Adoption, Class, and Racism


An NPR interview with a white adoptive mother of black children has caused much backlash.  Most concerned comments came from transracial adoptees who felt their voice and perspective was missing from the discussion. A growing movement by adult adoptees, particularly of transracial adoptions, believe the system favors prospective parents, to the detriment of adoptees and birth mothers. In the interview, the Rachel Garlinghouse explains actions she has taken to teach her children about their race and heritage. And many comments claim that her attempts to hire black mentors for her children enhance, rather than reduce, racial differences. In addition, a good point was made that the person actually confronted with the racism directed towards transracial adoptive families and the person in the best position to address the racism would be the adoptee, not the adoptive parents.

As adult adoptee have become more active in discussions about adoption, the complexity of adoptions and particularly transracial adoptions is becoming evident. Do you have thoughts on how to best address this? If so, please comment below.

Tana Benner
Tana Benner is an adoption attorney with Columbia Family Law Group. Her practice is focused in the area of family law and she has particular interests in adoption and helping children and victims of domestic violence.