Kids MD - African-American Adoptions

Yvette J. Brown | CWK Network

"The question is why, when we have babies here, are they adopting abroad?"
- Dr. Carol Pitts, psychologist -

Five-year-old Shaun and his 4-year-old brother Deshaun are playful, happy boys with two loving parents who happen to look a little different from their sons. But, says Kirk Lunde, a white male, his African-American boys, haven't noticed the difference. "I mean, it's part of their world," he says. "They don't think it's anything."

The Lundes adopted the brothers two years ago. Race, they say, was not a factor. "I think being in a loving home of any race is better than languishing in foster care or going from home to home and not really ever having a place of permanency," says Regina Lunde.

According to government estimates, there are more African-American children awaiting adoption than any other group even as many prospective parents (mostly non-African-American) travel overseas to adopt. "The question is why, when we have babies, here are they adopting abroad?" psychologist Dr. Carol Pitts ponders.

Experts say personal preference is part of the answer, as well as bias and fear. Pitts explains, "As a white family (for example) can I provide this child with the kind of racial understanding, the racial identity, the ability to fight racism in the United States that an African American family could?"

As some American families struggle with that question, an increasing number of parents from other countries are adopting black children. "They can get infants, and it's difficult to get infants in any other country. And they can get instant medical records, and it's much less expensive." But Pitts adds, with increased awareness and tolerance, trans-racial adoptions within America will increase as well.

The Lundes know issues of race will be inevitable as the boys grow older, but they say they'll always remind their kids what matters most. "They love us, and we love them," says Kirk Lunde. "We're a family."

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