Share with your friends










Submit

Adoption is a great thing. As a child, I was practically adopted and raised by my aunt and uncle. As a result, I personally understand the importance of giving children a good home. An increasing amount of white evangelical families are adopting black and brown babies. As a black man with a multi-racial heritage, married to a Hispanic woman, and raising a multi-racial son, I must confess that I wonder whether certain white families understand raising their adopted black or brown baby will be more culturally difficult in the U.S. for them than raising a white child. I also want to offer some practical advice to white parents who have adopted, plan to adopt, or are raising black or brown babies.

Black and Brown Babies Grow to become Racialized Black and Brown Adults
White parents adopting black and brown babies need to understand that black and brown babies grow into racialized black and brown adults. As they grow, they will gain a racial conscious, become racialized by society because of their skin color, and they will suffer the negative effects of racialization (racism, stereotypes, etc.).

While these black and brown babies are the children of white parents, they will not, on every occasion, share the same cultural or racial experiences as their white parents. These parents, therefore, need to learn from and listen to seasoned black and brown parents, and they must listen to fellow white parents who have adopted or who are raising black or brown children, so that they can learn about the challenges of raising black and brown children in a racialized context as white parents.

Black and Brown Babies are not White
White parents adopting black or brown babies need to understand that black and brown babies are not white. Perhaps their friends, family members, and cultural upbringing will be predominately white. But black and brown babies will never be perceived as white by those living in a racialized society. As a result, white parents should not raise black or brown babies to believe the color blind theory of race, which teaches no one sees color.

Rather, they should educate them about the complexity of race in this country and help them to understand that although they are equal to white babies, they might not always be treated as such by some in society simply because of their skin color.

Privilege Goes Only So Far with Adopted Black and Brown Babies
Privilege can go only so far with adopted black and brown babies. The concept of privilege is complex. It basically means that certain people have certain privileges granted to them simply because of their race, class, or gender. However, this does not suggest those with privilege are undeserving of this privilege. Privilege neither tells the whole story about why certain people have certain advantages over others. A white person, for example, might have certain advantages over black and brown people, because he or she works harder to earn those advantages. Yet, the concept of privilege suggests some white people may experience certain advantages in certain parts of society both because of their skin color and the access their skin color might give them to certain advantages. Likewise, certain black and brown folks might have access to privileges simply because of their skin color—privileges that are unavailable to white folks.

Black and brown babies adopted by white parents can directly benefit from white privilege by virtue of their relationship with their white parents. But at some point in the lives of those black and brown babies, the benefits of inherited white privilege will not be accessible to them. That is, the first thing that those living in a racialized society may likely see when they look at black and brown children adopted by white parents is their black and brown skin — not their adopted white privilege, nor their individual accomplishments and abilities. White parents adopting and raising black and brown babies need to educate themselves and their children about these harsh but true realities.

Read Black and Brown Authors to Your Children and Expose them to Positive Black and Brown Images
I continue to be amazed by how few evangelicals read books written by black and brown authors. White parents adopting or raising black and brown babies should read books to them written by black and brown authors and constantly expose them to positive black and brown images, beyond athletes and entertainers. In essence, white parents adopting black and brown babies should expose their children to white and to the many great black and brown intellectuals who have made tremendous contributions to the good of mankind. Black and brown children also need to see black and brown doctors, lawyers, teachers, preachers, scholars, business people, public safety workers, accountants, etc. to show them that black and brown people make many different contributions to the good of society, and to encourage them that they can do the same as well.

Live Multi-Ethnic Lives
White parents adopting black and brown babies should live multi-ethnic lives. The option of mono-ethnicity is forfeited when white parents voluntarily choose to adopt black or brown skinned babies. Instead, they have a responsibility to expose their children to the beautiful diversity and multi-ethnicity that exists in their communities, or at least in the world. Thus, white parents who adopt black and brown babies should look intentionally for ways to live the kind of multi-ethnic lives in their social relationships and in their church fellowships for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of the kingdom, and for the sake of their adopted children.

Privacy Preference Center