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Interracial adoption: ‘The children nobody wants’

The Story

"They are most unusual. They have a more solid philosophy of life than most of us, they know what their values are and they don't care at all what their neighbours think," says guest Muriel McRae, describing white couples who adopt children of a different race. Those couples are guests on this Tabloid episode, talking about raising children of a different race in an effort to encourage more couples to adopt Canada's "home-grown refugees." Also in the episode, university students present their architecture projects and Percy Saltzman presents the weather.

Medium: Television
Program: Tabloid
Broadcast Date: March 24, 1960
Guest(s): Donald Cowan, Cynthia Cowan, Frank Edgar, Margaret Edgar, En Kayari, Frank Lahka, Muriel McRae, Fred Parent, Joan Parent, John Stephens
Announcer: John O'Leary
Host: Percy Saltzman, Joyce Davidson
Interviewer: Max Ferguson
Duration: 26:46

Did You know?

• Historian Karen Dubinsky says there was a "secrecy and shame" associated with adoption in Canada in the 1950s and 1960s. She says it was "an especially cruel system, particularly for the birth mothers."

• Interracial adoption complicated things even more. Dubinsky, a professor at Queen's University, writes, "all adoptive parents in this era were in the curious position of reconciling essentialist notions of blood, heredity, and familial sameness - mainstays of North American culture in the mid-twentieth century - with the practice of introducing complete genetic strangers into their lives forever."

• Today, social workers generally try to match children to parents of the same race - in Toronto 85 per cent of adopted kids are matched to at least one parent of the same race.

• Private adoption from overseas has skyrocketed in popularity in the decades since this clip, and most of these children are of a different race than their adoptive parents. From 1993-2002, Canadians adopted almost 20,000 children born overseas.


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