The placement process can be long, arduous, overwhelming, and confusing. You’ll work with many, many people as you progress toward finalization. There will be many issues to sort through as you work with adoption professionals—one of which may be the issue of race.

Race can be a very controversial and painful topic for some. Discussions about race and adoption can become very heated and angry. However, if you feel you need to address the issue of race during the placement process, it is important that you do so respectfully. While there are many right ways to address the issue of race, there are many wrong ways as well. It is crucial to always be considerate of others.

While sorting through the many prospective adoptive couples, you will see couples from varying backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and heritages. This is the time to address the issue of race with the adoption professionals with whom you’re working. You may have a racial preference when it comes to who will raise your child—whether that is a couple of the same race as your child or of a different heritage. While continuing through the placement process, and while discussing and addressing the issue of race, here are some things to keep in mind:

Explanation: It may be easier to explain your stance on the issue of race rather than letting the adoption professionals with whom you’re working guess your intentions. Because this can be a sensitive subject, clarifying usually helps limit misunderstandings and misconceptions. Would you prefer adoptive parents whose race is the same as your child’s in order to limit race confusion as your child ages? Would you prefer adoptive parents who are of a different heritage, so that your child will have a deeper appreciation for all cultures and heritages? Is it because one race is more familiar to you than another?

Be Considerate and Aware: Be considerate and aware of how the discussion of race can become heated, hurtful, and angry. Being aware of potential offenses before you begin the placement process can help diminish accidental hurt feelings. If you go into the situation aware of the possibilities, it will help you to abate confrontation and can help you calm a negative situation before it escalates too far.

Be Prepared: Sometimes what you want isn’t immediately available. Remember, there is always a possibility that your specifications for adoptive parents may not be met. If you’re prepared in knowing that your ideal may not become reality, it may not be seen as such a setback.

Reevaluate: If your ideal situation isn’t possible during your timeframe, it may be time to reevaluate your needs and wants in regards to potential adoptive parents. While you’re reevaluating the situation, make sure you keep your needs and your child’s needs in mind.

The issue of race is one that can cause contention, arguments, and misunderstandings. Tread the issue lightly until you can evaluate the feelings of others. Respect and kindness should always accompany any discussion of race or heritage.