There is a well documented racial imbalance in the child welfare system in the United States. A Black child is many times more likely to be in foster care or state custody than a white child. (For example, in New York, a Black child is 10 times more likely to be in state care; in Chicago, 95% of the children in care are Black.) And though scholars like Dorothy Roberts have shown that this racial disparity is a result of children of color being removed from their families at a much greater rate than white children living in identical circumstances, the fact remains that a disparate number of Black children are in need of adoptive parents.
Into this breech step a growing number of single Black women. Many are well educated professionals who have not found the right partner with whom to begin a family. Some have the same fertility troubles as the general population of professional women who’ve delayed child bearing. All are committed to motherhood and their children, however they arrive and whatever the sacrifices required by single parenting.
What’s stunning to me is the criticism these women are facing for becoming single parents by choice. As with single mothers everywhere–by accident or choice, rich or poor–these women find themselves criticized for going it alone.
CNN profiles Kaydra Fleming, a 37-year-old social worker in Arlington, Texas, adoptive mother of Zoey:
“Zoey was going to be born to a single black mother anyway,” Fleming says. “At least she’s being raised by a single black parent who was ready financially and emotionally to take care of her.”
In Fleming’s case, too, the adoption was arranged by Zoey’s birth mother and is open, giving both women, and Zoey herself, more loving family yet. And more loving family–biological, adoptive, single, married, rich poor, Black or white–is in the best interest of any child.
image: Lorraine Alston, via cnn.com