By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
This makes Martin a rare survivor of a disastrous child-protection system that in Los Angeles spews out huge numbers of soon-to-be homeless and drug-addicted young adults, “emancipated” from their temporary families at the age of 18. (See “Terminated at 18,” L.A. Weekly issue January 11-17.)
But Martin sees the black-adoption problem in broader cultural terms, saying that South-Central blacks as a group “are in a hole. The people in the community need to dig [them]selves out of the hole. If you take the kids out, then they won’t be here to fix it.”
On the other side of this political divide is Anna Tripp, a half-Irish, half-Chinese lesbian. Tripp lives in the middle-class, mostly white enclave of Thousand Oaks with her black girlfriend. The couple are in the final stages of adopting a half-black baby girl, Abigail.
“As long as we say ‘blacks should stay with blacks and whites should stay with whites,’ there is no way to erase those lines,” Tripp says. “As long as you keep this separation, you continue to have separation.”
Another white adoptive mother, Wendy Kugel, who, like Devon Brooks, has taught at USC’s School of Social Work, says child-welfare workers should simply be finding these kids decent homes — of any race.
“Children are adopted because something has gone wrong,” she says over the delighted screams of her two black children on the Fourth of July. “They have been abused, neglected, their parents have died. ... There are so many things higher on the list than color of skin or where people are from.”
The plight of the half-starved boy tortured in the home of Starkeisha Brown hinges on a political and racial battle still raging among adults. Illegal, black-only placements are still widely believed to be practiced by Los Angeles County government employees. How will this horrifically abused young boy be placed?
“We look for the most suitable permanent home,” insists DCFS' Grasmehr. “If that is a family of the same race, it is the same race. If it’s not, it’s not.”
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