Imagine being labeled “special needs” because of your color or race. Does it matter that you were maybe picked last or maybe just didn’t have enough people who qualified? Well, this is what is happening in the adoption system and it is raising a lot of questions. Children of color (American minorities) are being placed in the category of “specials needs” when they turn 2 years-old and older. Yes, you read this right, 2 years-old! On the other hand, White American children aren’t being labeled “special needs” until they are 9 years-old. The apparent reason is because white kids are quicker to get adopted than children of color. Their solution – label babies of color as “special needs.”
Special needs at first was considered the label for those who had disabilities whether it was medical, mental or psychological, but with the adoption system it has a new meaning. Read on to find out what it means in the U.S. adoption system.
A white couple, Ashleigh and John Carroll, who has two biological children of their own and later adopted an Ethiopian girl and a Black American boy, spoke with WREG Memphis. Ashleigh and John Carroll say they were stuck with the thought of unwanted black babies after being told by a private agency that there is a 3 or 4 year waiting list for white children, but nobody is waiting for black children.
Ashleigh Carroll stated that they wanted to fill a need and the reality is the majority of that need was to adopt kids that didn’t look like… “us.”
State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, John Johnson gave the label another defined phrase “hard to place.” Johnson went on to say that White children ages 3-8 get adopted quicker than Black children of the same population.
In addition to being labeled a “special needs” child, the government gives out incentives, a minimum of $23.21/day in assistance to help take away some of the hurdle when adopting.