The decision to adopt is a life-changing one. Not only for you and your family, but also for the life of the child you are about to welcome into your home. Adoption is an extremely complicated and emotion-filled journey that will bless and challenge you every step of the way. One of the ways to adopt a child is through transracial adoption.
Before embarking on a transracial adoption, though, there are some important questions that you should ask yourself to further confirm your decision, and to help you acknowledge and understand all that it encompasses. You’ll want to be as prepared as you can be, so take the time to reflect and be honest with yourself now. You might surprise yourself.
Are you prepared to discuss racism?
Not just with friends, family and your child, but with everyone else as well. Race affects us, whether we acknowledge it or not. We have various prejudices and judgments about people who are different than us. Be mindful of this. It’ll become even more obvious in a transracial adoption. Know what you believe first. This can either make or break your decision to adopt transracially.
Have a plan in place for how you will handle conversations about race. Keep the lines of communication open. Your child will need to know that he or she can trust you when confronted with this controversial and sensitive topic.
How diverse of a community do you live in?
Living in a diverse community is essential when raising a transracial child. If you live in a neighborhood that heavily favors one race, your child may suffer from a lack of racial and cultural identity. This, in turn, can lead to them feeling unaccepted in their family culture, and in the surrounding community. Having diversity around them helps your child develop and maintain a positive racial identity, which helps them cope overall in our race-conscious society.
Love and acceptance starts in the home. That’s why it’s so important to incorporate your child’s race, culture and history into your family life. They need to know that you accept and celebrate where they come from, so they can stand strong when the world sees them as a minority.
Are you ok that love is not always enough?
You read it right. Love is not always enough. It isn’t a cure all.
This concept is one that shocks and takes us aback. Yet, when we really think about it, we find it to be true. Raising a child from a different race brings new complexities that a same race child does not. It’s important to stay attuned to this, and know that a transracial adoptee cannot be loved and cared for “just like every other child.” Because, as it happens, they aren’t just like every other adoptee. Your child is unique, and must be seen this way. No matter what obstacles or challenge you face, you must be committed to loving through it and conquering them all together.
So, while love may not be always enough — it is a good place to start.
How will you implement your child’s culture into your life?
If you haven’t seriously considered this before, you should. In a transracial adoption especially, your child needs a parent who will fully embrace his or her culture and origin. Like we’ve already discussed, it’s important in their development and sense of identity.
Where did your child come from? Learn about it. Visit it. Take pictures of your time there, and share them with your child. Pick a special holiday from their culture, and celebrate it as a family. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, but respecting your child’s culture equals respecting them. Implementing a piece of their origin will do wonders.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Only you can answer these questions. Seeking counsel from friends and family, researching information and asking questions of adoption agencies and lawyers are always ok; but, once the adoption is finalized, it becomes about you and your child. You are the parent. So, you need to know how you truly feel, and be prepared for the unexpected.
During the good times and bad, never be afraid to ask for help. By the time your child comes home, you’ll have a strong support system at the ready. You’ll know what friends and family you can trust implicitly, and who will always be there for you.
Adoption Choices of New York
For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of New York.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
BehrensElizabeth, Elizabeth, et al. “Questions for Potential White Transracial Adoptive Parents.” The Witness, 27 Apr. 2018, thewitnessbcc.com/questions-potential-white-transracial-adoptive-parents/.
“Questions to Ask Yourself When Considering a Transracial Adoption.” Adopt Connect, adopt-connect.com/questions-to-ask-yourself-when-considering-a-transracial-adoption.
“Transracial Adoption: Love Is Not Enough.” AFFCNY, affcny.org/family-supports/transracial-transcultural/voices-of-professionals/transracial-adoption-love-is-not-enough/.
“Want to Adopt Transracially? Ask Yourself These Questions First.” Abbys One True Gift Adoptions Want to Adopt Transracially Ask Yourself These Questions First Comments, www.onetruegift.com/2018/06/want-to-adopt-transracially-ask-yourself-these-questions-first/.