Adoptions are a big choice for any family to make, and can really change the trajectory of many lives. The process of adoption doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does require some serious thought and planning for the family, especially if the adoption is transracial. If you adopt a child of a different race than your own, there may be some questions you have about what that means for your family.
What is a transracial adoption?
A transracial adoption is just simply when the parent(s) are a different race than the child. This happens for many reasons; race is not always a factor in adoptions, and in the United States, the “melting pot” ideology often means that there are many people who look different to adopt from, and less insistence on adopting a child who looks similar to the adoptive parents.
Many adoptive parents are looking for other qualities–like location, age, or health, and race may not be a factor. Or, in other cases, the family is deliberate about the race of the child they want to take into their home. Either way, it’s a decision that the adoptive family makes, and one that really ought to be left to them alone. However, as with many things, you will always find those who comment and ask prying questions regardless of whether or not it affects them.
What are some questions you can expect?
Many people assume that families would want to adopt children that look like them, and this stereotype can lead to many awkward, rude, or insensitive questions. For example, people may look at a non-Caucasian child with white parents and assume that the child was adopted from overseas, rather than from within the United States. While this could be true, and the child was born abroad, it’s also possible that the child was born down the street from the adoptive parents.
Though it’s really not anyone’s business, it’s likely that you will get this question. It’s probably best to state where the child was born, keeping the information minimal. You can use these questions as teachable moments, too–if you feel up to it, explain to the question-asker that people adopt for a variety of different reasons and with different key factors.
It’s very likely that people will constantly assume that you are not the child’s parent. Many will automatically assume that you are a babysitter, nanny, coach, friend’s parent, or other peripheral relation to the child. Depending on the situation, different policies could be used. In a doctor’s office, you may need to show your insurance card, in many other situations, you can just briefly explain. You are the parent of the child, regardless of what others may think or say. While it’s frustrating and difficult to constantly have to explain things that are personal and intimate, try and use it as a teachable moment to help fight the stereotype, and as always, be an advocate for your child.