Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What Would You Have Asked?

An interesting question was posted in one of the support groups I belong to on Facebook. One of the birthmoms asked a question directed towards birthmoms who placed an interracial child. She was wondering what, if any, questions we asked of the adoptive parents in regards to our child's ethnicity. She also asked what we would say if given the chance, and what any expectant moms who are placing plan to ask the hopeful adoptive parents. The answers ranged from "will you accept a child that belongs to a race other than yours?" to "will you honor our child's heritage/national holidays?".

As you may already know, my daughter is biracial. I never really thought twice about who we were placing her with (when it came to skin color or ethnicity). I just wanted a stable, loving, two-parent home for her. Her birthdad, however, had one request: that she be raised by a mixed race couple. He didn't care if her adoptive mom was Caucasian and her adoptive dad was African-American or the other way around - he just wanted her to have one parent of  "each." He felt this would help her to be able to identify with both sides of who she was, and I agreed (to a point). He also wanted her to look like them, which never really even crossed my mind. It was promised to me from the very beginning that she would always know she was adopted and would always know who we were to her, so her 'blending in' with them was never really an issue for me.

It got me to thinking...I never really asked her adoptive parents about this. They met her birthdad and I before she was born, so they were aware of the fact that she would be a mixed race baby.  I suppose I always assumed, since they were black and white, that had they been able to conceive a biological child, he/she would be as well. So they should have no problem, right?

Looking back, I wish I had asked some questions. At least, I feel as if I should have had questions to ask. I still can't really think of any, though. These days it is just as common to be a mixed-race child as it is to only take claim to one race. It's not like the 'old days,' where you had to choose one and identify with it.
Birthmoms of mixed race children - did you ask any specific questions of your child's adoptive parents, or did you have any criteria you wanted them to meet when it came to honoring your child's race? Adoptive parents, did you have any "preference" when it came to adopting? I know the majority of adoptive parents want a child to love and cherish whether that child is white or purple, but I'm just curious. If so, would you mind sharing the reason? And lastly, to any adoptees who may be reading - if you were adopted by parents of a race different from yours, how did you feel growing up in a culture that may have been different than that of your peers who you shared an ethnicity with? Or was it something you never thought twice about?


  1. Good post. Just today I had a conversation with an adoptive mom about her children. The oldest is Chinese. When they were considering a second adoption, they didn't feel right about having a domestic adoption so that they would all look like each other except for him. So they went to India for their second born.

    I guess this isn't really related but it made me think of it. :)

  2. i wish more white moms of biracial children would consider interracial couples more seriosly than just looking at white couples. Race is an issue in America and just becuase you were raised by White people solely does it mean all White couples could do well by a Biracial child. Some can do an outstanding job but not all . Your child will live the world differently as child of color. That should at least be considered as one of things to question when picking a family. Love is not enough. And why not look at Black couples. If you can't see a Black couple raising a biracil child, then you shouldn't consider a white couple either. You need the mix or a biracial adult looking to adopt.

  3. Anonymous - I agree with you completely re: if an expectant mom will consider a white couple, why not consider a black couple? Good point!

  4. "Adoptive parents, did you have any "preference" when it came to adopting"

    I am an adoptive mom of Indian origin raising native american/Caucasian twins. I found this post interesting as my views pre and post adoption have changed so much. When starting the adoption process, knowing we were not likely to find children of our ethnicity in the US, we were open to biracial/Hispanic children. The way our children found us is nothing short of miraculous and now three years into being a mother in a transracial adoption, I find myself wondering what my children are going to feel years from now. At home we raise them Hindu and are vegetarian. The dominant culture where we live is white with lots of asian influences. There is no native american influences near where we live. I have to reach out and figure out ways to incorporate and keep their birth heritage alive.

    Sometimes I feel no amount of preparation can help in these situations. We just have to keep an open mind and remember that the birth heritage is as important as the heritage in which the children are being raised in.

  5. We are the adoptive parents of two black and white children. When we adopted our son, we were open to pretty much any race. We were forced to list preferences on the application and indicated Caucasian and African American. When we adopted a second time, it was important to us and to our son that he have a sister who was "brown" like him. We specified that our daughter be part or all African American.

    Our race wasn't a big deal to our son's birthmom (fwiw, she's 1/4 black, 3/4 white). Our daughter's birthmom (1/2 black, 1/2 white) specifically liked that we already had a brown son.

    We've been learning a lot about transracial adoption, race, and what's important to current adult adoptees.

    Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of parents of color seeking to adopt via private domestic adoption. I do think that expectant parents should ask prospective adoptive parents about their thoughts on race and raising children of a different race.

  6. When we were beginning our adoption process, our agency asked us if we had racial "preferences" which we did not. Because of that, they offered trainings and groups for families that are transracial. This group, which we went to during our waiting process, was terrific. Not only was it a place for AA kids to see other families that looked like theirs (all were white parents with AA or biracial kids) but also was a place where adoptive parents were educated about preserving cultural identity etc. For example, three or four of the families had adopted from Ethiopia, so once a month they went to a local (and very authentic) Ethiopian restaurant with all the kids. Our son, who is nine months old, is Caucasian. However, we don't regret that we went to the group/trainings. We still learned so many things about tolerance and our language that will help us raise our son. Plus there is a high probability that his siblings will be of a different race. The one thing you said, though, about the majority of parents will adopt a child black white or purple? That's what made me so sad when hearing about the list at our agency and others. Our agency alone, in a suburb of a major city had this list during our wait: 22 families on the Caucasian waiting list, 20 families waiting to "get onto the Caucasian list" (which they cap at 22) and only 9 families on our list, which were the families that specified no racial preferences. I wish overall, white families would be more open. That SHOCKED me when I heard those numbers. It didn't seem right to us to check boxes "yes" or "no." Now, I think it is good that they ask- you would not want a minority child raised in a family that was uncomfortable with it, because that would be disastrous. I just wish more families would become educated, and open their hearts...great post, thanks for sharing.

  7. In my humble opinion.I find it to be important to bring up teach,exspose a adoptive child to their ethnic origin.If negro for example get the sickle cell anemia test at a young age.each ethnic group has its own health and or dermatology problems.At the very least do this.culturally I personally would like to offer as much info about there origin as possible.we should not be ignorant from where we come from.Knowledge of ones heritage should not be denied for a well rounded upbringing.We live in a world of many cultures andsub-cultures. to self aware of ones own is paramount