Family matters: Negative remarks and the waiting game


Editor, Focus on Adoption magazine
Focus on Adoption magazine

Your adoption-related questions answered

My father constantly makes negative remarks about black people in front of my African-American son. It really upsets me, but I hate confrontations. What should I do?

Confronting your family members on tough issues can be a challenge, but it's an important responsibility for multiracial adoptive parents. Your son needs to see you take a strong stand against racism, so he will be proud of his heritage and continue to talk about racist experiences with you as he grows. Speak to your father about the remarks. Let him know his comments are hurtful to the entire family--but especially damaging to your son. Is your father otherwise an engaged and supportive grandparent? If so, he may not be completely aware of his comments, and he may not be considering the impact they have on you or your family.

Invite your father to join you and your grandson at some cultural events, and to leanr more about your son's heritage. AFABC has some great resources and support staff that can help educate your father, if he is willing (sign him up for our Transracial Parenting class--grandparents are always welcome!).

Let dad know that he is entitled to his opinions, but racist or derogatory remarks will not be tolerated. Your family needs to be a safe haven from prejudice. Ultimately, if you dad is unwilling to change his behaviours, you may have a tough decision to make. What impact will it have on your son, and your relationship, if he continues to be exposed to racism from a family member?

I've been waiting for a proposal from the Ministry for two years. I am considering going international. Should I?

After two years, it's time for your homestudy update, and a visit with your adoption worker. Matching through the Ministry is always based on the needs of a particular child, which means there is no prioritizing for families who have been waiting longer. However, you can talk to your social worker about possible reasons for the longer wait, and strategies to improve your chances of receiving a proposal. Would you consider expanding the age range, number of children, or specific needs you are willing to consider? Have you reviewed the Waiting Child Bulletin to see if a profiled child or sibling group might be a good match? Ask you social worker for an invitation to the next Adoption Resource Exchange. Several children are profile. You'll also have the chance to network with guardianship workers who may have children on their caseload that would be a great match for your family.

International adoption can offer a more predictable process, and this appeals to many families. Wait times for a proposal are usually more predictable--with the exception of the US where birth parents typically select the adoptive parents. If you choose to pursue international adoption, know that your homestudy and educational components will need to be updated, which may take time. Research the restrictions for specific countries and talk to families who have adopted through the same program. Talk to agencies about wait times and how long the wait will be from application to placement.