Sunday, September 9, 2012

Inter-racial Adoption: Helping "Ask Debra" Help Others

Ask Derbra is a Christian oriented advise column in the Palestinian HeraldThe author of 54 books, Debra White Smith holds an M.A. from U.T. and is the featured relationship specialist on the Fox News Radio Show, “Plain Jane Wisdom.” She and her husband, Daniel, co-pastor Palestine Church of the Nazarene. For more information, visit Got a problem? E-mail Debra at

In her Sept. 8, 2012 opinion column she replies to reader's concerns about Inter-racial Adoption. Seems at least one relative is telling this woman not to adopt a child of another race and suggesting that their community would not readily be accepting of a child of another race.

Debra advises her to disregard these concerns and go ahead with the adoption if that is what she feels "led" to do by God!     It all appears here.

My reply sent via email to

Your answer is well meaning, but unfortunately misguided.  It fortifies adoption as the selfish fulfillment a desire (need?) to be a parent, regardless of what it is in that child's best interest.

I urge you to read - and advise anyone considering interacial adoption to read - the writing of persons who were adopted transnationally and transracially and see how THEY feel about having this done to them. 
  • Read "Transracial Adoption According to a Recovering Adoptee" - a beautiful and articulate description by and adoptee who says: "I am neither protransracial adoption nor antitransracial adoption. I readily accept that in my own personal circumstances, had I not been adopted I may not have lived to see my fifth birthday." 
  • Read the excellent books of Jane Jeng Trenka: 

  • The Language of Blood, Graywolf Press, 2005
  • Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, South End Press, 2006
  • Fugitive Visions: An Adoptee's Return to Korea, Graywolf Press, 2009

  • And read the writings of Tobias Hubinette. Hubinette and Trenka are both adults who were adopted transnationally and transracially and describe the challenges, as well as the advantages, it presented for them.
  • See films of inter-racial adoption such as "On The Fault Line" and "Somewhere Between"
It is bad enough when some adopt with so-called "color-blindness" - the supposed inability to recognize and thus HONOR differences. But it is far worse to  knowingly and with forethought subject a child to discrimination!

No one should adopt transracially without considering the state, city, town and neighborhood in which they plan to reside and the ethnic demographics of the schools in their district. To subject a child to a life of being "different" from all his peers is CRUEL, as is subjecting him to family members who are less than fully accepting of and willing to embrace who he is and his cultural roots.

You should have advised this woman to re-think her decsion, based not her own needs, wants and desires but on the best interest of the child. You should have advised her to wait, think, educate herself, and learn what is at stake for this child and her family, which becomes a minority family, before acting on impulse and ignoring warning signs. Sometimes prayers are answered, but it is just not the answer we want or expect, so we ignore that answer. Think of the parable of the preacher on the church roof waiting for his prayers of recuse to be heard as the flood water rose. As he prayers and waits for a message from God, he ignores the boats coming to his rescue. This woman's relative is giving her an answer - a warning; a sign from God - but she is ignoring it.

Think too of the story of the boy scout who drags the old lady across the street when she really wants and needs to be on the side she started on. We can often get too caught up in wanting to "help" that we overlook asking what help is needed.  Taking children one at a time out of poverty does nothing to ameliorate the conditions of their family, village or nation. The tens of thousands of dollars spent to adopt one child, tearing him from his culture and heritage, while leaving his mother, brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins behind, could instead provide a well for clean drinking water, medicine, or a school for his whole village. Which is the higher altruistic solution? 

Ninety percent of children in orphanages worldwide are not orphans but have family, as was the case with the two children adopted by Madonna. Families all over the globe use orphanages to provide food, medical treatment and education for their children - not unlike boarding school - but have no desire for them to be taken by strangers for adoption. Children are being kidnapped, stolen and trafficked for adoption worldwide to meet the DEMAND for adoption. We can choose to be part of the solution or part of the problem.

Simply put yourself in the shoes of a child and ask yourself what would that child pray for? Someone to come and "rescue" him or her by snatching him up and sending to a far off land - or someone to help his entire family remain together safely as a family?  Would YOU choose better "opportunities" and material advantages over YOUR family?

You can do God's work and help entire families in crisis by contributing to Christian Children's Fund, SOS for Children, Amor del Ninos, Unicef.  You could also help children in need by fostering American children in need or by being a Big Brother or Sister. There are unlimited volunteer ways to assist families in crisis without tearing them apart and exploiting their poverty, even possibly winding up unwittingly supporting unscrupulous baby brokers and child traffickers. (Read "Finding Fernanda" by Erin Siegal.)

I hope you will print this to help children and families do the right thing.  

1 comment:

Giselle said...

This is so true.
Adopting a child that has a family, instead of helping the family stay together is just unimaginable. It is the greed and selfishness of childless couples. As long as they "get" a child... the rest is not important. Heritage, family, language; they don't care. If the child is of a different race and not like them at all; don't they think that the child is going to know that he is different? In school his friends will make comments. Children suffer silently and this goes on until adulthood. Just to make themselves happy.They put themselves first with the excuse that they have given a home to a child, they have saved him from poverty. No amount of toys, outfits, etc. will replace his family. They think that poverty is a disease and the cure is adoption. Shame on them.

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