How to Choose a Transracial Adoptive Family as a Birth Mother in New York
Families come in all shapes and sizes. When you ask someone to picture a family, each person is going to see something different. Transracial adoptive families are no exception. People of varying races are no less a family than those who share the same race, ethnicity or culture. If you’re a transracial birth mother, you might have concerns about placing your child with a family of a different race.
You know transracial families are beautiful; but, naturally, you worry for your child and want to make sure he or she is placed with an amazing adoptive family. As a birth mother considering a family of a different race for your child, there are a couple of things you might want to consider before you decide.
At Adoption Choices of New York, we will show you how to choose a transracial adoptive family who will best benefit you and your child.
- Choose a Transracial Adoptive Family Who is OK with Tough Conversations
When you choose your child’s adoptive family, you want to make sure the family is ready and willing to open the door to tough conversations. It’s important not to wait for the adoptee to start the conversation. The adoptive family should let the adoptee in and create a safe space.
The weight of race shouldn’t be on your child alone. It’s up to the adoptive family to open the door to this conversation. Remember, the door may feel heavier for a child than it is for an adult. When you’re looking through profiles of prospective adoptive families, you can look for a family that speaks about how they understand racial issues and that they are ready to have these conversations with your child.
If the adoptee is left alone with their thoughts, identity issues can form. The adoptee might feel too afraid to speak with their adoptive family about race. Or, the adoptee might not assume that the adoptive family is willing to discuss race, blaming him or herself or the adoptive family. If the family lets your child know that they want to listen and help however they can, he or she can avoid these issues.
In a great transracial adoption, the child will know this topic is not off-limits, nor is it overly uncomfortable for the adoptive parent or parents. He or she should be able to talk about this with friends and will feel comfortable with his or her own identity.
Once you know how to choose a transracial adoptive family, you’ll find people who allow conversation to flow. Your child’s adoptive family will be prepared to let the adoptee talk and ask questions as they need.
- Choose a Transracial Adoptive Family Who will Teach Your Child the Importance of Identity
Many prospective transracial adoptive parents have great intentions, but haven’t yet considered the nuances of transracial adoption — or what the adoptee will grapple with growing up. Especially if the adoptee is raised without an understanding of who they are and where they came from. Thus, the adoptive family shouldn’t choose to ignore the adoptee’s race.
Consider asking the prospective transracial adoptive family some discovery questions about race, ethnicity and culture to find out just how invested they are. Ask them how they plan to implement your child’s birth heritage into their daily lives. How they will build up your child’s sense of self and identity.
Sooner or later, most transracial adopted people will become curious about their identity or face discrimination. With a transracial adoptive family committed to open communication about race, culture, and identity, your child won’t have to go through it alone.
- Choose a Transracial Adoptive Family Committed to Creating Community and Culture
- Connecting to Culture
Find a transracial adoptive family who wants to embrace new traditions. Cultural celebrations can be a fun and educational way for the whole family to get involved in the adoptee’s culture. Sharing celebratory holiday food from the adoptee’s culture, for example, is a wonderful way to embrace differences together. There may be celebrations within the community that the adoptive family can join as well.
The adoptive family can share inclusive works of fiction with your child, too. For example, picture books with protagonists and heroes who look like them. Or something with a child from a transracial adoptive family. Your child might also enjoy TV shows where someone like them gets to save the day. It’s validating to see somebody who’s like you represented in stories — even if it’s somebody fictional to look up to. Stories can be a great way to open up a conversation with the adoptee.
- Connecting to Community
Outside of fiction, it’s possible to find mentors and role models for your child. Adoption support groups exist, too. At Adoption Choices of New York, we can connect your child’s adoptive family with incredibly helpful support groups that include other transracial families, so the adoptive family can navigate this as a unit.
Adoptive parents can get involved and invested, too. They might join a community group dedicated to racial or social justice to remain an active proponent for your child. Your child must know their adoptive parents care about them and their identity.
Fiction, history, role models and support groups all can teach your child about their culture. By creating a cultural connection from an early age, it avoids any identity crises that might snowball later on.
The Conversation Starts With You
At Adoption Choices of New York, we’ll show you how to choose a transracial adoptive family for your child. Remember, you’re in control of your adoption journey at all times. You get to choose the adoptive family who you believe best fits the type of life you want for your child. You can make sure the family you choose is ready to be a transracial adoptive family. If you ever get stuck, or have questions, we’ll help you every step of the way.
Meet the Author: Tara Giuffre has always loved reading and writing and grew up in the worlds of Narnia, Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Taking this passion for stories, she received a degree from Rutgers University in Journalism & Media. Besides writing, she likes long walks on the beach, spending time with her family (and her cat, Sansa), and baking the perfect loaf of bread.
She enjoys sharing vital information about adoption and birth mothers choosing adoption to families making important choices for their future family!