Adoption by Family Type: Racially and Culturally Diverse Families

By February 23, 2022 Parenting

Racially and culturally diverse adoption refers to placing a child of one race, culture, or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another race, culture, or ethnic group.

The truth at the core of adoption is this: Family is more than biology. A family is defined by love. 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.

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.

Racially and culturally diverse adoption forever changes families and requires a commitment to lifelong learning. Prior to the placement and throughout the parenting journey, parents who have adopted a child of another race, culture, or ethnic group must commit to deepening their own understanding of different races, cultures, and ethnicities to support their child or youth’s exploration of their own identity.

Advocate for your child.

Advocacy begins with understanding. What are the unique events that have shaped the history of your child’s racial heritage? What are some situations they may experience that you are unfamiliar with? This is where educating yourself will be very helpful.

Find ways to celebrate their racial heritage.

What ways can you do 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.

Parents in a transracial or transcultural family should do the following:

  • Become intensely invested in parenting
  • Tolerate no racially or ethnically biased remarks
  • Surround themselves with supportive family and friends
  • Celebrate and talk about all cultures
  • Take your child to places where people present are from his/her race or ethnic group

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 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 love.

In the end, no matter what kind of adoption, the outcome is a beautiful family.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, NaTasha Sawicki, LBSW

Resources:

Transracial Adoption | Adoption.com

Transracial and Transcultural Adoption (childwelfare.gov)

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