“Interracial Families” by Susan Frey

The article “Interracial Families” by Susan Frey, published in the Fostering Perspectives website in 1998, aims at improving the quality of foster care in North Carolina. It is written in a form of a report and identifies both challenges and benefits of growing up in an interracial family. Although the author speaks about several negative social aspects of raising a child of a different race, the overall tone of the story is positive (Frey, 1998). Susan Frey presents facts in a realistic manner and wants the readers to believe that living in the international family has more advantages than disadvantages for all family members, from parents to foster children and their sisters or brothers.

Since I have a black friend who was raised in a foster family, this topic is important and interesting for me to understand what factors influence the identity of a child. Susan Frey claims that as a result of international or interracial adoptions, the family becomes multicultural, which benefits all its members. However, the mixing of races and cultures in the social environment of the family determines whether its status is the source of visible differences or not (Frey, 1998). Depending on the surrounding society, foster children can experience a whole range of reactions, and the relations in family and society affect the development of the child’s identity.

A similar topic is discussed in the article “Interracial Families in Post-Civil Rights America” written by Kerry Ann Rockquemore and Loren Henderson. The authors discuss this issue of identity connected with living in interracial families. Over the past thirty years, there have been some social changes in the United States that have resulted in big changes in adoption policies and practices (Rockquemore & Henderson, 2015). Living in the modern world, people have the opportunity to observe shifts in the nature of the relationship between foster children and parents, as well as between all participants in the adoption process and society as a whole. As a result, the word “adoption” has become more ambiguous and unites a wide range of phenomena (Rockquemore & Henderson, 2015). This diversity influences the process of developing a sense of identity in foster teenagers.

This topic is important to understanding the history, culture, and current situation of family life in America. First of all, probably no topic in American history has been considered more meaningful and controversial than race relations. Interracial adoptions, especially the adoption of African American children by white parents, always generated a lot of controversy in the United States (Rockquemore & Henderson, 2015). American society used to think that black children who live in white families cannot develop a true sense of racial identity. Despite this, many studies have shown that interracial adoptions have many positive outcomes.

The role of mass media is also great in shaping the understanding of family relations. The issue of interracial families and foster children’s identity has attracted great interest in media over the past few decades (Rockquemore & Henderson, 2015). Such publications as the article “Interracial Families” help people understand the benefits of interracial adoption, improve the quality of foster care, as well as assist families and children in adapting to new conditions.

From the reviewed readings, I have understood that the development of the foster child’s identity is affected by numerous and complex situations that originate from various sources. Some are related to the compatibility of the child with the foster family and the surrounding society, and some are generated by the attitude of society towards adoption in general. Children who have gone the interracial adoption are different from their foster parents, but how families deal with these differences plays an important role in the development of the child’s identity.

References

Frey, S. (1998). Interracial families. Fostering Perspectives, 2(2), 1-2. Web.

Rockquemore, K. A., & Henderson, L. (2015). Interracial families in post-civil rights America. In B. J. Risman & V. Rutter (Eds.), Families as They Really Are (2nd ed.). New York, NY: WW Norton.