It Can Make Them Sick
While unable to effectively “code switch” in a more complex and diverse society, Black adoptive children have expressed the strain on their identity in feeling out of place and out of touch with the very people who look like them and should identify with them. As one adoptee stated, “I feel like they know I’m a fraud” when in the presence of other Blacks. Experts say not knowing these codes and registers for Black children can have negative consequences for their mental and emotional well-being, and thus, their physical health. The constant shifting of context that African-Americans must tolerate carries with it a greater burden of disease. The consequences for their health and well-being take the form of higher cortisol levels, which can produce higher rates of chronic ailments that lead to increased morbidity and mortality.