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Monday, January 20, 2014

Round Table: Adoptee Voices in Transracial Adoption Discussions

Image: "Silencio" by Araguim, Creative Commons

Last week, Angela Tucker was invited and then un-invited to speak on an NPR show about transracial adoption. As evidenced by this experience (and many others), conversations about transracial adoption are becoming more visible, but adoptees are not always included in the discussion. Based on your opinion and/or experience, why do you think that is? What is the most important thing you want people to know about transracial adoption?

Angela: Omitting the voices of adoptees of color and only asking white adoptive parents to recount their experiences of transracial adoption is a subtlety of structural racism. People of color are subconsciously still thought by the white majority not to have as much worth, value or credibility. Obviously there are historical truths to this end. It's ironic because so many transracial adoptive parents are working so diligently to teach their children about racism, to teach their children about their heritage and culture, they are hopeful that their children grow up to be "successful," confident individuals yet they are reinforcing the racism and undermining their own parenting by not allowing them to speak. One aspect of empowerment in parenting comes from allowing children to speak their minds.

Rosita: Indeed, Angela. Adoption loyalty is playing out here. It exists alongside racism and paralyzes the children. Adoptive parents may feel everything is fine when the fact is their child is struggling with race and also trying to "protect" their parents. If they only knew.

I feel the reason we are not included in the discussion is basic fear. Fear of hurt. Fear of failure. Fear of criticism. But all those things, in my mind are internal. I am not here to tell parents what they are doing wrong or right. How can I do that? I am a parent of two, a preteen and a teenager. I am by no means an expert on parenting them. Parenting is a journey that never ends. I miss my deceased, adoptive mother for the sole fact that I cannot compare my mothering to hers and laugh over coffee about our foibles. What I can do is relay my experience and hope that some parent or child will feel comforted that they are not alone.