Black Kids Do Get Adopted–By White, European Families
It’s a sad, seemingly familiar stories. Children wait around to get adopted and the last ones to go are black children as couples scramble to adopt babies or look to China, Russia and other countries to add to their family. A fascinating article shows us there’s a lot we don’t know about international adoption. White families in Canada, but more and more in Europe, are adopting more black children from the United States.
Overseas adoption of American children has been most common in Canada but increasingly, kids are going to Europe, especially the Netherlands. Concerned about where children from abroad actually come from–were they kidnapped? What’s their health history?–European families find they don’t have the same uncertainty when it comes to American children. And for gay couples, American children are really their only option. Same-sex families find that the United States is really one of the few countries where they can find a child to complete their family.
And it’s not just European families seeking out American children; birth mothers and even states look to Europe when trying to place children. American birth mothers who choose where their children go feel they’re giving their black or biracial children the chance to escape racism. Noting that children of color get adopted at lower rates, some states give priority to black children when an overseas family starts looking for a baby.
But why the high rates of adoption in the Netherlands? The growth there seems to have been a word-of-mouth effect of one lawyer’s adoption case win. And the Dutch are just more open with their families, apparently. They want a child of any color in the families and more receptive to the idea of an open adoption.
That doesn’t mean they don’t do their best to make their black babies feel comfortable in their skin and understand their roots. CNN attended a picnic for about 70 Dutch families who’d adopted their children the United States, many of whom are black and biracial. Marielle and Marnix van den Biggelaar know how important this event is for their two young adopted children:
“It’s really nice to see them all together and to talk to each other about experiences — with their hair and with their skin — and they’re all the same people with the same mindset, so it’s really fun for the kids and for us, as well.”
The couple encourages their children to embrace their American origins, celebrating Thanksgiving each year with other families who adopted children from the United States. “We try to tell them about their culture and about their background,” said Marielle, who decided to adopt after years of unsuccessful fertility treatment. “We would love them to (start speaking) English when they’re really young because if they want to go back (to America) and if they want to see where they’re born, it would be nice if they can speak to … their parents if they are going to meet them.”
It’s sad black children in the United States have such a hard time getting adopted, so any family willing to open its home–and its hearts–for a child should be applauded. We hope the love adoptive parents give is strong enough to fight against racism (it’s silly to think it doesn’t exist at all in Europe or Canada) and any fish-out-of-water feelings an adopted child might feel. Do you know of children being adopted into European families?