Foreigners Vie to Adopt Black U.S. Babies

All sides of the adoption equation see that fact as an opportunity. The hope that her biological son would grow up in a less-prejudiced society was one of the reasons Ethan's birth mother picked the family in Canada.

Darke said her son's race won't make any difference in how she rears him.

"Regardless of whether Ethan is black or white, you need to keep your doors open," she said. "You need to put out a smorgasbord of opportunity and allow them to choose. And it has nothing to do with his skin color, and that's just the way you have to raise them, period."

The rest of the family doesn't see it as an issue.

"For me personally, it didn't bother me at all," said Sara, Darke's teenage daughter. "I don't look at him and think that he's black."

Love Not Color Blind?

But some suggest that might be taking things a bit too far.

"People who think that love is color blind, that race won't be an issue, are naive," Hughes said.

Phil Bertelsen -- a black filmmaker in New York who grew up in a loving, multiracial New Jersey family -- said his upbringing almost created a cocoon of protection from the reality of race in the world around him. He began examining that issue in his film called "Outside Looking In," about transracial adoption and the impact it had on his sense of cultural identity.

"It was a challenge facing the discord outside the home," Bertelsen said, "when all you had experienced was something else."

While progressive-minded adoptive parents may be well intentioned in the idea that race doesn't matter, Bertelsen said, being completely color blind can be dangerous and damaging.

"That difference is worth acknowledging and not ignoring," he said, "because when you ignore my race or my ethnicity, you are essentially taking away a part of who I am."

Ethan's parents said they are trying to read the books, take the courses and build a community including black friends and an environment that will allow their son to have a conversation about race as soon as he is ready.

"He is one day going to realize by our hands being together," she said. "I'm holding his hand walking down the street and he's going to know."

"We'll just have to take it as it comes," Stroud said.

Reporter Hari Sreenivasan and producer Nils Kongshaug originally reported this story for "World News Tonight" on Feb. 27, 2005, and for ABC News Now.

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