Black children continue to be passed over for adoption

afro brazilians

Black children continue to be passed over for adoption
Amanda Cieglinski of Agência Brasil

Three years after the creation of the National Register of Adoption, black children are still not chosen by families who wish to adopt a child. Inter-racial adoption remains a taboo: of the 26,000 families waiting in line for adoption, more than one-third accept only white children. Meanwhile, the Afro-Brazilian children (those considered black/preto and brown/pardo) are more than half of those that are suitable for adoption and waiting for a family.

Despite the campaigns promoted by organizations and governments about the need to broaden the profile of the child requested, the supervisor of the 1st Jurisdiction of Infancy and Youth of the Federal District (area including the nation’s capital of Brasília), Walter Gomes, says there has been little progress. “What we found in everyday life is that the family is still has enormous resistance [to the adoption of black children]. The question of color still remains an obstacle of difficult deconstruction.”

Today in the Federal District there are 51 black children qualified for adoption, all over 5 years of age. Among the 410 families waiting in line, only 17 would accept a child with this profile. The standard remains for those that seek children that they be newborn, white and without siblings. According to Gomes, the main argument of the families in rejecting the adoption of black children is the possibility that they will suffer prejudice because of the difference in skin color.

“But this argument is projective in nature, i.e. they are families who already harbor prejudice, and this is an argument that does not hold up well in terms of an objective analysis,” argues Gomes. The wait time in line for the adoption of a child “classic” profile is an average of eight years. If applicants accepted black children, with siblings and older, the term may fall to three months, he says.

Five years ago, lawyer Mirian Andrade Veloso became the mother of Camille, a black girl who is now 7 years. Miriam, who is 38 years old, blond hair and blue eyes, says that in their routine, skin color is just a “detail”. She remembers only one episode where the girl was questioned by a person if she was really the daughter of Miriam, due to the physical difference between the two.

“This [the fear of prejudice] is a problem of whoever still has not adopted and has this view. There is no real problem on this issue, the problem is in the pre-conception of the situation that we have not experienced. These experiences may exist, but they are very few when they get near the prize,” said the lawyer.  

Today, Miriam and her husband have custody of another girl, 13, Camille’s sister, and have given up on the idea of having biological children. “It’s a shame people put restrictions on adopting a child because whoever keeps waiting to choose is losing out, losing the chance to be happy.”

For Walter Gomes, you must raise awareness of families to increase the number of inter-racial adoptions. “Racism, in our day to day, is verified in the behaviors and attitudes. In the context of  adoption, there is no way that you can fight so that this prejudice is dissolved, if not through affective affirmativity. In the universe of love there is no difference, there is no color. Love, when it truly exists in relationships, ultimately eradicates everything that is contrary to citizenship,” he says.

About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. Not true so many Black children are going to white families that even African American adoptive families are being skipped over. African American wanting to adopt families are waiting while white families are adopting Black children back to back with 6+ children already in their homes. Please stop it. Now that Angelina and the blind side makes it okay everyone wants a Black child and that's exactly whats happening. This is so not the real story because if you would check the adoption sites you would see who's truly being skipped over and its African American families who want African American children.

  2. Are there many Black Brazilians in the middle or upper classes who can adopt Black children? That would be the best option.

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