Transracial adoption is where adoptive parents and their adopted child are different races or ethnicities. This is becoming increasingly more common and if you are considering transracial adoption for yourself, it is important to understand that this type of adoption comes with it’s own set of challenges and benefits.
Aside from being transracial, the adoption is otherwise no different. However, race and culture do matter, specifically when taking into consideration that adopted children already lose so much of their birth origin. In order to avoid transracial adoptees from losing connections to their culture and racial heritage, adoptive parents must educate themselves in their child’s culture and find ways to immerse themselves and their child in that culture.
A common concern in transracial adoption is the adoptive parents not being able to relate to the child about specific needs they may have based on their race. This can be difficult to address alone, so it is beneficial to surround your adopted child with friends, neighbors, peers, and mentors that share their ethnicity or race. With the increase in transracial adoption there are a number of support and play groups where children of similar races and ethnicities can meet each other.
It is your responsibility to help your child develop his or her cultural identity. Providing your child with opportunities to go to cultural events and meet people like them is valuable because it allows them to explore their roots and embrace their birth culture. You should also honor your child’s heritage by incorporating elements of their race and culture into your family life, such as celebrating traditional holidays, listening to cultural music, or cooking traditional dishes.
Different races or ethnicities might also have different physical and medical needs, so you will need to familiarize yourself with your child’s needs that may differ from your own, such as hair care, skin care, or health concerns commonly seen in people of their race or ethnicity. This is a great way for you to bond with your child by meeting their unique needs.
While it may feel uncomfortable, you will need to talk about racial issues and acknowledge racism, prejudice, and discrimination with your child. This also means you will need to properly educate yourself on the matter and try to fully understand the challenges your child may face. Make sure that you establish a healthy communicative relationship around the topic, so your child feels comfortable discussing and addressing these issues with you. Also, look into surrounding your family with as much diversity as possible, in school, extracurriculars, neighborhoods, and other places, to make them feel more comfortable.
Adoption is incredibly important to placing children in happy, healthy, and safe homes. If you are looking to adopt and you want to shorten your wait time, consider transracial adoption, but first make sure that you are ready to meet your child’s cultural and physical needs, as well as be open and willing to talk about racial and ethnic issues with them and others.