Transracial adoption is one of the most discussed topics surrounding adoption. The discussion about this revolves around the question are white families able to raise their minority child to prepare for any racist and prejudice they are faced with? Over 40% of adopted children are of a different race than their adoptive parents, which means that there is a great need for both prospective and adoptive parents to consider the realities of transracial family dynamics. In America, the term transracial family is typically used to talk about the dynamics between white parents adopting black children, but transracial families consist of many different ethnic, cultural, and racial backgrounds.
The main divide in the adoption community occurs over the ideas of self-identity and culture. Some members believe that the main priority of the system is to match children with families with as little delay as possible. The waiting process is already incredibly long, especially for minority children, so many believe that it is better to place children with prospective parents as quickly as possible to ensure the child’s stability and well-being. However, others argue that transracial adoptions may cause an identity crisis for adoptees, thus making them feel isolated and alone. Children who grow up feeling different from their families are unable to feel a sense of belonging. While there is no right answer to what should be done, there are some important considerations that must be made.
Many white parents don’t stop and consider some of the realities that many minority groups face. Parents must understand that they can’t be color-blind. They must help their children see that they love and accept them for who they are, helping their children through some of the pain they might feel because of the assumptions people might make based on the color of their skin. It is also important for parents to respect and honor the cultural traditions of their children. Embracing identity is an important aspect for all people so allowing your adopted child to involve themselves with their culture and members of their cultural group is important for their development. It is also important to create a space for positive discussion about race. The unfortunate reality is that racism, prejudice, and stereotyping still exist and cultivating an environment where you and your child can talk comfortably about these issues is paramount.
Adoptive parents cannot shield their children from some of the stigmatization, but they can do their part to create a positive environment for their child. February marks the celebration of Black History month. While this month benefits everyone, it can be particularly impactful for transracial families. It is an opportunity to ingratiate your family more fully into your child’s culture and background. It is a time to celebrate your child’s roots and the people who have paved the way. And finally, it is a time to engage in dialogue with your child, your family, and others in order to continue to raise awareness and educate.
Adoption Statistics. Adoption Network. Retrieved from https://adoptionnetwork.com/adoption-statistics.
Julianna McKenna is a college student at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana double majoring in English Writing and Psychology. She is passionate about adoption and foster care and is considering a career in adoption law or counseling. In January 2019, Julianna became an intern for Virginia L. Frank and joined the Adoption Choices Inc., team. She is incredibly dedicated to promoting children’s rights and is excited to research and advocate for children.