Helping Children Develop a Positive Racial Identity After Transracial Adoption


When you adopt a child of a different race, you have a responsibility to help him or her understand race and racism. Adoption experts, adoptive parents, and transracial adoptees share their perspectives on developing a positive racial identity.

A phone call cemented a mother and daughter bond.

“This Is For Real”

“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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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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Talking About Racism with Your Child: 5 Tips

5 Ways to Talk with Your Child About Racism

Talking about racism makes most of us uncomfortable. Still, parents of transracially adopted children should resist the urge not to talk. Here's how.

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Teens Speak Out About Open Adoption

Teens Speak Out About Open Adoption

Three adolescents share their experiences with open adoption, and how they feel about their relationships with their birth family.

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A transracially adopted African-American teenager who feels supported and racially empowered

Empowering Children and Teens of Color Who Face Racism

White parents do not have the experience of feeling vulnerable or targeted based on race, so telling a transracially adopted child "I know how you feel" isn't right—but silence is also not the answer. Adoptees and experts discuss how parents should speak out and take action.

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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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A group of adoptive women connect over their struggle to meet American standards of beauty

Becoming My Own Beauty Role Model

"Growing up, makeup felt like a mask—a cover-up for my true inner self."

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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.”

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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