Transracial and Transcultural Adoption
Transracial or transcultural adoption means placing a child who is of one race or ethnic group with adoptive parents of another race or ethnic group. In the United States these terms usually refer to the placement of children of color or children from another country with Caucasian adoptive parents. People choose to adopt transracially or transculturally for a variety of reasons. Fewer young Caucasian children are available for
What’s inside: • How to prepare for the adoption • How to help your child become a healthy adult • Other sources of information
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families Administration on Children, Youth and Families Children’s Bureau
Child Welfare Information Gateway Children’s Bureau/ACYF 1250 Maryland Avenue, SW Eighth Floor Washington, DC 20024 703.385.7565 or 800.394.3366 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.childwelfare.gov
Transracial and Transcultural Adoption
adoption in the United States than in years past, and some adoption agencies that place Caucasian children do not accept singles or applicants older than 40. Some prospective adoptive parents feel connected to a particular race or culture because of their ancestry or through personal experiences such as travel or military service. Others simply like the idea of reaching out to children in need, no matter where they come from. Adoption experts have different opinions about this kind of adoption. Some say that children available for adoption should always be placed with a family with at least one parent of the same race or culture as the child. This is so the child can develop a strong racial or cultural identity. These people say that adoption agencies with a strong commitment to working with families of color and that are flexible in their procedures are very successful in recruiting “same race” families. Other experts say that race should not be considered at all when selecting a family for a child. To them, a loving family that can meet the needs of a particular child is all that matters. Still others suggest that after an agency works very hard to recruit a same-race family for a certain period of time but does not find one, the child should be placed with a loving family of any race or culture who can meet the child’s needs. Despite the experts’ differing opinions, there are many transracial and transcultural families, and many more will be formed. If you are or wish to be a parent in one of these families, this factsheet will help you by answering two questions: (1) What should you do to prepare for adopting a child of a race or culture different from
yours? and () After adoption, what can you do to help your child become a stable, happy, healthy individual, with a strong sense of cultural and racial identity?
how to Prepare for the Adoption
Preparation for adoption is important for anyone thinking about adopting a child. It is even more important for parents considering transracial or transcultural adoption because it will introduce you to all aspects of adoptive parenthood, help you learn about adoption issues, and help you identify the type of child you wish to parent. Any adoption agency that conducts and supervises transracial or transcultural adoptions should provide this important service. If you are undertaking an independent adoption, you should seek counseling and training in these areas. You should also read as many articles and books as you can on the subject. (See the resource list at the end of this factsheet.) The following sections describe some issues to consider as you prepare for a transracial or transcultural adoption.
examine Your Beliefs and Attitudes About race and ethnicity
While you may think you know yourself and your family members very well, it is important to examine your beliefs and attitudes about race and ethnicity before