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 diverse group of teens work on identity formation

Why Race Matters for Teens

Why Race Matters for Teens

Teens need their parents' guidance in forming their racial identity.

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A mom telling her children, "I am adopted" while driving home.

“Mommy, Were You Adopted?”

I'm not sure why I never told my children. But when they asked, I knew it was time to end the secrecy for good.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Encouraging a Cohesive Racial and Cultural Identity

“We have always tried to make sure our internationally adopted son feels proud of his heritage. This year, when the class was writing about Thanksgiving, he asked if he could skip the assignment because people from his birth country do not celebrate Thanksgiving. I know I need to talk to him, but I’m not sure where to start.”

A child toasts marshmallows at culture camp

Should I Send My Child to Culture Camp?

"My child is approaching an age where I am thinking about sending her to culture camp. Is this something I should pursue or not?" Our panel of adult adoptees responds.

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Sarah Gerstenzang shares lessons she has learned from her mixed race family.

“How I Parent My Transracial Family”

Like all mixed race families in America, we face stereotyping as a matter of course. These six lessions have helped enrich my family.

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Visiting My Daughter's Birth Country: Honduras

“Amanda’s Journey Home to Her Birth Country”

"You belong to two heritages-Jewish and Latin American-and at this special time in your life, when many Jewish families travel to the Mideast, we're heading south." More than a few heads turned when I announced this in my speech to my thirteen-year-old daughter, Amanda, on the occasion of her bat mitzvah.

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"Committed to honoring our children’s African American race and culture, we buy lotion for every room in the house and spend a small fortune on hair products…"

“Keeping Up Appearances” – Our Skin and 4C Hair Care Routine

As the parents of four black children, we drop a small fortune on lotion and products and build time into our schedule to style their hair, all the while questioning whether we know what we’re doing. A recent conversation offered some much-needed reassurance.

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The Recommended Post-Adoption Screening Tests

Post-Arrival Medical Evaluations

Your guide to identifying medical problems common to internationally adopted children.

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How we answer questions about our racially ambiguous child

Raising a Racially Ambiguous Child

We asked our reader panel: Have you ever been asked to explain your child's ethnic identity? How do you respond?

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My Mixed Feelings as An Adoptee Giving Birth

Motherhood? Me? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

Having children was something that other people did. But giving birth has given me a sense of connection I never felt before.

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Our Birth Mother Search in Guatemala

“Looking for Answers in Guatemala”

When it came to locating our daughter's birth mother in Guatemala, we didn't know where to begin. But we knew that we had to try.

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Our Adoption Trip to Meet Our Son's Foster Mother

“Visiting Our Son’s Birth Country: The Land of Contrasts”

"Make the trip, you won't be sorry." Our journey to our son's birth country—and to visit his foster mother—was an exhilarating experience.

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Two girls playing together and discussing racism at Pact Camp

Race Matters at Pact Camp

A summer heritage camp that's all about helping transracial families.

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Cover of Finding Miracles

Book Review: Finding Miracles

This story of a teen adopted from Latin America tackles questions of identity, race, birth culture, and more.

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can-african-american-children-wear-clothing-with-watermelons

“Can Black Children Wear Watermelons?”

Many symbols commonly found on children’s clothing connote racist stereotypes of black people. Knowing this, should transracial adoptive parents still dress their black children in onesies and shirts featuring monkeys, zebras, and watermelons?

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Learning About Ethnic Differences on Vacation

“Our Summer Vacation House Swap”

One summer, we traded our Hawaiian home for Berkeley, CA so our son could learn about more ethnic differences and similarities.

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