If you have adopted transracially you have adopted across race, adopted a child who is a different race than you. The first step in helping your child is to understand that you cannot “share” your child’s culture or race.
What you can do is make sure your child has the connection to the communities from which he or she is of. By doing so you help your child appreciate his or her uniqueness. You can:
- Ally yourself, your child and family with members of his or her race ad ethnicity. Find:
- Successful role models, like older adoptees or people of their ethnicity or race
- Friends, preferably of their race and /or ethnicity who have been adopted into families
- Professionals who provide services, like doctors and dentists, that look like your child/are the same race as your child
- Help your child understand the context and history of his or her race and culture. Picture books, books, music, restaurants, and festivals are fun, but not enough…
- Model how much pride you have, not only in theirs, but in others as well. This will help to alleviate the feeling of isolation and also illustrate that you embrace all people and instill your child’s pride in their racial and ethnic heritage.
- Make sure your child is well-groomed. Transracial families are not only under the microscope of whites, but the child’s race/ethnic group. They are judged more stringently. i.e., if your child is from Congo, take care of that hair!
- Help them understand and how to interact with a still white-dominated society, outside of their immediate adoptive family, extended family and friends.
Parents: Consider researching and writing the context and history of your child’s race and culture into a notebook. This would be a wonderful project for you to do together.