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Adoption: Choosing a child from a different race

On Behalf of | Aug 20, 2021 | Adoptions |

There are children from all cultures worldwide who are looking for their forever homes. With that in mind, transracial adoption in Missouri, and elsewhere in the country, is becoming more prevalent. But what does it mean to adopt a child from another race? How can adoptive parents help their new family members to feel positive about their identities? These parents often believe that not seeing their adoptive child’s color means they’re not racist. However, it is impossible, professionals say, not to see a child’s color, and by not acknowledging it, parents also aren’t acknowledging the child’s culture and race.

Transracial adoption justice

This sort of justice speaks about acknowledging and affirming how racism and oppression relates to adoption. Here are some factors regarding transracial adoption justice:

  • Transracial adoptees experience layers of loss caused by their race and their adoption. Children of color who have been adopted by parents of a different race must come to terms with the loss of their origin as well as the loss of having no one in their new family who looks like they do.
  • A person should understand that adoptees know their own lives best. Never minimize a child’s feelings of oppression and discrimination.
  • People should have a firm grip of oppression, power, privilege and the history of race in America. This means acknowledging who a child is, embracing their culture and color, and helping them develop skills to cope with racism.
  • People should care about the child’s country of origin and allow the child to continue to care about it too.
  • One should also be prepared for the long term by affirming a child’s identity from the beginning.

Transracial adoptive parents can do a number of things to help their adopted children. These can include getting involved in anti-racism campaigns, reading everything available on the topic, determining who to approach for information and advice, and considering assumptions about what good schools and neighborhoods mean. It’s also important for parents to consider what they would like their relationships with the adoptive child to look like as they move into adulthood.

Transracial families can thrive when they put some positive practices into place. The adoption of children of different races can truly be beautiful, positive and affirming when adoptive parents understand what their child needs and craves. When parents are willing to learn new ways of thinking, their child will thrive.

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St. Louis County Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
LEX | The Missouri Bar