There was a lot of talk of transracial adoption in our foster/adopt classes. We spent six full Saturdays learning about reasons children ended up in foster care, what to expect when fostering or adopting from the system and how to determine the type of child we’d be a good fit to parent. The conversation frequently went back to trans racial families. People had a lot of worries and concerns .
My husband and I, who are Caucasian, went on to adopt a school age Hispanic child. I’m now able to answer the “what if” questions that kept coming up in those adoption classes.
What if….you don’t know about the child’s native culture? Then you learn together. Just make sure you have the correct information – I recently read an article about a family who devoted their lives to making sure their Korean son knew everything about his homeland, only to find out when he was 18 and they got their hands on his birth records that he was actually born in China! Oops!
What if….the child is self conscious about your different skin tones? My daughter didn’t want me near her school the first year she was with us. It hurt my feelings, especially since she was proud to show off my husband and introduce him as her dad. She finally admitted believed children get their skin color from their mom, so if kids at school saw me everyone would know she was adopted. I was able to validate her concerns and help her brainstorm ways to approach the topic if kids at school asked adoption related questions.
What if…the child stands out in your community? Then you take the time to education people about trans racial adoption. Families come in all different sizes, shapes and colors.
What if….your child is bullied or made to feel uncomfortable at school? Your child has eyes and sees your skin is different. Talk about it. Give them language to use if their classmates have questions. Make sure they know they can come to you if anyone makes them upset. Let the teacher know a deeper focus on diversity may be needed.
What if….people don’t believe you’re the parents? This has happened to me twice….both times when my daughter fell in public and I was approaching her to comfort her. I know other trans racial families who have been questioned while traveling. Stay calm and explain your child is adopted if authorities are asking. Otherwise, shrug it off and give your child an extra cuddle.
Yes, you may become the poster family for trans racial adoption and have to education the public. However, people will see it’s really not a big deal and hearts might become open to
adopting or fostering that hadn’t thought of it before.