Rates of internationally-adopted children are declining, while overseas adoption of American kids steadily increases –– particularly, Black American children.
While Canada ranks as the number one destination for children adopted from the U.S. (148 went there in 2010), the Netherlands has consistently held the number two spot each year. Some 250 U.S. children were adopted by Dutch families from 2004-2010 (according to statistics), one of them being 13-year-old Elisa van Meurs (pictured above).
Elisa, who is Indianapolis-born and whose mother is of “African American descent,” grew up with a Polish couple and speaks both fluent Dutch and English. Unlike her birth mother who’s “really nice” but doesn’t “have a lot of money to do stuff,” the little girl’s adoptive parents allotted Elisa a privileged life, equipped with horseback riding and summer vacations to the Swiss Alps.
One of the main reasons why the U.S. is turning out to be a primary source for adopting babies is because of the issues that surround the origin of children who are put up for adoption in developing countries. In America, interestingly enough, parents from abroad can adopt a healthy tot “whose family history and medical background is unclouded by doubt.”
While some of the mothers see adoption as a chance to a better economic life for their child, others see it as an escape from racism.
Susan, (a white prostitute, crack-abuser and Florida resident), who put up her son for adoption circa 2006, says:
There’s too much prejudice over here. The white people are going to hate him because he’s half black, and the majority of black people are going to hate on him because he’s half white. And then he’ll have to do extra things to prove what kind of a Negro he is, and extra things to prove what kind of a honky he is and I don’t want that. I did not want that for my kid. (….)
During Dutch Father’s Day, a bevy of adoptive parents gather to celebrate in American style, at a park outside of Amsterdam. The picnic serves as a time where the kids can run around, donning the colors red, white and blue to celebrate their nationality. Parents see it as chance to let the children talk about their experiences –– “with their hair and with their skin” –– with other kids born in America.
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