Ask AF: Celebrating Heritage

Most advice on transracial adoption centers on white parents with children of color. What should non-white parents raising a white child do to help their child understand the topic of race?

Q: We recently adopted our 20-month-old daughter from the foster care system. She is Caucasian and we are African-American. All the resources for adopting children transracially seem to focus on Caucasian parents raising children of color. How should we celebrate our child’s heritage? How should we talk about race with her?

 

A: As a newly formed family, you now share each other’s cultural/ethnic heritage. Although your daughter’s race is Caucasian, she has an ethnic heritage that should be explored, along with your own. Food and music are fun and simple to explore with a very young child.

At 20 months, expect your daughter’s observations and comments about differences in skin color and hair color to begin soon. Responding calmly and matter-of-factly to early remarks will set the tone of your conversations about race in the future. Discussing racial issues on a daily basis normalizes the topic and assures your daughter that race is not a taboo subject, but is one of many things that she can discuss with her parents.


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