9 Questions to Ask Yourself When Adopting a Child of Another Race

9 Questions to Ask Yourself When Adopting a Child of Another Race

Choosing transracial adoption starts with love, but the journey of parenting a child of a race different from yours involves immense time, energy, and education. Here are nine questions to ask yourself (and discuss with your partner) when deciding if transracial adoption is the right choice for your family.

  1. Is your partner as committed to transracial adoption as you are? It’s crucial that you both are on the same page with all your adoption decisions. Being unified sets an essential precedence for parenthood and handling the ups and downs of the adoption journey.
  2. Do you intend to adopt more than one minority child? In the book In Their Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories, adoptee after adoptee reports that being the only child of color in their family and being raised in an all-White community was detrimental to their self-esteem and racial identity
  3. Do you live in a diverse community? Take an honest look at your community and evaluate if you can offer a child a life that involves frequent contact with those who share their race. If you don’t live in a place that offers diversity, are you willing to move neighborhoods, towns, or even states if necessary
  4. How diverse is your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers? Not only will your child need to have contact with those who look like them, but you will need guidance from people who share your child’s race.  Issues like hair care, cultural traditions, discrimination, and more can be addressed with your “village,” those whom you trust.
  5. Are you committed to continuing to learn about adoption, race, and transracial adoption? The education a transracial adoptive parent needs doesn’t end once the child arrives.  In fact, the education is merely just beginning. Are you willing to attend conferences, meet with a support group, and read books and websites to self-educate?
  6. Do you plan to learn about and include your child’s racial culture as part of your daily life? The transracial adoptee needs a parent who embraces, incorporates, and appreciates his or her racial culture. Merely celebrating one holiday a year, such as Chinese New Year, simply isn’t enough.  he adoptive home needs to merge the existing culture with the incoming child’s culture.
  7. Do you/Will you face confrontation when necessary? All transracial adoptive families face resistance to some degree or another. You need to be equipped and confident when you stand up to an offender, be it a teacher, a family member, or a stranger.
  8. Are you willing, if necessary, to disconnect from prejudiced family members or friends? Certainly some of your loved ones will have a difficult time adjusting to your decision to adopt a child of another race. If, after multiple attempts and heartfelt, open conversations, the offender doesn’t adapt and accept, a temporary or permanent break in communication and relationship may be necessary.
  9. Can you face transracial parenthood with love and education? I commonly hear in the adoption community that love isn’t enough. It sounds idealistic to believe that “all we need is love,” but the truth is that transracial adoptees need much more than the warm fuzzies in order to grow up and be a confident, empowered, and comfortable in their own skin.


For Further Reading:

Inside Transracial Adoption

Brown Babies, Pink Parents

Cone Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent's Guide to Adopting Black Children

White Parents, Black Children: Experiencing Transracial Adoption

Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption

I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla: Raising Black and Biracial Children

Carried in Our Hearts: The Gift of Adoption