Adoption Adventures

Follow Cory and Rebecca on their quest to adopt!

What’s your “type”?

on December 7, 2011

When I first contacted a well-regarded agency in our state about adopting, I was surprised at the response. I got the following e-mail:

 

Thank you for your inquiry. Please share with me some information about your family so I can answer your questions about our programs.

 

1. what race child to you hope to adopt?

2. what are you and your husband’s ages?

3. do you have any children in your home?

4. what are your heritages?

 

We didn’t end up working with that agency, but since then have been asked to fill out several questionnaires asking what age, race, gender, physical ability, health and sibling situation child we’d be willing to adopt. Although I understand that there are many, many kids waiting to be adopted in foster care and these questions are designed to narrow the field of potential family/child(ren) matches, it’s still a challenge to do so. A love of animals isn’t tied to a particular race, just as an interest in learning new things isn’t an age and enjoyment of music isn’t determined by gender. Do most people have a physical description of the child they want so clearly in their mind that they can fill these out easily? Perhaps having that is like visualizing a goal in order for it to materialize? If so, I guess I visualize a kid in one of those creepy, face-covering unitards. I mean, if a three-year-old little red-haired girl named Francie pops up, I’ll know she’s ours. Other than that one improbable circumstance, our and a child’s interests and temperament seem far more likely to determine a successful match than some of our/their other characteristics.

This isn't really how I picture our kid.

To be sure, I know we don’t live in a race-neutral society where white grownups adopting and raising children of color can just pretend that racism doesn’t exist or not recognize that there have been issues historically with children of color being put into care to be raised by white people. But it doesn’t make sense to rule out entire races of children before knowing anything else about them as individuals just because there are special considerations to keep in mind with transracial adoption. Likewise, the age of a child in foster care might indicate that they require a more “experienced” family. Or it might not. A four-year-old who has lived in 12 different homes and doesn’t have the capacity to understand what’s going on may need more specialized care than a 14-year-old whose parent recently passed away. Our personalities and lifestyle may be more comfortable for a child who looks nothing like us than a kiddo who could be a tiny vision of one of us, but is a deeply religious football fanatic who loves going hunting.

 

So, we’ve tried to stay as open-minded as possible going through the home study and child search process. We’ve put a few parameters on our search based on our own ages, parenting (in)experience, and lack of medical knowledge, but otherwise would prefer to make potential match decisions based on who would best fit into our family, and who we would be most fit to parent.  Time and social workers will tell if our method is a good one or completely naïve. (I’m guessing it will be some of both.)


One Response to “What’s your “type”?”

  1. […] I go further, let me set up a little bit of a background.  As previously mentioned, we have collectively tried to remain open to just about as wide of a selection of […]

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