Life in a Conspicuous Family Formed Through Transracial Adoption


When you adopt a child of another race, your family’s adoptive status will be writ large—and you will be sure to receive a fair share of looks, nosy questions, and comments. Experts, adoptive parents, and transracial adoptees share advice and stories about life in a conspicuous adoptive family.

Parents who adopted transracially share how they explain questions and comments from strangers about adoption to their children.

Parent-to-Parent: Explaining Attention and Questions from Strangers

Parent-to-Parent: Explaining Attention and Questions from Strangers

When you and your child don't look alike, the world wants to know why. Parents who adopted transracially share how they explain strangers' questions and comments to their children.

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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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A woman uncovers her prospective neighbor's racial prejudice

When Shady Neighbors Come to Call

When new neighbors were looking at the house for sale next door, this mom of a biracial child worried they wouldn't be friendly, until race came up.

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A chalk drawing of a brain filled with question marks

“How I Deal with Nosy Questions”

Our daughter is not a public exhibit. She deserves to be protected from questions that undermine the legitimacy of our family.

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One father's decision on adopting transracially.

“My Decision to Adopt Transracially”

I thought. I researched. I talked. But in the end, it took a leap of faith to adopt across racial lines.

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Racial Bias

News Brief: For Some Parents, International Adoption Decision Reflects Racial Bias

A new study by the University of Vermont concluded that race plays a role for some parents who adopt internationally rather than domestically. Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with 41 mostly white parents who had, collectively, adopted 33 children of various ethnic and racial backgrounds from 10 different countries, as well as the United States.

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.

Teaching Racial Awareness to Children

To the White Parents of My Black Son’s Friends

But here’s the thing—as much as we can try to protect him and teach him to protect himself, there may come a time when your child will be involved. As the parents of the white friend of my black son, I need you to be talking to your child about racism.

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transracial adoption

Should We Adopt Transracially?

For many prospective adoptive parents, "the choice" of where and how to adopt is the most difficult part. Answers to three common questions when deciding if transracial adoption is right for your family.

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adoption story

“Choosing Not to Share My Children’s Adoption Story”

May I take my children to the grocery store or the library without announcing where they came from, or my own history? I think, yes.

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raising a child of a different race

“Looking Different, Dressing Alike”

When we stepped into the next parking lot, she took my hand again. “It’s good we’re wearing our shoes,” she said. “We match. That way, people know we belong together.”

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conspicuous family

“Being Noticed as a Transracial Family”

For once, the barista at Starbucks didn’t recognize me. He shouldn’t. I’m there only about once a month. The thing is, he remembers me. Well, not me so much as us. This is one of those things that come with being the white mother of a black child. Comments, questions, stares—those I expected. The strange experience of just being visible—not so much. I didn’t realize how invisible I was until I wasn’t anymore.

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Grace, and the photograph that started it all

“The Refrigerator Picture”

When I dressed up my daughter and took a portrait, was I just showing off my cute kid — or perpetuating stereotypes?

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