Adopted People And Foster Care Alums Are The Foremost Experts On Their Own Experience

Being adopted is not a one-time event: It lasts a lifetime. Pact is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve adopted children of color. We welcome all adopted people of color as collaborators in Pact's mission to serve children. Too often in the adoption field, the adoptee perspective is subordinated to that of the adoptive parent. We believe that adult adoptees are the truest experts on their own experience. We welcome adoptee voices and support them as part of our mission. Most of our services for adoptees focus on those who are under 18 years old and still living with their adoptive parents. We invite adult adoptees of color to serve as mentors to the youth with whom we work; we also seek adult adoptees of color to serve as educators for the adoptive parents who work with Pact, to help them better understand and support their children. We believe adopted people deserve to know their full heritage and should have access to all of their records and birth history. We believe it is a violation of adopted people's civil rights that most states carry laws, which make them the only group of adults prevented from having direct access to their original birth certificates. We support open records.

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Birth Parents (First Parents)1 Deserve Respect

Not one adopted child would exist without their birth/first parents, yet birth/first parents are surely the least understood and most often villified members of the adoption triad. Outsiders to the experience of adoption will often recommend that it is best to ignore or forget them, so that children will not have to face the challenging circumstances that led to their placement for adoption. But in fact, adopted people have to process the complex experience that is adoption, and we believe they do best when both sets of parents are available to help them do so. Kids need to be free to explore their feelings without being burdened by those of their parents. If the process of navigating feelings about a child’s birth/first parents frightens their adoptive parent, that child could become frightened as well. It takes courage to dive into complex, ongoing conversations with children about the experience of adoption—which includes their birth/first parent(s)—but the reward for risking honesty will be sharing the bond of intimacy. Being honest will not “confuse” children but rather build their trust.

1The adoption world is undergoing a shift in language describing women/parents who give birth to children who are later placed for adoption or into foster care, one that hopefully reflects a shift in attitude as well. This evolution is happening because many of those parents have articulated a preference for the term “first” mother or parent, rather than “birth” mother or parent, because the term “birth” characterizes their relationship to the adopted child as solely biological, relegating the mother to a mere vessel, the father to a sperm donor. This reductionism doesn’t acknowledge the other important ways in which first (birth) parents are significant to their children.

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Pact Supports Same Race Placement

Adoptive parents of color, in particular African American adoptive parents, are underserved in adoption. Research has demonstrated that financial constraints and assumptions about families of color looking to adopt have created barriers to these families accessing adoption placement services. A quick perusal of the internet, demonstrates that white families adopting children of color are far more visible in the world of adoption; recruitment language is often formulated towards those “willing to consider” the adoption of a child of color, something clearly applicable to white people as opposed to people of color who would of course consider a child who is the same race as they are as a first choice. Pact works to make adoption ethical and accessible by ensuring that placement services are available to all qualified parents, including low- and middle-income families. We believe same-race adoptions are easier for children; therefore, active recruitment of adoptive parents of color is a principal priority. Currently more than 90% of our placements involve children placed with families where one or more parent is the same race as the child. We work to raise the visibility of adoptive parents of color through our “Yes, We Do Adopt!” campaign, and to build community through our Adoptive Parents of Color Circle.

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LGBTQ Parents Can Be Great Resource Families for Children and Should Never Be Ruled Out Because of Heterosexism

Adoptive parents of color, in particular African American adoptive parents, are underserved in adoption. Research has demonstrated that financial constraints and assumptions about families of color looking to adopt have created barriers to these families accessing adoption placement services. A quick perusal of the internet, demonstrates that white families adopting children of color are far more visible in the world of adoption; recruitment language is often formulated towards those “willing to consider” the adoption of a child of color, something clearly applicable to white people as opposed to people of color who would of course consider a child who is the same race as they are as a first choice. Pact works to make adoption ethical and accessible by ensuring that placement services are available to all qualified parents, including low- and middle-income families. We believe same-race adoptions are easier for children; therefore, active recruitment of adoptive parents of color is a principal priority. Currently more than 90% of our placements involve children placed with families where one or more parent is the same race as the child. We work to raise the visibility of adoptive parents of color through our “Yes, We Do Adopt!” campaign, and to build community through our Adoptive Parents of Color Circle.

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Transracial Adoption Works Best When Parents Acknowledge the Pervasive Power of Race with Honesty and Integrity

No child can afford to wait for a loving family. Individuals who wish to adopt across racial lines can be wonderful parents to children of color if they are willing and capable of supporting their child’s heritage. It is essential for families to have strategies that ensure that their lifestyle does not result in racial or cultural isolation for their child. Because so many of our placements involve adopters who are themselves people of color, we believe that it would be unethical for us to accept transracial adopters (where neither parent shares the race of their child) as clients in anything other than limited numbers. However, we often work with white families who are adopting by providing preparation and ongoing post-placement education for the journey of transracial adoption even while those families use other agencies or adoption organizations to complete their placements.


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