Growing Up Black in White Family: Transracial Adoptees Speak
You’ve heard me say over and over that the true expert on adoption are adopted people. So who better to give today’s parents raising transracially adopted kids a view into their child’s experience than adoptees in their early to mid 20’s. They are old enough to have processed some of their experience, but not too old to have forgotten the feelings, and they have lived in a similar time in our country’s racial evolution. They are in many ways the perfect guides for today’s transracial adoptive parents.
We gathered a panel of young adult black adoptees (domestic and international, male and female, adopted as infants and toddlers) to share their experience with growing up brown in a white family, racism, and standing out in the crowd. Some of what they said surprised me, and much of what they said reassured me. If you are a transracial adoptive parent and you can only listen to one Creating a Family show this year, make it this one. I simply can’t recommend it enough.
“It’s Kind of Cool”
I was impressed with the ability of our panelist to see the whole of transracial adoption?the disadvantages and the advantages. Yes, they had the hassle of standing out and having to explain their story, but for the most part they didn’t see this as a big deal.
One panelist said she went through a period in her teens where she didn’t feel like she fit into either the white world or black world. She wasn’t white, but she wasn’t black enough to fit into the black world. She chose to attend an all black college, which made her differences stand out all the more. But at some point in college and in her early 20’s she concluded that she “didn’t have to fit into anyone’s box”. She could be “plenty black” and still be who she was. “I can listen to John Mayer, and still be black.”
Another panelist had a different take – he always felt like he fit into both the white and black world.
“It’s kind of cool, actually.