Finding Toys That Represent Your Adopted Child

Books and toys are a great way to expose your children to different cultures.

Julia K. Porter September 10, 2018
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*Pictured above: My daughter with her Super Beauty Doll*

When we adopted our daughter, we loved her so much. It was hard to realize that when we came out of the baby fog, there was a reality that our family wouldn’t be accepted by everyone. Though we can’t control what others think of us, we can be proactive and help to ensure that our daughter is represented in our house. The first step I took was to do some research (I can’t recommend Rhonda Roorda’s book, In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption enough!) and find items that would ensure that though her parents may not look like her, we have other things in the house that do. 

Talk Honestly About Adoption

First and foremost, you can have all of the toys that you want in your house, but without honest dialog, they won’t make as big of an impact. “I think the best thing we can do for the adoption community moving forward especially the kids is to talk openly and honestly about adoption and the fact they are adopted the minute they are in your arms—no matter how old they are,” explains Becky Fawcett, Founder and President of Helpusadopt.org. “With my kids I have taught them that our differences and uniqueness as human beings are what make us interesting individuals and that is a powerful tool to learn at a young age.” 

Find Toys and Books that Represent your Kid (and your Family!)

We are lucky to live in an age where there are a lot of books and toys that represent our kids. We are fans of Scholastic books, which have diverse characters, but we have had a lot of luck finding books that my daughter can relate to. (My Hair Is a Garden and I Am Enough are two of her favorites right now!) Though I know dolls aren’t everyone’s thing, they are my daughter’s thing. Barbie and American Girl have a lot of dolls with varying skin shades (Barbie even has dolls with different hair and body types, hair, etc). 

Look for Toys that Build Confidence

I was excited to find the super beauty doll—a voice of assurance of the greater power that lies within for children. Created by TiffanyJ, this was inspired by the girls she was serving. “I experienced depression for about 20 years of my life, and it’s my hope that those behind me don’t have to travel that road,” she says. TiffanyJ knows that children who are adopted are often placed with families that don’t look like them. “Whether these differences are race, skin tone, facial features, accent, or traditions, the Super Beauty doll stands up confidently.”

Overall, it’s important to expose your children to different cultures—and books and toys are a great way to do that. Listen to them and their needs as well!

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Julia K. Porter

Julia K. Porter is an educator, writer, and cultural competency consultant. She began her career as a high school English teacher in Brooklyn, NY, and has taught college courses since 2008 and has done nonprofit work. Currently, she is the project manager for Celebrating Cultural uniqueness at Tiffin University. Julia has a passion for diversity and in educating about the nuances of adoption as that is how she chose to grow her family. Julia holds a Ph.D. in Global Leadership from Indiana Tech, an MA in English Literature from Brooklyn College, and a BS in English Education from Indiana University/Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI). Her personal interests include reading, writing, traveling and experiencing new cultures, and knitting. She lives in Indiana with her husband, Kyle, daughter, Brooklyn, and Australian Shepherd, Hunter. For more information, visit www.juliakayporter.com.


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