As a transracial adoptive family, finding racial mirrors for your child and ensuring he or she is in a diverse environment becomes part of your job as a parent. Finding mentors, selecting schools, activities, and childcare are all areas where transracial adoptive parents should take note of the demographics and try to ensure their child is not the only person of his or her race in that environment. Ensuring your child is in a supportive, diverse environment is also a factor when deciding where you and your family should live.
Depending on where you are located, there may be parts of your town that are more diverse than others. When you are considering the best place to raise your transracial family, this should be taken into consideration. Many adoptive parents continue to live in a neighborhood where their child is the only child of color, which can be difficult for the child as they form their self-identity. Unfortunately in some instances, it can also be a safety concern. Neighbors not familiar with your child might think your child is trespassing or somehow “shouldn’t be there” because he is of a different race than the rest of the neighborhood. With recent stories of people of color having the cops called while they were in their own yard or entering their own home, it’s not too reactionary to think this could be an issue for a non-white child living in a fully white neighborhood.
The other side of the coin is the concept of gentrification. This happens when people of a higher socioeconomic status start to settle in a neighborhood that was traditionally a working-class neighborhood. As real estate prices continue to climb, and cities become more congested, gentrification is a real issue in many areas of the country. The new residents cause new businesses to arrive in the neighborhood, pushing out businesses that were there previously. Gentrification also means that rent and property prices in that neighborhood climb as it begins to be seen as more “desirable,” pushing out long-time residents who can no longer afford to live there.
So how do you find a balance between finding diversity and avoiding being a gentrifier, not to mention all the other factors that are part of deciding where to live including affordability, proximity to school and work, and family and friends? The answer isn’t particularly simple and will require you to do some research and put some careful thought into whether or not your family should relocate, and where to. One way to get a good sense of where might be a good place for your family is to seek out input from other local transracial adoptive families. If you are considering relocating, try to find a realtor who is a person of color or who does business frequently in more diverse neighborhoods. You may even need to consider moving to an entirely different town or even a different area of the country if you are trying to avoid having your child be the sole member of her race in your community. Above all, be prepared, no matter where you settle, to have to continue to both seek out racial mirrors for your child as well as advocate for him or her.
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