Transracial adoption is becoming more common. While interracial adoptions can cross races in lots of ways (black parents adopting white children, Asian parents adopting black or white kids, etc.) we most often see white parents adopting children of color (black, Hispanic, Asian, etc.) Research has found that these children and families are thriving, but we also know that transracial parenting must be intentional parenting. One of those intentions upon which you should focus is to have people of your child’s race involved in your life and your child’s life.
To bottom-line it for you – your adopted child should not be the only person of her race or ethnicity in your life.
Rhonda Roorda, adult transracial adoptee and author of In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption1 says: “It is important that you have African American friends and acquaintances who share your socioeconomic background because they will offer your child of color familiar and comfortable role models; the results will be that your child will see that he can achieve good and noble things. If such role models simply are not available in your neighborhood, consider moving into a predominately black or multicultural neighborhood.”
Making friends outside of your race may not be as easy. It may feel awkward and even forced at times. So be it. Your child is worth it. There are easy ways to create tangible connections to your child’s racial/ethnic community.
6 Ways to Make Friends with Adults of Your Child’s Race
1. Find a pediatrician and/or dentist of your child’s race for your family.
2. Attend a church or other faith center that is predominantly of your child’s race. Don’t just attend — become active. Attend one of their Sunday School classes. Volunteer to serve and clean up at the church-wide meals. Help out at youth group. Participate as a family in the church’s community outreach events. In addition to making friends, the experience of being in the minority will give you insight to what your child experiences every day.
3. Frequent black, Asian, and other minority- owned businesses.
4. Make a point of noticing adults of your child’s race when you go about your everyday life. Strike up conversation, and if you have something in common go out of your way to form a friendship with those adults. Remember, all friendships take effort and time.
5. Rather than caring for your child’s hair yourself, even though you may be perfectly capable of doing so, take him to a hair stylist or barber of his race.
6. Roorba suggests that you find ways to “use your privileges to open doors of opportunity for people of color in your work place and elsewhere. Speak up against racial injustices that occur within your sphere of influence.” Talk about how you are doing that and why with your children.
If these 6 suggestions for creating connections with adults of your child’s race are intriguing to you and you’re interested in learning more about how to help your child develop a healthy racial identity, we suggest you read Seven Tasks for Parents: Developing Positive Racial Identity2. from our partners at NACAC3.
1 In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0231172214/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0231172214&linkCode=as2&tag=creaafami0b-20&linkId=MTDN7IAUWV5WEJ7C
2 Seven Tasks for Parents: Developing Positive Racial Identity: https://www.nacac.org/resource/seven-tasks-for-parents/
3 NACAC: http://www.nacac.org/