Many of us, while waiting to become parents, have given thought to what type of parents we’ll be. An upside to infertility is the time to prepare and observe so that we can consider all sorts of important issues, from discipline to sleep training to schooling. However, have those of you considering transracially adopting realized that transracial adoptive parenting requires its own kind of preparation? Love alone is not enough. Here are some things you can do now to prepare to adopt transracially.
Look at your friends.
Will your child be your first friend of that ethnicity, or do you have a diverse group of true friends? You know, not people you say hello to in passing, but people you interact with regularly. If you don’t have these friends, then look at broadening your social circle. And don’t do it just so you can say you can check the box – make genuine friendships. Assess where you live. How diverse is it? White people tend to overestimate the diversity in their town, so go look up actual data. Will your child have many racial mirrors in their class at school? At church? On their sports teams? If not, should you consider moving?
Do research on your future child’s culture.
Think about how you can create opportunities to keep them connect to it. Are there local festivals? Restaurants? Nearby towns with more opportunities for racial mirrors? For example, maybe your town doesn’t have a significant Latino population, but the next town over does; you could sign your child up for sports through that town instead.
Find media and groups.
Read books about transracial adoption issues or look to local groups for educational opportunities. If there is a local transracial adoption group, you may be able attend their events and learn from the families about the issues their children have faced in your community as well as what types of opportunities your community has to offer (like who the popular barbers are).
Meet with other adults in the culture.
Find ways to connect with transracially adopted adults in the adoption triad! They will teach you the most! There are multiple groups on Facebook where you can do this. But remember: these adults are here to help your children, not to make you feel good. You may hear hard truths, and things that make you feel defensive or uncomfortable. Sit and digest this instead of pushing back. You will be better prepared to be a transracial adoptive parent for it!
Those of you who were transracially adopted, are there preparations I’ve missed? Sound off in the comments!