Oct 24, 2011

Black parents who adopt white children confront myths
Mary Riley, her adoptive sons Austin, Dustyn and Justyn pictured here with the judge who handled the adoption and her 28-year-old daughter Wanda.
I can't help but wonder whether or not Hollywood would turn a story like this into a movie.
(TheGrio) - Mary Riley knows what some people have to say when they see her and her boys. But, the 68-year-old Georgia resident says simply: "I pay no mind to that."

The stares, the occasional negative comments and the questions are a fact of life, she acknowledges, for as long as she raises them.

Riley, 68, is black and her three sons -- Austin, Dustyn and Justyn -- are white.

Transracial adoptions have taken place for the past 20 years and have increased significantly since 1994 with the Multiethnic Placement Act, which made it illegal to discriminate in adoption because of race.

Most transracial adoptions involve white parents adopting black children and the controversy surrounding that isn't new. However, despite this influx of transracial adoptions, the number of black families adopting outside of their race is almost unheard of -- in some opinions, rightfully so.

The issue is thorny for different reasons. Chief among them is the argument that with a disproportionate number of black children available for adoption, there is no reason for a black person to adopt a child outside of his or her race.

Gloria King, executive director of Black Adoption Placement and Resource Center in Oakland, Ca., explains that black children enter the foster care system at the same rate as white children, but they do not exit at the same rate.

In 2010, black children left the system at a rate of 24 percent and white children left at a rate of 43 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

King says it's been difficult for black children to get adopted due to particular circumstances, age and, sometimes, myths -- such as black children are supposedly more troubled or harder to raise.


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