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.

Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Encouraging a Cohesive Racial and Cultural Identity

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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Two girls play while their parents tell transracial adoption stories

Share Your Story: Transracial Parenting

We asked readers what tips, resources, experiences they had to say about transracial parenting. Here, we share their responses.

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Teenagers developing empathy by volunteering together

Building Your Child’s Sense of Self-Worth

Families that expand their worlds to incorporate all kinds of cultures help their children develop strong racial identities.

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in a family that's built through open adoption and step-relatives, more love is more love

Three Stories: Unexpected Birth Family Reunions

Today, as more and more adoptees reach adulthood, they are finding birth relatives-or are being found by them. Whether a child is from the U.S., Guatemala, Russia, or China, she may one day be in touch with her first family. These stories, each detailing an unexpected family reunion, may well reflect the complexity of what is ahead.

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International adoption questions to ask

How Will We Teach Our Child About Her Culture?

Even after twenty years, adoptive families are still grappling with some of the same issues and questions about raising their children in an interracial family.

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A group of teens who may encounter insensitive comments about adoption

“Is That Your Family?”

By now, you and your teen have established a firm family bond. But outsiders may not see it that way.

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a transracially adopted teen heading into school with friends

“On Choosing, or Changing, Schools”

As I weighed diversity, academics, and other factors when choosing schools for my transracially adopted children, I perpetually second-guessed myself. But now that my kids are teens, I’m ready to trust their decisions.

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