Thursday, August 17, 2006

Recent News and Scholarship on Transracial Adoptions

The New York Times reports that a growing number of white couples are pushing past longtime cultural resistance to adopt black children. In 2004, 26 percent of black children adopted from foster care, about 4,200, were adopted transracially, nearly all by whites. That is up from roughly 14 percent, or 2,200, in 1998, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect at Cornell University and from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Read the NYT Article (last visited August 17, 2006 bgf)

The past year has produced some provocative scholarship on the subject of transracial adoption by family law professors. 

  • Solangel Maldonado, Discouraging Racial Preferences in Adoptions, 39 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1415  (2006)
    Drawing on the rich literature on cognitive bias, Professor Maldonado debunks the myths about domestic and international adoptions and shows that racial preferences, even if unconscious, play a role in many Americans’ decisions to adopt internationally. She  proposes that the law discourage adoptions based on racial preferences by requiring that Americans seeking to adopt internationally, while there are available children in the United States who meet their non-race-based criteria, show non-race-based reasons for going abroad. (read the article)
  • Tanya Washington Loving Grutter: Recognizing Race in TransRacial Adoptions, 16 Geo. Mason U. Civ. Rts. L.J. 1 (2005)  Professor Washington examines the available social science data that examines the success and failings of transracial adoptions.  She argues for a mandatory racial competency training program designed to preserve and promote the best interest of transracial adoptees and analyzes the constitutionality of such a program. (George Mason U Civil Rights Law Journal)

Several articles appeared in the The Boston College Third World Law Journal Symposium Issue on Black Children and their Families in the 21st Century, including:

  • Twila Perry, Transracial Adoption And Gentrification: An Essay On Race, Power, Family And Community, 26 B.C. Third World L.J. 25 (2006)

Professor Perry argues that both transracial adoption and gentrification represent contexts in which, in the future, there may be increasing competition for limited resources. Professor Perry argues that in any such competition, Blacks will increasingly find themselves at a disadvantage stemming from the consequences of institutionalized racism. Professor Perry urges increased government involvement to preserve Black families and to protect Blacks against the displacement that often results from gentrification. (read the article)

  • Michele Goodwin, The Free-Market Approach To Adoption: The Value Of A Baby, 26 B.C. Third World L.J. 61 (2006)

Professor Goodwin argues that the current adoption model in the United States resembles an unregulated marketplace in children.  She explores this marketplace and the way in which race, genetic traits, and class are implicated in adoption processes, resulting in higher fees associated with the adoption of children with desirable traits.  She proposes two mechanisms by which the government could regulate the adoption market -- price caps and taxation and advocates greater transparency and information in the adoption process to protect the welfare of children who might otherwise be exploited in an unregulated adoption market. (read the article)

  • Angela Mae Kupenda, Seeking Different Treatment, Or Seeking The Same Regard: Remarketing The Transracial Adoption Debate, 26 B.C. Third World L.J. 97 (2006)

Professor Kupenda urges a remarketing of the transracial adoption debate to reflect a request based on sameness, not difference. The request is not one for different treatment for black children. Rather, it is for black children to be given the same regard that is given to white children. This request is illustrated with the story of a black couple seeking to adopt healthy, fat white babies. (read the article)

Finally, for some broader perspectives on adoption, including transracial adoption, you may want to check out Barbara Bennett Woodhouse's article Waiting for Loving: The Child's Fundamental Right to Adoption, 34 Cap. U.L. Rev. 297 (2005) or Professor Lynn D. Wardle's article Parentlessness: Adoption Problems, Paradigms, Policies and Parameters, 4 Whittier J. Child & Fam. Advoc. 323 (2005)

(All links last visited August 17, 2006 bgf)

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Comments

What a racey issue, Ive noticed that divorce cases where there is a bi-racial child, the non-caucasion parent will receive custody. The reason judges think this is because bi-racial children get more comfort and support in a world with racial descrimination. Its good to see a article like this where the racial boundaries are being broken. Race should not be a concern in a custody battle.

Posted by: David | Aug 21, 2006 1:43:20 AM

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