Matters of Race; In Adoption and Foster Care, Part 2

National Adoption Awareness Month and the topic of race has been a good discussion. I am glad this dialogue is taking place, when this month passes, I will continue to have the dialogue regarding trans-racial adoption. I believe hearing from the people who have been involved in the adoption process is beneficial.

As I mentioned last week, I spoke to four people about a small part of their experiences/thoughts on trans-racial adoptions. The same questions were asked to all four people.

The third person I spoke with is a black woman who is a mother of two sons, and she has not adopted. She did share her honest thoughts on this topic. Here are her responses:

Would you ever adopt a child of a different race? Why or why not.

Yes. As a parent you have unconditional love for your child. It wouldn’t matter what color they were. 

Do you think transracial adoptions are a good or bad idea?

Yes and no. In all candidness it depends on how you choose to raise the child. For example, an African American child adopted by a Caucasian family that literally has no interaction with people of color. How do they learn about themselves? How to do their hair? Which seems simple but if you are raising a daughter our hair is our crown. It must be taken care of and sometimes it is no simple feat. How do you make her proud of hair and not envy the straightness of their adopted parent and all the people that she sees around since she is unable to see a reflection of herself?

For African-American males this is a hard time for them growing up in America. Many of us have seen the newly released American Son and I, too, as the parent of 2 black sons, one of who is college age have had the conversations of what he may or may not experience especially as he attends a Predominately White Institution as his college of choice.  My husband and I fear for him. My husband discusses things with my son I simply cannot identify with. Who has those conversations with their sons? Who helps them if they are pulled over or treated unfairly due to the color of their skin and their adopted parent cannot identify with their experience?

However, I believe that if you are engaging in a transracial adoption in culturally diverse areas that it may be easier because you may have more resources to help your children identify with aspects of their culture that you cannot quite understand. That’s just not Black children…it could be children of Hispanic descent, etc.

Do you know anyone who was adopted by someone of a different race? Do you feel as an outsider looking in that the child was made to feel as he/she was included?

Yes, I know one. Yes, she made sure her baby was included. 

In the area you live in do you see a lot of transracial adoptions 

I’ve seen a few, but not a lot.

Many good points brought up in her responses. African American children being adopted and not having any interaction with other people of color, whew! Yes, that happens more than we may care to discuss. I have seen this with my own two eyes. Some folks will adopt a child of a different race and not even consider the reality that the child will benefit from being around people of his/her own race. I have wondered how the topic of race and adoption goes with adoptive parents, Is this something they consider?

Hair care is another topic, years ago I was at the store and a white lady who had a black daughter whom she had adopted was in the aisle in tears by the ethnic hair care products. I looked at her and asked if she needed help and she said yes. I helped her find the right products for her daughters’ hair, gave her a phone number to a hairdresser and we exchanged phone numbers. She texted me a picture of her daughters’ hair a few weeks after and she said she couldn’t believe the confidence a new hairdo gave her daughter. Yes its “just hair” but come on now black folks hair is different than Caucasian hair and knowing the basics of hair care is beneficial.

The third person I spoke with is a white woman who is married to a black man. I love the fact that she brought up the importance of listening to adoptees about their experiences and I hope to be able to talk to some adoptees soon. Here are her responses:

Would you ever adopt a child of a different race? Why or why not.

We adopted a biracial child who has the same racial background as our biological child. As a result, this is not really considered a transracial adoption because my child was adopted into a family with the same racial makeup as her biological parents.

Do you think transracial adoptions are a good or bad idea?

I am pro-adoption, but I do believe adoptive parents must educate themselves and be willing to make changes (neighborhood, schools, church etc.) as needed. 

Adoptive parents should teach a child about his or her culture and help the child connect with his or her heritage. I know lots of adoptees and I also read the writings of adoptees. Some adoptees had terrible experiences and others had wonderful experiences. We should listen to adoptees whether they had good or bad experiences. 

In the area you live in do you see a lot of transracial adoptions 

Yes, in the city where I love there are lots of adoptees of all races.

Trans-racial adoption just like giving birth to a child is a unique experience, no two stories are alike, I am thankful that folks agreed to share just a small part of their overall experiences.

Race and adoption is not complicated, the unwillingness by some that adopt children of a different race to ensure that they not only teach their child about the child’s race/culture and find mentors for their children that are the child’s race is heartbreaking. Love is love and big part of that love when involved in a trans-racial adoption MUST include the child learning about his/her race.

Just think for a moment how you would feel if you were not taught anything about your own heritage/culture?

Families don’t have to match. You don’t have to look like someone else to love them.”- Leigh Anne Tuohy

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26 thoughts on “Matters of Race; In Adoption and Foster Care, Part 2

  1. This is a profound interview and something to think of. It brings up so many topics one would have to think about before adoption.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to reach out and get these stories! So good to hear from a variety of people on this important topic. 🙂 And I totally agree, as a parent, you have unconditional love regardless of color.

  3. This is tricky subject. Well it’s great in theory as cultural immersion, you still have to give the child a sense of identity by keeping them connected to their heritage too.

  4. This is one of great article that I’ve read today. This post gives you a lot of things that you need to consider before adopting a child and everything that was mentioned here are so important most especially the chance of giving the child to have a sense of identity by keeping them connected on their own heritage.

  5. Adoption has always been on my heart. I’m not sure that we will be able to after our second kid but we are going to try and I have thought about not knowing how to care for a child of colors hair. I could sure learn!

  6. Wow! This is so interesting and important. I Would like to start fostering when my youngest daughter is a few years older. I won’t restrict based on race, but because of this I will make sure they have access to people from their background. Thank you!

  7. Wow this is very deep on so many levels. Brings up a lot of questions and what processes should be taken for the best interest of the child. Thank you for sharing with us.

  8. I plan to adopt one day and it always interests me to read about the topic and adoptees experiences. Reading the different points of view is definitely enlightening. Great job conducting these interviews!

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