ty your ancestors came from; this could
ty to learn about their heritage. Heritage, what is it and how important is it? Can children adopted by people of a different race other than their own learn about their own heritage? Is heritage more important than adoption? Is a child better served staying in foster care with those of his own race or being adopted by those outside his race? These are some of the questions I will explore in this report. I will compare a same race adopted adult with an interracially adopted adult.
First lets explore what heritage is. Is it the kind of hair you have or the color of your skin? As defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, in 1983 edition, heritage is: Something passed down from proceeding generations; tradition. Heritage includes your culture that your ancestors associated with. It includes traditions of the land where your ancestors came from; this could be language, foods, dances, customs, religion and many others. Some people take great pride in where they came from and others do not care. How important heritage is to a person depends of the individual. The more you learn about your own heritage, the more enlightened you are to others.
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Some families celebrate their heritage by cooking certain types of food, with recipes handed down from generation to generation. Others celebrate holidays differently or not at all.America is known as the melting pot, where people of different backgrounds live together. People with different background marry and start their own traditions.
These differences are not visible, but skin color and hair texture are visible. In Ivor Gabers article, He writes how a Christian single mum adopted an olive skinned Muslim, because both are black. Their heritage is different but the skin color is the same.
Does this make a child learn his/her heritage from its parents? My point is that heritage is not skin color. In a predominately white community, a black person may feel inferior to a white person. This happens because of the skin tone difference, not because of a persons heritage.
The feeling of inferiority occurs because the person has far less people to associate their difference with. People tend not to recognize differences as positive. This is proved in most high schools.
To prove this statement I have to provide the background information. If the popular trend is to wear your shirt with one sleeve cut off., and everyone came to school with one sleeve cut off the trend would be positive. If only two people came to school with one sleeve cut off the trend would be negative. The more people you have that share a commonality, the more likely you will feel positive. Being that having one sleeve cut off shirts are a noticeable difference; you can try to relate this to a persons skin color or hair texture. There are only two kids in high school that has a different hair texture.
The kids must now look at the positively portal of individuality. They have to try to assimilate their hairstyles to be accepted positively. It would be nice to say everyone accepts a person based on their individuality and not on the popular norms. Some people just do not accept differences and that is where I think racism and inferiority occur. A strong knowledge of one heritage can lead to a strong individual.
An individual goes through stages of identifying with themselves, such as a female or male, black or white, and other such issues as heritage. An interracial adoption occurs and the child has to deal with the difference in skin tone. The child must then identify all difference as positive. A child can have a hard time dealing with the differences, but a familys love can help them. Being placed into a secure and loving home is more important to the child growing up, than if the parents are the same color as them. The child can not learn about his/ her own heritage from their parents. The child has to watch movies, or read historical resources, to learn about the differences in heritage.
The parents can influence the child to do so by positively encouraging them to acknowledge their heritage.Historically, it was not until the 1960s that trans-racial adoptions were legal. Before the 60s a child that was black would only be placed with a black family. It wasnt until the warm glow of the decade of peace, love and harmony, middle -class white families who adopted black children were seen as courageous and far-sighted, prepared to risk the wrath of racist neighbours in the cause of building a multiracial society according to Ivor Gaber (pg. 22). In the 1960s people wanted to harmonize the world.
They wanted to have everyone love each other regardless of race or heritage. In 1972 the National Association of Black Social Workers, helped to discredit the 1960s idea of trans-racial adoptions. They said that interracial adoptions are tantamount to cultural genocide and arguing that, without exception, only black parents should raise black children. In 1991n The NABSW restated their claims by saying African-American children should not be placed with white parents under any circumstances. The current stance has changed to trans-racial adoptions are allowed only after all efforts to reunite the childs family or obtain adoption within the same race have been exhausted.The view point has changed significantly as time has occurred.
In President Bill Clintons letter to congressional leaders he is standing strongly behind the Adoption Promotion and Stability Act of 1996. He also stated Promoting adoption is one of the most important things we can do to strengthen American families and give more children what every child in America deservesloving parents and a healthy home. (pg. 1) The House approved legislation that would penalize states whose adoption agencies delay placing a child in order to find a family of the same race but also give most adoptive families a $5,000 tax credit.
The amount of minority children in adoption agencies is above the amount of minority adoptive parents. This leads to children being left in foster care programs, instead of being adopted by a family. According to Marcus Mabrys article because of policies of nonracialism, the government doesnt track how many whites are adopting black babies. Adoption agencies in the past would delay a childs placement due to lack of same race parents. To me the permanent placement into a strong secure family is more important than the race.Socially children with different race parents are not common. The difference is not fully accepted, because racism still is prevalent.
Idealistically a familys love would shadow the pains of racism. Unfortunately a person can not change the whole worlds attitude. I would like all differences to be recognized in a positive way. Social aspects still remain that a white mother pushing a cart in a grocery store with a black baby in it is negatively associated with a black father. This is racism and is understood that a bi-racial child has to suffer now.
I question why we look longer at differences and dont accept them right away. People need to get used to the differences and fully accept them. Change takes time so many things that are seen as different could be the norm in the future. If we could change our social identities to accept other heritages, we would take care of racism.In my research I concluded that the very purpose of discovering ones heritage was not as important as matching the skin tones to adoption agencies. A white child goes with white parents and a black child goes with black parents.
This statement to me is clearly racist. I disagree with that statement. Adoption is to provide a family that is permanent, secure and loving to a child. If a same race family is not found a child should and is after one years delay eligible to be interracial adoption. The family is check by the agencies to ensure a healthy positive environment for the child. They do small checks to see what is known about the others heritage, and the community of which the child will be raised.
They check the community because they want to know how ethnic the childs surrounding are going to be. The importance of this wasnt clearly understood until I realized why. A child of different skin color is left asking why they are the color they are and not the same color as his/her adoptive parents.
Positive racial identity is the answer. A person needs role models in their lives to project a positive race identity. So if someone lives in a mainly white neighborhood and has no black people to model after, they become confused as to what they are, white or black. The parents can offer all the positive reinforcements there are, and the child will have no one to discuss the difference with. This is very important to a child to have someone else understand what he or she is going through.
Children want something that will make them the same as everyone else; we call that assimilation. When we become adults we learn about individualism. That is when we discover who we are and what we want to become.
This usually starts to occur when the person leaves his/her home and sets off to be an individual. My research shows that this is usually when a person recognizes the different heritages. Most children do not care about different heritages, just about looking different. In countless articles I read people continuously said that a child need a permanent placement in order to excel in life rather than not have a home because of a color difference.
If a child remains in foster care they will never have the permanent family that they deserve.As part of my research I interviewed a close friend of mine who was adopted by same race parents with different heritages. In my interview I concluded that the most important aspect of a child growing up is love and encouragement through their parents. My questions were to compare a same race adoption and an interracial adoption and the way they learned about their heritage. Your biological parents are the people who are supposed to teach you of your ancestries and cultural traditions.
Because a mother puts a child up for adoption she losses the opportunity to teach and install her values and heritage to the child. The culture that a child is raised in, is what the child identifies with. Culture has a lot to do with the community of which you are raised. When asked if she would have rather had different race parents my interviewee stated that if someone adopts a child it is out of love. Love sees no color.
My parents taught me how to be a good person. Race is too much a part of the American culture now days. People are people, black or white.
So no, I wouldnt have cared if my parents were a different race. She had the understanding that she would have been taught a whole different culture if she had been adopted interracially and said she was just glad her parents loved and cared for her because she had no one else. When asked Where did you learn your heritage from? she stated, that she knew very little about her own heritage of Greek and Irish, but her adoptive parents brought her up with Italian and Russian traditions. When first asked what her nationality was she used to say Italian and Russian, but later learned the difference. In an article by Asher Isaacs who was some one who had been adopted interracially, he claims that he was left confused, as to which group he belonged, black or white. He did not learn his heritage from his adoptive parents. His biological parents are, father is black and mother is white.
His adoptive parents are white and Jewish. He learned to ignore the fact that he was black and that white people were inferior to black people. He used to questioned what was wrong with him and where did he fit in. He later learned of his heritage through someone who shared his bi-racial identity and taught him positive racial identity. He started learning withdrawn when he became confused with racism.
Heritage is not where racism comes from. An individual has the opportunity to change how they feel about another persons facts of his heritage through reading African American history and literature. He is also half-white of which he mentions no heritage from. He writes I have learned that all Black children need to develop a positive racial identity in order to value themselves and their identity rather than succumb to racism and prejudice which may lead them to feel inadequate or inferior regardless of their individual accomplishments.Heritage is very important to him, because he claims that he became culture. If another persons culture means that their skin tone is dark or light, than that is all it is.
A person must have racial identity, because all we see is appearance, which only leads to the obvious differences of skin color and hair texture. That difference must be acknowledged as good differences. A child who is adopted losses the ability to learn that differences are positive because their own biological parents heritage is not passed on.
The problem is not the race it is the heritage loosing its value. In my hypothesis I stated that skin color has no way of effecting the knowledge of ones heritage. In concluding my interview it was apparent that the only reason skin color mattered is because of racism. I was right in saying that an adopted person learns about their heritage through historical resources.
I did not understand the importance of a positive racial identity. In realizing the importance of positive racial and cultural heritage I understand why so many people are racist. When asked the question of where does one learn racism in the beginning of this semester I thought it was from society. I now realize the significance of heritage. A person can not forget where they have come from in order to have gotten where they are today.
People take for granted that only a few generations ago all cultures were different and not one big American style. People used to accept a person based on his/her culture. In todays society acceptance is based on appearance. Heritage is the traditions, customs, foods, and special qualities, such as religious holidays. In America we have the standard holidays and religions of a white Christian family. A person asked about their own heritage will tell you what nationality they are, not the tradition of their people. We have some how diminished the importance of understanding where a person has come from in the United States of America.
People often flee to where their ancestries once lived to learn of their own culture and heritage. The reason a persons heritage is so important is to help find meaning in life. Being a citizen of the U.S.A. I would like to see other cultures, and have much to learn about my own. I have made cookies and other types of traditional cultural food from my own heritage.
I have recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. I was not adopted so I have these special traditions that adopted children do not. I was not adopted so I have theses special traditions that adopted children do not. I have concluded that the most important aspect of a child growing up is the love encouragement and stability from their parents. Adopted children can learn about their heritage from videos, books and others who share their heritage.
They may not have the same family traditions or recipes, but they will understand where they came from. If a person knows where their ancestors and traditions come from they can know their own heritage.