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 black adoptee raised by white adoptive parents

“On Becoming African American”

“On Becoming African American”

Raised in a white community, I've just begun to embrace my heritage.

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A parent talks about race with his transracially adopted child

When Your Child is of a Different Race

If you build a positive self-image for your child, he'll be able to thrive in a world that is not always fair.

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Celebrating birth culture is important in transracial adoption

“Do Fan Dances and Tea Ceremonies Really Teach Us Anything?”

The museum view of culture and heritage ignores the realities of life as a racial minority. But there is a middle ground.

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A family with African American children

“Teaching My Children That Black Is Beautiful”

I tell my African-American children that they are smart and beautiful because I know that the world may tell them otherwise.

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Register for the webinar "Parenting Advice from a Transracial Adoptee" on 5/19/16

Webinar Replay: Growing Up as a Transracial Adoptee

View the replay of this webinar with Deborah H. Johnson—on growing up as a transracial adoptee and what parents today need to know about talking about race and adoption, finding role models for their children, dealing with teasing, and more.

Melissa and Maya Ludtke at the Xiaxi market in 2004, the trip that inspired Touching Home in China

Two Adoptees on Going “Home” to China, Again

After a birth country visit to China that was too much, too soon for my seven-year-old daughter, she and a friend returned on their own terms as teens. The trip helped them imagine what their lives might have been and explore their Chinese-American identities.

An adopted child contemplating another life, like the child in Saving the Dream

[Book Review] Saving the Dream

A reader reviews Saving the Dream, a novel that explores the "What if?" questions that plague many families.

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Tasia and Frank, her role model of the same race

“My Daughter’s Loving, Supportive Role Model”

I don't always know how our racial differences affect my daughter. But I know that having a role model of the same race has been a blessing for her — and for me.

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The author's daughter, Tess, swimming with a friend at her yearly India Camp

“Finding Tess”

India Camp gives our daughter a chance to be around kids just like her. Along the way, she's discovered her true self.

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racial bullying

When Kids Face Racism at School

Racial bullying is especially harmful. Here are some strategies to help your child cope and respond to racial teasing.

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An adoptee visiting the Taj Mahal on her return to India

“Journey to Calcutta”

Despite my parents' urging, I had always rejected my Indian identity. At 21, I learned to embrace it.

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A mother doing cornrow styles in her daughter's hair

“Learning to Care for My Daughters’ Hair”

I felt frustrated, thinking I'd never learn how to cornrow. Now, I show others how to care for tight, curly hair.

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