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Adopting a Child of Another Race

What Adoptive Parents Need to Know About Transracial Adoption

Adopting a child of another race is more common now than ever before.

Although not related by blood, children who come home through adoption find love and permanency in a family and have the opportunity to thrive. You can call 1-800-ADOPTION or click here at any time to connect with an adoption professional who can answer all of your questions – here we will explore the topic of adopting a child of another race.

Many families considering adoption today are well aware of the fact that adoption could make them a transracial family.

What Does Transracial Adoption Mean, Exactly?

Transracial adoption is when an adoptive family is adopting a child of a different race. Thankfully, this idea is not shocking or new to most people.

It may seem silly to point that out, but we’re not that far removed from a very different cultural perception of adopting children of different races. While we’re thankful for the progress that has been made concerning transracial families, there’s still room for improvement.

Additionally, there’s always a need for continued education on the part of parents who are thinking about adopting a child of a different race than their own. Complex challenges attached to race, culture and heritage will come up in this unique parenting journey.

The more open you are to learning about the nuances of adopting a child of another race, the better chance you will have of helping your child thrive.

Prospective birth moms reading this have the opportunity to find adoptive families of a specific race. You can learn more about the process of finding the perfect family for your child by filling out this form to speak to one of our experienced professionals today.

Why it’s Important to Talk about Transracial Adoption

We, as Americans, don’t love discussing sensitive topics. Race is about as sensitive as it gets. This subject is complex and ever-changing. That’s why it is so important to keep an open mind and humble attitude as parents.

It’s common to hope that love will cover all.

“We won’t need to talk about adopting a child of another race because we will love her just the same.”

While your love is never in question, this is not the best approach to adopting a child of a different race. Your love will be the same, but the way they grow up will be different. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing — let’s celebrate diversity. What we can’t afford to do is pretend that diversity of experience due to race doesn’t exist.

As parents, it’s important to learn about how your child’s experience will differ from yours. Then, as is appropriate, do your best to communicate what you’ve learned and prepare them for the life ahead.

Finding Role Models and Celebrating Heritage

It’s best to be proactive when you are a parent. This is true regardless of your family’s unique makeup. If you are considering adopting a child of another race, one way to be pro-active is seeking out role models and history for your child that may not be as important to you personally.

If you are a white family adopting a black child, are there Black role models in your community — like pastors, business leaders or coaches — who you can connect with? If you are a Black family adopting a Hispanic baby, how can you help your child maintain an important connection with their heritage?

There are an infinite number of transracial family combinations that we could ask these questions about, but you get the idea. Adopting a different race means embracing two cultures with gusto. This can create a rich environment, and you may find yourself benefiting almost as much as your child.

How Adopting a Child of Another Race Works

Can you adopt a child of another race? Yes, you absolutely can. In fact, transracial adoption is more common than ever before. While it used to be a rare occurrence, the Institute for Family Studies found that transracial adoption increased by 50% from 1999 to 2011.

At American Adoptions, we encourage families to be completely open and honest about what they are OK within their adoption process. For some families, looking like their children may be important. Others may be open (and eager!) to adopting a child of another race. It’s totally up to you.

One of the first things you’ll do after contacting an adoption specialist to start the process is complete something called an Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ). Your APQ will set the boundaries on your adoption — what you are okay with, and what you are not okay with. This includes things like how open your adoption relationship is, the medical history of the prospective birth mother and the race of the child.

While it may seem strange to consider the race of a child as a factor in adoption, it is better to be honest about whether or not you are prepared to take on the challenges that can come with transracial adoption. Not every family is equipped to handle adopting a child of another race and the continued education that comes along with it.

That being said, all families have an opportunity to seek out education, and the more open you can be in your APQ, the better chance you have at experiencing a short adoption wait time.

As far as the rest of the process goes, adopting a child of a different race follows the same steps as any other adoption process.

Learning More about Adopting a Child of Another Race

When it comes to the complex intersection of race, family and culture, you can never stop learning.

Families can educate themselves and their children by:

  • Reading books about diversity and race to their children
  • Going to social activities where the child can interact with other children of their own race
  • Contacting a mentor who is of the same ethnic background as the child
  • Talking about race openly and honestly
  • Implementing a no-tolerance policy regarding racial or ethnic biased remarks
  • Celebrating traditional holidays that are a part of the child’s ethnic culture by cooking traditional foods and playing games
  • Joining a church that has a diverse congregation
  • Becoming more aware of discrimination and addressing these issues openly with the child
  • Engaging in activities where individuality and uniqueness in children is encouraged and rewarded

Most importantly, adoptive parents who complete a transracial adoption must be dedicated to providing a home where the family regularly communicates about race and ethnicity and is open about cultural issues and identity.

Have more questions about adopting a child of a different race or the challenges of parenting in a transracial family? Get more free information about adoption online.

If you're a prospective birth mother wanting to place a child for adoption with a family of a certain race, remember to fill out our contact form to connect with a professional today.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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