For some, adopting a child of another race can be intimidating. Fears like lack of identity between your child and their racial heritage, getting intrusive questions when you are out as a family, or not bonding well because you look different than your child may come up. While these are valid fears, they should not inhibit you from considering transracial adoption.
Let’s talk about 4 word that can help ease your worries about transracial adoption:
Let’s talk about LOVE
Think about the people in your life you love and who love you. Are they all genetically connected to you? Probably not. Easy examples of this include spousal relationships, deep friendships, and of course—adoption! Love knows no bounds. Adopting parents who have both adopted and biological children repeatedly say that their love for their adopted children is no different than the love they have for their biologically-related children. In the same way, adults who were adopted as children (or embryos!) love their parents deeply! Race does not impact the powerful bond of love.
Let’s talk about CONNECTION
Both connection between an adopted child and her parents and connection between an adopted child and her racial heritage are both important. Connection can be built by having shared experiences, asking questions, being open-minded, and having a listening ear. If you are adopting a child of a race different than yours, we encourage you to be intentional about having shared experiences with your child related to her racial heritage. Ask questions and be open to learning about a culture that may be different than yours. Be willing to listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings as you both learn and grow together.
Let’s talk about REPRESENTATION
Representation matters. If you are pursuing a transracial adoption, be intentional about having community around you of the race of your future child. Find mentors who can encourage and support your child as he explores his racial identity. By creating a safe space for exploration, you are communicating to your child that you value and appreciate his differences.
Let’s talk about PURPOSE
When you began your journey of adoption, what was your purpose? Was it to give a child a loving home? Was it to fulfill your dreams of having a family of your own? Whatever it may be, hold on to the purpose behind your adoption. Remembering your “why” will help overcome fears as you step into the unknown of adopting, especially adopting a child of another race.
Fear can be deceiving. When it creeps in, remember these four words: love, connection, representation, and purpose. And always remember: transracial adoption is a beautiful gift to both you and your child.
By: Sage Vincent