Share Your Story: Adopting a Child of a Different Race

We asked readers to tell us about their experiences with transracial adoption. This is what they shared.

Our Transracial Adoption Experience

"We have had a beautiful outpouring of love from the African-American community when were out with our daughter. To anyone thinking about crossing the racial border, I would say, 'Do it, but realize that there might be issues down the road around the fact that your family doesn't match.'"
Angie Connolly; Chesapeake, Virginia

"My daughter was adopted from Ethiopia. We live in a diverse area, and I think its important for her to have significant relationships with people who look like her. Almost all of my daughters day care teachers are African-American, and at least half of the children at the center are African-American too."
—Samantha Zellinger; Durham, North Carolina

"My partner and our adopted daughter are African-American, and I am not. I have found that other kids ask the most straightforward questions about why my daughter and I don't look alike. I always lovingly answer them by saying, 'Because she didn't grow in my tummy. She grew in my heart.'"
—Shelli Aderman; New York, New York

"Our daughter is three years old, and our biggest issue has to do with her hair. We're always getting comments about it (some positive, some negative, and some ignorant); and many people—especially kids—try to touch it. We have to assume that people do not mean to be thoughtless or hurtful, but we do need to gently explain that our daughter's hair is a very personal and important aspect of our lives."
—Amy Wooldridge; Spokane, Washington

"We've had to deal with institutional racism and the lack of strong community members of color. We have responded by being our children's loudest advocates at school and extracurricular activities, and by seeking out and sustaining diverse connections in our community. Whether it's driving an extra 15 minutes to go to our African-American barber, or connecting with other families of color, we believe that we are establishing an influential network that we hope will continue to flourish in the years to come."
Carie Ruggiano; Greenfield, Massachusetts

"Our family is transracial, complex, but oh so wonderful! We believe in taking a proactive approach to encouraging and normalizing our children's perception of who we are as a family, and who they are as individuals. We shop at stores that attract a multiracial population, and we use doctors with multiracial practices. The children attend a diverse school. We make periodic trips to an African-American Lutheran church, rather than only attend our primarily white Lutheran church. We fill our house with books about African-Americans and art that depicts the beauty of people of all skin colors and races. This year, our family has even been asked to demonstrate the principle of Nia at our local African-American Kwanzaa celebration."
Jessica Becker Beamer; Farmington, Michigan

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