This is the second part of a longer post on transracial adoption. In Part I we talked about passing on culture in transracial adoptive families. In this post we will take a look at how your family’s interaction in your community as well as list some more resources to look at.
It’s harder to deal with response that a community might have to a transracial family. The stigma surrounding the adoption of a child of a different race (and adoption in general) has decreased in recent years. Unfortunately, there are still places in the United States where interracial families are made to feel unwelcome or even threatened.
Most often, families will overhear comments or notice glances when they are together in public. These aren’t necessarily negative reactions (though some certainly are)—racially blended families are still an uncommon sight in much of the world—but even positive comments can feel awkward at times. It’s hard for every single day to be a crusade for racial integration; sometimes you just want to go grocery shopping.
Some people launch criticism specifically at the adoptive parents: they assume that those who adopt children outside of their own race are doing so purely to appear socially progressive or to be controversial. Certainly, adopting a child for any reason other than because you love him or her is problematic, since it treats the child as a possession or a status symbol rather than as a person, but it’s hardly fair to assume that is always the case.
In the end, remember that you can’t control what other people think or say about you or your family; the best you can do is be prepared to confront adversity when you encounter it. In the case of those in a transracial family, it’s helpful to memorize a few replies/retorts to the inevitable questions or comments that will come. Parents might say something along the lines of “I love my child because of who he/she is, regardless of how he/she looks on the outside or how he/she came to me.”
Keep reminding yourself that your first concern needs to be the child’s well-being. Even if you feel that you as a parent are able to battle racism in your community, it’s worth considering whether it’s fair to ask a child to do so. Of course, life sometimes demands courageous action from us with or without our consent and those experiences can be a great positive influence on one’s life. It isn’t, however, necessarily best in every situation to go out looking for a fight. Ultimately it comes down to a prudential judgment about what is best for the child.
If you missed Part I, you can read it here.
There’s lots more information out there, but here are a few resources available online for transracial families that we found helpful: