Choosing Adoption as an African American in Colorado

By Shaina Santagata

Becoming a transracial family creates a positive ripple effect of love, compassion, and openness to a new culture. For adoptive parents, expanding their family is an incredible decision. Bringing a child of African American descent into their home offers the child and adoptive parents a unique opportunity to gain a new understanding. It is also about acquiring knowledge that includes more than one ethnic background. It connects entire communities. At Adoption Choices of Colorado, we have supported families of all backgrounds for over two decades. We are working together with adoptive families to break down walls and destroy stigmas. Every child deserves to be welcomed with open arms by whichever family is happily willing to give them the best life possible.

Many families in the adoption process have learned to educate themselves to ensure they are fully prepared to help the child with any endeavors they may face growing up. Embracing diversity in a home environment leads to a more enriching upbringing for any child. With transracial adoption, more children get adopted than in the past. When you are considering putting a child up for adoption, this is indeed a very comforting and powerful thing. You undoubtedly have many questions; we are here to answer as many of them as possible.

What is a Transracial Adoption?

Transracial adoption is when a family adopts a child that is a different race than their own. In the past, it was assumed that this only occurred when a white family adopted a black child. However, that is not the case, especially not in present times. For instance, transracial adoption can be when a Caucasian family adopts a Native American child or when a Black family adopts an Asian child.

What are the Positive Aspects of a Transracial Adoption?

  • A Better Life for Your Child: We understand that an unplanned pregnancy can happen when you least expect it, and that’s okay. By choosing to give your baby up for adoption, you are gifting your child the best chance it has for a better future. It also gives you the ability to gain stability in your own life, which puts you and your baby in a much healthier state of well-being.
  • Cultural Diversity: Before the child is old enough to speak, they are exposed to a broader view of the world around them. They will experience learning multiple languages, traditions, holidays, different types of foods, etc. In doing so, the child grows up to realize that we are not so different from one another and, in turn, will be the type of open-minded being that this world needs more of. Many things tie us together, and if given the opportunity to see them, your baby will become a part of that beautiful journey!

What are the Challenges of a Transracial Adoption?

A starting point for families who are considering adoption would be to work on communication from the day the child comes home. Whether the parents are biracial, heterosexual, or part of the LGBTQ+ community, it comes down to ensuring the child is fully immersed in their ethnic background as much as possible in correlation to that of their adoptive family. The parents need to instill confidence in the child. The challenges might stem from learning how to do their hair correctly. That might seem small, but it matters significantly in the bigger picture.

The parents would need to spend time ensuring that the child would go to a school with diversity in its student body. Also, teaching the child about African American art, music, literature, and history from a young age. Perhaps even consider having the child experience a summer or two at camp to see all ethnic backgrounds besides the one at home. The adoptive parents might need clarification or guidance on when the age to discuss race would be. The best course of action would be to start the conversation with the child rather than wait for the child to bring it up independently. By then, the window of opportunity for confident communication and growth may be less significant.

Common Concerns with Navigating Cultural Differences and Racial Bias:

As African American birth parents, deciding if the adoption process is right for you may come with some other concerns. You are not alone! You want to ensure that your baby will be protected and that the family who adopts them will understand the seriousness of racial bias. When your child is adopted, you can ask questions about if the family has any other members with the same ethnic background as your child. You can find out how much exposure your child will have to those who look like them and families that look like theirs (adopted and birth). And as they grow up, they will have the mindset that a perfect family does not consist of one skin tone but many.

Avoidance does not resolve cultural differences and racial bias. It’s being willing to open doors to conversations with those whose culture you know very little about. It’s building foundations of respect and having an open mind that love truly makes a family, not your skin color. Each child that is adopted and becomes part of a transracial family is something to be joyous about and to be celebrated. The adoption process focuses solely on a child needing a wonderful home, and we all grow stronger together the more we persevere against what used to be the “norm.”

With Adoption Choices of Colorado, you can view various profiles of families who may be eligible to adopt your baby. You will gain insight into their beliefs, views, and how they intend to raise your child as one of their own. Until you find the family you think will be able to nurture your child and provide them with as much knowledge as possible about who they truly are, we will support you every step of the way.

What Resources and Support Systems are Available for a Transracial Adoption?

Transracial adoption is a journey that can most certainly thrive best with resources and support. If you feel as though you do not have anyone around you who understands, there are groups on social media, such as Facebook, for transracial adoption. Here at Adoption Choices of Colorado, we will be ready to guide you through the adoption process. We understand that you may not be entirely sure if you’re making the right choice for you and your baby. But we don’t want you to worry because that is what we are here for! We can do this together.

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