Sunday, January 20, 2008

Study Focuses on Interracial Adoption

Dr. Cardell Jacobson of the Sociology Department is currently researching the varied experiences that occur in interracial adoption cases.

Jacobson is working with Darron Smith, a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah. They are focusing their research on white families who have adopted black children.

In an age in which many people think racism is a fading phenomenon, Jacobson has found that racial slurs and discrimination are still prevalent.

"Without exception, whether we've talked to parents, or whether we've talked to the adult children, everyone has experienced discrimination," Jacobson said. "Every parent and almost every child over the age of five has heard the 'N' word."

Jacobson has found that parents who research black culture and history may be better equipped to help socialize their black children. According to Jacobson, one of the main questions that parents considering interracial adoption should consider is whether or not they have the skills as a white parent to help their child deal with racism.

Jacobson believes that adoption agencies can help educate potential parents about the issues that their family may face.

"Some adoption agencies are better than others," Jacobson said. "Some have had conferences and speakers come in and speak to parents about the experience that their children will have. My recommendation to adoption agencies would be that they ought to have seminars where they tell the parent this is what our experience has been, this is what your child is going to go through."

Individuals interested in participating in the study should go to www.racialadoptionstudy.com.
According to www.adoption.com, the most recent survey regarding interracial adoptions took place in 1987. At that time, only 8 percent of all adoptions were interracial.

John Thill, who works for BYU's Aspen Grove Family Camp and Conference Center, is extremely knowledgeable about interracial adoptions. Over the years, he and his wife Cayce have adopted children of diverse races. In total, they have fourteen children in their family.

Thill explained that it does not take long to love adopted children the same way a parent would love its biological children.

Many children in foster care come from traumatic living situations.

"Through working with therapists, counselors and other foster families, we have gained a lot of valuable tools to assist us in helping the children to realize they are special and important no matter who they look like or how they came into our family," Thill said.

Thill offered some advice to those considering interracial adoption: "Replace every fear with an act of faith. Knowing what we know about where we all come from and who we are gives us an eternal perspective to the importance of families."

"We're all different on the outside but we all have the same basic needs in life that a loving family can help to provide," Thill said. "As those needs are met our love for those around us increases greatly. Just trust in the guidance of Lord and blessings will come to you and to your family. Your family will help positively change the lives of these beautiful children forever."

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