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Transracial Adoption

transracial.jpgWe hope this section provides a variety of professional and lay opinions and viewpoints on the issues related to adopting children outside of one's race.

About Transracial Adoption
Primer on transracial adoption in America.

Transracial and Transcultural Adoptions
This federal government fact sheet for families includes invaluable advice for parenting, including sections like: How You Can Help Your Child To Become a Stable, Happy, Healthy Individual With a Strong Sense of Racial or Cultural Identity and advice like:

  • Celebrate all cultures;
  • Talk about race and culture;
  • Expose your child to a variety of experiences so that he or she develops physical and intellectual skills that build self-esteem; and
  • Take your child to places where most of the people present are from his or her race or ethnic group.

The Parenting Dilemmas Of Transracial Adoption
Excerpt: "Social workers used to tell parents, 'You just raise your child as though you gave birth to her,' " Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, tells NPR's Neal Conan. "An extreme majority of transracially adopted kids ... grew up wishing they were white or thinking they were white, not wanting to look in mirrors."

Project Race National advocates for multiracial children, teens, adults and families.

Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America - or or
From this homepage choose the option "Multiracial and Adopted Asians" from the menu.  This will lead you to an excellent introductory essay on multiracial and adopted Asian issues, which includes two sets of statistics, one on multiracial Asians on the basis of the 2000 Census and the other on adoptees from Asian countries since 1989.  The essay (revised and published in this EMME issue) is complemented with a list of books and related websites as well as a review of a video entitled Precious Cargo.  

Interracial Families   

In this essay published as part of Adopting Resources, the author, who adopted children transracially, shares racial prejudice she has encountered in relation to her children and discusses some of the struggles that transracial adoptees may face.  However, she argues that these children tend to resolve their identity issues better because they are forced to deal with them from early on. This interesting essay provides some clever ideas as to how both parents and adopted children may handle criticism, odd remarks, and prejudice from people of all sorts.  This site also discusses specific support groups for interracial families and psychological studies that stand in favor of transracial adoptions and its impact on adopted children.

Interracial  Voice   

This site publishes editorials on mixed race and interracial issues.  The racial discourse of society is critically examined in some of the editorials.  Two examples of excellent editorials may be found in Supporting Multiracial and Multiethnic Children and Their Families by Francis Wardle and American Mixed Race:The U.S. 2000 Census and Related Issues by Naomi Zack.  

Tangled Roots 
Focusing on the shared history and heritage of African and Irish Americans, the website includes the results from a four-year research project conducted by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Abolition, Resistance and Slavery at Yale University.  Interviews with African-Americans, Irish-Americans, and biracial African-Irish-Americans reveal their profound understanding of commonalities between these two groups--African-American and Irish--as victims of discrimination in this country.  Yet, a clear gap separates these groups in their understanding of the social positioning of their group in the contemporary context.  The rich narrations of biracial interviewees have great relevance to the theme of this EMME issue.  Their racial identity as Black, despite their biracial heritage, poignantly illustrates the social force of confining people to mutually exclusive racial categories. An instructional idea based on this site is included in this issue.

The Tragic Mulatto Myth 
This excellent literary critique demystifies the "tragic mulatto" myth prevailing in the 20th century literature and films of African Americans. Beginning with the literary character of a light-skinned mulatto woman created in Lydia Maria Child's two short stories--"The Quadroons" (1842) and "Slavery's Pleasant Homes" (1843)--the author of this critique introduces many more literary pieces and films with a similar character who struggles with her biracial identity, tries to pass as White by abandoning her Black connection,  is rejected by Whites, and tragically ends an unhappy life.  Although this stereotypic image of biracial people is rampant, the author provides ample counter examplesof individuals who led a fulfilled life by embracing their biraciality.  The essay is published in the website of the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia which provides many intriguing images of "racist objects" as a way to educate the public about the horror of the Jim Crow Law.

Who Is Black? One Nation's Definition son/mixed/onedrop.html                                                   

This informative essay, published in conjunction with Frontline's video, Jefferson's Blood (reviewed in this issue), is written by F. James Davids, a retired Sociology professor from Illinois State University.  It would be especially helpful for those teaching black history, social studies, multiculturalism, and political science. Incorporating the long experience of slavery along with Jim Crow segregation, Davis clearly explains many rules (i.e., the "hypo-descent" rule) used to determine who is Black. Students can also benefit from clear definitions of race, culture, and ethnicity provided in this essay.