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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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Transracial Adoption

Transracial adoption is when an adoptive family adopts a child that is of a different race. The adoption process has become a much more open process and families no longer feel the need to conceal the fact that their son or daughter is adopted. Because of this openness, adoptive families don’t feel they need to adopt a child that “looks like them” or comes from the same ethnic background that they do.  They do not have concerns about ethnicity; they merely want to become a family. 

For Birth Mothers

Expectant mothers are able to choose the adoptive family that they wish to place the child with. Many women decide to complete a transracial adoption because they feel a connection with the family and they do not care about the race or ethnic background of the family. They merely want to be assured that the child will be raised in a loving and open home. Birth parents should discuss with adoptive family how the child will be raised and how the issue of race will be discussed in their home. Ultimately, it is the birth parent’s choice as to whether or not they are comfortable placing their child with a family of a different race.

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For Adoptive Families

Many adoptive families embrace the opportunity to learn more about the culture of their adopted son or daughter, so that they can teach them about their heritage and their history. Families who complete a transracial adoption should be dedicated to teaching their children that they should be open and loving towards all cultures and ethnicities.  Expectant mothers ultimately have the choice if they would like to place their child with a family of a different race, and this largely depends on what type of home and family the expectant mother would like to see her child placed in.

Families should learn about their child’s heritage, and teach their children about the practices, holidays and traditions that are important for the child to understand their ethnic culture. It is important for a child to be aware of and have an understanding of their heritage.  Children of a different race than their parents should have the opportunity to observe and interact with children, adults and mentors of their own race.

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.

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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 accepts a limited number of families into our gender-specific program. Please contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn whether we are currently accepting families into this program. With this option, families pay an additional Gender-Specific Fee to help our agency locate and work with birth mothers meeting this additional criterion. This fee is in addition to other program fees and covers additional advertising. The fee is not considered part of your adoption budget. Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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