Transracial or Transcultural Adoption: Talking About Adoption Within a Minority Family
Race is one of those "forbidden" topics, much like death or sex. We know it's there, but we feel uncomfortable talking about it. One person of color noted, "Race is the first thing noticed, and the last thing talked about."
Many families who adopt children of a different race or ethnicity struggle to find ways to help their kids develop a positive racial identity. Parents who may have only observed racism and discrimination now find themselves a "minority family" and must learn to deal with those issues themselves. Even more important, through effective communication about racial and cultural issues, they can help their children cope with unfairness, stereotyping, and discrimination. This chapter offers practical insights and describes tools needed by families as they face this unique adoptive experience.
Race and culture are not synonyms. Race, on the one hand, refers to physical characteristics which are, of course, genetically transmitted. Culture, on the other hand, is created by people and is transmitted through socialization or learning. "Culture is a system of values, beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and standards of behavior that govern the organization of people into social groups and regulate both group and individual behavior." 1 Culture helps assure the survival of both the group and its members.
Transracial placement refers to the placement of children of one race