I often get asked the question if as a TRA myself, I think white people should adopt transracially. I answered that question in more detail in a previous article, but the short answer is yes, IF they are prepared to do so. The reality is, children of color are in low demand on the adoption scale. Everyone is looking for their blonde haired, blue eyed white baby, which are in such high demand, there aren't exactly tons of them available for adoption. Thus, odds are, if you're adopting, you're more than likely going to get a child of color. So do you adopt a child of color, with no knowledge of what you're doing and cause a lifetime of misery or do you pass? Personally, I'd rather you pass. But it does raise the question, what exactly does prepared mean? What do you as a white person, a potential adoptive parent need to know and do in order to be prepared to raise a child of color?
Well I've developed a checklist of sorts to help you figure out if you're truly prepared to raise a child of color.
Are You Colorblind?
Do you “see race”? Have you said something along the lines of “I don’t see race, I see people”, “we all bleed red”, “all lives matter”, “we all just human”? I discussed in previous article why being “colorblind” is a waste of everyone’s time, but the short version is that you cannot adopt a child of color and be colorblind. It doesn’t work. We’re not all the same color, we’re not all on an equal playing field. And if you have that “colorblind” mindset you’re ignoring the experiences, mistreatment and injustices that your adoptee is going to face. If you are not going to be the parent to put your life on the line like you would your biological kid, then please leave us alone.
Are You Willing to Move?
This is hard for many of you. A lot of you have your preferences, your likes and dislikes of the area you live. It may be perfect for you. White picket fence in the white suburbs, “good” schools etc. but is it right for people of color? 9/10 the “perfect” place for white people, is a death zone for people of color. As I have shared in other articles, we are not white. We are not viewed as white and we will never be white. While the white suburbs and white centered schools sound great to you, we are being called the n-word, bullied, beaten up and arrested for walking into our own houses. Are you willing to pick up and move if need be? I wrote an article on this topic that discusses in more detail figuring out if you should move or not. But if you read that title and immediately tensed up and got defense with even the thought of having to move, you’re not ready to be raising a child of color.
Are You Ready to Change Your Whole Family Dynamic?
Can you change your entire family culture, values, goals? You will no longer be a white family, you will be a multi-ethnic, multiracial family. You don’t get to just adopt a brown child and pretend like their white, think that we will blend right in. We don’t, and we shouldn’t be forced to. You need to be ready to adapt your entire family dynamic to be inclusive of the race and culture of the child you adopt. Incorporate their history, traditions, beliefs, values, experiences into your family. That doesn’t mean you have to completely give up yours, but you need to find a way to have both exist and normalize it.
Are You Ready to Work Your Ass Off to Educate Yourself
I always say that I don’t expect white parents to know everything about race and culture. You can’t. You’re white and you have never had the experience of living as a POCs. You can, however, learn and educate yourself on social issues and your own privilege. Are you ready to do that? Are you ready to be proactive in educating yourself? You have to realize that in POC families, we have fellow brown parents and family members to teach us how to survive in America as a person of color. To teach us about the injustices and prepare us for that kind of life. That is every parents job, to provide your kids with the tools needed to live life on their own. So if you adopt a person of color, that becomes YOUR job. You don’t get to ignore that aspect of parenting just because you don’t know what to do. You have homework, pick up some books, use the free services of google and get to work. Are you ready to do that? If not, then you already know what I’m going to tell you.
Are You Ready to Be a Parent AND an Ally?
Lastly, and most importantly, are you ready to be parent AND an ally? Are you ready to be on the front lines, fighting for your brown child? To lay down your life trying to protect them from the absolute terrors that we will face? Are you ready to show up to rallies? Protests? Get involved with your community to make change? You need to be. There is a war of people of color in America and your child will now be target simply for being born the “wrong” color. I would hope that any parent would be willing to do anything to protect their child from danger, well that shouldn’t change just because we are not white. The only difference is that our protection comes in a different form. It may not be physically jumping in front of bullet for us. But our protection is in the form of social change, are you ready to not only be a parent but to also become an ally fighting for your child’s rights? If you would rather not get involved and stay neutral, then you are not ready.
I hope you take these things into consideration before adopting a child of color. I stress that we are not better off being in a family who doesn’t really care about or value us as brown people. I’d much rather you leave us wherever we are at until a family who is willing to put in the work comes along. Suicide rates among adoptees is very high, and shudder to think about how many of those could have been avoided had parents been willing to put in work to actually acknowledge their struggles as people of color.