiences.

Another epidemiological study was conducted to determine the outcome of international trans-racial racial adoptees in Sweden found that the majority of the adoptees had no serious psychiatric problems since were not hospitalized and did not have suicide attempts and social maladjustment problems such as criminal offenses and substance abuse during the adoption period. However, the adopted children were two times more likely to have serious psychiatric and social maladjustment more than their un-adopted siblings.

These studies are impossible to measure effects of race and discrimination across inter-racial communities because the experiences were not measures. These results cannot be relied upon since the research did not use reliable and valid measures to determine the actual relationship between racial and ethical experiences of trans-racial adoptees and their psychological adjustments.

The research only relied upon projective measures such as self reports, and open ended questions, the limitations of this research therefore implies that adopted children experiences vary across racial. Also, the research consists of qualitative work, and only a small number of adopted populated is investigated (Lee 17).

Cultural Socialization

Cultural socialization enables families and the adopted child to have a greater adaptability and competence to live comfortably in a given culture (Harrison et al 300). For the ethical minorities, transition of culture value, beliefs, customs and behaviors from community members fosters their identity development and help them adopt strategies that that help deal with racism and discrimination.

Trans-racial child being adopted into a white family becomes complicated by racial and ethical differences that form the basis of trans-racial adoption paradoxes. The adoptee parents may not have adequate knowledge and experience to teach the adopted children about life in terms of racism. Therefore the different cultural views since may expose the child into the minority culture, the child identity and race is intentionally denied.

However, white parents have been seen to promote the enculturalization of their children. Some seam concerned to teach their children about their cultures and their heritages (Lee 11). We should also note that these parents invest quite considerable effort to the enculturalization beliefs which provides the children with good education, social and cultural opportunities to affirm their ethical awareness, behaviors, values and pride.

They try and get involved with these ethical activities along with the children and also try to take roles in the community to promote social justice. On a study conducted on enculturalization argues that enculturalization is indirect way of parents helping children deal with racial and discrimination problems subsequently leading to good mental health and it’s therefore important to note that not all white parents provide hostile environment for the trans-racial children (Lee 12).

Furthermore, another environmental factor is that unable to connect with parents. Adoptive parents may not be able to fully understand why the children suffer from problems like facial appearances or cultural identity. For the distressed children, this is a big issue. However, the parent may fail to understand why the children must feel this way; just pass it off as a sensitive thinking, like lynn connor’s experience.

For and white adoptive it is hard to understand why the appearance or language matters so much. But it’s not just about how the person looks or speaks. In the contemporary United States, people sometimes have misconceptions, or bias about how Asians and other ethnic groups. In addition, there will be so many questions needed by the adoptees about who they are, where they are from, and why they were orphaned or given up in an adoption process.

In this process, the child and the adoptive parent may fail to meet consensus how they feel. It’s normal for the child wanting to seek who they are, and where and who they are from. However, to the parents, this sudden could sound like a denying them. Which can lead to bad relationships.

Economic Advantage

Placing a less privileged child controls the fate of the economically disadvantaged child. Simon & Altstein (1977) argues that “trans-racial adoption is a form of race and cultural genocide since children growing up in a white family is unable to develop proper skills to survive in the racial society” (4).

A 20 year old Korean adoptee college student illustrates how trans-racial adoption paradoxes confront children of the minority culture by white parents. The illustrative examples offered in this essay are nevertheless true and has been of particular interest to the adoption professionals, researchers and adoptive parents over the years.

Despite the ethical dissimilarities, Breana cares about her color more than the quality of life the adoptee home provided. A good environment does not mean that the adoptee parents are capable of providing a nurturing environment.

Child and Family services placed Breana into an adoptee parents who are supposed to ensure safety of the adopted children and while she took from the home, these services took her back into the custody of the parent who could not provide for her. When Breana was removed from home, Swiss (2005) argues that the judge on her case openly suggested that “the destruction of the black family through trans-racial adoption was driving her crazy”, (1).

This statement dispels myths and stereotypes about trans-racial in the last decades, however, it appears that the social services not primarily concerned about the welfare of the child. The social society returning her back to the white family was obviously for sake of saving the “black family”.

Contradictions of trans-racial adoption often perceive children to be the victims of the system

We should also note that experience of growing up in foster homes is far more worse that adopted homes due to the inherent emotional and psychological traumas the children undergo. Interracial adoption is becoming more common and placing children in foster care is far much worse that adoptive home which offers the children with an opportunity to grow in a stable health homes.

Maltreatment

Quite a number of adopted children have suffered in the hands of adoptee. Research conducted by (Barucsch 351) offer as an example of a 12 year old who has suffered in the hands of adopted parents. The child was burned to death as a results of maltreatment and law responded too late when worse had already happened.

Reports on maltreatment cases reveal that more and more children are being removed from homes the services deem unsuitable and parents who commit this crimes are never charged until the cases are approved to be fatal. Meaning parents are only charged when they inflict cruel and merciless punishments, or permanently injuring the child. The system does not provide any systematic procedure in responding to crimes against children who are abused or neglected.

Conclusion

The public argues that the trans-racially adoption process does not fully understand that adopted children will face racial discriminations and have to deal with the racial complexity in their lives as they mature. There is no getting around the fact that our society today is highly racialized and various ethnic groups faces minor to major level of discriminations every day.

A student would ask why African Americans are classified as being racially different from the white Americans. In order to fend off these racial perceptions, Trans-racial adoptees must be able to recognize these evident racial impositions.

Through this recognition, they are able to cope with how they are seen by the others. This does not mean that adoptees are remark outcasts or are classified of racial identifications. However, today’s society is unconsciously surrounded by racial remarks without a thought, though people may have not meant it as an offensive statement.

Works Cited

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Barusch, Amanda S. Foundation of social policy: Social justice in human Perspective. Elmond, CA, (3rd Ed.) 2008.

Benson, Peter L., Sharma, Anu. R., & Roehlkepartain, Eugen.C. Growing up Adopted: A portrait of adolescence and their families. Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute, 1994.

Curtis, Calar M. “The adoption of African American children by whites: A renewed Conflict”. Families in Society, vol. 77 (3) (1996): p.156-165

Future of Children. “Adoption”. The Future of Children. Spring 3 (1) (1993):1

Harrison, Algea O., Wilson, Melvin N., Chan, Samuel Q., & Buriel, Raymond.

“Family ecologies of ethnic minority children”. Child Development vol. 61 (1990):p. 247-387.

Hoksberg, Reneacute C .“Changes in attitudes in three generations of adoptive parents”. Intercountry Adoption. Development, Trends and Perspectives. London. Ed. Selman, P. England: British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering, 2000.

Lee, Richard M.”Transracial Adoption Paradox: history, Research, and Counseling

Implications of Cultural Socialization”. The Counselling Psychologist, vol.31 No. 6 (2003): pp. 1-33.

Ittig, Maureen. “A family Perspective on Transracial Adoption.”Family Analysis Series. (2003). pp.1-13

Simmon, Rita J., & Altsein, Howard. Transracial Adoption. New York: Wiley, 1977.

Swiss, James. 2005. “Inter-racial Adoption and Diverse Family Units-African American Studies”. Retrieved December 13, 2009, from; http://www.freeonlineresearchpapers.com/interracial-adoption-device-family-units

UNICEF. “Intercountry Adoption”. The Innocenti Digest 4:International Child Development, (1998):p.1

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