Should my wife and I adopt a child of another race?
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“Should my wife and I adopt a child of another race?” Ensign, Sept. 1973, 22–23

Should my wife and I adopt a child of another race?

Audrey Perkins
Adoption Supervisor, Church Social Services

A. When couples consider adopting a child, they should carefully examine their motives to insure that the adoption is in the long-range interests of the child as well as themselves. Raising any child is a challenge in today’s society. Rearing a child of another race may be an additional challenge. Some adoptive parents have met these challenges very adequately. Others have found that they did not consider all the implications or did not think in terms of long-range adjustments, and so have been unable to meet the child’s needs.

The following are some of the questions parents might ask themselves before adopting a child of a culture or race different from their own:

1. Is our desire to adopt this child based on our interest in meeting the individual needs of the child or is it only an intense desire for children?

2. Can we honestly accept this child, with his differences, as a full-fledged family member?

3. Will other family members, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., accept the child fully and wholeheartedly?

4. Will he be accepted in our community?

5. As he grows up, will he have social opportunities, acceptable peer group relationships, and opportunities for achievement in our area?

6. Can we help him take pride in his native genetic background and understand his native culture as well as the background and culture of his adoptive family? One day he may wish to mix or even marry within that native culture. Some children born of one race and culture and reared in another feel they don’t really belong to either. Ideally, they can feel an identity with both.

7. Is adequate background information, such as knowledge about both natural parents, and a health record available on the child so that we might anticipate and plan for his physical development and care?

8. Are we focusing beyond the cuddly baby stage? Are we looking forward to raising him and meeting related challenges as he grows from infancy to school age to maturity, becoming an independent person?

As prospective adoptive parents talk over these questions and try to answer them perceptively and honestly, they should be better able to answer the question of adopting a child of another race. Since families and children vary so greatly in their needs, desires, and resources, this question is one that can only be answered individually after prayer and fasting and after careful assessments have been made.