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Foreigners Adopting More African-American Babies


The U.S. State Department says the number of couples adopting American babies from other countries has more than doubled over the last decade. At the same time some Americans adopt babies from other countries, saying there's a lack of babies up for adoption in the United States. But in reality, there are plenty of American babies who need a home. Most of them are African-American.

Allison Drake and Earl Stroud wanted to adopt a child. For a White baby, they would have had to wait for several years. Allison and Earl live in Ottawa, Canada. They did not have to wait to adopt Ethan, who is from Chicago, Illinois, where more than 80 percent of babies available for adoption are Black.

Increasingly, Black children are finding homes in Germany, France and especially Canada, which puzzles Earl Stroud.

"I just don't understand why American couples go to China and Romania and places like that, when they have kids in their own backyard," says Mr. Stroud.

Michelle Hughes, an adoption attorney, says the main reason is racism. "And parents will actually say, 'I'll take anything but an Africa-American child'," says Ms. Hughes.

Margaret Fleming runs an agency that specializes in finding homes for Black children. She helped Earl and Allison adopt Ethan. And Margaret has adopted five, herself.

"At the very top of the adoption hierarchy are White, blue-eyed blonde-haired girls, and unfortunately, at the very bottom of hierarchy, are African-American boys," says Ms. Fleming.

Margaret Fleming says for White families who adopt Black children, there are challenges as they grow older. Phil Bertelsen knows that well. He has made a film about growing up in an adoptive White family.

"I do think it is a mistake to say that race doesn't matter. You are setting yourself up for the shock and pain of racism when it does occur, and it inevitably will," says Phil.

But Allison and Earl Stroud may not be thinking about issues like that. Right now, they're just thrilled to be adoptive parents.

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