CityLine: Sept. 15, 2019: Interracial Adoption, Brittany’s story – WCVB Boston


CityLine: Sunday, September 15, 2019: Interracial Adoption, Brittany’s story


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>> TODAY ON “CITYLINE,” A LOOK AT INTERRACIAL ADOPTION. HOW FAR IT’S COME AND WHERE IT’S HEADED. PLUS WE SHARE THE PERSONAL STORIES OF TWO WOMEN AND THEIR INTERRACIAL ADOPTION JOURNEY GOOD AFTERNOON. I’M KAREN HOLMES WARD AND WELCOME TO “CITYLINE.” IN THE PAST, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACK SOCIAL WORKERS WERE VEHEMENTLY AGAINST THE ADOPTION OF BLACK CHILDREN BECAUSE THEIR CONCERN SUCH CHILDREN WOULD BE ILL EQUIPPED TO FACE THE REALITIES OF A SOCIETY IN WHICH THEY WERE TO EVENTUALLY LIVE. BUT, IN THE EARLY 1970s, THE CHILD WELFARE LEAGUE OF AMERICAN STATED SOCIAL WORKERS CANNOT DISCRIMINATE AGAINST WHITE HOMES TAKING IN BLACK CHILDREN. ALMOST 50 YEARS LATER, THE TIDE HAS CHANGED AND NOW MORE AND MORE CHILDREN BE BEING PLACED IN DIFFERENT RACE. WE BEGIN ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, AT ADOPTIONS FOR THE HEART, WHERE A YOUNG LADY GAVE UP HER CHILD FOR ADOPTION FOR PARENTS OF A DIFFERENT RACE. ADOPTIONS FROM THE HEART IS A NATIONAL ORGANIZATIONFOUNDED BY AND I ADOPTEE. SHE OPENED THE FIRST ADOPTION AGENCY IN 18985, SUPPORTING RIPPED WITH ADOPTED AND BIRTH FAMILIES. NOW, 75% OF ADOPTIONS ARE CONSIDERED “OPEN ADOPTIONS.” BRITNEY USED ADOPTIONS FROM THE HEART TO PLACE HER SON IN A HOME. >> I WASN’T FINANCIAL LAY ABLE OR EMOTIONALLY ABLE IMPORTANT TO. I ACTUALLY WAS HOMELESS AT THE TIME, AND IN VIRGINIA, THERE WAS A BIG LAY OFF WITH THE MILITARY, SO I WASN’T ABLE TO GET A JOB. ONCE I FOUND OUT IS WAS PREGNANT, I WAS SIX-MONTHS ALONG WHEN I FOUND OUT, SO AT THAT POINT YOU HAVE TO PARENT OR CHOOSE ADOPTION SIR, CHOSE THAT. IN THE MIDST OF THAT, I JUST REALLY WANTED TO FIND HIM A REALLY GOOD FAMILY, SO THAT’S WHY I ENDED UP CHOOSING IT. >> ACCORDING TO ADOPTIONNETWORK.COM, EVERY YEAR 24,000 CHILDREN ARE IN FOSTER CARE IN THIS COUNTRY AND MORE THAN 135,000 CHILDREN ARE ADOPTED IN THE UNITED STATES. FOR OVER A YEAR, BOTH BRITNEY AND HER BOYFRIEND, ERIC, APPLIED FOR A JOB AND WERE BARELY GETTING BY. ADDING A BABY INTO THE MIX SEEMED IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM AND UNREALISTIC. IT WAS HARD FOR BRITNEY TO COME TO TERMS WITH ADOPTION BUT SHE LISTENED TO HER HEART BY CHOOSING OPEN ADOPTION FOR HER UNBORN CHILD. >> I CAN’T SAY I REALLY STRUGGLED THE FACT THAT HE WOULDN’T BE IN MY CARE. THE STRANGE THING ABOUT ME IS GROWING UP, I NEVER ACTUALLY WANTED TO BE A MOTHER, SO HAVING THAT ATTACHMENT REALLY WASN’T AS IMPORTANT TO ME THAT ACTUALLY DIDN’T COME UNTIL AFTER I GAVE BIRTH AND EVEN STILL I KNEW I’M THE TYPE OF PERSON THAT IF I KNOW I CAN’T DO IT, I’M NOT GOING TO TRY TO FORCE SOMETHING TO HAPPEN. >> NO ONE KNEW BRITNEY WAS PREGNANT WITH HER SON, OTHER THAN THE FATHER OF HER CHILD, AND NO ONE BUT ERIC KNEW BRITNEY CHOSE OPEN ADOPTION UNTIL TWO-YEARS AFTER THE ADOPTION WAS FINALIZED. SHE BELIEVES THAT HER CHOSE WAS THE BEST FOR HER AND HER SON. >> CHOOSING ADOPTION REALLY ALLOTTED HIM TO HAVE A BETTER LIFE THAN WHAT I COULD ACTUALLY GIVE. I HONESTLY DIDN’T BECOME STABLE UNTIL ABOUT TWO OR THREE-YEARS AFTERWARD, AND I WENT THROUGH A LOT WITHIN THOSE COUPLE OF YEARS, SO I WAS VERY HAPPY HE WAS ABLE TO BE WITH SOMEONE THAT WAS STABLE AND THAT COULD GIVE HIM A BETTER LIFE. >> NEITHER BRITNEY NOR ERIC’S FAMILY HAD A SAY IN WHAT HAPPENED TO HER SON. SHE SAYS SHE MADE THE DECISION THAT WAS BEST FOR HER WITH NO REGRETS, BUT BOTH THEIR FAMILIES DID HAVE THEIR OWN OPINIONS WHEN THEY FOUND OUT. >> ERIC’S FAMILY, THEY STILL COULDN’T GET OVER THAT I DID THE ADOPTION PERIOD. THEY WERE, LIKE, I HAD TO DO WHAT HI TO DO AND THEY ACTUALLY SAID I WAS BRAVE. AS MUCH AS I THOUGHT TERM, AS A BIRTH PARENT YOU HEAR THAT A LOT, THEN MY GRANDMOTHER WAS BOTHERED BECAUSE SHE WAS OLDER. SHE GREW UP WHEN SEGREGATION HAPPENED AND INTEGRATION HAPPENED SO SHE WAS VERY LEERY OF IT. BUT ONCE SHE GOT TO KNOW THE TYPE OF PEOPLE THEY WERE, SHE REALLY WASN’T BOTHERED. >> BRITNEY DESCRIBED WHAT SHE WAS LOOKING FOR FOR HER SON. RACE WAS NEVER A FACTOR. WHAT WAS IMPORTANT WAS HER SON’S LIFE WAS IN THE HANDS OF A COUPLE. >> I WANTED THEM TO GO TO COLLEGE, FOR HIM TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY. SOMEONE THAT WAS STABLE IN A AMERICAN AT LEAST FIVE-YEARS — MARRIAGE AT LEAST FIVE-YEARS, THAT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME. >> BRITNEY DID HAVE CONCERNS, SHE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO TEACH HER SON HOW TO DEAL WITH RACE RELATIONS SHE HAD DEALT WITH WHEN SHE WAS A LITTLE GIRL. WHEN WAS THE APPROPRIATE TIME FOR THE ADOPTIVE FAMILY HAVE WHAT IS CALLED “THE TALK.” >> IT IS IN THE NEWS AND MEDIA SO IT IS HAPPENING AND SHE ASKED WHAT DO YOU TALK ABOUT IT AND HOW SOON DO YOU TALK ABOUT THIS? SHE WAS REALLY SHOCKED, BUT IN BLACK HOMES WE HAVE THE COP TALK AROUND 5 OR 6 YEARS OLD. BECAUSE EVEN LITTLE KIDS CAN GET STOPPED JUST RIDING THEIR BIKE. >> HAVING HER SON PLACED WITH THE FAMILY OF A DIFFERENT RACE WAS NOT A PRIORITY OF BRITNEYS. BRITNEY WANTS HER SON TO LEARN THE HISTORY OF HER BIOLOGICAL FAMILY NO MANNER IF THE KNOWLEDGE CAME FROM HER OR ERIC, AS LONG AS HE IS GETTING THE INFORMATION. >> THEY ASKED ME THE HISTORY OF OUR FAMILIES SO I SEND HER A LOT OF BOOKS ON OUR HISTORY, THINGS FROM OUR FAMILY. HIS GREAT, GREAT GRANDFATHER WAS A SLAVE, ONE OF THE LAST OF SLAVES SO HE IS LEARNING, HE IS JUST LEARNING IT FROM ME TO HER. >> BRITNEY DOES NOT REGRET GIVING UP HER SON FOR ADOPTION. AT FIRST, SHE WAS RELUCTANT TO HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH HER SON’S NEW ADOPTIVE FAMILY BECAUSE SHE DID NOT HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH HER OWN FAMILY. SHE LOVES THAT THEY LOVE HIM. ACCORDING TO ADOPTIONNETWORK TALK, PRAYLEN IS ONE OF 1.5 MILLION ADOPTED CHILDRENNING IN THE UNITED STATES. >> IT REALLY DOESN’T BOTHER ME, I REALLY DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT AND I DON’T FEEL BAD ABOUT SEEING HIM WITH A FAMILY THAT ISN’T MINE BECAUSE THEY ACTUALLY ACCEPT ME AS, LIKE, THEIR FAMILY. IN THE BEGINNING IT WAS REALLY WEIRD BECAUSE I’VE NEVER REALLY BEEN CLOSE TO FAMILY, PERIOD, SO THEY ARE ALWAYS LIKE, ASKING ME IF I’M OKAY, IF I NEED ANYTHING. LIKE WHEN I MOVED, SHE SENT ME THIS HOUSE WARMING GIFT. OH, MY GOSH, WHAT IS THIS FROM? BUT THIS IS BEING SO OPEN AND MAKING ME FEEL LIKE I’M THERE. I DON’T REALLY HAVE THAT FEELING, AND ALSO SEEING THEM MAKES ME REALLY HAPPY. BECAUSE THEY’RE HAPPY AND I CAN SEE THEY REALLY LOVE MY SON. >> HIS ADOPTIVE FAMILY WAS SHOCKED WHEN THEY WERE CONFRONTED WITH BIGOTRY AS THEY MOVED THROUGH THE WORLD WITH A SON THAT IS BLACK. >> SHE TOLD ME INSTANCES WITH STORES AND THINGS LIKE THAT. ONE THAT STICKS TOUT ME, HER NEIGHBOR THOUGHT SHE WASN’T WITH HER HUSBAND ANY MORE BECAUSE SHE HAD THIS BLACK BABY. AND SHE LOOKED AT HER AND SAYS, OH, I THOUGHT YOU AND JORDAN WERE DOING FINE. SHE IS LIKE, WE’RE WE ARE, ADOPTED. SO IF SHE WOULD HAVE HAD A WHITE BABY, SHE WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THEY HAD A CHILD TOGETHER. INSTEAD SHE CAN THOUGHT SHE CHEATED AND CAME HOME WITH THIS BABY. >> AND SHE IS ONE OF MANY WHO MADE SELFLESS ACT TO GIVE UP HER SON FOR ADOPTION REGARDLESS OF THEIR RACE IN ORDER FOR THEM TO HAVE A LIFE SHE WAS UNABLE TO PROVIDE. WHEN WE RETURN, ANOTHER PERSPECTIVE, WE HEAD TO BOSTO

CityLine: Sunday, September 15, 2019: Interracial Adoption, Brittany’s story


In the past, the National Association of Black Social Workers was vehemently against interracial adoption of black children by someone of a different race because of its concern that the children would be ill-equipped to face the realities of a society in which they would eventually live. But in the early 1970’s, the Child Welfare League of America decreed social workers cannot discriminate against white homes taking in black children. Almost 50 years later, the tide has changed, and now more children are being placed in homes with parents of a different race. CityLine shares the stories of Brittany Brooks, who used the assistance of Adoptions from the Heart to place her son with parents of a different race and Kelly Lamb, an adoptive mother of three children of color. Karen Holmes Ward also interviews Lisa Funaro, executive director of Massachusetts Adoption Resources Exchange, to discuss the realities of interracial adoption.

In the past, the National Association of Black Social Workers was vehemently against interracial adoption of black children by someone of a different race because of its concern that the children would be ill-equipped to face the realities of a society in which they would eventually live. But in the early 1970’s, the Child Welfare League of America decreed social workers cannot discriminate against white homes taking in black children. Almost 50 years later, the tide has changed, and now more children are being placed in homes with parents of a different race.

CityLine shares the stories of Brittany Brooks, who used the assistance of Adoptions from the Heart to place her son with parents of a different race and Kelly Lamb, an adoptive mother of three children of color. Karen Holmes Ward also interviews Lisa Funaro, executive director of Massachusetts Adoption Resources Exchange, to discuss the realities of interracial adoption.



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