Why Don’t White Folks Adopt White Babies?

So … have you heard about ex-Playboy model Holly Madison adopting a child “from either Africa or South Korea”?

The usual reasons I hear for white people adopting children of are color are:

  • White babies aren’t as plentiful, so I’m “open” to any race.
  • “I don’t see color.”
  • I specifically want to “help” an AA baby. (I hear this one a LOT)

How much I believe any of these reasons is not important right now. The thing I always wonder is …. why would a parent seek out a child that doesn’t look like them? I can even understand the logic that when you’re middle-class you have to take what you get from foster-adopt or private adoption if you want a kid now, but when you have enough money get a designer baby from anywhere in the world, why not choose a baby that looks like you?

I never see families of color looking to adopt white babies. I don’t think my family would even consider a white baby. Why would we? We want a baby that looks like us, has beautiful hair like us, can share in the glory of our ethnic heritages like us. Am I wrong for that?

There must be some piece that I’m not getting, but I’m not sure what it is. Any thoughts?


One thought on “Why Don’t White Folks Adopt White Babies?

  1. I am sure there are a host of reasons why white people tend to adopt nonwhite babies and you mentioned some of them. In my case, as someone who as adopted by a white family (I am not white), my parents had a few goals in mind (I should also note that I was adopted from India) :
    1) They wanted another child and felt that if there are children without parents they might as well try to help one of those children out.
    2) They found Indians to be more “attractive” than other races and so sought out an Indian baby. I admit I felt a little exoticised when I heard this.
    3) Additionally in many places, probably the U.S. included (but certainly in India), orphans carry a strong negative stigma that generally makes it much harder for those individuals to build stable lives for themselves. Thus, a relatively affluent couple (white or not) in the U.S. can raise the child in a much more stable environment that makes it much more likely for the individual to build a stable life.

    Of course those are only a few of the reasons why my parents adopted me and many other people will have greatly different reasons. In reference to your question of “why not choose a baby that looks like you?” I have a few thoughts as well. I think that the motive to adopt plays the biggest role in how people choose the specific child they end up adopting. For example I plan on adopting and I have no real reason to want to choose someone who will end up “looking” like me. I don’t really care, the point for me is to provide a home for a child that I think will be able to live well in our family. It is true that often times adoptees who don’t look like their family often feel separate and that can be a damaging experience, but I think the ability of the family to help the adoptee that the feeling of separation is based on appearance not feelings of familial connection (I think this is incredibly hard to do). I guess I think about marriage in the same way. I don’t plan on marrying someone because they look like me, or at least that is not a requisite for me to consider marrying them. I plan on marrying someone who I get along well with and who I think I can build a life with, their similarity in looks to me is part of that decision, but not a determinant. (I should add that I’m not trying to say I don’t see color as some people proclaim (falsely I think), I certainly do I just don’t feel a need to marry and Indian woman necessarily nor adopt an Indian baby.

    Whoa, sorry that was such a mouthful. I hope it was helpful in that it provides a different perspective. I’m sure many people would disagree with some of the stuff I’ve said, maybe you will too, but I found it to be a real dilemma that anyone who plans to adopt must face.

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