The other day as I sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, I picked up a free copy of the local newspaper. The newspaper is titled The Voice as it publishes the opinions of its writers and whatever they feel is journalism-worthy. The title of an article at the bottom of the front page is what catches my eye; it’s titled “Why Don’t More Blacks Adopt?”
I read the first few paragraphs and as I kept reading, I started to cringe. Suddenly I wished the doctor would hurry up and call my name so I could put down this terrible piece of crap of an opinion. I wasn’t sure whether to be angry that someone actually thought this was the real reason why more blacks weren’t adopting and the newspaper published it or to laugh at the fact that this person thought it was the true reason.
The reason, the author of the article claims, is that more blacks don’t adopt because of slavery. Yes, folks, slavery. Slavery is the “true” reason why black people aren’t adopting. That must be the answer to everything, right? Of course not.
Now, as a disclaimer, I don’t have a degree in African-American studies or anything like that. I’m just a black woman living in the predominantly black area of my city. I’m a regular black person as I read the article, as many other average blacks after me will also pick up this newspaper and make the “WTF” face while reading.
Slavery is the one part of Black culture that causes many of us to cringe, get angry, cry or completely ignore it because its memories are too painful. If asked what the most heinous part of slavery was, many Blacks would probably respond, “How children were ripped out of their enslaved mother’s arms to be sold and never seen again.”
Now, maybe this article was written by someone who has a degree in black studies. I do not want to seem naïve. Yes, we all know about slavery. It was terrible, yeah, we get it. Children were taken from their parents, and all that good stuff. However, I do not cry or get angry on the topic of slavery nor are the “memories to painful”. What memories? Are memories of slavery suddenly coded into our DNA to give us PTSD-like flashbacks? I have no memories of slavery whatsoever and neither does my great-grandmother. I do not suffer from the trauma of slavery.
People who have relatives that survived the Holocaust may feel like this. The Holocaust is very much recent as there are still living survivors today. The Holocaust is a touchy subject for a lot of people, but slavery is not (to me at least).
The last thing on a lot of black folks mind when it comes to adoption is slavery. What do people want from us? A few weekends ago, Don Lemon was on CNN with his “No Talking Points” segment yelling at the black community. Don Lemon is a gay black man with a white boyfriend, so go figure.
Here’s a few real reasons why more blacks aren’t adopting children:
1. If it’s not ours, we probably don’t want it
That might be a given, unless the person you’re taking care of is a family member. Many children are raised by an aunt, grandparent, godparent, or an older sibling. However, if we didn’t pop it out from our vagina, we most likely don’t want the responsibility of someone else’s kid.
2. Adoption can be expensive
U.S. foster adoption is the least expensive adoption route, which can be less than $5, 000. Adopting a newborn from an U.S. agency can cost between 20k-40k. Adopting internationally can cost between 20k-50k. I don’t know about you, but a lot of us don’t have that kind of money to “buy” a child. I can do a lot with that money. We can’t all be like Angelina Jolie.
3. Raising kids is expensive
According to CNN, the average cost to raise a child until 18 years old is $241, 080. If I didn’t have my own child nor adopt, I would be $241, 000 richer. ‘Nough said.
4. Some of us are single
You’re a single black man/woman and want to adopt? No can do, buddy. Although it’s not as strict now as adoption used to be, most agencies want to place children in stable families with a mother and a father. So, unless you’re wealthy with a live in nanny, maybe you can get away with it. If not, you’re out of luck.
5. 75% of black children are born out-of-wedlock
That could be a factor in why black kids make up 29% of the number of children entering foster care each year. Are we expected to clean up the mess of our single sistas?
There are a number of reasons why more blacks aren’t adopting, but slavery isn’t one of them. I could care less about slavery when making my decision to have/adopt children. That being said, I’m off to go talk to my SO about adopting a child as we’ve yet to have one of our own.