Adopting a child of a race different than your own is not something everybody is comfortable doing. Two of my three children are biracial (black/white) and my husband and I are white. My third child is white, although she is biologically related to her siblings.
Here are some things to consider before you adopt transracially.
1. Your family dynamics will forever change and you will now be a racially mixed family, not a “white family with an Asian child” or a “Hispanic family with a black child”.
2. If there is anyone in your family who may have an issue with your decision, now would be a good time to have a talk with them. In the end, you may have to break ties but first, have a heart to heart talk with them.
3. What do you know about their biological culture? Is it enough to answer questions they may have?
4. As they get older, can you discuss racism with them and hear what they have to say?
5. In your heart, are you comfortable doing this? Because if there is a chance you going to regret it, don’t do it. Spend time examining your own beliefs about race and ethnicity.
6. Are you prepared to be asked intrusive questions about your adoption? People can be rude at times while others don’t always use the right words when discussing adoption.
7. Remember, your child is not the only one who is different within your family. Now you are also. I always tell my younger daughter, who wants to be like me, that she’s not only different from me, I’m different from her too.
8. Do you know that there are organizations that are against transracial adoptions? Be prepared that there are close-minded people who will be vocal about your decision. People that would rather see a child languish in foster care than be part of a family that is a different race. Their opinion doesn’t matter but be warned that you will come up against opposition.
9. Do you already have other children? If they are the same race as you, how will they feel about being part of a racially mixed family?
10. Are you prepared to discuss and dispel racial stereotypes with your child, your family, and your community?
In 2002, I began to chronicle my adoption journey and created Forever Parents, a supportive online community for adoptive and waiting parents. Over the next year, we grew our support forums to include an adoption shop and a blog. Forever Parents stayed active, helping thousands of people for over ten years. I’m in the process of updating and moving all the posts to this blog, in the Forever Parents section. This post was originally published on May 17, 2007.