I saw a beautiful adoption picture this morning.  It was of a mom and dad, each kissing a cheek of a gorgeous baby. The caption read: “When God made her, he had us in mind.” It was compelling. I found myself looking at it for a long time, enjoying the words, and wondering if I should share it on social media before it dawned on me that, lovely as it was, it was an image of adoption that I no longer found familiar – the child in the picture was white, just like her adoptive parents.

It wasn’t always true, I still remember my reaction and depth of sadness when, during our adoption screening process, I read an article on adoption and came face to face with a number of images of white families cuddling white adoptive children (which, despite any statistics to the contrary, was still the norm in the media until recently). The emotion, while intense, turned out to be short-lived. When our social worker unexpectedly ended our final session by asking if we would accept a white child, I was able to say with certainty that she should rather place the child with someone desperate for a same-race adoption. I still wonder why she asked (our agency doesn’t even place white children). Regardless, it was a defining moment. In that instant, I knew beyond question that trans-racial adoption was our first choice, not just our only choice.

Nonetheless, I still find myself occasionally remembering that moment and in trying to understand why this issue is so emotive and why so few people adopt trans-racially, it is a memory that I draw on. Perhaps in order to understand why people do adopt black children it is helpful to first ask why they don’t…

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