1. Love your kids with your whole heart. Love may not be everything, but it is a great step in the right direction.
2. Let your children know that you are always open to talking about adoption and race by bringing these topics up periodically. Look for opportunities in your everyday life where race or genetics or adoption comes up naturally.
3. Every so often, check in with your child to see what they are experiencing with adoption and with transracial adoption. Don’t assume they will tell you on their own even if you are receptive to the conversation.
4. It is easier if you adopt more than one child of color. Having someone else in the family of your race makes life easier.
5. Hang out with other mixed race families. Your children need to see that there are other families that look like theirs. It is all the better if some of these families are also adoptive families.
6. Especially for girls, seek out ways to show them that beautiful women come in all colors. Be aware of the media bias towards Caucasian beauty.
7. Read books to and with your children with black characters and with characters that have been adopted transracially. Books of African, Haitian, etc. folktales are a good idea as well. Our partner, Creating a Family has this list of the Best of the Best Transracial Adoption Books2.
8. Baby dolls of your child’s race are a good idea. At the very least it shows that you cared enough to try.
9. Living in a diverse neighborhood does not solve all the racial problems. Your family will still stand out, but it may make it easier to find black role models and friends.
10. Don’t pretend:
- that differences don’t exist.
- that race doesn’t matter.
- that everything is OK.
If you are interested in learning more on the topic, check out Seven Tasks for Parents: Developing Positive Racial Identity3 by our partner at NACAC.
1 Creating a Family Radio show: https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/panel-young-adult-transracial-adoptees/
2 Best of the Best Transracial Adoption Books: https://creatingafamily.org/adoption/adoptionsuggestedbooks/books-kids-transracial-black/
3 Seven Tasks for Parents: Developing Positive Racial Identity: https://www.nacac.org/resource/seven-tasks-for-parents/