Transracial adoption is the process of placing a child of one race in a family of a different race. It can be controversial on all sides. There are many who believe that a child should be raised in the traditions and teachings of his or her ethnic culture. While a family that does not share that genealogy may try, some believe it is impossible to emulate another culture.
The history of transracial adoption in the United States can be traced to the end of slavery. At that time, a large number of African American children were displaced. They were moved into group homes that were mostly run by individuals of European descent. As time moved on, more and more minority children were removed from their homes while those in the majority were not. This caused a great many more minority children to be placed in foster care and and adoptive homes.
In the late 20th century, international adoption became more common. Children may be adopted from countries throughout the world. Most international adoptees come from China, Russia, South Korea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Colombia and Ukraine. The increase in international adoption, as well as the placement of minority children, has, to an extent, normalized transracial adoption.
The idea of race itself is relatively new. It wasn’t until the 17th century that the term began to apply to the idea of physical characteristics. Prior to that point, race generally referred to individuals who shared a common language rather than a common skin tone. Even the term “ethnicity” can be loaded. Ethnicity generally refers to those who share a common background, but more explicitly refers to those who have been raised within the same culture.
The amount of controversy surrounding all aspects of race, ethnicity and transracial adoptions is enough to make some people shy away from the very notion of discussing these matters. However, the need for families to provide loving homes to children who so desperately need them will never change. This is why it is very important for adoptive parents to understand why transracial adoption is sometimes combated. Adoptive parents should take those concerns seriously and find ways to overcome them.
The most obvious answer to managing the trials of transracial adoption is to pursue an open adoption. Allowing the child to have a relationship with the birth mother can help him or her connect with their biological heritage. Likewise, if the birth mother has a very different religion, background or language, it might be wise for the adoptive parents to learn as much as they can about her identity so that it might be passed on to their own child.
In the end, whether the open adoption is transracial or not, it is most important that the parents provide a loving, safe and warm environment for the child. As long as the child is loved and supported, his or her future will be bright.