transracial adoption-why not be color blind
Why shouldn’t transracial adoptive parents be color-blind. Why draw attention to differences?

This week on the show we talked about transracial adoption with an adult transracial adoptee. We received the following question.

Why is it not OK to take the color blind approach [with transracial adoption]? It seems like this would be the best attitude for someone who is adopting a child of a different race. After all we are all the same under the skin, so why draw attention to differences.

I was so thankful we received this question because I know of a lot of parents think that the best way to raise a child in an interracial adoption is to ignore the differences and focus on the love. After all, love is what it’s about, isn’t it?

Well, love ain’t nothing, and as a group of young adult transracial adoptees said — it’s a great place to start, but transracial adoption requires more from us parents.

Why Not be Color-Blind in Transracial Adoption

I loved our guest on this week’s show–Rhonda Roorda, author of In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption, and an adult transracial adoptee. Roorda understands the desire for adoptive parents to want their tranracially adopted kids to not feel different, but she says, that is not the reality. Children of color being raised in white homes are connected to a story and that story needs to be understood by the parents and an understanding of how we love and care for these kids.

Whether we want to believe it or not race matters.

Color-blindness says:

  • The child who called you “poop” on the playground didn’t mean anything by it.
  • We don’t need to worry about how to care for your hair. It’s cute just like it is.
  • You don’t need to over-react to being called the “N” word in high school because jerks will be jerks.
  • We’ll just not draw attention to Grandpa’s favoritism of his white grandkids because after all that’s just the way he is.

Color blindness leaves our kids on their own to navigate the very real racism that still exists in the US. Color-blindness is abdicating our parental responsibilities.

What is Needed in  Adoption

Transracial adoptive parents must be willing to provide the extras:

  • Extra love
  • Extra care
  • Extra advocacy
  • Extra relationship building with adult of our child’s race

Do yourself a favor and listen to this show and buy In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption.


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Image credit: cheriejoyful