The Spence-Chapin Adoption Agency in New York City, which facilitates many transracial adoptions, urged white parents who adopt black children to move to an integrated neighborhood, send their child to an integrated school and expose them to other black people.
"This is what I tell people," Rita Taddonio, who directs the agency's Adoption Resource Center, said. "If you look around your table and your guests are all the same color, if you don't have diversity around your kitchen table then you shouldn't be adopting a child of a different color."
There are ways to help your child cope, she said. "We recommend parents connect to the black community, that they make sure they have friends in those areas, that they go to a black church or be part of the community as well," she said. "Every parent's job is to help them form an identity, it's just an additional layer of complexity when your child's identity has pieces of it that you don't own."
These days, many white families are rushing to adopt Haitian orphans after the earthquake left so many children without parents or families.
The Scoppas said they will make every effort to connect Erickson and Therline to their Haitian and black roots. But they did not apologize for adopting black children.
"If there are no black families that want to adopt them and we want to adopt them, and make them part of our lives and give them as much love as possible, then I don't know why that's so wrong," Duke Scoppa said.
Not wrong, say some of those who grew up black in a white family ... but not easy, either.