How to help your adopted child stay connected with their culture in a transracial family
Many studies have discovered the importance of keeping transracially adopted children connected to their culture in order to instill a healthy racial identity. Giving a child opportunities to become more familiar and comfortable with their culture and history is something we encourage our adoptive families to be well educated on.
We know from our own experience raising children of a different race, that we did not just adopt our children, but their heritage and rich history as well. The family you choose for your baby will understand that they have the most impact on the way your child sees themselves. With adoption assistance they will learn how to maintain their confidence and individuality, as well as their history and culture. Adoptive parents will learn to lovingly shape the traits you passed on to your child and we are confident in their contribution to the person your child will become.
Stay Educated Through The Adoption Process
The first step for adoptive families to raise a child of another race is to learn about the culture for themselves first. The more an adoptive family researches literature, music, customs and the history of the child they are hoping to raise, the more they will be drawn to those people in an authentic way. We do not encourage families to be colorblind, but to love and celebrate all the shades they see. Knowing about a child’s culture will not only help an adoptive family understand their background better but it will help strengthen their bond as well. Once you make an adoption plan and your baby is placed in the home of the family you choose, there are many ways an adoptive family can keep him or her connected to their culture.
Maintaining a Cultural Connection
An adoptive child’s birth mother is the most obvious way to keep that connection strong. In an open adoption a birth mother can help her child learn about the culture she grew up in, even when she is not the one raising the child. She can send pictures and letters, have phone calls and talk about the many things she enjoys or even meet up in person. If you’ve chosen a closed adoption that is okay too. There are many ways adoptive parents can keep their adopted child connected to their roots.
For younger children, introducing them to their heritage can begin in books and movies. As parents surround a child with books of characters that resemble them, they will become more familiar with their origins and gain more confidence in the person they are.
As They Get Older
As the child grows there are many opportunities for families to celebrate and seek out others of the same ethnicity as their child. There are many local organizations and universities that hold events for families to join. There are also groups in each state that come together several times a year with people of their own race, and encourage adoptive families to bring their children. The family will grow to love and honor their child’s heritage in their own home and life.
One of the advantages of adoption for the family is that they will begin to see the world through your child’s eyes. The genetics and personality you passed on to your child will serve to lead them and their family to learn about the child’s own culture and history. They will want to be deliberate about travel destinations and visit more diverse locations. They may seek adoption assistance with other adoptive families and create playgroups where their child will have more familiar friends and faces to relate to.
Once a child feels comfortable and connected to their own culture, it’s important for parents to help them maintain that. We encourage families to allow their adopted children to express themselves and their culture as much as possible. This is who they are and if they are allowed to express that, it will only serve to strengthen the bond they have with their parents.
Expanding Their Hearts and Homes
As you seek adoption help for you and your baby, we hope you find comfort in knowing that the family you choose for your child will be fully qualified to offer not only their love and support, but also work to educate themselves on how to care for your child’s needs. At A Guardian Angel Adoptions, we love and celebrate the shades we see in our homes and in others. We want families to be prepared to recognize the value of their child’s differences and culture and be aware of the realities that living with a particular skin color in this world can mean. Love alone won’t be enough, but love will inspire parents to expand their hearts and homes to include the racial connections your child needs and their own identity and confidence will be strengthened in the process.