Black History Month is a yearly celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their key role in U.S. history.
Black History Month began in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. Starting in 1976, every American president has officially deemed February as Black History Month.
The theme this year is Black Resistance, which explores how “African Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings,” since the nation’s earliest days.
We encourage you to learn more facts about Black History Month and how you can get involved. This is a great resource to get you started.
Since this month is Black History Month, we thought it would be important to shed a light on the crucial need for diverse adoptive families. Keep reading to learn more about why diverse adoptive families are so important!
The Need for Diverse Adoptive Families
In Richmond City, 157 youth in foster care (or 80%) were black compared to 20 youth (10.2%) who were white.
However, 2018-2019 national data shows that 180 adoptive families referred were from black backgrounds compared to 6,500 who were white. The national data also shows that there are far more black youth in the foster care system than there are black adoptive families. Eight percent of the national foster care system is composed of black youth, and only 2.7% of the people approved to be adoptive families are black.
We also know from the data that black youth wait the longest to be adopted. The average white youth waits 919 days for adoption. Male youth of Black African descent wait the longest at 1,302 days. That’s approximately more than three and a half years.
Unfortunately, the longer youth wait to be adopted, the less likely it is they will be adopted. When youth aren’t adopted from the foster care system, they face a grim future.
- 25% of youth who age out of foster care will go to jail within two years.
- 20% become homeless after the age of 18.
- 42% drop out of high school.
- 71% of girls become pregnant by the age of 21.
Debunking Adoption Myths
There are several barriers keeping people from diverse ethnic backgrounds from adopting, including having misconceptions about who can adopt and having a fear of the adoption process.
We debunk those myths below.
No matter if you are single, married, divorced, widowed, or have kids already, you can give a child a forever home. The ability to provide a safe, supportive, and loving home is more important than your marital status.
You can also adopt a child from foster care if you are in the military. Regardless if you’re stationed overseas or within the United States, you are eligible to adopt youth from the U.S. foster care system
Lastly, CHSVA welcomes, values, and serves LGBTQ+ individuals and families who can provide a loving and caring home environment.
You also don’t have to own a home to adopt. If you rent an apartment or home, you can adopt too!
As far as the adoption process goes, CHSVA makes it very straightforward.
- First, you will attend an orientation to learn more about the adoption process and complete a registration form.
- Secondly, you will complete a three-week training class to help prepare you for the special challenges of parenting a child or teen who has faced childhood trauma such as abuse or neglect.
- Thirdly, you must pass approval during a home study.
- Fourthly, you will start the matching process with a child or teen.
- Fifthly, you will have preliminary visits with your child or teen.
- Lastly, you will welcome your child or teen home and begin the six month supervisory period prior to legally finalizing the adoption. You are eligible to receive post adoption services following a legalized adoption..
Post adoption services include support groups, therapy, counseling, family events, and day respite. These services can continue to serve adoptive families long after the adoption is complete. Adoption is a lifelong process. In order to build strong, permanent families, post adoption services and support are crucial for a successful adoption and are a great source of comfort for families who are considering adoption.
You may be under the impression that domestic adoption is expensive. The truth is, the cost to adopt a child from foster care through CHSVA is minimal, and for those who qualify there can be financial assistance available.
Identity and Attachment
We believe it is important that youth who are black and of mixed black ethnicity are placed with families who can support their identity and their understanding of their culture and heritage.
Two of the biggest factors that play a role in identity formation are genetics and family dynamics. Identity formation is very complicated for adopted children.
Adopted children with limited information about their birth families may have a less complete sense of self. Identity issues may be further complicated if the child’s heritage differs from their adopted family’s.
For adoptees, forming a healthy self-identity can be a challenge if the youth doesn’t feel like they fit in with their adoptive families. Alienation that some adoptees experience can create an adoption identity crisis, which can sometimes contribute to feelings of anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem.
CHSVA started recruiting black families during the 1960s, and we continue to place an emphasis on recruiting black and diverse adoptive families today. As we said above, many of the youth in the foster care system are black, which makes the need for adoptive black families very prevalent. We were amongst the first of statewide agencies to encourage placing children of minority and mixed-race backgrounds, which is something we are very proud of.
Supporting Virginia Adoption
If you are even slightly considering adoption, we encourage you to reach out to us with any questions you may have. We will take all the time needed to answer your questions and ease your fears!
Take a look at some of the wonderful youth waiting for a permanent, loving home like yours here.
We look forward to hearing from you. Together, we can change the lives of Virginia youth!