Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adoption and the Census

We recently completed our 2010 Census form.  Although some adoptive parents in a Yahoo group I'm in were offended that they had to specify that their child was adopted and what ethnicity their child is, Andy and I saw it differently.  We're thankful for the way God has grown our family.  We would not want to deny, or hide, any part of our family story.  And we doubt that our children would want us to hide their story or ethnicity either -- even on paper. 

Adoption is not the same as it was in years past.  Many families proudly choose to adopt, whether they struggle with infertility or not.  Birthparents are more likely to openly share their stories of choosing adoption for their child, and they long for others to understand it was a choice made out of love (wanting to give their child more than they had, or more than they could provide at that time), not just a painful necessity due to life circumstances.  Many children grow up knowing their birth families and feeling comfortable with their history, specifically because they know their story and there is no more guesswork or imagining the worst about their birth family or about themselves.  This lets them see that adoption was chosen for them for good reasons, even if they were painful ones.  Adoption long ago was treated as a shameful secret.  Not so today!

Another reason we appreciated those questions on the Census is because the number of multiracial families is growing steadily, including those families grown by adoption, and the Census is a great way to track that growth!  Someday, there will be accurate statistics that show that our family is not that unusual.  (In the early '90s, for instance, approximately 8% of all adoptions were transracial adoptions -- meaning the child is of a different race or ethnicity than the parents.  I suspect the numbers are a bit higher than that now!)

Interesting info.:
The majority of Americans are personally affected by adoption. In 1997, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute conducted a benchmark survey of 1,554 adults to examine public attitudes toward the institution of adoption and members of the adoption triad. The survey found that 6 in 10 Americans have had personal experience with adoption, meaning that they themselves, a family member, or a close friend was adopted, had adopted a child, or had placed a child for adoption.

We love our open adoptions.  We love knowing our children's birth families.  We are proud to say we are an adoptive family. :)


Emily B. said...

we completely agree with you guys :)

I was actually surprised to see that folks were offended by the question.

Rich and I are very open about our adoption (duh- we're an inter-racial family. there's no hiding how our family grew.) and we're very proud that the census committee would count us as a multi-racial/inter-cultural house hold.

More than anything, I was proud that the census form recognized that families like ours existed. I've been told that in the past, there was only one box for "family race/ethnicity". But now they recognize that families are all shapes and colors and I'm excited to be counted for what we are.


Amy said...

I thought it was great too! I am proud to be an adoptive family:) I love being a transracial family too. Being a colorful family makes me so happy! Thanks for posting this!

Anisia said...

Hi Kiara! I don't think people were ashamed of having to mark adoption. I think some people view it as a slight or as others not considering them as a "real" family.

I'm glad it was on there, but I can see others views, too. :)

Andy and Kiara said...

Hi Anisia --
You have a good point. I think it is definitely a sore point for some who feel their family is not validated as being the same as other families.
And to others, it felt irrelevant and invasive to ask such a thing.
We all had a good discussion about it on the adoptionhaircare board, and in the end there were several moms who had changed their mind and were going to do the Census afterall. :)

Anonymous said...

just stopping by to say hey

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