Why adopting black babies costs less than adopting white babies

Black babies cost less. My wife and I learned this sitting on a worn couch across from two white women explaining the fee schedule for adoptions.

The cost to adopt a newborn black infant was a fraction of that to adopt a white one. At another agency, we were offered a deal on twins — adopt one and get the other at half off. Years before America asked "do black lives matter?" I could tell you: "Not as much."

Children of color are devalued at all stages of life. As an adoptive father, I learned this begins before many take their first breath.

Consider this: Based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services there are nearly 60 black children for every Asian child in foster care. Yet, Asian children are adopted at a higher rate than black children. In fact, the Institute for Family Studies reported that, despite being disproportionately represented in foster care, the rate of adoption for black children decreased over 60 percent from 2009 to 2011.

Of the 135,000 children adopted annually, 40 percent are of a different race or ethnicity than their adoptive parents. Of the adoptive parents, 75 percent are non-Hispanic whites. These transracial adoptions repulse some who are steadfast in their belief that such mixing is morally repugnant. 

Another cohort views the practice as harmful to children of color, likening it to cultural genocide. It is a peculiar instance where white supremacists and some minorities actually agree.

However, I see beauty in blended families, and transracial adoption is the ultimate manifestation of the multicultural American ideal. Intolerance is a learned value, and blended families are visible reminders of the absurdity of racism. Who better to change the hearts and minds of the intolerant? It is the innocent children and adoptive parents who show that love and acceptance transcend race and ethnicity.

November is National Adoption Month, a time to promote awareness of adoption and foster care. What began as one week in Massachusetts, in 1976, is now an entire month celebrated nationwide. And on Nov. 17, National Adoption Day, thousands of families in courtrooms across the nation will have their adoptions finalized.

The unconditional love from a child is universal and ignores all the descriptors we employ to divide ourselves. I am ever grateful for my spirited daughter, whom some describe as "ethnically ambiguous." 

What is not ambiguous is her impact on me. She came from heaven and helped me become a man. No matter the financial cost she was a bargain, because I know I can never repay her for what she has given me.

Dr. Brian H. Williams is a surgeon in Dallas and a 2018 Dallas Morning News Community Voices Columnist. To learn how you can support adoption and foster care, visit childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam

Brian H. Williams, MD