4 Steps You Can Take to Prepare for Transracial Adoption
As society is becoming increasingly accepting of diversity within families, more parents are choosing to adopt children who may not share their racial or cultural background.
These adoptions are called transracial or interracial adoption. Whether you are completing a domestic infant adoption, foster care adoption or international adoption, your adoption will be considered transracial if you and your child are not of the same race.
Because there are a wide variety of diverse children available for adoption internationally and in the California foster system, many of FCCA’s adoptive placements are interracial. Here’s what you need to know about transracial adoption with FCCA.
Considerations for Transracial Adoptive Families
In a perfect world, skin color would not affect the way you parent your child — but there are some important considerations to keep in mind when raising a child of a different race or ethnicity.
If you are considering interracial adoption, it is important to be aware of some of the unique experiences you may have as a multicultural family. Here are just a few of the things you should know when completing a transracial adoption.
1. Consider Your Child’s Needs
People of different races sometimes have different physical or medical needs. For example, if you are a Caucasian family pursuing African-American adoption or biracial adoption, your child will likely have different hair care and skin care needs than you. Do not overlook these physical differences; it is important to understand your child’s racial or cultural background and the role that may play in determining his or her daily needs.
2. Consider Your Child’s Birth Culture
As a transracial adoptive parent, it will be up to you to help your child develop a strong sense of racial and cultural identity. Learn about his or her birth culture and find ways to incorporate aspects of it into your day-to-day life. There are many ways to honor your child’s heritage, including:
- Attending cultural events
- Cooking traditional dishes
- Listening to cultural music
- Celebrating important holidays
- Reading books about your child’s culture
- Providing dolls and other toys that resemble your child
- Learning and speaking your child’s language, if applicable
- Regularly socializing with people who share your child’s heritage, whether this is at school, work, your place of worship, in a community group, etc.
By helping your children feel connected to their culture, you can help ensure that they develop a strong sense of identity and a positive view of transracial adoption.
3. Consider Racial Issues
As your child gets older, he or she may encounter instances of racism or prejudice. You will need to be comfortable confronting these issues head-on, and give your child plenty of opportunities to come to you for honest, open discussions about racial issues.
You are also likely to encounter unwelcomed questions or comments on the physical differences between you and your child. Be prepared to respond to these situations, and talk with your child about how to answer questions about his or her transracial adoption story.
4. Consider Your Community
If you a multiracial family, it is important to have a supportive community that is as diverse as you are. Surround yourself with people and families of many different races and cultures. Seek out diverse schools, churches, neighborhoods and after-school activities for your children. Give your child as many opportunities as possible to interact with other children and adults who share his or her racial or cultural background.
Also search for opportunities to interact with other multiracial families, especially other adoptive families. Transracial adoptees face many unique challenges, and they may benefit from being able to share their thoughts with others in similar circumstances. Many families also maintain transracial adoption blogs that can provide valuable insight into the experiences of multicultural families.
It is important to carefully research transracial adoption issues before deciding what types of adoption opportunities are right for your family. Make a list of the transracial adoption pros and cons, including your own attitudes and understanding of these issues, as you make these important decisions. Your social worker will be available to help answer your questions and guide you through this process.
FCCA provides extensive pre-adoption training, which includes additional information about interracial adoption issues. In addition, each of our branch offices has a lending library with plenty of additional resources for families who would like to learn more.
When you are ready to begin the adoption process or learn more about our adoption services, please contact us or attend one of our upcoming informational sessions.