Are you fascinated by cultures other than your own? What if you welcomed a child of a different skin color into your home? Adopting outside your race through transracial adoption is a big and controversial decision, but a very important one. Sometimes the fears and questions alone are enough to scare a prospective adoptive parent away. However, adoption isn’t about what others think. It’s about you and the family you want to have.
Transracial adoption is a wonderful option for prospective adoptive parents who are happy to welcome children of differing backgrounds into their homes.
Definition of Terms
Put simply, transracial adoption is when a child from one race or ethnicity joins a family from a different one. Also referred to as “interracial adoption,” this adoption system stretches back to ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian times. The first documentation recorded, however, only dates back to the 1800s. Interracial adoption became legally recognized in America in the 1850s, and the rules governing it were established in 1917. The first recorded transracial adoption in the U.S. occurred in 1948.
Transracial adoption used to be most commonly seen internationally, which makes sense when considering the general diversity within the United States. While the country as a whole is a plethora of culture, much of the American population stems from European roots. Thus, if prospective parents wanted something else, they had to explore other countries (i.e. China, Korea, Russia, etc.) Yet, that is not the case anymore. As the U.S. is a melting pot of different races, ethnicities and nationalities, domestic interracial and transracial adoption within our nation is now possible.
Transracial Adoption Concern
One of the biggest concerns that prospective adoptive parents have regarding transracial adoption is how it will impact their child. If he or she will somehow suffer from growing up in a different culture of his or her own, and that he or she won’t be able to develop a sense of identity. Another concern is that their child will encounter racism, stereotyping and judgement from others.
To answer, yes and no. Transracial adoption as a whole is not harmful. No matter their race — Asian, Black, Latino, mixed or same race — children have the capability to develop their own sense of identity and self-esteem. Along the way, there may be challenges with communication; but then again, that’s true of all adoptions.
Regarding racism, stereotyping and judgment — these potential issues create great parenting moments. Openness, honesty and active communication with your child will greatly help curb these issues, and not cause undo damage to his or her development. If you emulate that there is nothing wrong, then your child will follow in your footsteps.
When considering transracial adoption, be sure to research everything you can on your child’s birth culture. Plan out ways to incorporate it into your world. This doesn’t mean changing everything about the way you live, but ensuring that your son or daughter feels represented and maintains the connection of his or her origin. Try celebrating an important holiday or time of year. For instance: Chinese New Year, Day of the Dead or Black History Month.
Children tend to notice physical characteristics around the ages of three or four. One of the first things they notice is varying skin color. Be sure to have answers prepared when your child starts asking questions and taking notice of the differences and similarities between you, his or herself and others around them.
Transracial adoptions happen all the time. The fears and concerns that adopting a child from a different race shouldn’t derail your wish to grow your family. Interracial adoption is a huge gift and blessing. It speaks volumes of you as a prospective adoptive parent. It means that you have a heart for community and diversity, and that you believe children are more than the color of their skin. That you realize that not only same-race children need good and loving homes.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
Craft, Carrie. “Issues to Consider Before Adopting Outside of Your Race.” Verywell Family, www.verywellfamily.com/considering-interracial-adoption-27326.
“Five Reasons You Should Consider Transracial Adoption Adopting.” Adopting, www.adopting.com/adoption-blog/five-reasons-you-should-consider-transracial-adoption.
Gaille, Brandon. “21 Odd Interracial Adoption Statistics.” BrandonGaille.com, 25 May 2017, brandongaille.com/20-odd-interracial-adoption-statistics/.
“Is Transracial Adoption Harmful to Kids?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/adopting-reason/201605/is-transracial-adoption-harmful-kids.
“Sample Paper.” Bridget Weller, www.umich.edu/~psycours/350/bweller/SP.html.