When you adopt a child of another race or culture, your entire family should commit to embracing the diversity. We strongly recommend that you weave topics of race, ethnicity, and culture into your family discussions. This creates an atmosphere of honesty and acceptance, empowering your child to build and develop their identity.
But living as a multicultural family is a journey, not a destination. It takes effort and practice to build the network and skills you and your family need.
Consider these five suggestions as you strive to embrace your multicultural family.
- Diversify your home. Encourage each member of your family to collect items that represent their interests and their backgrounds. This might include music, movies, books, toys, artwork, or clothing. If you’re adopting a young child, take it upon yourself to assemble items representing your child.
- Seek education. No parent learns everything they need to know overnight. Commit to learning from others who have adopted transracially. Here are a few resources we strongly recommend:
- Books: In Their Own Voices by Rita Simon and Rhonda Roorda; Growing up Black in White by Kevin D. Hofmann
- Documentary: Adopted (2008) Point Made Films
- Webinar: Becoming a Multicultural or Transracial Family by Creating a Family
- Website: Pact, an Adoption Alliance
- Participate in everyday cultural activities. Share in your child’s cultural identity often – not just on special occasions. Learn to speak your child’s first language. Prepare their favorite meals together or visit ethnic restaurants. Participate in culture celebrations, travel, or visit museums.
- Build relationships that model diversity. Intentionally involve individuals in your child’s life who model shared values and look like your child. These might include family friends, neighbors, church members, teachers, and doctors.
- Develop skills to respond to racism. Think about who may consciously or unconsciously demonstrate racism toward your child. Prepare your child from a young age on how they can respond to those individuals, including extended family members, classmates, and teachers. Here are a few resources to help you start this conversation.
- Podcast: Seeing White by Scene on Radio
- Websites: Raising Race Conscious Children and Project Implicit
- Story: In our House, We Talk about Race
Contact your local branch or call the Post-Adoption Contact Center at 866-309-7328.