This is the second in a three-part series about how increasing your flexibility and opening yourself up to more situations on your Adoption Planning Questionnaire (APQ) can drastically reduce your wait time, as a hopeful adoptive family.

Check back on this blog to read the other parts of the series! In the meantime, reach out to your American Adoptions specialist if you’d like to make changes to your APQ.

Because you’re so eager to add a little bundle of joy to your family, you might not be aware of the ways you can decrease your adoption wait time.

When you begin your adoption journey, one of the first steps you will take is filling out an Adoption Planning Questionnaire, also known as an APQ. The APQ is a set of questions about yourself and the kinds of adoption opportunities you are open to. Your American Adoptions specialist will use this to find an adoption situation that is best for you. The questions you will be asked will be over contact arrangements, race, budget, medical history and other situations you are open to.

Once you have completed your APQ, your adoptive family profile will be shown to expectant mothers whose preferences align with yours.  You get to choose the adoption opportunities you are open to and certain traits you are comfortable with the child having, but the prospective birth parent will have the final say when it comes to choosing a hopeful adoptive family that she feels is right for her baby. Once you have been chosen, you will be notified by your adoption specialist.

While you should fill out your APQ honestly and according to what you’re comfortable with, the more open you are to a variety of adoption opportunities the shorter your wait times will be when waiting to be chosen by an expectant parent.  The more restrictive your answers on your APQ are, the longer you may have to wait during your adoption process.  Consider what’s truly important to you when adopting a child and try to keep an open mind when approaching the adoption planning process.

Your APQ and Transracial Adoption

When you fill out your APQ, one of the first questions you will be asked is whether or not you are open to adopting a child of a different race, and which racial combinations you are comfortable with adopting.  If you are interested in or comfortable with a transracial adoption, this could cut down on the time it takes to be matched with an expectant parent.

Many infants placed for adoption are biracial or a combination of multiple races. A breakdown of the racial backgrounds of the babies placed for adoption through American Adoptions backs this up:

  • 38.8% Caucasian
  • 15.4% African American
  • 12.4% Caucasian/Hispanic
  • 11.2% Caucasian/African American
  • 5% Caucasian/African American/Hispanic
  • 4.7% African American/Hispanic
  • 4.7% Hispanic
  • Asian 1.9%
  • Caucasian/Native American 1.5%

By being open to adopting a child of a different race, the range of expectant parents you can be matched with is broadened. However, you should only list that you are open to transracial adoption if this is something you truly want, not solely to decrease your wait time. You will come across a question that asks, “In what sections of your APQ do you feel you are the most flexible?” If adopting a child of another race is something you feel you are very open to, this can help drastically increase your likelihood of being matched with an expectant parent in a shorter amount of time. Once again, only answer in this way if this is what you actually want.

Another question you will likely see on your APQ is, “If you are open to adopting a child of another race(s), how have you educated yourself about transracial adoption or what information do you think will be important for you to best prepare for the task?” This is a very important question to consider before completing this section of your APQ.

While transracial adoption and transracial families are more common than ever, you as an adoptive parent will need to consistently educate yourself on the racial and cultural heritage of your adopted child and the way you will approach the complexities of race. Racial awareness and education is not a one-time task, but an ongoing learning process. This might seem daunting at first, but your adoption specialist will be more than happy to help prepare you for these conversations and how you can help your child thrive.

One couple realized after initially filling out their APQ that expanding their preferences could be beneficial to their adoption experience. The adoptive mother, Romney had this piece of advice to offer other hopeful adoptive parents.

“My piece of advice is to really consider your Adoption Planning Questionnaire, or APQ. Looking back, I realized that our first attempt at our APQ pretty much matched our own family histories. I think this is fairly typical, but can be extremely limiting, if not a little vain,” she said. “Asking an OB/GYN or a pediatrician for guidance is a start, but likely they don’t have the answers you really need. We met with a genetic counselor, and that truly opened our minds and subsequently our APQ. I highly recommend this course of action.”

Talking About Transracial Adoption [5 Ways to be an Ally]

There’s no doubt that you will love a transracially adopted child with all your heart, however, it’s important not to fall into the headspace of raising them as if you “don’t see color.”  While it’s important to embrace the idea of family transcending biology and that you’ll love your child just the same whether they look like you or not, not acknowledging their racial and cultural differences can be damaging.

We can help you approach the situation in a more prepared and tactful manner. If you are pursuing a transracial adoption, it’s important that you discuss race with your child and that you’re prepared to continuously educate yourself on the challenges of race. If you and/or your significant other are white, an important first step towards this is to acknowledge your privilege and how it differs from your child’s. Your child’s experiences will not be the same as yours. Racial conversations can be difficult and if you do not feel equipped to have these conversations, transracial adoption may not be the right path for you.

Listed below are five ways you can be the best parent you can be if you’re adopting a child of a different race:

  1. Confront racism. Even if the people in yours and your child’s life are predominantly open-minded, not everyone will be as accepting, and your child may experience prejudice or discrimination at some point. You should thoroughly educate yourself on the topic of racism and discuss it with your child.
  2. Listen to your child. While talking about race is important, listening to your child could be even more important. Create a space where they feel comfortable sharing their experiences and where their emotions are validated, not dismissed.
  3. Discuss racial and cultural identity. Growing up with parents of a different race might make it hard for your child to grasp their cultural identity. Be sure to take the time to talk to them about their racial and cultural heritage and answer any questions they may have. Surrounding your child with mentors and friends who share their racial experiences is always a great start.
  4. Create an open-minded environment. While you educate yourself on your child’s racial and cultural differences, it’s important not to only focus on their race. Instead, take the time to learn about all races and cultural identities so that your child can grow up open-minded to people of all backgrounds.
  5. Acknowledge different experiences. If you are a white parent, it’s important to keep in mind that your experience in the world is not the same as your child’s will be. They also may have different physical needs than you do, such as hair and skin care. Learning to care for your child’s physical appearance can help give them confidence.

Beginning your Transracial Adoption Journey

If you’re eager to add to your family as soon as possible, then it might be worth keeping an open mind when it comes to questions of racial preferences on your APQ. By opening yourself up to transracial adoption, your adoption specialist can help you find an adoption opportunity in a shorter amount of time. They can also help you prepare for the twists and turns of what it means to adopt a child of a different race. If you have more questions about the APQ or transracial adoption, contact an adoption specialist today to get the support you need.

Read stories of American Adoptions families who adopted transracially here: