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 woman embraces three children on a heritage travel trip to India

Journeys of Discovery

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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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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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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