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.

Talking About Racism with Your Child: 5 Tips

5 Ways to Talk with Your Child About Racism

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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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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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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author Rebekah Hutson, a transracial adoptee, with her mother, sister, and niece

“5 Things I Wish My White Parents Knew”

Transracial adoptees often grow up knowing that their families love them, but not truly feeling included or close to them. Here’s what would have helped in raising a black child in a white family and a racist world.

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An African-American girls plays with two dolls that reflect her race

Dolls and Toys for Our Families

We asked readers, “Have you found any dolls or other toys that reflect your child’s race and/or birth culture that you would specifically recommend?” Here are the top picks.

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A woman in the grocery store explains racism for black children to her son

“Teaching My Son to Protect Himself in a Racist World”

As parents, we live in constant tension: How thoroughly should we prepare our kids for the ugliness that exists in the world? For my son's safety, I can't afford to be vague when it comes to racism.

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