Parenting children across racial lines brings with it new challenges and joys. Parents must educate and immerse themselves in their child’s culture. They must be prepared to respond to prying questions from friends, family, and even strangers. But, all in all, parenting a child of a different race than your own is no different than parenting a child who shares your racial makeup.
Regardless of the race of the child, a parent’s worries will be the same: Is my child eating healthy? Is he or she growing/developing properly? How are they doing socially? Should they be involved in more activities? How many more times can I watch this episode of Doc McStuffins before I go completely insane?
For parents of children with different backgrounds than their own, race is not a burden or challenge, but an undercurrent that remains in the back of their minds. Race is something that they rarely think about, but that is always influencing their decisions.
The biggest concern voiced by prospective adoptive families who are considering transracial adoption is the fact that they won’t be able to relate to their child’s specific needs based on his or her race. How can parents teach children how to interact with the world as black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or white adults without having been there themselves?
While it may be difficult for you to do alone, you CAN surround your child with friends, neighbors, peers and mentors who share their race or ethnicity. You can provide your child with access to cultural events where he or she can meet other people like them. Allow them to explore their roots and support their efforts to embrace their birth culture. You may not know what it’s like to grow up being black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or white, but you can provide your child with relationships with people who do.
As couples continue to open their arms to children of all backgrounds, transracial adoption is becoming increasingly common in the U.S. All across the country parents can find support or play groups that allow children to interact with other children of the same race or ethnicity. You can also find books, movies and T.V. shows that address transracial adoption. There are plenty of resources out there that can help transracial families address their cultural differences.
Transracial Adoption with American Adoptions
While it is ultimately up to the expectant mother to choose a family for her child, American Adoptions works with hundreds of expectant mothers each year who choose to place their babies with waiting families of a different race.
In fact, there is a strong need for families seeking to adopt children of African-American decent. This need lead American Adoptions to create our Agency-Assisted Program to aid in placing African-American children with loving families of any race.
If you and your family are considering transracial adoption, please speak with your Adoptive Family Specialist about joining our Agency Assisted program. You can also visit our Available Situations page to learn more about expectant mothers still in need of loving families for their children.