A new plan to focuses on the adoption of African-American children
Rosemary Armstrong fondly recalls the first time she met her daughter Micayla, then 2, at her foster home.
The African-American toddler screamed when the caseworker tried to pick her up, but she happily sat on Armstrong’s lap and smiled.
Micayla didn’t talk at all to most people, but during their second meeting, she started communicating: "It was ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’ from day one," Armstrong says. "It was so fast."
Armstrong and her husband, Terry, also African-American , decided to adopt from foster care after discovering they could not have a child biologically.
They met Micayla in April 2008, and her adoption was final in February 2009. Micayla, who turned 4 on Monday, bonded quickly with their two other children, Armstrong’s son, Jaiere, 7, and goddaughter Alexis, 14.
‘A perfect parent’
While blacks account for 15% of U.S. children, they make up 32% of the 510,000 kids in foster care, according to a May 2008 report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a private research group. The report is based on 2006 data, the latest available. It shows that black children in foster care, especially older ones, are less likely than white ones to be adopted.
To help deal with that imbalance, a federally funded ad campaign is to be unveiled today. It is aimed at encouraging blacks to adopt from the foster care system. The ads will appear this fall on radio, TV and in newspapers.
"They’re long overdue," says Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute.
A 1994 federal law, the Multiethnic Placement Act, prohibits denying or delaying an adoption because of race but requires "diligent" efforts to recruit parents of the same race.
The new ads, developed by the Advertising Council, are part of a series that began in 2002 to promote adoption from foster care. The ads, like prior ones, are humorous and carry the same tagline: "You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent."