Open Adoption in a Transracial Adoption

There are many instances in the adoption world where two different groups from different racial backgrounds come together. You, as the birth mother, may have a racial heritage that you share with your child. On the other hand, your child’s potential adoptive family may have another racial heritage. It may seem a bit daunting at first to try and figure out how to share practices and cultures without awkwardly tripping up, but fear not! A lot of people have grown up squarely in one cultural experience and don’t have much experience dealing with others, so you are all in the same boat! Open adoption in a transracial adoption provides plenty of great ways to practice your communication skills.

As you probably know, race can still be a sensitive issue in the modern world, so Adoption Choices of Colorado is here to share some positive ways for you to interact stay informed:

How can I Help My Child Celebrate My Culture and Their Adoptive Family’s Culture?

We could talk all day (and probably longer) about all the different races, ethnicities, and cultures that may meet in a transracial open adoption, but because everyone’s situation is so unique, it’s best to talk more broadly. A good start is to work on being sensitive, or aware, of cultures other than your own. You can always refer to the great saying of  “you should take a walk in someone else’s shoes.” Think about where people might have grown up, what they experienced, and why certain practices may be important to them. Ideally, you, as the birth mother would apply that thinking to your child’s adoptive family and they would apply that thinking to you.

The great thing about the adoption process for a birth mother is that gives you a fair amount of control. You get to select the adoptive family that you think will work best for your child. If you find people that share your values, that should help cultural dialogue immensely.

How can I Overcome Potential Language Barriers?

Speaking of dialogue, when it comes to open adoption in a transracial adoption, there’s a chance that you may have to communicate with an adoptive family that doesn’t speak the same language as you. Language barriers can be super frustrating, but there are ways to get around them. Depending on your financial situation, you could hire a translator.

In some cases, languages that are more rare in the United States may almost call out for you to find a translator as a solution to help the flow of communication. Still, this isn’t necessarily the most effective option. You can also use translation dictionaries, train yourself on language basics using apps and/or library resources, and other resources. However, it’s important to remember that not all digital translators are perfect, so there is a risk of the words you are trying to say losing their meaning. While gesturing wildly may get you somewhere, it will only get you so far, and you won’t be able to discuss more specific details with your child’s adoptive family.

How can I Positively Discuss Race With My Child and Their Adoptive Family?

Race is, of course, very complicated. Depending on the age of your child, you might not want to discuss certain things until they are older. However, you can do two things: brush up on the latest literature and set an example. There are a lot of strained topics out there, such as colonialism, imperialism, slavery, genocide, white privilege, white savior complexes, cultural appropriation, cultural erasure, implicit racial bias, racial prejudice, and just overall racial inequality as a whole. It may be tough to get through topics like that — it’s even tough to write about them, but, while you maybe shouldn’t lead with these particular concepts when talking to your child and their adoptive family about race, it never hurts to have knowledge for further down the road. We sometimes confuse comfort with safety — it may be uncomfortable to know about these topics, but you can learn about them safely, thus hopefully creating a safer environment for your child.

Open Adoption in a Transracial Adoption

Setting a good, empathetic example will probably be the best way to go initially. Show your child that people may look different and come from different places. They may celebrate different holidays and have different practices. However, all of them ultimately are very human. They laugh and they cry. They feel sadness and they feel joy. Despite differences, people are really very similar to each other when it comes down to basic needs. For that reason, as the wise and famous Civil Rights Leader, Martin Luther King Jr., once said, people should “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” 

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and want to learn more about your adoption options, contact Adoption Choices of Colorado by email, phone, or text: Email Us, Text us: 720-371-1099, Call us: 303-670-4673 (HOPE). If you are hoping to adopt, please contact us here.

Meet the Author: Nathan Dyer is a university student majoring in Communication Arts with a radio/TV/film focus. He enjoys writing professionally and dealing with hands-on problems in real-world scenarios. Among his hobbies is hiking, which always encourages him to explore new places. He looks forward to crafting written materials in the future that serve to help people from all walks of life.

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