Attempting optimistic misanthropy

Posts Tagged ‘Race’

Interracial Adoption: When Adults Go Bad

Posted by Hussyville on November 4, 2010

Most of the interracial adoption news and stories I come across tend to be very US-centric, and I know the adoption system over there is very different to that of the UK, so I was interested when the Guardian did a series of comment pieces on the topic this week, after a politician said there should be of more of them, as social workers are apparently trying too hard to get children a “perfect match” when making recommendations. OK, so he didn’t actually provide any evidence, but hey! He’s a government minister! The children’s minister, even! I’m sure he knows exactly what he’s talking about.

What’s most depressing is that the main issue, what is best for the child, seems to be lost on the majority of people commenting underneath the articles. Now, naturally, it is obviously better for a child to find a loving home than to grow up in the care of the state. And nobody is saying that a white couple are incapable of successfully parenting a child of another race. But in the quickness to dismiss concerns about “cultural heritage” as irrelevant, the naysayers could be doing adoptees a disservice. All children are interested in learning who they are and where they come from; why should adoptees be any different?

What’s interesting in reading the articles and the comments on interracial adoption is the contrast with how the debate is framed when compared to the US-centric debates I’ve read. There is a backlash amongst certain parts of UK society against multiculturalism which tinges some of the comments and almost drifts into the realms of denying the legitimacy of other cultural heritages other than the white-majority Anglo-Saxon model. “They’re over here, so they should act like us!” Now, there’s a separate debate to be had over the integration of ethnic minorities in British society, but I don’t think that debate is appropriate when you are dealing with the business of individual lives, emotions and experiences. Neither, on the other hand, do I think that railing against interracial adoption is helpful to anyone. What works for one family could be a disaster for another. Sadly, that point seems to have been lost in the sound and fury of people desperate to justify themselves.

The articles dealing with interracial adoption can be found here, here and here. There’s also a collection of readers’ experiences here. You may need a stiff drink before venturing into the comments for any of them. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

[Image via Flickr]


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