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Transracial adoption (or interracial adoption) refers to the adoption of a child that is of a different race than that of the adoptive parents. Some adoptive families may wish to adopt a child of the same racial background as themselves, while others choose to diversify their family by adopting a child of a different race or ethnicity such as african-american, hispanic, asian, or native american. Transracial adoption is becoming increasingly common and socially accepted in America.

Adopting a child of a different race comes with its own set of unique considerations. Be prepared to teach your adopted child about their ethnicity and foster a home environment that is open and loving of all races and cultures. As the child grows, adoptive parents should be prepared to answer questions their child may have about their own ethnic and cultural identity.

With expert advice, we have compiled a helpful list of tips for navigating transracial adoption with your family.

  1. Learn about your child’s culture – If your child is from another culture or country, it’s imperative to learn what you can about that culture.
      • Buy and read books about the child’s culture.
      • Attend events in homeland tours and culture camps to expose the child to the traditions, customs and stories of their race or culture.
      • It’s also important to find ways to talk about that culture with your child.
      • You could even take a foreign language class to learn the child’s native language.
      • Cook ethnic dishes from the child’s culture.
  2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable – Stepping outside of your comfort zone for the sake of your child is a part of parenthood.
    • Entering a shop for a particular body product or understanding a cultural difference might be necessary in raising your child. It’s important to be brave in this learning experience.
    • Consider living in a multicultural neighborhood
    • Confront racism openly. Don’t be so naive to think you won’t come across it. You will feel it from strangers and maybe even those close to you. You might encounter awkward and seemingly rude questions. Confront this with knowledge and love.
  3. Ask experts for help – When you don’t know, find someone who does. A child of a different race from your own might need different hair care, skin care, or product. Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help.
  4. Rely on those with lived experiences – Through the adoption community, you will have the opportunity to meet other adult adoptees.
    • Ask for advice.
    • Learn from their experiences.
    • Allow the child to interact with other people and children of the child’s race or ethnicity.
    • Find same-race mentors and role models for the child.
  5. Find local resources to help – Cultural centers, libraries, hair salons, the internet – resource! Whether it be about hairstyles, cultural traditions, or events, you will find something that is helpful.

What do you do with your child to celebrate their culture?

Adoption Choices supports transracial adoption (or interracial adoption) and works with waiting families, children, and expectant mothers of all races and ethnic backgrounds.
For more information on our adoption services, contact us at 888-422-9912 or click here to email us.

More great reads:

10 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month in Your Transracial Family

JaNae Goodrich speaks from an adoptee’s perspective

David French and Racism


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