Transracial Adoption

This is to be used as a self-assessment for a transracial parent’s or applicant’s capacity and ability to meet the following unique identity needs of children who live with a family of a race or culture other than his/her own. In addition to the qualities necessary to enhance the normal development of any child in placement, these needs are:

+ To live in an environment that provides the child an opportunity to participate in positive experiences with their culture, religion, and language.
+ For association with same race adult and peer role models and relationships on an ongoing basis.
+ For environmental experiences that teach survival, problem solving, and coping skills which give the child a sense of racial and ethnic pride.
+ A parent who can understand and relate to the child’s life and daily relationship to racial and cultural differences and who can respond to those experiences with acceptance, understanding, and empathy.
+ For a parent who accepts and can help the child accept the child’s racial and cultural ancestry and can comfortably share knowledge and information about the child’s racial and cultural ancestry with the child.
+ For the child to have adults around them who understand what it feels like for the child to look different from their parent.
+ To have a parent that has knowledge of special dietary, skin, hair, and health care needs.

Capabilities of Persons Who Parent Cross-Racially/Culturally
+ To meet the identity needs of children who live with a family of a race or culture other than their own, it is desirable that persons who parent these children possess the following capabilities:
+ An understanding of their own sense of personal history and how that helped form their values and attitudes about racial. cultural, and religious similarities and differences.
+ An understanding of racism and whose life experiences have given you an understanding of how racism works and how to minimize its effects.
+ Life experiences and personal history which have given you the capacity or ability to parent cross-racially/culturally. Commitment to and capability of demonstrating empathy with the child’s family of origin regardless of the socioeconomic and lifestyle differences between you and the child’s family.
+ Capacity and commitment to provide the child with positive racial and cultural experiences and information and knowledge of their race and culture.
+ Capability of preparing the child for active participation in or return to the child’s racial and cultural community.
+ Adequate support of those significant to you in your decision to parent cross racially/culturally.
+ Residence in a community that provides the child with same race adult and peer role models and relationships on an ongoing basis.
+ Tolerance and ability to deal appropriately with the questions, ambiguity, or disapproval which arise when people assume that the child is the applicant’s birth child.
+ Willingness to incorporate participation in cross-racial/ cultural activities into their lifestyle and participate in race/cultural awareness training.
+ Acknowledgement that interracial/intercultural parenting makes their family an interracial/intercultural family, which will have an impact on all family members, and that a decision to adopt interracially will make the family interracial forever.
+ Acknowledgement and preparedness to deal positively and effectively with the reality that as an interracial family you will experience discrimination similar to other minority families.
+ The skills, the capacity, interest, and commitment to learn parenting skills necessary to parent children to understand and accept their race and racial identity and to work to change the feelings of children who deny their racial identity.
+ Skills, the capacity, and interest to learn the skills to meet the child’s special dietary skin, hair, and health care needs.
+ Appreciation of the child’s uniqueness, and at the same time, helps the child have a sense of belonging and full family membership. (MN DHS. Reprinted with permission.)

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