Angela HoekeMrs. KoopmansEng 12: British Literature26 Jan 2018The Fight for Equality in Interracial AdoptionThe United States, both internationally and domestically, adopts more children “than the rest of the world combined” (Voigt, Brown), and 40% of those children in the United States’s foster care system are adopted by parents of differing races (“Adoption Statistics”). That might be because “agencies that received federal funding are not permitted to delay or deny an adoption based on the race of the child and/or parents, as per the Howard M. Metzenbaum Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994,” (EAC). Still, interracial adoption in the United States is somewhat controversial and there is even a legal barrier in certain cases, especially in those involving Native American children. The Indian Child Welfare Act should be repealed and interracial adoption should be encouraged more because children are staying in bad homes unnecessarily, families are being torn apart, and children are being adopted by people of another race as a last resort.Children all throughout the United States are suffering because they are staying in insubstantial homes unnecessarily. Homes resulting in emotional and/or physical abuse, including neglect, aren’t providing an appropriate surrounding for children to grow up in. One of the ethnic groups most affected by this problem is Native American Children. 56% of Native American children compared to 51% of other children in substitute care had a goal of returning home or into the care of a relative (Plantz). While that is not a bad goal, many of the homes they are returning to are not acceptable. Compared to the national average, Native Americans have a child abuse rate that is two times higher (Schaefer Riley). In fact, Native American children affected by the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 are being given “unequal and substandard treatment according to Adi Dynar, a research attorney for the institute,” (Laird). Because children are returning to bad homes, they are the ones facing the unfortunate consequences. As a result, a little over 1,000 abused children died in one year even though half of them were known to be at risk (Ingrassia, McCormick). These children hardly have any control over their lives, and while returning to their family should be the ultimate goal for every child, that shouldn’t become more important than the safety and well-being of any child as it so often has been.Happily content families are being torn apart because of an old law that bases welfare on race. There have been numerous cases of Native American children being taken from their prospective adoptive parents and being put into the hands of their biological family members because they are said to be better fit to care for the children. One of those children was named Veronica, who was meant to be adopted by the Capobiancos. Her biological father, who isn’t Native American, wanted custody of her. Fortunately for him, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 allowed him justification because of the child’s Native American ancestry from her mother. The law ensures that biological family members are given preferential treatment; thus, he gained custody of Veronica. Her foster family is trying to regain custody of her despite the fact that cases similar to this haven’t been majorly successful (Reese). Another child greatly affected by this act was Lexi, who lived with her foster parents for four years before being taken away and put into the care of a Native American foster family (Dynar, Sandefur). Although neither of the girls was majority native, their ethnicity puts tribal governments completely in charge of their futures “if there’s any dispute over custody” (Schaefer Riley). As an unfortunate result, race is playing more of a role in lives than the capability of the foster parents. The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 is no longer in the best interest of the children; furthermore, the meaning behind the law has changed from preventing children from being removed from their native families to becoming a barrier between other races. The act was put into place for sound reason: an astounding number of Native American children were being needlessly taken from their families and placed in homes where “legitimate cultural differences” weren’t being taken into consideration (Plantz et all). Today there are programs all over the nation that help educate the parents on their child’s culture and how to instill it in their children. While the law does still have some significance, it just isn’t completely necessary anymore. Since the act became federal law, it has been challenged several times. Critics claim that it puts “Native American children in an unequal position” (McCarthy). The law enables Native American tribes to “abort adoption proceedings, or even take children from foster homes, solely because the children have a minuscule quantum of American Indian blood” (Will). The tribes are given complete control over full blooded Native Americans; furthermore, if they can prove that a child undergoing state custody hearings has any Native American ancestry whatsoever, they have full power over them, too. When looking for a home for Native children, they presume that a Native household is “in their best interest” even though a placement in such a home cannot be blocked “because of poverty, substance abuse, or ‘nonconforming social behavior'” (Will). The law may still be helping to preserve their culture; nevertheless, in the end it is doing more harm than good. Although the Indian Child Welfare Act should be repealed and interracial adoption should be encouraged more, critics may argue that children raised in interracial households are having identity issues and losing vital ties to their culture. As a teenager growing into adulthood, everyone went through their own sets of problems trying to figure out who they are. A BBC presenter named Nicky Campbell, who is African American, was adopted by white parents as a baby. She warns that adopting interracially creates “an extra layer of identity problems for children”. Being a teenager is hard enough without adding any more problems (Foster). She is not the only individual to feel that way: Rachel Noerdlinger and her brother were also African Americans adopted into white families. She affirms that she did not have the chance to find her identity until meeting other black women in college. Her final thoughts are that a child should not be placed in a home of a different race unless it is the “last resort” (Dunham). While that may be ideal, it is not the case in some places. In South Dakota, Native Americans make up about 15% of the population, and represent around 50% of the children in the foster care system. The Indian Child Welfare Act aims to place native children with native families; however, an investigation discovered that their efforts do not have a high success rate. According to an NPR study, “90 percent of children in South Dakota are placed in non-native families” (McCarthy). Unfortunately, the affected children are losing important ties to their lineage without knowing it. A common argument against interracial adoption is that children are having identity issues and losing their culture, but it’s more important for children to be safe and loved than brought up by people of their own race. For decades, there were legal and societal barriers between races, and now there really isn’t anything stopping interracial adoption, except for the Indian Child Welfare Act and an incomplete acceptance of the people. Thousands of children are adopted by parents of another race every single year, yet some people disagree with this. While identity issues aren’t the best, neither is being stuck in foster care. Parents of one race might not know everything about how to raise a child of another race, yet there aren’t that many differences. For any matters that the parents lack information on, they can read, watch videos, and even take classes. In fact, in the Chicago area an adoption agency holds a “Caring for Afro-textured Hair and Skin” class. The class, having been sold out since it became available, has been extremely successful (Miller Rubin). Perfect hair and skin aren’t vital for survival; however, the class is just another resource that has made transracial adoption a little easier for many people. Mark Fiddler, belonging to the Turtle Mountain band of Chippewa Indians and having previously worked as a Minnesota public defender for years, used to agree that it was best for Native American children to be raised by Native American parents; however, after working with a myriad of foster children, he came to the realization that it’s “much more important for them to be in safe and stable homes, regardless of the race of the parents,” (Schaefer Riley). Mark Fiddler may have been against interracial adoption at one time, but he completely changed his mind after seeing firsthand what foster care can do to a child. For a child to be placed in an unsuitable home just because their race doesn’t allow them to be adopted by another race is putting some children in an unequal position. Children just need a home that can give them a quality upbringing and a chance to be happy.Throughout the United States, there are issues revolving around interracial adoption, and there shouldn’t be. Although race isn’t supposed to hinder adoptions, it happens more often than it should. Some children are being taken from foster parents without reason and others are being sent to unsafe homes. Children, no matter what their color, should be able to be adopted by willing and able parents that can provide a safe and carefree childhood for them. For this to happen, the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 needs to be repealed and interracial adoption has to be further promoted. While the country already adopts more than its fair share from around the world and from home, there are innumerable children of all races currently waiting for a home. With some changes to the system, many of them might be able to find their forever family. Works Cited”Adoption Statistics.” Adoption Network, adoptionnetwork.com/adoption-statistics.Bonnie, Miller Rubin. “White Parents, Black Hair Care.” Chicago Tribune, Apr 11, 2011. 7, https://search.proquest.com/docview/861194750?accountid=45407. Dunham, Kemba J. “White Mama, Black Baby.” Essence, Sep, 2012, pp. 160-161, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com. Dynar, Aditya, and Timothy Sandefur. “For this 6-Year-Old, the Law Sees Only Race.” Wall Street Journal, 25 Mar, 2016, pp. A.11, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com. EAC. “Transracial/Interracial Adoption: Facts, Tips, & Statistics You Should Know.” RainbowKids.com, 16 Nov. 2016, www.rainbowkids.com/adoption -stories/transracial-interracial-adoption-facts-tips-statistics-you-should-know-1828.Foster, Patrick. “Adoption from a Different Race Harms Children, Says BBC Star.” Daily Telegraph, 05 Jul, 2016, pp. 10, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com. Ingrassia, Michele, and John McCormick. “Why Leave Children with Bad Parents?” Newsweek, Apr, 1994, pp. 52+, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com. Laird, Lorelei. “Children of the Tribe.” ABA Journal, 2016, pp. 40-48, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.comMcCarthy, Simone. “Should Native American Families have Precedence in Foster Placement?” Christian Science Monitor, 10 Jun, 2016, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.comPlantz, Margaret C., and others. “Indian Child Welfare: A Status Report.” Children today, 1989, pp. 24-29, SIRS Issues Researcher,https://sks.sirs.com. Reese, Diana. “Baby Veronica: White Or Native American? which Parents have the Right to Raise Her? (Posted 2013-01-06 01:44:34).” The Washington Post, Jan 06, 2013. , https://search.proquest.com/docview/1266520730?accountid=45407. Schaefer Riley, Naomi. “Put the Kids First.” Weekly Standard, Jul, 0003, pp. 18-19, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com. Voigt, Kevin, and Sophie Brown. “International Adoptions in Decline as Number of Orphans Grows.” CNN, Cable News Network, 17 Sept. 2013, www.cnn.com /2013/09/16/world/international-adoption-main-story-decline/index.html.Will, George F. “Kids Pay the Price for Tribes.” Washington Post, 03 Sep, 2015, pp. A.23, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.

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