The definition of family is constantly changing in order to adapt to the ever-evolving ideas of what a family looks like. There are no structures or characteristics that a family should follow except for one requirement — love.
Turning towards adoption to start your family is a spectacular adventure, one where you never walk alone. Many decisions need to be made along the way, including the type of adoption you feel will be perfect for you. One type of adoption is called interracial, also known as transracial or visible. It has grown in popularity in the United States over the years, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier than other adoption styles. Rather, it presents brand new challenges and requires a lot of preparation.
Before making any final decision, you should talk it over with your adoption experts at Adoption Choices of New York to understand interracial adoption. The information might be overwhelming; but, at the end of the day, love is all that matters.
What is Interracial Adoption?
Interracial adoption, also known as transracial adoption, is when a family chooses to adopt a baby outside of their racial group. For example, if a Caucasian family adopts an African-American baby, then this is interracial adoption. Because of the introduction of a new member and cultural differences into the family, interracial adoption requires a lot of detailed studying, soul-searching and attention to how the child will be raised.
Interracial adoption has been at the center of debates on whether or not it is ethical to remove a child from their ethnic group and place them in an environment (culture) they are not familiar with. While the situation might be stressful for the baby, as long as you are respectful of the differences and attempt to learn and teach them about their culture, your baby will flourish in a healthy way. The adoptive parent’s family, friends and community can make a difference with this as well.
Why is it Important?
The rising acceptance of interracial adoption is undeniable. In a study done by the Institute of Family Studies over the last decade, interracial adoptions have risen by at least 50 percent. The study specifically looked at the number of kindergartners who were raised by a mother of a different race between 1999 and 2011. The percentage will surely continue to rise over the next decade.
The significance of this is building relations outside of one’s culture and understanding the diversity that the world has to offer. While interracial adoption has gained negative connotations since the practice started, more and more open-minded opinions are forming, which is contributing to the benefits of what it can do for both parents and children. With the correct knowledge and effort in maintaining cultural identities, interracial adoption is a beautiful way to start a family.
Who Should Consider this Style of Adoption?
There are no right and wrong answer for who can adopt a baby of another race. Love sees past barriers and cultural differences. It all depends on how committed the adoptive parents are with adapting to a new lifestyle and learning to appreciate their son or daughter’s background.
Adoptive parents who choose to adopt outside of their race are those who want a diverse family with multiple cultures, regardless of physical similarities or differences. Those who may or may not already live in diverse neighborhoods, and who are prepared to appropriately deal with family, friends and others who aren’t accepting of the decision to adopt transracially.
That’s just one of the characteristics of families who should consider interracial adoption. There are a million other reasons out there and you should find yours before making a decision. You shouldn’t let the cute faces be the only determining factor.
Tips for Parents to Understand Interracial Adoption
Whether or not you have made your decision, there are things you might get asked during the adoption paperwork that you might not have thought about before. It is always a good idea to prepare yourself on various topics so that you will have questions to ask your adoption experts. Here are a few tips to prepare you for the journey ahead:
1. Study, Study, Study
A big part of this transition is understanding how your child is different than you. In order to accomplish that task, you first have to learn about their culture. It is very fortunate that we live in America, a country with the most diverse population in the world. Not only that, but we also have access to all sorts of information right at our fingertips.
Online articles and blogs are great starts for your learning journey. There are also social media groups dedicated to sharing information and tips for either prospective parents of interracial adoption or for parents who are wanting to expose their child to his or her culture. By participating in those groups early on, you will be well-equipped with the necessary knowledge to help your children navigate his or her cultural identity.
2. Acknowledge the Differences
While you might think having them adapt to your lifestyle will help them integrate easier into the world, the lack of acknowledgment of their background will harm their development. Differences don’t always mean bad things. In this case, having a different cultural background is special and unique. You and your child should know that they are bringing something new into the family, new knowledge, traditions, and most importantly, a lot of love.
3. Be Aware of Negative Comments
One of the biggest obstacles to interracial adoption are the negative comments your child will receive, as well as the backhanded comments you will receive from other people. They will drain your spirit and make your child doubt his or her identity. You need to be strong enough to smile through it all and show the world that love is all that matters. Don’t forget – you are not alone.
4. Love Crosses Oceans
Race has never been an easy topic to discuss, especially in the instance of adoption. The first step in considering interracial adoption is to be comfortable with the topic so that you are prepared for even harder trials along the journey. We hope that this blog post has helped you understand interracial adoption and aided in your decision making. At the end of the day, no one can tell you if you had made the right choices or not. When you know you have found the right baby 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
Lisa Truong is an undergraduate journalism major at the University of Denver. She is minoring in writing and Chemistry. She has been commended by professors for her news stories as well as creative writing.
During her freshman year, her essay “See Ya on the Other Side” was displayed at a writing exhibition sponsored by the University of Denver. That essay later went on to be published in Many Voices One DU, a book also sponsored by the university.
Lisa frequently volunteers to be a leader at the Daniels School of Business for their quarterly Ethics Boot Camp where students learn about the importance of character in business. In her free time, Lisa enjoys watching animated movies with her mother, listening to music, going for bike rides, and eating breakfast food.
“Transracial Adoption.” FamilyEducation, July 25, 2006. https://www.familyeducation.com/life/transracial-adoptions/transracial-adoption.
Ward, Davina. “Transracial Adoptions.” Adoption Choices of Colorado, April 19, 2019. https://www.adoptionchoices.org/transracial-adoptions/.
“What Is Transracial Adoption?” Considering Adoption. Accessed December 30, 2019. https://consideringadoption.com/adopting/types-of-adoption/what-is-transracial-adoption.