Transracial adoption has historically been a controversial subject in the field of adoption. The reality is that when parents enter into transracial adoption without the right preparation, children and families can suffer. In an article written by April Dinwoodie, the Chief Executive of the Donaldson Adoption Institute, she recounts her childhood growing up as a mixed race child adopted to Caucasian parents; “Back in the 1970s, my parents were not encouraged by professionals to acknowledge racial difference. Rather, they were glossed over… I am a mixed-race person, and everyone knew it. What my parents did not know how do to and were not encouraged to do was have a practical conversation about it.” Unfortunately, April’s experience is not uncommon and families still feel unprepared and uninformed about transracial adoption, even in 2016. Ms. Dinwoodie continues to assert that more efforts need to be made in preparing families to talk about race in culture if they are interested in pursuing a transracial adoption. According to a study done by the Donaldson Adoption Institute in 2009, 81% of young adults who were adopted transculturally or transracially report race/ethnicity being significant to their identity. Clearly, transracial adoption should not be taken lightly or approached without education and careful consideration. With transracial adoption comes a need for parents to be informed, proactive, prepared, open, and capable of navigating the unique challenges that their children and families will face.
Barker places special emphasis on preparing families for transracial adoption. As part of this, we like to share resources as they come available. Please see below for more information about a local event that some of our staff will be attending. We hope you can make it!
TOMORROW June 8th, 2016 from 6-8PM, PACT Executive Director and author Beth Hall will be speaking about transracial adoption. Details Below:
“Supporting children while they make sense of race can feel overwhelming, particularly for white parents. As young people experience both overt and subtle racism, how can adults learn to effectively support adoptees of color? Following the screening of conversations with adopted tweens and teens of color, visiting author and nationally-recognized adoption educator, Beth Hall, will address questions pertaining to identity development at the intersection of race and adoption, and what all adoptive parents need to know about birth/first families.”
You can still register for the event, here.
If you cannot make the event, here are some helpful books on transracial adoption:
Inside Transracial Adoption: Strength Based, Culture-sensitizing Parenting Strategies for Inter-country or Domestic Adoptive Families That Don’t “Match”, Second Edition By Beth Hall and Gail Steinberg. Buy it here: Inside Transracial Adoption: Strength Based, Culture-sensitizing Parenting Strategies for Inter-country or Domestic Adoptive Families That Don’t “Match”, Second Edition
The Interracial Adoption Option: Creating a Family Across Race by Marlene G. Fine and Fern L. Johnson. Find it here: The Interracial Adoption Option: Creating a Family Across Race
Information for this article retrieved from: http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org/seeing-color-matters-transracial-adoptive-families/ and http://adoptioninstitute.org/old/publications/2009_11_BeyondCultureCamp.pdf