Talking About Race and Honoring Birth Culture in Transracial Adoption


When your child joins your family through transracial adoption, you must find ways to talk about racism, instill a positive racial identity, and honor her birth culture.

A family looks at a map, symbolism for taking a heritage tour.

AF’s, Complete Guide to Heritage Travel

AF’s, Complete Guide to Heritage Travel

Heritage trips help children discover their past — and inspire who they'll become. Help your child prepare for the journey with these expert-tested tips.

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AF Interviews Melissa Fay Green

Interview with Melissa Fay Green

The adoptive mom and critically acclaimed author talks about her adoption of two brothers from Ethiopia, the AIDS crisis in Africa, and Haregewoin Teferra, the foster mother at the center of her book, There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Her Country's Children.

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A woman embraces three children on a heritage travel trip to India

Journeys of Discovery

A homeland trip can help kids connect "where I come from" to "where I'm going." Having traveled with thousands of adoptive families, I'm delighted to share my thoughts on the impact of homeland travel on identity formation.

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exerpt-that-kind-of-mother-the-talk-police-car-lights-700

[EXCERPT] That Kind of Mother

In this excerpt from That Kind of Mother, by Rumaan Alam, the white adoptive mother of a black child learns about importance of talking with her son about racism and interactions with the police.

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A little boy whose parents taught him about race and racism

Primer for Talking About Race and Racism

Racism exists, and it's our job as parents to talk about it with our kids. Start with this glossary of important terms.

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Two girls read about their birth culture together

Reading List: Learn About Your Child’s Birth Country

These books can help your child connect with her birth culture. Add your family's favorites in the comments!

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The Opher Shapiro family

“Our Journey to China to Adopt Our Daughter”

We left our house this morning a family of three, but the next time we walk through our front door, it will be as a family of four.

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a mother on talking with her African-American daughter about racism in the U.S.

The Talk: Revealing the Realities of Racism to My African-American Child

Growing up in Trinidad, I didn’t use the word black to describe myself. But as the mother of two black children in the U.S., I walk the fine line of raising them to believe they are capable and worthy while understanding that everyone in this country has been taught to discount their value.

A phone call cemented a mother and daughter bond.

“This Is For Real”

An unexpected emergency tests the strength of a mother-daughter bond.

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A heart on graph paper

“Overcoming All Odds”

Although we knew our South American-born son would face challenges growing up in a predominantly white middle class suburb, we were totally unprepared for what was to come.

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A man holds his baby after adopting a child of a different race.

Are You Considering Transracial Adoption?

If your family is thinking about adopting a child of a different race, spend some time answering these six questions to help determine if it's right for you.

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author Lena Choudhary and her family on a trip to her daughter's birth country

“Race…and Starbucks”

My parents were immigrants from Germany and India, my husband also comes from a mixed background; we have one biological child, and one adopted from South Korea. What makes my daughter Korean? What makes her American?

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A Chinese adoptee contemplates being a "model minority"

Who You Calling a Tiger-Mom?

As the parent of an Asian child, I am constantly called upon to help my daughter navigate between diminished achievements and heightened failures.

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A festival for Ganesh seen during a transcultural adoption

“This We Believe”

We're committed to raising our son in our religion, but we won't let his adoption erase essential parts of who he is.

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An Asian child undergoes TB tests before coming to the United States

TB and Adoption: What Parents Needs to Know

Many think of tuberculosis as a thing of the past, but it's one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. Here, learn what TB tests your adoptive child might need.

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Sherri Gragg and her three children

“Black, White, and the Cornrow in Between”

While it might have been “just hair” to me, the emotions were far more tangled for them, with roots deep into the history of oppression between our two peoples.

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Three children sit on a swing.

8 Smart Diversity Strategies

Use these tips for building cultural diversity for children in your family, community, and school.

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