Is Skin Tone an Issue in the Adoption of Black Children?

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According to the founder of an adoption agency that specializes in adoptions of black children by black families, color is a deciding factor when it comes to which children these families adopt. 


Mardie Caldwell, founder and CEO of the Lifetime Adoption Agency, says that the color of a black child is a bigger issue for African Americans interested in adoption than it is for white people.

"We've found that many African-American families have definite preferences for the type of children they want, whether it's newborns [or older children], and also in terms of their physical appearance," Caldwell told theGrio.

"A lot of organizations and other adoption professionals have actually stopped doing African-American adoptions. We're one of the few centers, Lifetime Adoptions, that does African-American and biracial adoptions, and we're one of the largest in the United States," she explained. "When families come to us, they will actually give us preferences and say, 'We want to stick with a child that looks like us, and we're lighter skinned or we're darker skinned.' It does make it difficult at times."

Even though black people are only 14 percent of the U.S. population, African-American children make up 30 percent of the 500,000 children currently in the U.S. foster care system and are constantly overlooked for adoption.

Caldwell points out that there are many white families adopting black children who have dark skin. "If we have families that may be biracial — one partner is Caucasian and the other is African American — we can come to them with any black child, and they're more open," Caldwell said. "The same is true with Caucasian families, which is why you're seeing more Caucasians adopting children of color, because they really don't care about the shade."

Jacqueline Wilson, CEO of Three Rivers Adoption Council, disagrees with Caldwell's stance. "We've not had that as an issue — people saying, 'Oh, I'm dark skinned, so I want a dark-skinned child, so that people can't tell the child's adopted.' The child already knows it's adopted, and so does everybody else," Wilson told theGrio.


What are your thoughts on this issue? Have you heard of black people who prefer adopting a child who is their complexion?

Read more at theGrio.