5 Tips for Choosing a Transracial Adoptive Family
Looking for an adoptive family to raise the child you carry can be a stressful process at times. As you are searching for that couple or individual who will be the right fit, you need to have a good idea of what you want to see in an adoptive family. At the same time, it’s important to have an open mind to different types of families who may have great things to offer in ways you weren’t expecting. When you consider placing a baby with a transracial adoptive family, you may need to take some additional steps and account for additional factors to ensure they are the right ones to raise the child.
Since transracial adoptions can come with unique benefits and challenges, it’s important to consider how a prospective adoptive family will address and navigate them. By following these tips for choosing a transracial adoptive family compiled by Adoption Choices of Kansas, you can feel more confident about the family you are selecting to raise the child you carry.
- Share Your Experiences with Race
Race isn’t always an easy topic to talk about, especially with those who do not share your background. In an ideal world, race, ethnicity and culture would not be factors that impact how individuals navigate the world or view life. However, these aspects can still directly or indirectly contribute to a person’s risk of being exposed to specific experiences. Of course, this level of risk varies from person to person.
It’s important to explain to a prospective transracial adoptive family how race has affected your life if they have a different racial background from you and their future child. It’s also just as important to communicate to them if race hasn’t played a major role in shaping your life, so they don’t make any untrue assumptions about your experiences. Even if they have the best intentions, they may still have some blind spots on these issues, and can benefit from your insights. The more informed they are on these matters, the better prepared they will be to address any issues their child may confront.
- Listen to the Prospective Transracial Adoptive Family’s Experiences with Race
It’s possible that the prospective transracial adoptive family has their own experiences with race that might differ from yours. Perhaps their racial background has increased their exposure to certain advantages or disadvantages, depending on the situation. Perhaps race, ethnicity and culture have played a very minimal role in how they experience life, and thus, they see these things as non-issues.
In any case, it’s important to understand the transracial adoptive family’s frame of reference when it comes to race in order to better understand their intentions and potential blind spots. You should also find out how they have handled racial issues in the past so you can get an idea of how they might go about handling such issues that may affect the child. Even if the prospective transracial adoptive family seems like a great fit in other respects, you may find that they might not be on the same page as you — or might not be willing to get on the same page as you — when it comes to handling racial issues and differences. In such cases, you might want to consider other prospective adoptive families for transracial adoption who are in a better position to meet the needs of the child.
- Communicate Your Concerns about Transracial Adoption
Once you get an idea of how well an transracial adoptive family will be able to navigate potential racial issues, and you feel comfortable enough to move forward, you can begin to address any issues the child or the family as a whole might face. Perhaps you’re concerned that the child will feel out of place in a community where few to no people look like him or her. Perhaps you’re worried about the child struggling with their identity and feeling isolated from his or her adoptive family especially if others are constantly questioning them about their parentage. You might even be concerned that the child will lose touch with important aspects of his or her cultural heritage.
No matter what your worries are, the sooner you convey them to the prospective transracial adoptive family, the sooner you can come up with solutions to these and other potential conflicts.
- Make Sure the Prospective Transracial Adoptive Family will Put in the Work
After you make your concerns known, the transracial adoptive family needs to demonstrate that they are willing and able to put in the necessary effort to confront potential race-related problems that their child or the family as a whole might face. That means they plan ahead to anticipate such conflicts and come up with executable steps to resolve them to the best of their abilities. It also means they are always open to learning more about their child’s cultural heritage, so they can instill into the child a sense of pride for their history. It is also important that they are aware of resources they can rely on for further guidance when they feel uncertain about how to handle a specific situation. These resources can include support groups for transracial families, friends who share the child’s background, and of course, the birth mother.
- Become a Resource of Knowledge
If you are considering an open or semi-open transracial adoption, you are in the unique position of having direct contact with the adoptive family and child. Through this connection, you have the opportunity to directly pass down the personal, historical, and cultural knowledge you have down to the child so they have a greater awareness of their heritage. You can also provide guidance and support to the adoptive family if they are navigating unfamiliar racial territory.
Choosing a Transracial Adoptive Family in Kansas
Adoption Choices of Kansas celebrates the creation of families through transracial adoptions. Through our tips for choosing a transracial adoptive family, we hope you are better equipped to select a transracial adoptive family with the confidence that they will raise the child you carry in a way that instills in them a sense of cultural pride and resiliency.
If you are a birth mother in Kansas and are interested in pursuing a transracial adoption, reach out to Adoption Choices of Kansas today to get started on your adoption journey.
Meet the Author: Mary DeStefano is an Ohio native currently living in northern Virginia and works in the litigation consulting industry where she has experience in antitrust, product liability, and mass torts matters. She holds a B.A. in Economics (‘15) and an M.A. in Applied Economics (‘16) from the University of Cincinnati.
Mary finds great meaning in wielding the written word to develop impactful narratives and to help people stay informed. In her spare time, Mary can be found beachcombing and going on other adventures with her dog along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. She also has an affinity for antiquing and loves a good 80’s movie marathon.