Angelina Jolie With Four of Her Six Children

Mixed Race Adoption Plans In UK Could Be Challenged By Devastating Report

UK government proposals to make it easier for would-be parents to adopt children from different cultural or racial backgrounds, have been substantively challenged by a new report which says such differences can have a profoundly negative impact on ethnic children who are then adopted by white parents.

A three year study by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), examined the experiences of 72 Chinese orphans who arrived from Hong Kong in the 1960s and were adopted by mainly white British parents.

In the study, which is the first to look at the long-term impact of interracial adoption in Britain, former orphans were asked to talk about their experiences from childhood through to middle age.

According to The Guardian, common feedback included “varying levels of racism, prejudice and feelings of belonging and difference within their adoptive families and wider communities.”

Many of the women also, “felt alienated” and “struggled with conflicts of dual/multiple identities and had experienced race-based mistreatment.”

For some, childhood and adolescence were particularly traumatic, with 54% saying they “felt uncomfortable” after comments about how different they looked from their adoptive family were made.

Around three-quarters of those studied said they had wanted to look less Chinese as they grew up, while a smaller figure said “race-based bullying” and discrimination “had a substantial negative impact on their well-being.”

The common thread running throughout the study was the issue of ethnicity, and how much race and culture impacted the former orphans’ lives.

Other findings identified the part played by the adoptive family’s sensitivity and ability to help the orphans cope with the issues of difference.

The present conservative UK government is committed to reforming the adoption process, with Education secretary Michael Gove saying he hopes to put an end to what he describes as the “misguided” belief that all children must be matched with parents of the same race. [Full speech at PoliticsHome]

Madonna with her adoptive son, David, and daughter, Lourdes
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