Transracially Adopted Children

In class earlier this week we discussed adoption and the effects it has on children, both positive and negative. However because of limited time we did not have the opportunity to focus specifically on transracially adopted children. There are some very serious impacts on emotional development of children who are adopted by parents of a different race. Some of the issues exclusive to these children are a feeling of disconnection from culture and family, likewise many children latter in adulthood face complications with their own sense of self.
A review of the book “ In search of Belonging: Reflections of Transracially Adopted people” (Barratt, 2007), gives a glimpse into the complications of tranracially adopted children later in adulthood through interviews. One women states,
I guess my mother’s only fault was thinking that my colour didn’t matter, that it is only skin deep. I’m not sure what world she lives in but it isn’t mine”.
This is a perfect window into the disconnection that transracially adopted children can feel with their adopted families. It is of vital importance that parents adopting children of a race that is not their own (especially if that race contains significant physical differences such as skin tone) that they allow that child experience individuals who look like them and share a familiar culture. Transracially adopted children, if possible, should be able to visit their birth countries and participate in their home culture in order to gain a sense of belonging. In the review one young man discusses the first time he visited Jamaica, his birth country, and met his birth mother and family. He explains how it was as if a “missing puzzle piece had been put in place”, the sense of belonging and comfort he felt around those who looked like him and associated with a shared culture was immeasurable. While this can also illicit a torn feeling between birth culture and adoptive culture at times leading to a perceived lack of acceptance by both, it is still of the utmost importance that these children receive this type of exposure.
Many transracially adopted children face short to very lengthy amounts of time in orphanages. While this has large impacts on all adopted children, it adds another layer to a pile of issues for transraciallly-adopted children. One man reflected,
My memories of being in the nursery are mainly of spending vast amounts of time on my own… only years later did I discover the full extent of what being neglected means.
It is clear from this that transracially adopted children need extensive efforts put forward by their adoptive parents with regard to attachment and developmental delay, perhaps much more than other adopted children. We need to gain an extensive understanding of the issues these children face and how to combat them so cultural identity is not a daily struggle.

Madelyn King

Barratt, S., 2007. Review of “In Search of Belonging: Reflections by Transracially Adopted People”. Journal of Family Therapy, Vol 29(3), pp. 295-297


~ by littlegoose08 on December 13, 2009.

One Response to “Transracially Adopted Children”

  1. I agree, if the country as a whole was less racist, it would not be an issue. America is a melting pot, yet people want to separate out all the ingredients in the stew…it doesnt make sense.
    Jennifer Poulos

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