There is a federal law on the books that prohibits race from being a factor in an adoption. This Multiethnic Placement Act (MEPA) aims to remove barriers to the adoption of children of color.
Bethany Christian Services says the law needs to change. The agency believes that the law limits the proper education of parents before a trans-racial adoption. Indeed, according to the MEPA, all adoptions should be treated the same whether white parents adopt white children or children of color.
After George Floyd’s death, there was an outcry from Bethany’s families who wanted help talking about race with their children. For now, parents who want more resources can attend optional trainings run by Bethany or outside organizations like Be the Bridge.
“From the start, right from the jump, a white parent should have the tools, and he should have the language and understanding of how to help a child of color become a healthy racial identity; become a healthy sense of who God is. created them and all God created them, ”said Tiffany Henness, educator at Be the Bridge, in trans-racial adoption training.
Henness is also an Asian American and was adopted into a white family as a child.
“What really strikes me when I look back on my life is that my parents tried to encourage me to have a positive identity, but they didn’t know some of the things that were in the environment around us that Teach me to hate the Chinese or Asian part of myself, because that’s what made me different, it’s what made me different from my family, ”Henness told CBN News.
She says that even though her family have done their best, she feels their philosophy of “color blind” is shortsighted.
“I couldn’t educate them at four, eight or 16. I didn’t know much so if my parents had had any training if they had had relationships with Asian Americans who helped them understand the context of some of the comments or jokes … they could have been. be proactive as parents to help guide me through these things, ”Henness explained.
Yet not everyone in the adoption community agrees that this type of special training is required.
“You want to know more, it’s kind of a natural thing, you don’t need an agency to force you, it’s a natural curiosity because you want to learn how to better raise this child”, said Ryan Bomberger, co-founder of the Radiance Foundation.
Bomberger was also raised in a trans-racial household. Adopted in 1971, his parents defied restrictions on placing black children in white families.
“They understood that they were called to love. They did not decide to adopt a black child, a Vietnamese child, a Native American, they simply wanted to adopt those who, according to the world, would be unwanted and unloved.” , Bomberger said. mentionned.
Statistically, there are more black children who languish in foster care than black families who volunteer to adopt them. Bomberger is concerned about Bethany’s desire to not only consider race when adopting but also assess prospective parents, which will be a barrier for white families. Which, he says, could prevent them from adopting children of color.
“I have a lot of parents who come to see me at all of the Radiance Foundation events across the country, and they’ve been dissuaded from adopting just because they’re white. Either because they don’t have a certain quota of black friends, or they don’t have a certain quota of Asian friends, and that to me is really destructive, ”Bomberger told CBN News.
Other critics claim that Bethany is bowing to the “awakening movement”, being influenced by critical race theory and moving to the left.
In a statement to CBN News, Bethany said she will continue to celebrate trans-racial adoptions and that what they are trying to do is “empower families who take a trans-racial approach to understand their adopted children and support them in their development sense of who they are. “
Henness says she focuses on those who want to listen and learn because she knows all too well what’s at stake.
“You can discredit or not listen or whatever because it’s a ‘Woke Movement’ thing. But I’m a person trying to figure out who God made me to be, and how come that I experience the world this way, and what my place is here, and that’s really what it comes down to, ”Henness said.
Bethany calls for all US child protection policies to be updated to ensure that all children in the system achieve an equal outcome.