Last Updated 28 Mar 2021

Transracial Adoption

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Transracial adoption is that white parents will not be able to give a black child a cultural identity and survival skills in a racially diverse society. “Adoption, defined as the legal act of taking a child into a family and raising the child as its own (Vianna, 1981). ” Black children need to learn coping mechanisms to function in a society where racism is prevalent. Black families are capable of teaching these mechanisms in everyday life without having to seek out special projects or activities.

They live their lives in a white-dominated society, and their children learn by daily interactions. Even when white adoptive families actively seek out interactions and activities with black families, they put an emphasis on the differences within their family. Cultural support can be especially difficult to give if there is limited understanding of the cultural differences of family members. White couples are ill equipped in their understanding of African American culture to adequately prepare a child for life in an ethnic group other than that of the adoptive parents.

Despite their best intentions, whites cannot fully understand life from a minority perspective. Over time, there has been a decline in the availability of white children to adopt. Adoption agencies cater to white middle-class prospective adoptive parents, and, because white children are not as available, the agencies try to persuade these families to adopt black children. The harm will come to transracial adoptees because of the obviousness of the adoption and the constant reminder of being adopted may be interpreted positively.

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A child who is of a different race will learn sooner that he or she is adopted, and being forced to recognize this will make the adoption easier to talk about, thus making for a more open relationship with the parents. It has been suggested that there are direct benefits to the child in learning early about the adoption. They include a greater openness about the adoption, a positive self-identification with the adoptive status as well as racial identity, and recognition that there is no shared biology between the parents and child.

Because the adopted child knows that he or she was wanted by the family, there is also recognition that race is not a factor in how much the child will be loved. This visible reminder that the child was chosen to be a part of the family can help to increase the child's self-esteem. The visible differences can also help to remind the child that he or she does not share biology with the parents. Simon and Alstein (1977) found that young black children, 3 to 8 years of age, saw themselves as black and did not attach any negative evaluation of themselves to their racial asked again to whom they would go if they needed help. ” The results showed that the adopted children would still turn to their parents or siblings for help. The study's overall findings provided strong evidence that white parents are capable of raising children of another race to have high self-esteem, positive identities, and close family ties.

There are several issues that families must consider before committing to transracial adoption. The most important thing to consider is the potential parents' own racial views. Another thing to consider is that the family will be in the minority after transracially adopting. The concern may be how the parent and other members of the family will deal with opinions expressed by those outside of the family. Prospective parents could think about adopting siblings so that each child will have a familiar face to help with the transition.

Ignoring differences can cause hurt and resentment. Because race and culture are so closely linked, to be colorblind to someone's race is to ignore his or her culture. Children have a right to learn about their culture so that they can pass it down to the next generation. In conclusion, transracial adoption is not only a black and white issue; children are also adopted from foreign countries. Places like Korean are popular when families decide to adopt, because the high birth rates and poor economic conditions in these places mean that there are often children readily available.

There is not as much debate about the adoption of these children as there is over black children being adopted by white families, because adoption is seen as helping these children. The idea of saving a child is an idea that supporters of transracial adoption believe can happen right here in the United States by decreasing the numbers of children of all races awaiting placement with a permanent family.


  1. Shireman, J. F. ([995). Adoptions by Single Parents. In Single parent Families: Diversity, Myths and Realities (ed. Hanson). New York: Haworth Press, Inc.
  2. Simon, R. J. (1974). An assessment of racial awareness, preference, and self identity among white and adopted non-white children. Social Problems. 22. 43-57.
  3. Simon, R. J.. & Alstein, H. (1977). Transracial adoption. New York: Wiley.
  4. Simon, R. J. , & Alstein. H. (1987). Transracial adoptees and their families. New York: Praeger Publishers.
  5. Simon, R. J. & Alstein, H. ( 1991). Intercountry adoption. New York: Praeger Publishers.
  6. Vianna, F. M. (Ed). (1981). Tile American heritage desk dictionary. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Transracial Adoption essay

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