International adoptions may be decreasing in many countries, but more and more African-American mothers in Florida looking to put their babies up for adoption are opting to send them to Canada to avoid racism.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, black mothers in the state have told adoption officials that they want their babies raised by Canadian families so that their children won’t experience the same racism they do. Another draw for some mothers is Canada’s generous parental-leave laws, which they believe may allow for more parent-child bonding.
When speaking with adoption officials, these mothers make it clear “they don’t want their black children raised in Florida if there is another option,” Karyn Bakelaar, who leads the Florida program for the Ottawa-based international adoption organization Children’s Bridge, told the newspaper.
Canadians have been adopting from Florida for more than a decade, but there has been an increase in the last few years, according to the Ottawa Citizen. The growth comes at a time when Florida’s issues with racism have gained an international profile since the killing of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial of George Zimmerman.
This uptick makes the United States one of the few countries with incoming and outgoing international adoptions, the Ottawa Citizen says. Even more controversial is the fact that the majority of children adopted from the U.S. by Canada other Western countries are children of African descent.
“It is heartbreaking to think that in Florida this is what people are feeling. We have a program because there is a sentiment that is there. This is what birth mothers are choosing,” said Children’s Bridge board member Frances McRae.
Read more at the Ottawa Citizen.