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TRANSNATIONAL ADOPTION: ‘I’VE BEEN ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING MY WHITE CHILD’. Stories of transracial adoption most often feature white families adopting black and Asian children. When the opposite happens, and black and Asian parents adopt white children, officials and members of the public can become very suspicious.

Seven-year-old Johnny was about to lose it. He’d woken up in a sulk and it was only escalating as the day progressed. Now, at a diner in Charlotte, North Carolina, Peter could see Johnny arguing with another child in the play area. He had to act fast to get his foster son out of the restaurant before a loud tantrum would erupt. Taking the boy in his arms, Peter quickly paid the bill.As he carried Johnny to their car, the child wriggled moodily in his embrace, and was still agitated as Peter put him down to open the car door.A woman approached them, frowning.”Where is this boy’s mother?” she asked.”I’m his father,” Peter replied.The woman took a step back and stood in front of Peter’s car. She looked down at his number plate and took out her phone.”Hello, police please,” she said calmly down the phone. “Hey, there’s a black man. I think he’s kidnapping a little white kid.” Johnny suddenly became still, and looked up at Peter. Peter put his arm around his foster son.”It’s OK,” he said to the boy. …

Peter was in his early 40s and happily settled in the US. He was working for an NGO that would take donors to Uganda to help disadvantaged communities. It was on one such trip, when he saw a white family travelling with their adopted daughter, that Peter realised children in America sometimes needed a new home as badly as children in Uganda.On his return to North Carolina, Peter went to a local foster agency and said that he would like to volunteer.”Have you thought of becoming a foster parent?” the lady at the foster care office asked as she took down his details.”I’m single though,” Peter replied.”So?” she responded, “There are plenty of boys in the care system looking for male role models, people who want to be a father figure in their life.”There was only one other single man who had signed up to be a foster parent in the state of North Carolina at the time.When he filled out his forms, Peter assumed that he would automatically be matched with African American children. But he was shocked that the first child that came into his care was a five-year-old white boy.”This was when I realised that all children needed a home, and colour should not be a factor for me,” says Peter.”…

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