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May 2022   |   Archive   |   National Adoption Month  

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Parenting in Racially and Culturally Diverse Families

Parenting an adopted child of a different race or culture can be a rewarding, yet challenging, experience for all involved. When bringing a child from a different racial or cultural background into the family, it is important to be prepared to live a new multiracial and multicultural way of life. This can sometimes require additional education and efforts before and even after the adoption takes place.

When preparing to adopt, parents should examine their own personal biases and prejudices in order to be able to understand and acknowledge differences in race and culture and create a home and family life that reflects a child's heritage and supports them as they develop their racial and cultural identity. It is important that parents assess their community to ensure that there are racial mirrors for their child and that diversity is the norm and is celebrated. By choosing where they live, the service providers they utilize, the school the children attend, and the churches or organizations they belong to, parents can enable their child’s racial and cultural membership. When children can see themselves reflected in a variety of people in a variety of roles, they develop a positive view of their identity.

"Interracial Adoption: Helping a Child Build a Healthy Sense of Racial Identity,"; from the Forever Families, Inc. website, provides adoptive parents with the following strategies for creating a multiracial and multicultural home life and helping their child develop a healthy racial identity:

  • Encourage and help children to find mentors and role models of the same background as them. There may be questions about race and identity that an adoptive parent cannot answer. Having someone they can go to for answers or just to talk can help children navigate racism and feelings of being different.
  • Make new connections with people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and explore resources within the community that will help you to expand your knowledge about diversity and inclusion. Join groups dedicated to social or racial justice or enroll your child in a diverse school.
  • Acknowledge racism and learn ways to talk to your child about how to cope with and respond to racism and microaggressions they may encounter.
  • Embrace new traditions and customs from your child’s race or culture to help them to learn to value and respect diversity and their own racial identity.

Understanding and acknowledging differences in race and culture and actively creating a home and family life that reflects a child's heritage are critical in helping them develop a strong sense of self and identity as well as resilience when having to deal with racism. Parents need to be intentional in planning for adopting a child with a different racial or cultural background and can use the resources below in their journey.


3 Resources on Parenting in Racially and Culturally Diverse Families

The Hierarchy of Racial and Cultural Needs of Transracial Adoptees and Fosterees"


By Wirta-Leiker
Raise the Future


Parenting in Racially and Culturally Diverse Adoptive Families


By Child Welfare
Information Gateway



Preparing Families for Transracial Adoption



By Franco, AdoptUSKids




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