Talking About Race and Honoring Birth Culture in Transracial Adoption


When your child joins your family through transracial adoption, you must find ways to talk about racism, instill a positive racial identity, and honor her birth culture.

adopted from china

“I Can’t Give My Daughter China. I Can Only Give Her Chinatown.”

“I Can’t Give My Daughter China. I Can Only Give Her Chinatown.”

Jin Yu is seven now, and lately she's been telling me she wants to go and visit her nannies, the women who cared for her at the orphanage in China. Not so much for herself, she says, but for them. Because she is sure they must miss her and wonder how she's doing. I promise we will try to go. "They are going to be so surprised!" she tells me.

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group of adopted children of various races

Building Identity: “Who Can I Be?”

From workshops and playshops to heritage travel and adoptee camps — there are tons of way to teach your kid about their culture!

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Will our adopted children get swept up in the immigration debate?

“My Boys, ‘The Immigrants'”

When my Latino sons were babies, white people on the street couldn't stop cooing over them. Lately, things have changed.

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Well-maintained hair is important for the racial identity of an African American child

“Braiding Barbara’s Hair”

As the white mother of an African American daughter, I learned more than I ever could've imagined about hair.

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Ethiopian Heritage

“Honoring My Ethiopian Daughters’ Heritage”

My daughters have caramel brown skin, dark brown eyes, and tightly curled black hair. They are African by birth, American by citizenship, but have always self-identified as Habesha (the Amharic word for Ethiopian).

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Reflections on Raising Transracial Adoptees by Rhona Roorda

[Book Review] In Their Parents’ Voices: Reflections on Raising Transracial Adoptees

In this sequel to In Their Own Voices, by Rita J. Simon and Rhonda Roorda, we meet the parents of transracial adoptees, and hear firsthand what it was like raising children across racial and cultural lines.

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Cover of The English American by Alison Larkin

[Book Review] The English American

Alison Larkin's semi-autobiographical novel centers on an adoptee — raised in England, but born in America. Read the review, here.

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Cover of In Their Own Voices

[Book Review] In Their Own Voices

In this collection of candid interviews, adoptees shed light on the complex and controversial topic of transracial adoption by sharing their own experiences.

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A stack of books the celebrate diversity in multiracial families

Celebrating Diversity: Great Reads Featuring Multiracial Families

Children's books featuring kids and adults of diverse backgrounds and ethnicity serve two purposes: They show kids that families "come in all sizes and colors," and they are self-affirming for children of multiracial families. Here are some of our favorites, age by age.

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Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son Book Review

[Book Review] Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son

The questions that linger in the mind of most any adopted child are "Why?" "Why couldn't they keep me?" "Why did I have to leave the place where I was born?"

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Yellow Race in America Beyond Black and White

[Book Review] Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White

A review of a noteworthy book about the changing landscape of race relations in the United States, an important read for anyone parenting a child of Asian descent.

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Cover of Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?

[Book Review] Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?

"Donna Jackson Nakazawa's book offers advice from both parents of children with multiracial or transracial adoption backgrounds, and from the children themselves."

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Raising Nuestros Niños: Bringing Up Latino Children in a Bicultural World cover

[Book Review] Raising Nuestros Niños: Bringing Up Latino Children in a Bicultural World

Beth Hall reviews, Raising Nuestros Niños: Bringing Up Latino Children in a Bicultural World, a resource for parenting to preserve cultural traditions and values.

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Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge to Your Child's Beginnings

[Book Review] Adoption Lifebook: A Bridge To Your Child’s Beginnings

In this essential addition to the literature on adoption lifebooks, Cindy Probst provides a structured, child-centered approach to the task of writing down what happened in the earliest days of a child's life.

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Cover of Inside Transracial Adoption

[Book Review] Inside Transracial Adoption

Jana Wolff, part of a transracial family formed through adoption, reviews Inside Transracial Adoption, a comprehensive guide for families that don't match.

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Mommy Far, Mommy Near

[Book Review] Mommy Far, Mommy Near

Mommy Far, Mommy Near-An Adoption Story, by Carol Antoinette Peacock, is exceptional. I really loved the fact that the story is told by a child to other children-the book's readers.

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