PUBLIC AGENCY ADOPTION
Adopting through your social services department essentially means adopting children in the foster care system. If you are flexible and are willing to adopt a toddler age child or older, you can have a child fairly quickly. Although dealing with the bureaucracy can sometimes be very frustrating, the fees for the adoption service are minimal, and in some cases the state may provide monthly subsidies if the child is considered to have special needs. In some states, coming from a minority ethnic background is considered in itself to be a special need.
Although no social services department or agency that accepts federal funds can discriminate against you because of your ethnic background if you are seeking to adopt a biracial or black child, many of the public agencies have had policies against transracial adoptions in the past, and because of this, their staffs may make the process more difficult for you. You may be asked numerous questions about your neighborhood and your ability to provide the child with a sense of his culture, as well as the acceptance level by your friends and family. Although yours and other people's attitudes are important to explore, you do not want to be excluded just because you live in an all-white neighborhood. People's acceptance level has more to do with their attitudes than with where they live. Nor does every last relative have to favor your decision. If you live close to parents who will be involved in the child's life, you will certainly want your child to feel as loved and accepted as any other grandchild, and if this seems to be a serious issue, it makes sense to think carefully before insisting on more flexibility than your family is ready for. But if their hesitation is a normal one of getting used to a new idea, this should not be a serious obstacle.
It is generally difficult to adopt a newborn child through social services, but get your name on their list just in case. This will mean attending a series of classes and having a home study conducted and approved by your social services department.
The materials for this course have been reprinted with permission from the book The Complete Adoption Book, Third Edition, Copyright © 2005, 2000, 1997, by Laura Beauvais-Godwin and Raymond W. Godwin. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Media, Inc. Co. All rights reserved. The complete book is available at bookstores on and offline.