Embracing Black Narratives
Advocating Adoption and Fostering Understanding in Communities of Color
Adoption and the foster system have had a historically traumatizing impact on communities of color. A Family for Every Child embraces the powerful narratives of the Black experience with adoption and foster care by learning from adoption advocates like Dr. Renee Alexander and Jini Thornton, and continuing education through the National Council For Adoption's webinar, "A Birthmother Speaks: Reframing and Normalizing Adoption in Communities of Color."
Dr. Renee Alexander, an educator and adoption advocate, shares her poignant journey as a Black woman who made the heart-wrenching decision to surrender her child at 15. “The act of surrendering a child is one of the most difficult, painful, and seemingly “unnatural acts” a young woman can ever do. Culturally, historically, and biologically it all flies in the face of almost everything we’ve been taught, learned, or observed about children and families. It’s by far the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.” However, she says, “It’s also the best decision I’ve ever made.”
When Janai, her daughter, walked into her life many years later, it was unequivocally clear that she had made the right choice. The similarities they shared were wonderful to discover. While much has changed in the world of adoption since Dr. Alexander was a young girl, the feelings of fear, insecurity, and uncertainty of not making the right decision when choosing to surrender a child are still very clear. Thankfully, today more resources are available for guidance and counseling for those making this difficult decision.
Jini Thornton is a financial expert and black adoptee who champions the cause of adoption within the Black community. She tackles the myths surrounding adoption costs and the stigma against non-biological parenting, advocating for a shift in narrative to embrace and normalize adoption. “We need to frame this story of what this black birthmother looks like,” says Thornton. “We’re still relying upon some outdated information in the context of who she is, and I think it would be very helpful for us to (really) see her and know about her. Know about the situation so we can normalize it, so black families can understand why this is a really good option for them.”
Thornton and Alexander are only two of the many Black voices whose stories inspire our work. We invite you to delve deeper into their experiences and insights through their featured webinar with the NCFA. This Black History Month, let's celebrate and amplify these important voices, fostering understanding and support for adoption in communities of color.