There’s so much to prepare for when it comes to adoption — home visits, interviews, financial costs, and court visits. However, for those couples or singles who are interested or open to adopting outside of their race, known as transracial adoption, there’s a few extra steps that you should take that will be wholly beneficial in your adoption process.
When it comes to adoption, many agencies or the state do not provide enough education on transracial adoption, so it’s important for couples and singles to take on the task of educating themselves. We’ve come up with five ways in which you can prepare for your transracial adoption. Check them out below:
1. Read up on transracial adoption.
First and foremost, read up on transracial adoption. There’s plenty of books like Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption or The Harris Narratives: An Introspective Study of a Transracial Adoptee by Susan Harris O’Connor that can be very helpful.
There’s plenty of adoption websites that provide information or resources about transracial adoption, such as Pact, which provides a huge list of transracial adoption articles, videos, and resources.
Youtube shouldn’t be forgotten either! You can find humorous videos like the one Jillian Lauren created about the stuff people say to transracial families.
As well as more informational videos from adoption agencies such as the one below:
2. Educate yourself on the history of racism in the U.S. and current race affairs.
High school history or even college history was probably a few years ago, and knowing the state of education in most schools across the U.S., racism probably wasn’t as thoroughly examined in class. But as a transracial adoptive parent, this is something you will need to know because it is something that your child could experience. Learn about the history of racism and stereotypes and the current state of racism in the U.S. This may mean watching documentaries such as Racism: A History, or documentaries that are specific to the experience of the race of the child you are adopting. It might mean reading a lot of books like Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, or finding anthologies of short stories about the experience of racism of Asian Americans in the U.S. This may mean researching articles online or reading everything you can on the Black Lives Matter’s website or pouring through the helpful links on the WorldandI.com or reading up on the Latino section on PBS.
Though you hope your child will never experience racism, the reality is that they might, and as a parent, you must be able to prepare them and yourself to know how to deal with it if it happens.
3. Connect with transracial adoptive families.
One of the best things you can do is to connect with transracial adoptive families. They can best help you navigate experiences that you may face, and answer questions that you have in an environment that you feel comfortable in. To connect with these families, ask your agency. If they can’t for some reason, get creative in your search. Send the word out among your friends and acquaintances. Hop online and find them on chat forums on Reddit, on blogs, or in Facebook groups. You will find them and when you do, don’t be shy to ask to meet up for coffee. They will be more than happy to help you on your adoption journey.
4. Look at your neighborhood, friends, and school.
When raising a child of a different race, there’s questions that you might have to ask yourself, such as, “Do we want our kids to go to a diverse school where there will be other students that look like them?” When preparing for a transracial adoption, it’s a good idea to start looking at your life and how diverse it is or isn’t. If you don’t live in a neighborhood or school district that’s diverse — do you want to? Will this be beneficial to your child? If so, how are you going to change that? Other things you might consider is who you are friends with. Do you have a diverse group of friends? Will your child always be the only one at the event who isn’t of the same race? Would it be helpful to diversify your friends group? If you do have a diverse set of friends, you might want to reach out to them with questions on their experience in their culture and race, and see if they might be someone that your child can reach out to or look up to as a role model.
5. Integrate yourself into a new culture.
If you know the race of the child you are adopting, it’s a great idea to learn as much about their culture as you possibly can. As mentioned above, this does mean looking into the history, social sciences, and politics surrounding that race, but it also means learning about their culture. To prepare for your transracial adoption, learn as much as you can. What holidays do Koreans celebrate? How is hair an important aspect of African American culture? What are authentic Mexican foods? Some of this might involve basic research, but we encourage you to actually integrate yourself into the new culture before the adoption is finalized. Try authentic food from the culture of the child you will adopt. Better yet — learn how to make it! Go to a festival or event that celebrates Native American culture. Attend a church service in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood where the service is done in Spanish. Take a Chinese language course. Have fun with this and learn about the culture of your adopted child, because by doing that, you can help keep your children connected to their beautiful culture.