Should ethnicity or race be a factor in matching foster children or orphans with foster families?

Expert Answers
kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are obviously conflicting opinions regarding the issue of whether orphaned children or those placed in the foster-care system should be placed with families with whom the children share ethnic or religious heritage.  The foster family situation is markedly different than the cases involving orphaned children available for adoption, as foster families are not intended to represent permanent arrangements for individual children.  Rather, their responsibilities are limited to the proper care and feeding of the children placed in their charge pending a more final resolution of that child's disposition.  In such cases, ethnicity or religion are rarely important factors.  Families who go through the process by which they become licensed foster families are fully cognizant that the children placed with them -- and such placements can last anywhere from one night to one year -- are temporary and that expeditious placement in a stable home is the priority, not ethnic compatibility.  

Adoption is a very different matter. Unlike foster arrangements intended to provide temporary care for children while their parents are transiting the criminal justice system or are being treated for drug or alcohol abuse, adoption is a permanent arrangement, and its where issues of ethnicity are far more likely to come into play.  Many in the African-American community in particular firmly believe that African-American children should be placed only in the homes of African-American families.  The argument for such a policy is the need to ensure the child is raised with values unique to that community, and with a full awareness of and appreciation for their African-American heritage.  Conversely, many Caucasian families seeking to adopt believe that the stability, level of care and love for the children in question are far more important than ethnic considerations.  Such families point out the increased emphasis on social awareness and sensitivity to unique cultures prevalent in much of society.  International adoptions account for a large percentage of adoptions in the United States, which automatically involves the placement of African, Latin American, Asian, Ukrainian and Russian children with Caucasian and African-American families in the U.S.  Such arrangements have gained broad acceptance in the United States and have become routine processes.  Families adopting children from foreign countries are morally obligated to raise those children with an awareness of and appreciation for the histories and cultures from which the children originate.  Such a commitment is often a recognized part of the process by which the children are adopted in the first place.

There will always be racism in the world.  There will always be those who believe ethnic groups should stick to themselves and interracial marriages and interracial adoptions should not occur.  Such individuals, however, do not represent many Americans, evident in the very large number of Chinese, Guatemalan, Ethiopian, Colombian, and Russian children adopted every year by citizens of the United States.

udonbutterfly | Student

As long as family is willing to take in a child and treat them as their own race should not have a factor what so ever. Yeah the child might think why they look different from their parents but never will they ever doubt the love and care that their adoptive parents give to them.

arrellbelle | Student

I believe that this should be 50/50 because a foster child whose ethnicity does not match with the family's ethnicity might undergo some rather 'unexpected' challenges such as difficulty understanding why they look different from their foster family and why the customs/traditions/religions differ from theirs. It's difficult to truly say because a child's identity greatly revolves around their respective cultures and if they aren't cultivated in an environment that circles around the said-culture, there could be an internal turmoil boiling inside.

Wiggin42 | Student

Race and ethnicity should be taken into consideration. Being "color blind" or "racially blind" is more harmful than good. Adoption agencies should definitely consider ethnic differences because race and ethnicity are a huge part of a person's identity. Children need to grow up in a household where their race is acknowledged and respected for being different. An adopted child from a foreign background should be placed in a household where the parents will celebrate his/her ethnic differences and not try to simply assimilate the child into their own racial and ethnic identity. 

Chantelm | Student

This should not be a problem because its not important what race an orphan kid is, they are in need to a family that will love them no matter what. Color is not an important factor in judging any one, its their motives and how they decide to carry themselves.