I am a transracial adoptive mom to a beautiful baby girl. When we first decided to transracially adopt we began to educate ourselves more about racial issues that our child will and does face in this world. We have had racist comments made and faced prejudice and still would never trade our life as a family for anything! To be honest, I did expect there to be some racism from white people but the prejudice from some of the African American community towards a black baby being raised by a white mom saddens me. The notion that my daughter will not be respectful nor well-behaved and therefore, will not be accepted by some of the black community is very disturbing... I am hoping to find a way to make my daughter's life easier and help her to be well-adjusted. We are doing our best to participate in anti-racist groups, learn more about racial issues, educate ourselves on white privilege and be the parents our daughter both needs and deserves...Still, we have much to learn and I am wondering if anyone here has some thoughts on ways to educate ourselves more? I know that there is a lot more than hair and skin care to be considered when transracially adopting and would love some ideas on things we should do to make our daughter's life better as a transracial adoptee. Thank you so much!
Thank you! Hopefully, you will have a match soon! :)
I have been going to www.mymindonpaper.com and www.loveisntenough.com and they areVERY helpful but I am hoping to hear about other resources from other transracial parents. Being a transracial parent means that you have more than responsibility than an adoptive parent of a same race child. You are also being responsible as a parent to a child of color and you have to learn to navigate that path so I think it is great when I see like minded trans racial parents trying to figure out the best way to help their future child. Best wishes on your journey!
One of the best things that I did (DD's birthfather is Mexican) is to join our local transracial adoptive families group. We try to have monthly meetings and explore different aspects of raising children who are a different race/culture than we are. Sometimes we have a speaker, sometimes watch a related documentary, and sometimes just talk. The group tries to have child care providers who are of different races but that doesn't happen as much as we'd like.
Do you know other families who've adopted transracially?
We are in the process of a transracial adoption as well. We are so thankful to have an amazing and diverse church that is a great resource to us. We are actually helping to lead a group right now that is specifically designed to discuss race and culture in the context of the church. We feel so blessed by the resources and members of the African American community that have said they will walk with us on this journey and be a resource for us.
One book I love on the subject of forming a racial identity is "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria".
If you identify as a Christian, I would also recommend "Divided By Faith" and "Generous Justice".
Great ideas! I have joined our Family Y and there is a very diverse group of people there for baby girl- I am also getting great advice from people there- just have to ask- a few people look at me like I am crazy but for the most part people are very helpful and are happy to see that efforts are being made for my daughter to know her culture. I asked about play groups but since we don't attend church I was told most that are here are connected to a church but the Y seems to be giving me a lot of help so I would recommend it highly as a resource to others!
PS We do know a couple of other trans racial families but they do not have the concerns that we do regarding our wanting our daughter to be part of her culture and make connections- sad but this seems to be more common with transracial adoptive parents then one would think in this area... I also called all our adoption groups in the area and they do not have transracial adoptive parents...when baby is older I may start one on my own...
We adopted transracially (from Vietnam) and the one thing that we heard over and over again is that our daughter is in a middle sort of place..."too Asian to be white" and "too white to be Asian"...basically that means, by being raised by a white family, there is no way she can learn how to fully fit in with others who were Asian and raised by Asian families. Yet, because of her looks, she will always stand out in public as 'not being white'. There is no way we can teach her how to 'be Asian'. That is not our heritage and while we can surround her with things from her birth culture and attend Vietnamese mass and Asian festivals, that will not teach her what it means to be Asian in America or what it means to be one who was born in Vietnam. We strive really hard to give her Vietnamese role models, she has a Vietnamese language tutor (a college student from Hanoi who is attending college in our town), and take her places where she is the majority and we are the minority. It won't teach her everything she needs to know, but it's a start. We want to keep her as immersed as we can, and then let her make the choice to accept or reject that part of her.
So, the best advice I can give is surround your daughter with people who look like her, make friends with African American families who you can learn from, celebrate holidays from her birth heritage, etc. While you can't teach her what it's like to be a black woman, you can surround her with people who can help her learn. Then, when she grows up and discovers that she's in that same middle ground of not being fully in either culture, she will have some tools to cope and form her identity.
We have a bi-racial son and soon will have an Ethiopian daughter as well. I have tried to educate myself on transracial adoptive issues. There's a Facebook group called Brown Babies, Pink Parents that has a lot of really great discussions about this.
So far in our area, we have met with no racial remarks at all. We live in a small town, but it's racially diverse due to the University here. Even the AA people we have talked to seem very friendly and welcoming, sharing where to find black salons etc. And there are a LOT of other multiracial families, both by marriage and adoption, so we feel supported by that as well. We run into children and parents of every color at the park whenever we go.
As far as "never being black enough," that may be true. Our kids may be called "Oreo" sometime (black outside, white inside) but something our wonderful social worker told us is that our children have a safe, loving family, which is something they needed. Of course we will do everything we can to support interaction with people of their race and culture. Just by them joining our family, we are no longer a "white" family, we are a multi-racial family. And we're delighted with it being this way! They will have to discover who they are as a person just like every child. They are black children who happen to have white parents. That is part of their story. Our story. Adoption is part of our story. Blindness is part of our story. Some of us are Danish. Some are Irish. Some are Ethiopian. Some are Welsh. That is just who we are. But love is also part of our story. Our children belong in our family and each one is beautiful, no matter what color of skin or hair they have. I hope they grow up to see others with differences as beautiful, and learn to accept the differences in themselves as beautiful as well. Their uniqueness makes them special as much as it makes them "different."
I like to say I have children who are milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate... all very yummy!
I suspect part of our issues are due to being in the south. The agencies we worked with and spoke with all mentioned that transracial adoptions are more difficult in this area and advised not settling here- we are moving when we can but for now are trying to make the best of it by going to diverse parent and child classes. The Y has been wonderful- everyone there is very kind and welcoming and the AA community there has been tremendously helpful! I am very grateful for their kindness and only a few people have commented on concerns with a white mama's parenting a black child- I figure the best thing to do is to prove this concern to be wrong... Mainly our issues have been from racist white people who can be very nasty- so I am trying to navigate through this and protect my daughter- she's too little to discuss this sort of thing but not to little to know that some people are being mean to her- she just doesn't know why....I doubt there is any part of this nation that isn't touched by racism so I am trying to educate myself more so that I can be a better mommy. Thank you so much for your responses and advice it is truly appreciated!
I think you may be right about the South. We live in the West, and nobody really cares what color you are, for the most part. I guess I have seen a little racism, once it was comments against a Native American and once something against a Japanese student who was friends with one of the Japanese students living with us. But overall, people are pretty laid back about race and interracial marriages etc.
I think your concerns are probably justified and all the ideas mentioned so far good. But I have some mixed race friends from bi-racial families who have never gone through that fabled 'identity crisis' of not feeling that they fully belong to either world. These are people who are very comfortable with who they are, can navigate easily through most social settings and don't seem to think that it's that important that they look a little different from others in their family.
Dear Anandamama, were these people adopted? Or did they have parents who were black and white? Just curious, because from what I have read it is harder for adoptive kids because they don't have that sort of connection in terms of biology so it is important to expose adopted kids to people who look like them to help with racial and cultural identity-that is the advice I have been given by trans racial adoptees to help my daughter on her journey...But if the people you are speaking about are adopted then that is heartening to know that not every trans racial adopted child has identity issues- still I like the idea of diversity just to be safe... :)
We are a little different as DH is black, I am white, DS is bi-racial, DD is black, and FDD is a mix, but mostly black with what we think is some French Cajun in there. I also joined a local trans-racial adoption group. I tried to join an AA playgroup and the women decided that I wasn't the right "fit", they wouldn't feel comfortable "letting their hair down" around me. I was mad, but realized that I have huge resources for DD and they didn't matter if they were that close-minded. We have a family that we are great friends with that have three adopted black kids (all around the same ages as our kids), I run an Multiracial playgroup, and I participate in the transracial group (which is mostly all adoption). I also go to the foster parent cluster meetings with the kids where they have child care. I may be naive, but I think that my kids will be okay.
Maybe create a meetup group for multiracial families and start organizing some playdates. I like my group because we have such huge diversity in it from same sex mexican/white moms with a kid, to transracial adoption, to indian\white, black/white families, and so . It has been great for my kids to see families can consist of so many different options.
I love the idea of an adoptive parents group and one that is for transracial adoptive parents would be even better- so baby can see other families that look different but there are no groups within 100 miles of us- crazy but true....I would start one but was told there are not that many of us in this area according to our social worker who did our home study and post placement studies- so the Y it is for diversity but when we are able to move I intend to join other diverse play groups that allow my daughter to see that not all familiies look alike...thanks so much for all the responses :)
Our group is wonderful. I've met some terrific families and watched so many documentaries that I never would have seen.
I bet there are more families out there that you don't know about. Especially transracial families formed through foster care. I wonder if social services would be able to direct you.
Staying tuned as we just met our black foster-adoptive children last week. Ready to experience the world in a whole new way right besides them! We do have to work hard to connect them with the black community and culture as there is not a large black population here (even though whites are a minority, the area is mostly Mexican) but everything will be worth it for their sake.
We are lucky that our foster-adoptive parent training class became very close and we started a group, with multi-racial families already....plus most of the rest of them are still waiting to be matched so it will be exciting to meet all the little ones that will join us =).
I find myself in a really unusual situation in regards to our transracial adoption. I had researched so much about raising a black child in a white family, but our new son has thrown me for a loop :)
I am of Middle Eastern and French descent, and I'm dark. My husband is of Scottish ancestry, so he's super white. Our bio kids range from darker than me to milky white with blonde hair! Several times a week since my youngest daughter (the blonde one) was born, I have been asked about her origins. People say things like, "Where'd you get her?" "Is she adopted?" Not just once or twice, but ALL OF THE TIME. We adopted our baby seven weeks ago. He is Caucasian, African-American, and Native American (on both sides, but only know the tribe for one side). He looks like me! He has the same skin tone as my oldest daughter, he has eyes that look just like mine, etc! I was not prepared for this. I pictured dealing with some racism when we were out, but from what we've experienced so far, no one knows. His heritage isn't something I would ever want to hide, but I dread having some bigot think he's one thing, only to turn on us when they find out he's another. Does that make sense? Honestly, when we mentioned adoption to the kids' allergist a few weeks ago, they asked if my daughter was the adopted one. In pictures of the four of them, she's the one who stands out as being different.
Also, my SIL's AA friend saw our baby's pictures on FB and declared that he's "white". I don't know what to do with that.