Making the decision to adopt transracially is a time for celebration, but it’s also a time for reflection. While any adoption is a big decision to make, transracial adoption has additional nuances that you will need to consider before you fully commit to the process. It’s important that you are aware of the potential difficulties you may face and that you are prepared for the questions your child may approach you with.
You are responsible for educating yourself on what you don’t already know, and to continue doing so. There is always more to learn. Transracial adoption means your child will be growing up in a family that looks different from them. Your child should know that their racial and cultural background is something to be celebrated and embraced in their entirety. Listed below are five questions you should consider before adopting transracially.
Do You Have a Diverse Community?
It’s easy to get caught up in our own world. We are used to the people we interact with in our everyday lives, and don’t give a second thought to the world around us. We get comfortable in our own routines and our roles in our communities. It can be easy for us to forget to branch out.
If you’re considering transracial adoption, you should take the time to evaluate the diversity of the community you will be raising your child in. It will be your responsibility to make sure your child has some form of connection to their cultural heritage. This can’t be done if you live in a conformist community. You may be required to break from your daily routine and check out neighboring communities.
Your child should never feel like they have to alter who they are to “fit in.” Instead of assimilating, they should feel comfortable in their own skin and unafraid to embrace their racial and cultural heritage. Before adopting a child of a different race, make sure you know what kind of community you live in.
Are You Prepared to Discuss Race with Your Child?
As your child grows up, they will start to notice the differences between themselves and others and even you. There is a possibility they may experience feelings of isolation and confusion. There may come a day where your child comes to you with questions that you might not have answers to.
And that’s okay. You don’t need to have all the answers. You will never fully understand the racial experiences of your child. They just want to be heard and to know that they can come to you with these questions.
While you would love your child regardless of the color of their skin, taking the “I don’t see color” approach can be detrimental to your child. This not only ignores their differences, but also closes you off from fully acknowledging the difficult emotions they may experience. While discussing topics of racism with your child can be difficult and uncomfortable, they are necessary. By having these conversations, your child will feel comfortable having future conversations with you.
Are You Prepared to Continuously Educate Yourself?
Failing to educate yourself on your child’s cultural background can lead to them feeling emotionally neglected. By refusing to acknowledge your child’s experiences can come off as callous and uncaring. Before you adopt transracially, you will need to have a plan to learn more about your child’s racial and cultural heritage. By educating yourself, you will become more aware of the prejudices and discrimination that people of color experience, which will allow you to view things through a more empathetic lens.
While it’s important to understand the adversities, don’t forget to read up on the positive things too! Educate yourself about the customs, traditions and other practices that may be involved in your child’s cultural background.
Will You Celebrate Your Child’s Differences?
It cannot be stressed enough that you should never disregard your child’s race. Loving your child regardless of their race doesn’t mean you should ignore their differences. You should always show reverence and interest in your child’s cultural differences. Listen to them. Try to see things through their eyes. Make sure they understand that their differences are special and make them unique.
Are You Ready for the Challenges Your Child May Face?
People of color have faced immeasurable adversity in the U.S. While society is moving towards a place of acceptance of those who are different from us, racism is still very prevalent today. In order to truly embrace your child’s cultural heritage, you can’t only focus on the all the pros. You must accept that your child may experience adversity because of their race.
The best things you can do for your transracially adopted child is listen and keep an open mind. You’re already a hero in their eyes. By listening to them and making sure they know their home is a safe space where they are loved and accepted for who they are, you are living up to their view of you.
Transracial adoption is not a decision to make lightly. It requires a lot of preparation and foresight. If you’re not sure how to prepare for your transracial adoption, contact one of our adoption specialists today to get the support you need.