What’s a transracial adoption agency?
A transracial adoption, or an interracial adoption, describes an adoption situation in which a child is adopted by a family of a different race. This is a practice that has become more common as time has progressed, whether parents decide to grow their families through domestic or international adoption.
A transracial adoption agency, then, can actually refer to many different types of adoption agencies, all with one thing in common — their expertise and experience in handling transracial adoptions. A transracial adoption agency may come in any of the following forms:
- A private domestic adoption agency: specializes in the placement of infants born in the United States with adoptive families
- An international adoption agency: specializes in the placement of children of all ages who were born in foreign countries with families in the United States
- A foster care adoption agency: a state-based adoption agency that specializes in facilitating adoptions from the respective state’s foster care system
- A special needs adoption agency: specializes in placing children (born both in the United States and elsewhere) with adoptive families
Whether you’re looking specifically for African American adoption agencies or Native American adoption agencies, you’ll want to make sure any adoption professional you speak with is well-versed in that area of adoption. (This is especially important for Native American adoption agencies, as they will be required to act in accordance with the Indian Child Welfare Act.) Agencies should be able to give you access to counseling and education about biracial adoption as well as provide information about how frequently they handle similar adoptions. With an African American adoption agency in particular, ask about their experience with helping a black family adopt a white child as well as a white family adopting a black baby.
What services does a transracial adoption agency offer?
A transracial adoption agency should offer all of the same services as any other adoption agency. These include:
- Access to an experienced attorney to help you complete the legal aspects of the adoption process
- Matching services to help you connect with a child who is eligible for adoption or a pregnant woman considering adoption
- Screening services to ensure that all parties are committed to adoption in an effort to reduce adoption disruptions
- Financial protection to keep any money you’ve invested in an adoption opportunity safe in the event that something should cause an adoption disruption
- Counseling and education to make sure all parties—birth mother included—understand their rights and exactly what will happen in an adoption
In addition to these services, biracial adoption agencies should also be prepared to provide counseling specific to your transracial adoption. For example, if you are a white family hoping to adopt a black baby, your agency should have tips for talking to your child about race and helping them to understand their heritage. No professional should ever tell you to ignore your racial differences, or to pretend as if racism simply doesn’t exist. It does, and it will be your responsibility to prepare your child for that. (Considering Adoption has excellent advice in this area here.)
What are the pros and cons of transracial adoption?
Before pursuing any form of adoption, it’s helpful to consider the pros and cons. For families considering transracial adoption, the benefits are the same as with any type of adoption:
- Providing a child a home with a family who is financially and emotionally ready for them and who may be more prepared to provide for opportunities such as college
- The opportunity to experience the joys of parenthood
- Giving a child a safe, stable home where there’s never any question that they’re loved and a top priority
While the benefits far outweigh the challenges associated with transracial adoption, that doesn’t mean that no obstacles exist. Some you may encounter are:
- Inappropriate remarks from those around you — some intentionally and some accidentally
- No diversity in your communities, which could mean your child wouldn’t have friends or role models from his or her own culture
- A general lack of experience with your child’s culture, which could translate to being difficult to learn and therefore difficult to pass on to him or her
- Difficulties with understanding how to take care of your child’s skin or hair, particularly if you are a white couple adopting a black baby
Who adopts through a transracial adoption agency?
Families who pursue transracial adoption recognize that families grow in different ways, and that love is love. They aren’t concerned with their child looking like them — which probably wouldn’t happen in an adoption anyway. Regardless of the differences in culture and heritage, families who pursue transracial adoption are willing to face all potential challenges in order to love and protect their children.
Examples of Transracial Adoption Agencies
Many adoption agencies help to complete transracial adoptions. Here’s a list to get you started in your quest to find the right one for your family: