Due to the uncertainty from the pandemic, parents across the U.S. are already worried about their children’s future. If you’re a transracial adoptive parent, you’re worried about those same issues — working and schooling from home, keeping your family safe at the grocery store, and more. You’re already overwhelmed with being the parent your child needs right now when there’s no rulebook to follow.
And now, having your heart break from the tragic death of George Floyd, you’re reminded of countless others like him — including the child of color in your home you’d do everything to protect. But how can you and others make the world your child lives in better for them, when so many cards seemed stacked against you?
We know there are countless adoptive parents out there who are worried about the future of their children of color and the society they will grow up in. We understand what you’re feeling, and we want to help.
As a national agency that frequently places black children in same-race and transracial adoptions, American Adoptions recognizes the important role we play in discussions about modern racial issues. We know just how important education is, especially to those parents who choose to adopt across racial lines. And, while a great degree of responsibility rests on adoptive parents to do their own research and education, we know our agency is often looked to as a leader on transracial adoption — and we don’t take that lightly.
With protests taking center stage across the United States, we wish to reiterate our dedication to education when it comes to these issues, especially transracial adoption.
Whether or not you are a transracial adoptive parent (or even an adoptive parent at all) now is the time to educate yourself about the world your child will grow up in — and what you can do to make it a better, more just place.
Below, we’ve listed some helpful resources for those looking to understand race as it pertains to adoption. We’ve also included some generally educational resources about understanding the experience of people of color in the United States today — an equally important view when it comes to raising or knowing transracially adopted children.
Raising a child of a different race is not easy. It requires hard work and sacrifice by their parents. White adoptive parents must confront their own privilege and move outside their comfort zones to give their children the most diverse and realistic childhoods possible.
Many adoptive parents first pursue transracial adoption with a well-meaning but misguided mindset — that color doesn’t matter, because they’ll love their child no matter what race they are. However, this is exactly the kind of thinking that makes it difficult for a transracially adopted child to find their place in a family and in society.
Even if you think color “does not matter” to you as an adoptive parent, it will matter to your child, and it will matter to society. If you are considering transracial adoption, you have a responsibility to everyone involved in the adoption to understand how your child’s race will influence the rest of their lives.
Here are just a few resources to start with if transracial adoption is at all present in your life:
- Embrace Race
- Transracial Adoption Resources (A Family for Every Child)
- NPR’s List of Diverse Reading for Kids
- North American Council on Adoptable Children
- PACT: An Adoption Alliance
- “Racially Conscientious”: Parenting in a “Colorblind” Society
- The Realities of Raising a Kid of a Different Race (TIME)
- Transracial Adoption: Love is Just the Beginning
- White Sugar Brown Sugar
- 5 Black Children’s Authors and Illustrators to Know
Transracial Adoptee Voices
The best way to learn about transracial adoption — and the unique challenges it presents — is by listening to the experiences of transracial adoptees. Whether you are interested in adopting a child of a different race yourself or simply interested in the intersection of race and adoption, these voices will be invaluable:
- The Adopted Life
- Artful Adoptee: “Truth”
- Closure (film by adoptee Angela Tucker)
- Code Switch: Transracial Adoptees on Their Racial Identity and Sense of Self (NPR)
- In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption
- In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories
- The Personal is Political: Racial Identity and Racial Justice in Transracial Adoption
- Transracial Adoption: Hearing from Families
- Transracial Parenting (FosterClub)
- Transracial & Transcultural Adoption: Preservation, Policy and a Personal Perspective
- What Adoption Can Teach the World
People of Color Voices
Adoption is all about accepting and loving people for their differences. If you have adopted a child of another race, no matter how hard you try, you will never understand their experiences as they relate to their race. That’s okay — this alone doesn’t make you a bad parent. You should just ensure that you highlight and celebrate your child’s differences. Listen to them, and listen to adults of their same race to educate yourself as much as possible.
Just because you may have adopted through your own race doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Although your child’s differences may not be due to the color of their skin, they will still have experiences you will never understand (unless you are an adoptee yourself). Celebrating your adopted child’s differences doesn’t just mean focusing on their particular situation; it means instilling a degree of respect and understanding for people of all different birth situations, races and histories, too.
In order to teach your child about the experiences of others, however, you must first educate yourself. Here are some stellar resources to add to your reading list:
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- How to Be an AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
- The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Your Black Friend by Ben Passmore
- 13th (Netflix film)
If you’re wondering what you can do to enact justice for people of color in the United States — including transracially adopted children — check out these helpful resources: