What Melissa Should Have Said: The Truth About Transracial Adoption

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by Melanie Falu

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry  (MHP) and her panel was recently criticized for their comments regarding a Mitt Romney family photo in which his newly adopted black grandchild was included.  First let me say I love watching MHP, the show is a weekend ritual for me and I will continue watching.  When viewing last week’s show and this particular segment I was anticipating a commentary but very different from the one that was conducted.  I was hoping Melissa and her usual brazen panel would have opened the discussion of how Black adoption by white families is still a head turner and not because of the yearly family photo!  Here’s what Melissa and crew should have said.

While I applaud the Romney’s for their choice on adoption, not because of color, but because of the need of a child, I can’t help but feel extra happy for this particular choice.  Yes, I’m happy they adopted Black, there I said it and here’s why.  For so long many white infertile couples express the strong desire to have a child and when the time for adoption comes up they travel overseas to China, Indonesia, Vietnam, etc.  You get the point! Here are people wanting to be parents at almost any cost, are willing to go the extreme and adopt a child from another country; as if the U.S. doesn’t have enough kids in foster care.  Some say the U.S. process is too lengthy and the rules too stringent; while that may be the case, could it also be that the U.S. has a limited number of white babies, making these adoptions rare. But if you really have love in your heart and the desire to be a Mommy and Daddy, color, hair type or perceived cultural differences shouldn’t matter.  Many white people won’t admit but they rather go to a third world country pick up a little Asian child, give them an American name and convince themselves this is better than adopting Shaniqua’s child (forgive the naming reference, but again you get the point!).

Melissa and crew should have also brought up the cost structure in adopting a white child versus a black child.  Yes, there’s a cost structure as identified by NPR’s Michele Norris’ initiative The Race Card Project.  According to an NPR segment this past June the cost to adopt a Caucasian child was approximately $35,000, plus some legal expenses versus adopting a full African-American child, which was about $18,000, biracial children on average run between $24,000 and $26,000.  Reading this statement you would think we’re talking about cars or some other large purchase, but no we’re talking about children here in our country that are price ranged accordingly by their race.

Basically the adoption process in our country is regulated by supply and demand.  Little supply of white babies because they’re in more demand, so their price goes up. While Black babies who are in abundance, and one should ask why, since so many people want to adopt. But because of this abundance, which let’s be real translates to nobody wants them, their priced cheaper.  This reminds me of a friend whom I call Mrs. Dolittle who only adopts Black cats; her reasoning for adoption is because of their color and the superstition surrounding them.  She figures since nobody wants them she’ll take them and provide a good home.  While her efforts are commendable this same propensity should not apply to infant Black babies, who from the moment of birth are being regarded as not good enough all because of the color their skin!

Lastly, Melissa and crew should have concluded the segment in congratulating the Romney’s and other white families who adopt based on pure love.  The sincerity in adopting a child regardless of race is more than commendable, considering our racial climate it is actually astonishing! Bravo to the Romney’s and all others who are following a pure principle of heart and not the human economics of supply and demand, translation, “I want that white baby!”

Melissa Harris-Perry has since issued a heartfelt apology and the Romney clan has accepted.  I will continue my weekend ritual of watching MHP with the hope that Melissa and panel will continue their thought provoking conversations; and when it comes to sarcasm I can only hope that the MHP crew values their platform and realize some topics aren’t giggled worthy.


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