Transracial adoption refers to placing a child who is of one race or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another race or ethnic group. Transracial adoption is a beautiful picture of what a family is really meant to be: people linked together with love. Learning about and connecting to your child’s culture of origin is vital to the well-being of the child and embracing that culture as a part of your whole family creates a multicultural home full of beauty and diversity.
When parenting children of a different race than you, it is important for adoptive parents to consider the following advice:
- Talk to friends and family. What will becoming a multiracial family mean in your circle of those closest to you? Will they love and accept your child? Will they be encouraging and uplifting? It is important to consider this before bringing a child into the environment. Have honest conversations to ensure a healthy, safe place for the child.
- Acknowledge racism and how it influences people of color. If you are white and plan to adopt a child of color, it is important for you to understand his/her life experiences may differ from yours. Educate yourself by reading books, talking with friends of color, etc. so that you have a realistic understanding of how to protect and prepare your child to the best of your ability.
- Find mentors and role models for your child. While parents and family members will be natural role models for your child, look for those of their race, as well. If you see that your circle of friends all look like you, start working to broaden it now. Look for racial diversity in churches, schools, neighborhoods, etc. so that you and your child can naturally develop relationships with people of various races. Even better, be on the lookout for other multiracial families, whether through adoption or not, to connect with. Children like to see other families that look like theirs.
- Embrace your multicultural family. Learn about the traditions, music, food, art, etc. of your child’s culture of origin, and add it to your family culture. Celebrate all aspects as part of your unique family and talk about it in everyday life. Your family is now multiethnic and multicultural, and that makes it even more beautiful!
- Start working on positive language when addressing differences. The words you use matter. Start framing ideas in positive terms so that you naturally do so when speaking to your child. For example, instead of saying one type of hair or skin is “hard to deal with” or “high maintenance,” you could say all hair types or skin types need special care. Every part of your child is precious and beautiful, and you want to make sure your words reflect that.
Transracial adoption does come with some special considerations, and adoptive parents must be prepared to welcome and embrace everything about their child. However, adopting a child of a different race than the adoptive parents can lead to a family that understands racial unity in deep, unique ways that can better their community and the world.