Transracial adoption is a hot topic within adoption circles and racial dialogues. Often, two sides quickly form—those in support of transracial adoption and those against. Both sides have the best interests of children at heart, but the conversation can quickly leave them behind as issues of culture, politics, and economics take center stage.
As a mother through transracial adoption, my thoughts on it are clear—I love my daughter and can’t imagine our family without her. However, in the two short years she’s been mine, my heart and mind have been on a journey of discovery; one that has broadened my understanding, compassion, and thoughts regarding race and our culture in America.
My latest adoption series on transracial adoption is for multi-racial families, those seeking a transracial adoption, or their family and friends. I want to empower and encourage all of those involved in transracial adoption to learn, explore, and engage in racial dialogue with compassionate and humble hearts.
If we want to love our children through adoption well, then we must celebrate and honor their birth histories and cultures as part of who they are.
Since this topic is broad, this series will be one that continues throughout the rest of the year. I know that a lot of the things I talk about might be difficult and challenging for some to read. That’s okay, sit in the awkwardness for a while, but be willing to take a step of faith and talk about it with someone else.
Also, please know that I am always learning and growing as well. My daughter is two and a half and I have only been on this journey for a short time. Sometimes it’s confusing and painful to ponder race, especially as a woman in the white majority. But it’s worth the pain because I am able to understand and engage with others in new ways; this discovery helps me to be a better mother to my daughter as well.
As we begin this journey together, here are a few resources that I hope you will check out. These have jump-started my discovery and exposed me to many foundational issues in this discussion.
Resources for Transracial Adoption Discovery and Learning
This book was eye-opening for me because it gave a glimpse into the experiences of non-white (particularly black) children throughout the stages of their lives. As the mother of a black girl, I am sure I will be returning to this book over and over to help me talk about race with her in ways that will encourage and empower her to have confidence in her identity.
Admittedly, I have not finished this one yet, but I am already loving it! Millner created this book by compiling the most helpful and popular blog posts from her parenting blog, My Brown Baby. This collection of essays addresses everything from birthing and raising little brown babies to teaching them about real beauty and achieving their dreams. My Brown Baby has been inspirational for me and highly influences the way I dream for my own brown baby.
Though not exclusively about race, Just Mercy offers a broader picture of the inequities that exist in the United States. I was fortunate enough to hear Stevenson speak in person this year; I was completely moved by his vision of hope and the compassion that he maintains in such a difficult field of work.
The Hate U Give is the fictional account of Starr, a teenage girl who witnesses the murder of her best friend at the hands of a police officer. I read this a month or two ago and it still lingers in my mind. I enjoyed this book because it tells the story from a perspective that many of those in the majority white culture never get to hear. Not only was it helpful from an ideological stand point, but I also loved it for the writing and the story itself.
Americanah is written by a Nigerian author about a Nigerian woman who travels to the U.S. for higher education. The story and the writing are excellent—I thoroughly enjoyed them. However, what makes Americanah great for learning is the observations of the culture of race in America from the perspective of a non-American. While reading, I often found myself saying, “Huh, I wonder if I say that? Do I do that?”
13TH is a Netflix documentary chronicling the history of mass criminalization and incarceration in America. This was extremely heartbreaking, and yet, I am so thankful that I was able to see our American history through a different lens. Some might not agree with this documentary but it is an important one in furthering conversations about race and inequality in America.
The African Americans is a DVD series created by PBS and hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. My husband and I learned many things from this series about African American history that we’d never heard before. We appreciated it so much that we purchased it to watch with our daughter when she gets older.
I hope these resources provide a starting place for you as you seek to learn more about transracial adoption. It’s an intense, but crucial, process in giving our children confident identities and helping them know their cultural heritage.
Where are you in the transracial adoption journey? Are you a friend, family member, or adoptive parent? Are there other resources you’d like to recommend? I’m always on the lookout for resources to help me in my parenting! Let me know in the comments below!