Your website devotes a whole section to ethics and equity. And, we’ve seen equity statements start to pop up everywhere in the adoption industry, but you all do it differently, in that you have equity statements, and then you have the follow up of the action taken in the next year: here’s where we started. Here’s the actionable things we did. Here’s where we are now. Here’s what we’re like. Your website also discusses ethics and race in placement, and we wanted to know if you could talk a little bit about that, because it is a very hot topic, obviously in the adoption community and with transracial adoptees.
One of our strengths as an agency is consistently evaluating our efforts and determining how we can better serve this community. As a staff we have a culture of learning and self reflection. For example, we have a diversity, equity and inclusion committee that meets once a month to discuss and share ideas, learn, and grow together. It was important to Adoptions Together that we don’t just slap on a black square on our Facebook profile picture as our fight for the Black Lives Matter movement. We wanted to evaluate our practices and identify unintentional biases. Then make appropriate changes from the inside out.
One of these challenges we’ve evaluated for several years is race and placement. This is one example of how we’ve listened to adoptees, learned new perspectives, and made policy changes. We’ve always encouraged birthparents to choose the adoptive family; however, occasionally some birthparents are emotionally unable to choose a family. Some women need to distance themselves with the process, and for those situations, rather than placing the baby with the longest waiting family, we now give priority the adoptive family that best mirrors the child’s race. Having these discussions is difficult but imperative to keep striving to be as ethical as we can be.