Listen Siblings, I come in peace,
“The only thing that is humiliating is helplessness.” — African Proverb (KMT)
After several kidnappings, Africans became wise to the Europeans and fought them wherever, whenever. Realizing the harm in direct enslavement, the Europeans began indirect enslavement. Under the guise of piety or charity, they would adopt African children, make Bi-racial children or Mis-educate our youth and use them against African people. It worked. In Africa, Africans occupied the lowest rung, despite that they were on their ancestral land.
There is an old saying, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” If interracial adoption, interracial procreation and mis-education elevate the European everywhere in the world, why would the European fix it? Europeans don’t. But Sister Paige Adams asks the more potent question: if it’s broken (for us) why don’t we fix it? African children are being unjustly removed from their parents, they are being sold to even the lowest bidders, and they are in desperate need of loving families: “Why aren’t more Blacks adopting?” As a seasoned adoption advocate, Sister Paige asks just that. Subscribe, share, love.
Why Aren’t More Blacks Adopting?
By Paige A. Adams, Esq.*
I have been blogging about adoption and foster care for about seven months now to bring awareness to the larger society about the overwhelming numbers of children, (primarily Black children), suffering in the system. A question was then posited in my spirit asking, “Why don’t more Black people adopt?” I tried to render a logical answer but the topic is so delicate it requires much thought. After pondering the question for a while, I realized there were several other questions that needed to be addressed. The first one being, how can a people that have been enslaved and oppressed for hundreds of years, abandon their young to the very society that oppressed them?
Up until this moment, I had never considered this aspect of the issue. Slavery is the one part of Black culture that causes many Blacks to cringe, get angry, cry or completely ignore it because its memories are too painful. If you were to ask any Black person today, what they felt was the most heinous part of slavery, the majority would probably respond: how children were ripped out of their enslaved mother’s arms to be sold and never seen again. This act of cruelty can be equated today with the involuntary termination of parental rights. When a parent’s rights are terminated the child becomes legally free for adoption. Today, people can voluntarily give up these rights or in most states, the courts will determine whether the birth parents are unfit to raise their child. Such was not the case during slavery.
As a result of greed, human chattel was exchanged among slave masters as one would skillfully play a game of monopoly. Except there was no get out of jail free card. Many children were carried off to other plantations and sometimes different states to be raised by a Black Mammie whose own child was probably sold away. Is it too far-fetched to believe that some of these children may have been further abused by the Mammie as a result of her own mental anguish? Psychologists will never know how deep the scars of slavery penetrated the psyche of the slave. It could very well be that these painful memories embedded in the minds of those who suffered them inadvertently passed down through the generations as a defense mechanism; what some might call a degenerative gene or a family curse.
Could it be that some Blacks still suffer the trauma of slavery, conditioning them not to intervene on behalf of the numerous children that are abandoned every year? Or is it that we have watered the garden of assimilation so much that we have forgotten to tend to our own? Our children are in crisis and yet we’re still stuck with the idea that we are forbidden from helping them. “Tobe be a good slave for Massa:” the words of Kunta Kinte and countless other namesakes that were beaten, tormented, sold or killed for trying to save their children. Unfortunately, Kizzy didn’t stay put and she never got to see her parents alive again.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Black children make up 29% of the number of children entering foster care each year. This number is staggering as the latest U.S. census reports that Blacks only make up 13% of the population. In contrast, Whites make up 64% of the U.S. population but they only make up 41% of the children in foster care. With the disproportionate percentage of black children in foster care outpacing all other races, Black babies have once again become a commodity for the non-Black family. This time around however, they are picking up the slack from where we left off.
As the statistics show, White children do not suffer the same fate with the welfare system at the rate Blacks in the U.S do. So yes, there are less available White babies in the U.S. With the onslaught of illegal adoptions and baby stealing during the later part of the 20th century, the Hague Adoption Convention established an international agreement to safeguard intercountry adoptions. It protects children and their families against the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad. Thus, making the international adoption process longer, more expensive and more tiresome to pursue a White or lighter skinned baby. Therefore making it more rational to adopt a Black child here in the states because the process is easier, cheaper and in the U.S. there are more Black children available than there are White.
What can we expect non-Blacks to teach our children about themselves? It is quite possible that a non-Black family can infuse enough enrichment that these children grow up enlightened. They will have just enough passion and hunger to seek more wisdom on their own. But this is a huge task with many complexities. Unfortunately, a great number of these adoptees will probably hide under the cloak of confusion.
Finally, what does giving away so many children mean to us? Apparently, not much as blacks are the least likely candidate to adopt a child. Do we even care that our children are still being stolen from their parents through the modern court system; in many instances because of unsubstantiated proof of neglect and child abuse? We must stop and think about how so many of our children ended up in foster care in the first place. And why do they remain there longer than their non-Black counterparts? Is it that we’re afraid of taking on another mouth to feed; another person’s headache? Is it even possible for Blacks to awaken to a new horizon and subscribe to the Kwanzaa principle of Ujima? Ujima means: build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together. It is such a huge step to a simple solution.
*Paige A. Adams, Esq. is a 1993 graduate of Hofstra Law with an extensive work history that includes; Public Defense, a NYC and Maryland public school teacher, an Instructional Trainer for the Department of Homeland Security, a teen Life Skills Trainer, a Legal Analyst and currently works part time as Project Coordinator for Queens Community Mediation Services, Inc. whose main objective is to offer mediation services for the community on a variety of topics such as disputes between neighbors, family members and landlord/tenant. She recently downgraded her solo family law practice to serve exclusively as a Guardian ad Litem serving the counties of Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn.
As a part her family law practice, Paige became a staunch advocate for adoption. She still tweets and blogs regularly to bring awareness to the number of children awaiting the safety and warmth of a loving home. Her platform is geared toward the average middle income couple or individual that is unaware that you don’t have to possess a lot to adopt a child. She also stresses the need for African Americans to become more active in the foster care and adoption process. The intent is to share the benefits of adoption and the greater impact it has on the global society. She also shares information on the adoption process. You can follow Paige on twitter @adoption_love.com. She has also just written a book entitled “9 Reasons Why You Should Adopt.” This book is to be published soon and placed into distribution in the early part of 2013.
Paige’s latest endeavors have led her to explore the inner self and purpose driven life. In her play entitled, “Pieces,” Paige delves into the life of a fictional character named Troi Douglas. Troi is an accomplished attorney, but has been unsuccessful in every other aspect of her life and decides to kill herself. The attempt fails and through therapy, family and friends she is left to pick up the pieces to discover her life’s journey and the plans that God has intended for her. This play is anticipated to go into production towards the middle of 2013.