Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

If you strongly identify with your ethnicity, and were going to adopt a baby, would you seek a baby with the same heritage?

Asked by JLeslie (47071 points ) November 13th, 2011

Not picking on any group here, and I don’t think this has anything to do with discriminating or being prejudice, so I hope we don’t have any negativity regarding replies if people feel strongly about adopting within their own national or cultural background.

A friend of mine, her aunt and uncle who are Polish-American, when they adopted they went to Poland to adopt. I heard Giulina and Bill Rancic are going to Italy to adopt, beceause she is Italian. Here in America people might seek children with similar backgrounds to themselves? Not sure. I have heard people choose surrogate egg or sperm donors that have similar features to themselves or family, which is also a similar idea.

So, whatever you identify with, Italian, Jewish, Hispanic, Polish, Russian, etc., would you want an adopted baby to be the same, to carry on the line so to speak?

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17 Answers

KateTheGreat's avatar

Not at all. I would just adopt a child who desperately needed a home. The ethnicity wouldn’t matter at all to me.

rebbel's avatar

I can not really identify with people who (are about to) adopt, because I am not in the same situation as them, but if I tried to get in the frame of thoughts that I would want to adopt myself I think a major reason to do so was the fact to ‘save’ a child from a miserable situation/environment.
In the same time, any person that (considers) adopt(ing) is doing so, I assume, also for their own benefit.
But my nationality and/or etnicity and that of the child-to-adopt wouldn’t be of any significance.
And, if purely for that reason, I think it shouldn’t be in any case.
But I am aware that there may be reasons for some to adopt for this specific cause, it is just that I can’t see them.

flutherother's avatar

We’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns.

JLeslie's avatar

@rebbel The thought occurred to me because of the two examples I gave. I think it is more likely to be part of the thought process if the person is infertile and really wanted a biological child. You might have seen on some Q’s that I myself really want a biological child, some have criticized me for this. I don’t want to drift from the main question I have presented, but both of my examples in the original question are people who have fertility problems and had tried fertility treatments several times. As someone who is Jewish there is a partof me that wants to have 10 Jewish babies LOL. Half joking actually. But, in fact my husband is Hispanic with mixed ethnicity, and so in the end our own natural baby would be a mut, and it would be impossible to adopt a baby perfectly similar to us, let alone it is almost impossible to adopt a Jewish baby, which is what I personally most identify with.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think for too many what it comes down to, @JLeslie, is age, health and skin color.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I have not seen too many who adopted, but I do not think many around here, that I have heard of, didn’t really see that trend. If they just want a child, if it came from Asia or Africa, etc, they do not care. If they go through a surrogate they are more likely to chose a child near the same ethnicity as to not make it obvious the child in not fully biologically theirs.

laineybug's avatar

If I were going to adopt a child I wouldn’t really care, because since when do I look anything like my main ethnicity? If anything I look Irish, which is one of the many cultures from my mother’s side of the family. But I can understand why some people would want their adopted baby to look like them or have the same ethnicity.

CWOTUS's avatar

You’re asking people to speculate on two levels: “if you had a strong ethnic self-identity” – which many don’t, I suspect – and “if you were going to adopt” – and how many are considering that?

JLeslie's avatar

@CWOTUS Right. I am not sure the people on the Q actually do identify strongly with their ancestors nationality. So far only a couple people mentioned their national background, I am assuming the others don’t have strong feelings about national or cultural identity, and so they don’t really fit the parameters of the question, but I am assuming, I could be wrong.

InTheZone's avatar

I think that a person might prefer to adopt someone with similar ethnicity to their own for another, perhaps more important reason:

Someone I’m close to adopted six children. Two were ethnically similar to her and her husband, North American Caucasian, two were from India, one extremely dark skinned, and two were of Hispanic ethnicity. They were very happy to have children from any ethnicity, and treated and loved them equally.

However, they have since confided in me that they would not do this again. All four of the children who are ethnically diverse have had serious emotional problems around their differences. They were more aware of their difference,because they were so obvious, and experienced mistreatment from others, not of their family, due to these differences. I think that part of their challenges came from living in a very small community where there were not many families who didn’t fit the Caucasian stereotype.

Any adoption can present challenges to the families just due to the childrens’ issues with needing to know more about their background, or feeling as if they weren’t wanted by birth parents, but my observation is that these four children have had additional and deeper emotional issues because they didn’t look like their parents and others in their community. They also were unable to try to locate their birth parents when they reached maturity, because they were in countries far removed from their home, and the records in other countries don’t always allow for such searches.

The two from India had been in an orphanage for nearly a year, and suffered from neglect and developed serious attachment disorders, as well as medical issues which had not been treated. They still, even as adults, demonstrate aspects of the attachment disorders. One has not been able to bond with the mother, who was very fair skinned and blonde, exhibiting a lot of anger and emotional abuse towards her, and the other is pathologically attached to the same mother. The one who rejected her mother was quite attached to the maternal grandmother, who had substantially a darker complexion.

Of course, not all situations will be the same, but in my opinion this must be considered and might be one most important reason why cross-cultural adoptions may be ill advised in some cases. I’d think twice after watching the challenges this family faced.

JilltheTooth's avatar

As a single person looking to adopt in the 80s, I knew that my choices in those areas would be severely limited. Pretty much only Chinese girl babies were available for single American women. I would have been delighted, I wanted an infant, and living in the Pacific Northwest at the time, there would have been a strong Asian cultural heritage in the area to connect with. However, during the fertility process I wanted to have a sperm donor that more closely resembled my phenotype, so that the child would be less likely to feel like a changeling in the family. As it turned out, I didn’t have a choice with the sperm, my blood type dictated what was available.

GracieT's avatar

When I was adopted, in the 70’s, US couples were often matched with children of same ethnIcity. NOT always, but often. Now, more personal choice. The matter is simply giving the child a home.

zensky's avatar

I don’t know.

janbb's avatar

I do identify strongly as a Jew and it is for me, much more of a cultural, genetic identification than a religious one. However, I do not think I would be looking to adopt a Jewish child necessarily, I would feel like I could raise any child in the Jewish tradition and more importantly, with humanist, liberal values. To be very honest, however, I do not feel strong enough to want to adopt a child with multiple handicaps and I would want a child who appeared likely to have above average intelligence. That may not be admirable of me, but it is true.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@janbb : I don’t think it’s not “admirable” for you to want a child that you could relate to, I think it’s very normal.

JLeslie's avatar

@CWOTUS To clarify, I think probably people who don’t have strong ethnic or cultural identifiers can’t speculate. I do think if someone does feel strongly about their race, religion, national origin, etc, that they can speculate how they might feel if they adopted. I might have worded my question poorly?

So far I am happy with the answers though. I’m interested to hear any opinions regarding the topic.

Ron_C's avatar

I am half Croatian and half Italian. I strongly identify with my Croatian half because of my dad, grade school, and youth organization membership. If we were going to adopt a baby, I doubt we would care about its ethnic origin or color. I would prefer to adopt a girl because I’m already trained for them because of my two grown daugters. Other than that we would have no preferences.

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