Children adopted into families with different racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds than their own have unique experiences with forming their racial and cultural identities. In the past, the prevailing advice for parents who adopted children of a race or culture different from theirs was to love and raise them from a “colorblind” perspective.
On August 26, 2020, the agency Spaulding for Children hosted a webinar on Transracial Adoption and the Black Lives Matter Movement with three panelists who shared their experiences of being adopted into households of different racial and cultural backgrounds. As the panelists explained, a “colorblind” approach fails to recognize the importance a child’s race and culture has on their identity and everyday experiences. When parents ignore their child’s racial and cultural origins, the journey to a healthy identity can be confusing, lonely and even traumatic.
The panelists offered some concrete steps adoptive parents can take:
- Educate yourself on your child’s racial and cultural background and potential experiences by reading books, listening to podcasts, studying history and more.
- Integrate and celebrate your child’s cultural and racial background in your home and daily lives. Consider buying toys and books, listening to music and watching movies that reflect your child’s heritage.
- Find and connect with a local community that shares your child’s heritage and experiences, including being adopted into a diverse family.
- Have conversations with your child early on about their interactions and experiences surrounding race and discrimination.