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Why don't Blacks adopt more?

Jordan Crawford | 8/7/2013, 3:55 p.m.

A trend can be defined as the general course of prevailing tendency. Recently, the prevailing tendency in Hollywood seemed to be adopting children; adopting black children. Accounts of regular families adopting children are numerous. However, adoption appears not to be as common an occurrence in the black community. Why is that?

Slavery is the one part of Black culture that causes many of us to cringe, get angry, cry or completely ignore it because its memories are too painful. If asked what the most heinous part of slavery was, many Blacks would probably respond, “How children were ripped out of their enslaved mother’s arms to be sold and never seen again.”

Today, this act of cruelty can be equated to the involuntary termination of parental custody. When a parent’s rights are terminated the child becomes legally free for adoption. Today, people can voluntarily give up these rights, or the courts will determine whether the birth parents are unfit to raise their child.

During slavery, sold children were often placed under the care of another slave-mother who, to be sure, must have been suffering mental anguish from the selling of her own children. Could it be that many Blacks still suffer the trauma of slavery, conditioning us not to intervene on behalf of the numerous children that are abandoned every year?

Charles Anderson, researcher of African Americans in American society, believes that in many social aspects including adoption, blacks suffer from generational curses stemming back to slavery. “Our children are in crisis and yet we’re still stuck with the idea that we are forbidden from helping them,” he said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, black children account for 29 percent of the number of children entering foster care each year. This number is staggering as the latest U.S. census report states that blacks only make up 13 percent of the population.

In Virginia, 32.6 percent of the children in foster care are African-American making them the second largest category, with whites at 48.1 percent.

On May 17, Governor McDonnell launched the Virginia Adopts, a statewide campaign to match 1,000 children currently in foster care with adoptive families. The Governor stated that of the 4,000 children in Virginia’s foster care system, about 1,000 are ready for and are eagerly awaiting adoption.

“Whether you're Republican, Democrat, pro-choice, pro-life, adoption can transcend those issues,” said McDonnell. “I'm passionate about this. Children in foster care are there through no fault of their own, and just as much as any child, they deserve a loving, secure and stable family, and home.”

The General Assembly provided $1.5 million for the campaign, and the money will be used to help prospective adoptive parents with medical and other expenses associated with adopting a child.

In 2012, 708 children were adopted from foster care in Virginia. According to Governor McDonnell, most of the 4,000 children currently in Virginia’s foster care system are over the age of 10 and many a part of a sibling group. The average wait time for a child to be adopted in Virginia is three years.