Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you’ve taken the first steps to grow a family of your own. Embarking on this journey may seem intimidating. At times, you may feel like you’re navigating precarious waters and wonder if you have enough bravery for this voyage. Don’t worry! Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is committed to answering your nagging questions and guiding you through the unknown.
The adoption process, however, is also a time of reflection. There are some questions you must answer on your own. This self-discovery is especially critical when considering transracial adoption. There are many benefits to transracial adoption, but it is essential to acknowledge the difficulties you may face. Complete awareness is crucial, and you must be cognizant of the dangerous ignorance in your home and community.
Adopting transracially means raising your little one in a very different community. There is beauty in diversity but danger in assimilation. Your child’s race and ethnicity should be celebrated, not buried. That’s why we’re listing five questions to ask yourself before adopting transracially.
Do You have a Diverse Community?
Sometimes we forget that we live inside a bubble. We become so accustomed to the faces and places around us that we can’t remember what the world looks like beyond. We are trapped within the confinements of our own communities, sheltered from the rest of the world.
When you adopt transracially, you should be prepared to foster a connection between your child and his or her cultural heritage. It’s impossible to do so if you live in a conformist society. Veer off course from your daily routine and explore the neighborhoods around you. By interacting with people that are different from us, we learn about lives we never imagined.
Your child should never be forced to assimilate. Rather than struggling to adapt, he or she should feel comfortable and proud of his or her ancestry. Before adopting transracially, ensure that your community is primed for acceptance and respect.
Can You Discuss Race Openly?
As your child grows up, he or she will begin to notice the stark differences between his or herself and others. Your son or daughter may feel alienated, isolated, and scared. Even at a young age, children are more perceptive than we give them credit. Oftentimes, they may come home asking questions that we aren’t equipped to answer.
Don’t worry – you don’t need to know all the answers. It’s impossible to fully comprehend the obstacles that your child will face, but this doesn’t need to drive a wedge between you.
However, you cause irreparable damage by ignoring your child’s pain altogether. Prepare your family for the aftereffects of bigotry and discrimination. Brace yourself for some uncomfortable conversations. Rather than cowering away from controversial topics, you must confront issues head on. Your child must know that your home is a safe space to renounce the harmful stereotypes that surround his or her race.
Are You willing to Learn about Your Child’s Race?
Ignorance can quickly develop into neglect. Turning your cheek to your child’s hardships proves your blatant disregard for his or her well-being. Before adopting transracially, find a sense of motivation within yourself to learn more. As you discover more about your child’s family tree, you’ll gain a better understanding of your child.
Researching race often fuels a deeper concern with the state of our country. You’ll become more aware of the prejudice that so many must endure. In a world of inequality and hatred, this insight will help you maneuver adversities.
Make sure to read up on the positive things, too. Your child may come from a long-established and powerful culture. Learn about colorful customs, traditional festivities and celebratory feasts. Just one Google search may take you down an endless spiral of knowledge.
Are You Committed to Celebrating Your Child’s Differences?
Dedication to your child’s happiness means guaranteeing that his or her race won’t be swept under the rug. Make sure that your child’s differences are treated with respect and kindness. Cherish the new perspective your child can give you, and honor the things that make him or her unique.
Whether you take your child to a Shabbat dinner, Christmas mass, or fast during Ramadan, there are various ways you can demonstrate your appreciation for your child’s heritage.
Before Adopting Transracially: Are You Ready for the Next Step?
People of color in the U.S. have faced centuries of cruelty and brutality. This violent oppression still plagues our country today. Our country must be held accountable for the trauma that was inflicted, since systemic racism infects everything from healthcare to education. Minority populations are incessantly faced with burdensome disadvantages regardless of efforts to improve race relations.
Transracial adoption is no small feat. Adopting transracially requires a lot of foresight and preparation. Unfortunately, sometimes even familial love cannot bridge the chasm between races.
Nevertheless, there are more transracial adoptions today than ever before. People are starting to realize that transracial adoption promotes diversity, destroys stigmas, and encourages cultural admiration. If you’ve planned for hindrances and prepared again and again, nothing should stop you from being with your little one. With devotion as your driving force, you have the power to break down the misconceptions surrounding transracial adoption.
Never Ending Questions
These questions are more than just a starting point to prepare for your transracial adoption. As you raise your child, you should constantly prompt yourself to answer difficult questions. Has your community transformed, and has it become less tolerant? Have you given up your research on race? Are you still making an effort to commemorate your child’s past?
Continuously remind yourself to remain cognizant. As long as you keep asking these questions, your child will live a life where differences are celebrated – not ignored.
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Kenneal Patterson is a sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston. She is currently studying Journalism and Political Science, with a minor in Global Health. She is honored to work with Adoption Choices, and hopes that her journalism will inspire others to be more empathetic and kind. She thinks that writing can convey important messages of hope and love, and wants to share these messages with others.
Kenneal spends her summers at home in Golden, Colorado, with her many cats and dogs. She is eternally grateful to those who read her work!