Transracial Adoptions

Growing your family through adoption is an amazing journey. As a prospective adoptive parent, you will have the chance to determine whether or not you would be open to adopting transracially. It is a good idea to assess your options carefully as this is an extremely important decision.

While transracial adoptions are very popular in the United States, they have added difficulties that should be addressed very early on. Your adoption agency should be available to answer any specific questions that you may have. Below we will discuss some aspects of transracial adoption that you should consider before making a final decision.

What is Transracial Adoption?

Adoption in which one or both prospective adoptive parents identify as a different race or ethnicity than their adopted child is referred to as transracial adoption. They have also been known as interracial adoptions. However, transracial is the term that is more commonly used today.

Why is transracial adoption significant?

 The statistics on transracial adoption in the United States are telling. In 2007, over 40% of completed adoptions in the country were transracial. Additionally, international adoptions are predominantly transracial, with nearly 84% of parents reporting that they are of a different race or ethnicity than their adopted child. These numbers reflect an ongoing trend that demonstrates an increased rate of transracial adoption across the country.

In the United States, race forms a very fundamental pillar of one’s identity. Race affects nearly all aspects of one’s life from cultural practices down to what hairstyles one wears. When it comes to adoption, identity can sometimes be a point of contention for adoptees as they must reconcile their status as adopted within their own families. This can sometimes cause negative emotions such as loss and shake an adoptees idea of their role in the family. Transracial adoptions add a layer of complexity to adoptees’ identity reconciliation.

Finally, a 2011 study of adopted kindergartners revealed that 77% of adoptive parents in the United States are white. A whopping 61% of adopted children were children of color. These statistics bring to light a very critical problem within American society: the existence of a white person and a person of color in the United States are vastly different. For this reason, it is only possible for a white adoptive parent to sympathize with the experiences of a child of color. However, it is impossible for them to empathize with their children because, as a white person, they will not have the same experiences. It is imperative to understand this fact when considering adopting a child of a different race.

Transracial Adoption Parenting Tips

As a prospective adoptive parent, you will have to make many decisions that will directly influence the child that you are matched with. You may be asked to answer questions that you have never considered. While it may seem overwhelming, it is an excellent opportunity to assess the different aspects of your life and how they will affect your child. Here are some tips to abide by when it comes to transracial parenting:

Be Aware of Your Surroundings – Your friends and community members are the people that your child will see and interact with on a daily basis. Diversity matters. Even if you are unaware of it, your child will note when they are the only person of color in a room. Making an effort to expand your horizons by becoming closer with people of different races and ethnicities is beneficial to both yourself and your child.

If your community is composed only with people who look like you, then it is likely that you will set your child up for a childhood of always being an outlier. This can cause emotional stress to your child, and also reinforce any feelings of “not belonging” that an adopted child may have. Ensuring that your child is around a diverse group of people is imperative, especially in spaces that they will frequent often such as school and church.

Learn about the Culture of Your Child – The United States has long since been referred to as a “melting pot” of cultures. The diversity of the country is unique and allows others to gain a firsthand education when it comes to understanding different cultures. Transracial adoption groups on social media are great resources for parents looking to find ways to introduce their child to their race’s culture. Adoptive parents should work to preserve their child’s culture as they grow up and it becomes a part of their identity so that they are familiar with it.

Don’t Ever Minimize Your Child’s Race – You should not be “colorblind” when it comes to your child’s race and culture. Color-blindness is a privilege that comes with being in a society where one’s race does not influence how they are treated and viewed on a daily basis. Unfortunately, that is not the case in American society.

The United States has a long history of conflict and hatred when it comes to race relations. As an adoptive parent, it is your responsibility to be aware of the history that correlates with your child’s race in order to best prepare them for adult life. It is important to be educated about the complexities and difficulties that accompany existence as a person of color in the United States.

Final Thoughts

The topic of race can be difficult to discuss, especially when it comes to adoption. However, if you are making the decision to adopt transracially as a prospective parent you must become comfortable with the conversation. Your relationship with your child can be strengthened when you take the time to understand and educate yourself about their experiences. If you have any questions regarding transracial adoption, and are deciding whether or not it is a viable option for you and your family, Adoption Choices of Colorado is more than happy to help!

Adoption Choices of Colorado

For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption 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

Davina WardDavina grew up in the outskirts of New York City, before eventually moving to Buffalo, New York at the age of 10. Her passion for adoption comes from her own experiences of being in foster care and being an adoptee herself. She hopes to help others to understand the intricacies of adoption and encourage them to consider it as an option.

Davina is a proud Geneseo Knights alum having graduated in 2018. She has been writing for as long as she can remember and chose to pursue a degree in English with hopes of making her hobby a career. Thus far, she has enjoyed her time as an intern for Adoption Choices Inc. and looks forward to a bright future in writing. When she is not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, building websites, and making lists.

 

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References:

Strom, Rachel. “Preserving the Culture of Your Adopted Child.” Adoption Choices of Nevada. https://www.adoptionchoicesofnevada.org/preserving-the-culture-of-your-adopted-child/

Robertson, Rachel. “Growing Your Family Through Transracial Adoptions.” Adoption Choices of New York. http://www.adoptionchoicesofnewyork.org/growing-your-family-through-transracial-adoption/

“Transracial Parenting.” Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association. http://www.ifapa.org/pdf_docs/TransracialParenting.pdf

“Adoption Usa. A Chartbook Based On The 2007 National Survey Of Adoptive Parents. Race, Ethnicity, And Gender.”Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation. https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/adoption-usa-chartbook-based-2007-national-survey-adoptive-parents/race-ethnicity-and-gender

Fisher, Max. “A revealing map of the world’s most and least ethnically diverse countries.”  Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/05/16/a-revealing-map-of-the-worlds-most-and-least-ethnically-diverse-countries/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dfde6c4fafd8

“Lifelong Issues in Adoption by Silverstein and Kaplan.” Vanish. https://vanish.org.au/media/17323/lifelong-issues-in-adoption-by-silverstein-and-kaplan.pdf

Zill, Nicholas. “The Changing Face of Adoption in the United States.” Institute for Family Studies. https://ifstudies.org/blog/the-changing-face-of-adoption-in-the-united-states

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