FAQs about Adoption: Transracial Adoption

McGough Family What is transracial adoption?

Transracial adoption is the joining of racially different parents and children in adoptive families.

What legislation exists concerning transracial adoption?

The Howard M. Metzenbaum Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 prohibits an agency or entity that receives federal assistance and is involved in adoptive or foster care placements from delaying or denying the placement of a child on the basis of the race, color or national origin of the adoptive or foster parent or the child involved.

In 1996, Congress amended the act with the Interethnic Adoption Provisions, which forbids agencies from denying or delaying placement of a child for adoption solely on the basis of race or national origin. The provisions removed potentially misleading language, stated that "discrimination is not to be tolerated" and strengthened compliance and enforcement procedures, including the withholding of federal funds and the right of any aggrieved individual to seek relief in federal court.

The law is intended to:
•Decrease the length of time that children wait to be adopted.
•Facilitate the recruitment and retention of foster and adoptive parents who can meet the distinctive needs of children awaiting placement.
•Eliminate discrimination on the basis of the race, color or national origin of the child or the prospective parent.

How many families are adopting transracially?

•Eight percent of all adoptions include parents and children of different races.

•One percent of white women adopt black children.
•Five percent of white women adopt children of other races.
•Two percent of women of other races adopt white children (including foreign-born children).
•Of the 31,000 children adopted from the public welfare system in fiscal year 1997, slightly fewer than 10,000 children were adopted transracially or transculturally.

What does research show?

The research that has been done suggests that transracial adoption is a viable means of providing stable homes for waiting children. Nearly a dozen studies consistently indicate that 75 percent of transracially adopted preadolescent and younger children adjust well in their adoptive homes.

In a 1995 study, transracial adoption was not found to be detrimental for the adoptee in terms of adjustment, self-esteem, academic achievement, peer relationships, or parental and adult relationships.

Read essays by transracial adult adoptees at Adoption Central

Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse

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