Louise Wise Services, Press Release Announcing Recruitment of White Parents for Black Children, 1963

Knowledge and experience in the adoption field have proved that a child need not be “matched” to look like adoptive parents in order to achieve a happy family for either the child or parents. In our changing world there are many families who can accept and love a child who looks different than themselves. The Louise Wise Services believes that race is not necessarily the sole criterion for placement. More important is the suitability of the prospective parents and their ability to care for and love the child as their own. The search for white families is to supplement and not supplant the agency’s recruitment of Negro adoptive families, who are wanted more than ever. . . .

Negro-white adoptions obviously are not the answer to the problem of homeless Negro children in all parts of the country. But Louise Wise Services believes that a city like New York, with its varied cultures and cosmopolitan neighborhoods, ought to be able to welcome interracial families. The agency has found a warm response to its boarding families that have provided pre-adoptive care to children without regard to race.

The Louise Wise Services is fully aware of the questions raised by Negro-white adoptions. Not the least of these questions is: Is it fair to the Negro child to be placed in a white home? The answer must certainly be that there may be problems arising out of such a placement. But the agency is also questioning whether it is fair to keep a Negro child out of a white home if the alternative is for him to have no home at all.

Such adoptions have been carried out successfully in a number of communities in the United States and Canada. Minnesota has had an outstanding program. White adoptive parents there reported that they had anticipated far more problems than had actually arisen. They found great support from neighbors, friends and relatives. They found that family life was more interesting and fuller than ever before. A number of families have applied for second Negro youngsters. It must be noted that most of the Negro-white adoptions reported on are fairly new. None of the children have reached adulthood yet. But the adoptive parents involved do not seem to worry about the future unduly. . . .


Source: Louise Wise Services, Press Release, November 12, 1963, Viola W. Bernard Papers, Box 162, Folder 7, Archives and Special Collections, Augustus C. Long Library, Columbia University.

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