Adoption is a delicate and difficult opportunity to match two parties: the adoptive parents and the birth mother. The ultimate goal is to create a “forever family” while relieving a woman facing an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Among many questions when pursuing adoption is, “Can I adopt a child from another race, nationality, or culture?” and/or “Can someone of another race, nationality, or culture adopt my baby?”
A transracial adoption is defined as a child of one race being adopted by a parent of another race. In practical terms, it could be a white family adopting a black child or a Latino family adopting a Native American child or an African-American single mom (or dad) adopting a white child. In the excitement and yearning for those who wish to adopt, there are preparations that may not be considered. Ignoring the fact that parents and child are two different colors is not to be overlooked.
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 develop 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
“One of the main criticisms of those who object to transracial adoption is that the minority child will lose a bit of his culture. That only minority parents can teach a minority child about his culture. That white parents do not have the knowledge or experience or frame of reference to help a child to process prejudice he may endure and therefore, won’t know how to prepare and protect their child of color. As such, they feel only minority parents should adopt minority children. The other end of the spectrum are parents who ignore culture and through wishful thinking feel that their love alone will help them conquer all. There are bits of truth to both points of view. But a healthy balance is somewhere in the middle. Permanency in a loving home of another culture is better than no permanency at all; as long as the adoptive parents keep the child connected to his culture.”
Adoption Choices of Arizona 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.