Transracial Adoption: Am I Choosing It For The Right Reasons?

There are a lot of reasons someone may choose to adopt transracially, but are they the right reasons?

Narda Emett August 28, 2016
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There are a lot of reasons someone may choose to adopt transracially, but are they the right reasons?

If you are planning to adopt a child who is a race other than your own for any of these reasons, you may want to think about it some more. These reasons, in and of themselves, are not enough:

pumpkin patchThe adoption agency offers a lower price for some races.

It’s hard to believe that in 2016, race-based pricing still exists. What is the worth of a child? Are white babies really more valuable than other races? Some argue it comes down to supply vs. demand. There is a higher demand for white babies, so the cost is higher. From an ethical standpoint, this is just wrong.

I won’t have to wait as long to adopt transracially.

Again supply vs. demand. Some say there are more minority babies available, making the wait for placement shorter than adopting a white baby. This alone is not a good reason to decide to adopt transracially.

I have always wanted an (Asian, Black, Indian, etc.) baby.

This could be a valid reason, but you still have more to consider. There are issues that arise in a transracial family. It may be fun toting around that cute baby of another race, but then that baby grows and becomes a teen. Some people apply typical stereotypes and you and your child will notice. Be prepared for some tough discussions.

When I fill out my child preference list, I feel guilty wanting a baby of my same race.

There is no shame in wanting a child of the same race. When you adopt transracially, you become the “poster family” for adoption. People stop you and ask about adoption. If you feel uncomfortable answering questions about adoption or race and would rather “blend in,” there is nothing wrong with you.

We pursued adoption. We wanted a family. We didn’t care what our children looked like. We felt that we would love any child of any race and we would be able to overcome the issues that may arise. We also felt that our adoption was in God’s hands and He would put in our path the children He wanted us to have. But we didn’t go into transracial adoption with our eyes closed. We talked about the issues that may arise. We attended classes and spoke with transracial adoptive families. If you are considering transracial adoption, here are some questions you may want to discuss prior to adopting a child who is of another race:

  • Will our children of color be accepted by other people of their race? Will they be accepted by people of our race? Are we willing to distance ourselves from those who will not accept them, even if they are family?
  • Are we comfortable and confident talking about adoption and race?
  • What will we do or say if we hear racist comments around or about our child?
  • How will our children of color feel about being raised by a family of a differing race?
  • Will our children of color feel caught between two worlds?
  • Can we teach our children of color how to be safe in a world that can be racist?

There have been times when our black children have wished to be white or wished to have black parents. This is natural. My oldest daughter wished she was black when we adopted our twins who were five years younger. She noticed they got more attention from strangers when we were out in public. Now that she and her sisters are older, she sees the stereotypes they face when in public and is starting to recognize her white privilege.

We love our children. Period. We have continued to learn about race and raising children in a transracial home. We are not perfect. We make mistakes. Our children are confident in who they are, they know they are loved, and home is always a safe place.

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Narda Emett

Narda Emett is a mother of six, four of whom were adopted. She has been part of the adoption community for over 16 years, serving on local and national boards for Families Supporting Adoption. She has adopted both domestically and internationally and is happy to be part of a transracial adoptive family. In her free time (does a mother of six ever have free time?), she likes to read and make amazing wedding cakes.


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