Where We Are Tbday: Numbers, Practices, and Policies
Adoption Supervisor: There will be many social problems when the child eventually leaves home, leaves the protected environment. . . what is life going to be like for him . . . at age 18?1
Such were the statements made in July 1984 by a black county adoption supervisor, a white adoptive applicant, and a state's attorney about a white couple's attempt to adopt a mildly retarded black three-year-old suffering from a form of cerebral palsy and poor vision. The child had been in their foster care since birth.
A belief that transracial adoption (TRA) is unnatural and therefore "bound to be unsuccessful" continues to be popular among many child welfare professionals. Many adoption officials claim that there are studies that indicate that TRA is too fragile an experience not to result in serious problems once the TRAs leave their families.4 But to this date no data have been presented that support the belief that in the long run TRA is detrimental to those involved: the transracial adoptees, the adoptive parents, or the siblings. On the contrary, evidence accumulated by us and other researchers over more than a decade of investigating the effects of TRA indicates positive results. 5
Discussing a recent study on children of (racial) intermarriage, Alvin Poussaint observed, "We have lots of reasons to suspect that an interracial background can be an advantage to children in this society . . . [and that they] may be a more successful group in this society than has previously been believed."6 Although referring to children with racially different parents, the fact that these children live in both the black and white worlds makes them