AfriGeneas Adoption Forum
The Adoption History Project
Before the 1960s, “Negro” adoption referred to the permanent placement of African-American children or mixed-race children who had one “Negro” birth parent. Few people considered transracial adoption a viable option for these children, with important exceptions such as Pearl S. Buck and Helen Doss, author of The Family Nobody Wanted. When adoption services were extended to children of color, they were strictly segregated and matching mattered just as it did for their white counterparts. But these children were placed in families so infrequently before 1945 that “Negro” adoption was considered part of the revolution inaugurating special needs adoptions after World War II. Adoption resource exchanges that published monthly listings of waiting children and families were first used to find homes for “Negro” children. By the late 1960s, these exchanges were widely used to place all “hard-to-place” children.