Transracial Adoption: Parenting 12 to 18 Year Olds

Parenting children tweens and teen requires a different approach than parenting preschool and school aged children. Nowhere is this more true than when parenting transracially adopted kids. It helps to think about these differences when our children are young. Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support organization, interviews: Beth Hall, founder and director of Pact and Adoption Alliance, co-author of Inside Transracial Adoption, and a mom to two transracially adopted young adults; and Judy Miller, an adoption educator and support specialist, author of the email course Parenting Your Adopted Child: Tweens, Teens & Beyond, and mom of four through birth and adoption.

Hit the Highlights
  • Adoptive parents spend a lot of time before adoption thinking about a lot of the early issues— attachment, becoming a conspicuous family, etc., but often don’t think beyond the very young years. So much of parenting occurs from ages 10 to 20.
  • What racial issues come up in adolescence?
  • How can white parents help black male teens learn to walk in the world as a black teen and then a black man?
  • Tweens and teens are often trying to figure out where they belong—to what group do they belong. How does this play out differently for transracially adopted adolescents?
  • Do you see racial stereotypes differ from male to female, race to race?
  • How to handle the fetishizing of some men and young men toward Asian teens and women?
  • Something that is often not spoken of is that especially for boys of Asian and even Latino race, the ideal for American men and teen is tall and often Asian men are not as tall.
  • Model minority stereotype for Asian adoptees.
  • What adoption related issues come up in the teen and tween years? Abandonment. Rejection.
  • The differences between genetics and environmental influences. How can we help our teens understand that they are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of their birth parents.

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Image Credit: Vancouver Public Library

Show originally aired in 2012.