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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 18, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 38
Chad Goller-Sojourner to host a workshop for adoptive parents who are raising black children
Section One
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Chad Goller-Sojourner to host a workshop for adoptive parents who are raising black children

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Transracial Adoption and Family Coaching is hosting a workshop Sunday, September 20, for adoptive parents who are raising Black Children. The workshop, 'Raising Black Boys and Girls to Become Black Men and Women,' will be taught by local author/performer Chad Goller-Sojourner, who is openly Gay.

'Raising Black Boys and Girls to Become Black Men and Women' has an official Facebook page, which can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/746416658813578/.

'When it comes to dealing with the police and other people in authority, many white people have the 'If you're not doing anything wrong, you've got nothing to worry about,' attitude,' Goller-Sojourner said in a media release to Seattle Gay News. 'While often true for white people, this could not be further from the truth for black people.'

Thus, consider the problems with applying this axiom to young black men and women raised within the privileged and protective walls of white parentage, said Goller-Sojourner.

'On one hand, they share the skin color America often sees as dangerous and criminal-minded; on the other hand, they have the nature, being, and knowing of a white child or adolescent,' he continued. 'Taken together, these can be a lethal combination.'

You don't have to look very hard to find evidence to support those claims. In July 2013, the Washington Post interviewed political scientists Jon Hurwitz and Mark Peffley about their book on how blacks and whites perceive the criminal justice system, and what it implies for Trayvon Martin's death, George Zimmerman's acquittal, and the aftermath.

'We asked whether it's a 'serious problem' in their community that police 'stop and question blacks far more often than whites' or that police 'care more about crimes against whites than minorities,' the authors told the Post.

On average, 70 percent of blacks, but only 17 percent of whites, considered these serious problems. In addition, about 25 percent of whites disagreed with the statement that the 'courts give all a fair trial,' more than 60 percent of African Americans disagreed.

'Repeatedly, using every possible barometer, we found that blacks doubted the fairness of the justice system much more than whites,' report Hurwitz and Peffley.

Also, the duo found that many whites (about 60 percent) believed that blacks deserve to be imprisoned more frequently.

'They often based their explanations of racial discrepancies in the prisons on racial stereotypes: Blacks, they believed, are more inclined to commit crimes or just less likely to respect authority,' the two political scientists report.

Raising Black Boys and Girls to Become Black Men and Women will explore and address the significant challenges associated with white parents raising black children in a world where black skin is often seen as sufficient probable cause, said Goller-Sojourner.

During the workshop participants will learn about:
o Best Practices for avoiding/interacting with law enforcement and other authorities.
o Navigating educational systems and other social environments as the parent of a black child.
o Differences between white parents parenting black children and black parents parenting black children.
o Tips and Strategies for fostering same race relationships, including adult mentorship.
o How best to engage children and adolescents in healthy, ongoing and age appropriate conversations around race, racism and policing.
o The Black child's premature loss of protection and assumed childhood innocence.

EXACTLY HOW MANY WHITE PEOPLE ARE RAISING BLACK CHILDREN?
Based on the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) in the U.S., approximately 64% of children waiting in foster care are of non-Caucasian background; 32% were white. Out of all foster children waiting for adoption 51% are black, 11% are Hispanic, 1% are American Indian, 1% are Asian/Pacific Islander, and 5% are unknown/unable to determine. The fact that the highest percentage of kids waiting for adoption in the U.S. are black proves the need for workshops like 'Raising Black Boys and Girls to Become Black Men and Women.'

There are a lot of feelings on whether white parents should adopt black children as well as whether or not Gays should be allowed to adopt black children, regardless if they are a single parent or married couple. The National Association of Black Social Workers is opposed to transracial adoptions, according to The Encyclopedia of Adoption by Christine A. Adamec and Laurie C. Miller.

'Those who disapprove of white parents adopting black children believe that white parents cannot truly understand black children, that children will be deprived of their heritage, and that their development will be harmed,' Adamec and Miller write in the book. 'Supporters of transracial adoption when suitable black adoptive families cannot be identified cite longitudinal studies that indicate black children raised by white parents are generally well-adjusted.'

So what are some reasons that white people - LGBTQ or heterosexual - adopt black kids in particular?

One factor, say adoption officials, is the price tag. In domestic adoption, you may pay less to adopt a black child than you would to adopt a white child.

Another reason might be the relaxing of humanitarian parole policies resulting in the expedited in-process adoptions to get orphaned children to their adoptive families as quickly as possible. In Haiti, after the 2010 earthquake, some of the children were flown in to the U.S. on helicopters where their white adoptive parents were waiting.

There is one snag for some Gay white families that want to adopt a kid from Utah or Mississippi. It's illegal. 'Federal law is silent on homosexuals adopting children, and adoption laws vary from state to state,' attorney Matthew Izzi reports. 'However, Utah and Mississippi courts enforce actual bans on adoption by Gay people.'

Going the international route might prove to be a bit costly in both time and in the bank. It takes about three years and costs around $30,000 to adopt a child internationally, says International Adoption Attorney and Director of Outreach and Advocacy for Both Ends Burning, Kelly Dempsey.

Like Mississippi and Utah domestically, Gay couples can't adopt from Kenya, Africa internationally. In Kenya, an applicant who is of unsound mind, has been charged or convicted of an offence by a court of competent jurisdiction, or is a homosexual is barred from adoption,' according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

And lastly, you might have to find yourself unrooted, moving to Africa if you wish to adopt a child from the Congo. 'We have about 1,000 American families that have either adopted or are in the process of adopting children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but we can't get clearance for the kids to leave the country,' Dempsey says. 'We don't know why. We had about a dozen children die during this process. Right now, families are moving to the Congo to raise the children they've adopted'

STILL TIME TO REGISTER FOR WORKSHOP
It is important to note that this workshop is all-inclusive; it is not being offered towards just the LGBTQ community or the hetero community, but all parents who feel that they might benefit from Goller-Sojourner's expertise.

'According to an American Psychological Association study: 'Black children are perceived an average of 4.5 years older and less innocent than their white counterparts.' He informs. 'The study also tells us that police are more likely to use force against Black children when officers 'dehumanize' Blacks.'

Thre's still time to register but you should do it as soon as possible because space is limited. Registration fees are $125 per single parent and $200 for co-parents and can be done at http://transracialfamilycoaching.com/possiblecoachingtopics2.html. To register by mail, make checks payable to: Chad Goller-Sojourner, 3703 S. Edmunds St. #30, Seattle, WA 98118. (Because this scheduled workshop is two days from now, on Sunday, September 20, online registration is recommended.)

Chad Goller-Sojourner is an adult transracial adoptee, educator, coach, and author of the forthcoming book From Lutefisk and Lefse to Cornbread and Collards: Narratives, Essays, and Interactive Exercises in Transracial Adoption. His personal and professional insights on transracial families have been featured by various media, including Time Magazine and NPR's Weekend Edition, where his story 'Growing Up 'White,' Transracial Adoptee Learned to Be Black' was selected as the 2014 Pick of the Year. Also an educator, Chad's work on multi- and transracial identity development has resulted in numerous community and academic appointments, including Visiting Professorships at both Ohio and Radford Universities.

As a writer/performer, Chad is the creator of two highly acclaimed solo shows. Sitting in Circles with Rich White Girls: Memoirs of a Bulimic Black Boy is the groundbreaking and crushingly honest story of a bulimic, black boy raised by white parents and struggling to find beauty, acceptance, and safe space in an all-white world. Riding in Cars with Black People & Other Newly Dangerous Acts: A Memoir in Vanishing Whiteness is the story of what happens when a transracial adoptee 'ages out' of honorary white and suburban privilege and into a world where men with black skin are deemed dangerous until proven otherwise.

A frequent contributor to several online transracial adoption communities, Goller-Sojourner continues to advise adoptive parents on the ins and outs of creating healthy and happy transracial families, ones where even the most conflicting of experiences can be reclaimed, transformed, and accepted for what they are: the building blocks of our unique identities.

For more information about Transracial Family Coaching visit them online at www.transracialfamilycoaching.com or email transracialfamilycoaching@gmail.com.

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