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The Adoptive Parent’s Responsibility when Parenting a Child of a Different Race

Adoption Advocate No. 146

The decision to become a parent brings one of life’s greatest joys and carries with it a whole host of commitments and responsibilities to provide for the many needs children have: from the basics like food, shelter, and clothing to healthcare, education, and much more. In choosing to pursue the privilege of growing one’s family through adoption, adoptive parents are committing themselves to the responsibility of understanding and addressing the issues and needs specific to adoption, which can include loss, grief, identity formation, maintaining birth family connections, accessing health history information, and more. There is even more added responsibility in addressing the issues, privileges, and challenges that arise when adopting a child of a different race.

In these situations, adoptive parents have the obligation to develop and build a family and wider community that promotes a strong and enriched racial identity, that understands and responds to racism, and that proactively and age-appropriately prepares, educates, and protects their child from racial inequality, racial discrimination, and all other forms of racism. These adoptive parents must not only work through the challenge of raising a child in a society where racism exists – but they also have the privilege and responsibility of learning, promoting, and participating in the child’s racial heritage, and grafting that heritage into the family.