Interracial adoption (also referred to as transracial adoption) refers to the act of placing a child of one racial or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another racial or ethnic group (Wikipedia).
Based on the 2007 national survey of adoptive parents, conducted by the US Dept. of Health & Human Services (the latest statistics I could find), four out of ten children have parents who report that they and their spouse or partner (if they have one) are of a different race, ethnicity, or culture than their child. Children adopted internationally are most likely to be in transracial placements (84 percent), compared with 28 percent of children adopted from foster care and 21 percent of those adopted privately from within the United States.
I’m white, my son is Mexican. My family is a (domestic) transracial adoptive family, and yet almost every time I read an article about the subject, it’s a black and white issue.
What about the other races and ethnicities? Are they somehow inferior or “not that big a deal” to talk about? Are other races looked at as somehow not as “controversial?” Or is it simply that there are a lot fewer of “us” than white and black transracial families?
I’m not sure of the answer, and frankly, I don’t know where to go for information.
Someone asked a question about books for their adoptive Hispanic daughter on one of my online transracial adoption groups.
But alas, NO responses. None, zippo!
Because from what I’ve researched, there might be like two books out there.
I also find that this is more so the case with domestic transracial adoption vs. international. At least with international, there are “culture camps,” but mostly for adoptees from certain countries.
I started a conversation on a Facebook group to see if others felt the same way I do. Thankfully, they do! Someone even suggested that it’s up to us to set our own standard and create our own information. I guess she has a point, but I’m certainly no expert…making it up as I go and piecing things together with whatever information I do stumble upon.
If you are going to adopt transracially, expect a certain amount of effort to be put in – effort to learn something about the expectations, stereotypes, cultural and ethnic traditions, etc. Because at the very least, at some point it will be assumed that your child knows these things.
It’s certainly easier when there are groups and books at your fingertips, but for me, a white mother who adopted a Mexican child, I will clearly need to look beyond the adoption community to be educated. Sounds easy enough, but without the resources at your fingertips, it takes a certain effort, commitment, and a willingness to maybe even step out of your comfort zone.
If you are thinking about an interracial adoption (or have adopted transracially already), no matter what race or ethnic background, I highly encourage you to take a class on this subject matter. Because trust me, it IS an issue.
Have you had any experiences you are willing to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below! And let me know if you are looking for a class…I just might be able to suggest one.