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A Guide to Transracial Adoption

What Everyone Needs to Know About Interracial Adoption


Transracial adoption (or interracial adoption) refers to the adoption of a child that is of a different race than that of the adoptive parents.

The truth at the core of adoption is this: Family is more than biology. A family is defined by love. Just as it transcends a direct genetic connection, it can also transcend race. While some adoptive families may wish to adopt a child of the same racial background as themselves, others choose to adopt a child of a different race or ethnicity.

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.

Transracial adoption is becoming increasingly common and socially accepted in America as couples continue to open their arms to children of all backgrounds. This calls for increased education around transracial adoption — its joys, challenges and the unique journey of adopting interracially.

Transracial Adoptions with American Adoptions

Transracial adoption works like any other adoption. It follows the same process, incurs the same costs for hopeful parents, and ends with the same result — a beautiful family.

Some adoption agencies have different adoption programs for transracial adoption. This practice is meant to encourage the adoption of children of all races by incentivizing, for instance, the adoption of black babies.

American Adoptions, however, has only one adoption program. All adoptions, regardless of race, will follow the same procedures. In this way, transracial adoption is no different than any other type of adoption. In other ways, however, transracial adoption can come with unique challenges. These should not necessarily discourage you from pursuing transracial adoption. Rather, they are important factors to consider in order to be fully prepared for what is ahead.

Ways to Prepare for Interracial Adoption in the United States

Every adoption journey will come with its own challenges. When you are a family adopting interracially, you are going to encounter situations that other families may not. This is not necessarily good or bad, but it is reality. When you’re a parent of a child that is a different race than you, it’s important to put in the necessary research to understand the obstacles they may encounter.

Advocate for your child.

Advocacy begins with understanding. What are the unique events that have shaped the history of your child’s racial heritage in America? What are some situations they may experience that you are unfamiliar with?

Educate yourself and prepare to always have your child’s back.

Find ways to celebrate their racial heritage.

America is best when we celebrate each aspect of the melting pot. What ways can you find to highlight and celebrate your child’s ethnic heritage? This could mean cooking different food, celebrating different holidays or simply participating in community events that you otherwise would not.

For example: Black parents who adopt a Hispanic child could seek out a local Hispanic community center and join the Dia De Los Muertos celebrations.

Seek out role models for them to look up to.

The popular NBC drama This Is Us may be the most well-known depiction of transracial adoption. In one episode, the Pearson family deals with the fact their son, Randall, has no black role models in his life. At first, they react negatively, feeling that his desire for black role models is an indictment of their parenting.

Eventually, they come to realize it is not. It is simply an important part of a young black boy discovering who he is, and as adoptive parents, it is okay that you cannot be everything you child needs. Finding community is of paramount importance.

In addition to these things, you could also:

  • Take a foreign language class to learn the child's native language

  • Live in a multicultural neighborhood

  • Confront racism openly

  • Take part in homeland tours and culture camps

Considering Transracial Adoption as a Birth Mother

You want to find the perfect adoptive parents for your baby — a family that will provide a life of love and opportunity. When you’re considering adoptive parents of a different race, you may have some apprehensions. How can you know they will be best for your baby?

Here are a few things for prospective birth mothers considering interracial adoption to know:

All Adoptive Families Must Complete a Home Study

The home study is a review of the potential adoptive family’s life, including the safety of their home and their aptitude to become adoptive parents. This means that all adoptive parents go through a rigorous screening process. If you are concerned about harmful views the adoptive family may have in relation to your racial background, the home study is going to catch these.

You Can Ask a Family about Transracial Adoption

You can ask potential adoptive parents questions about interracial adoption before you choose them. How will they raise your child? What is their understanding of racial issues in the U.S.? How do they plan to create an environment with racially appropriate role models for your child?

When you’re a prospective birth mother, you can wait until you hear the right answers to choose an adoptive family for your baby.

Transracial Adoption Can Be for Everyone

When you think of interracial adoption, what kind of family do you picture? If you’re like most people, your mental image is of white parents with a black child. This is a beautiful family! However, we need to dispel the idea that transracial adoption is something only white parents do. The interracial adoption definition is much broader than that.

There will be times when a black family adopts a white child, and there will be times when white parents adopt a black baby. Asian or Hispanic parents may adopt a child of a different race, and biracial couples may adopt a newborn whose ethnicity is different from either of theirs.

The beauty of transracial adoption is that, at its core, it is a reminder of the overwhelming power of familial love. Race matters, heritage matters, and understanding societal impacts on individuals of different races is a requirement for any parent considering adopting interracially. Within all of that, a transracial adoption displays beautiful love.

Learn More About Interracial Adoption Today

Are you interested in adopting interracially with our agency? If you are a prospective birth mother open to choosing parents of a different race, you can request more free information online. Hopeful parents interested in interracial adoptions can also request additional resources.

Both prospective birth and adoptive parents can call us at 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with a specialist.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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