Since the tragic killing of George Floyd, the call for racial justice and an end to systemic racism has made U.S. headlines on a daily basis. For those who work in adoption, however, talking about racism and racial trauma has long been essential to their work.

At JF&CS Adoption Resources, many of the prospective parents we work with are open to adopting a child outside of their own race. “Transracial adoption is something we talk about during the home study process,” explained Betsy Hochberg, director of Adoption Resources. “A social worker will explore the concept with prospective parents and discuss the unique challenges and responsibilities that transracial adoption can bring.”

As couples prepare to adopt, Adoption Resources offers educational materials and workshops that address the complex reality of transracial adoption. “We want to support parents as they learn and think deeply about these issues,” said Betsy.

Virtual Workshop with Angela Tucker

Adoption Resources recently hosted a virtual workshop titled “Can You Support or Participate in Transracial Adoption AND Fight Racial Injustice?” The workshop was led by Angela Tucker, an internationally-recognized adoption educator who is also a Black transracial adoptee. “We were so fortunate to partner with Angela for this event,” said Deb Shrier, associate director of Adoption Resources. “She is an expert at facilitating insightful conversations about difficult subjects.”

Angela spoke about how the voices of transracial adoptees are often overlooked in white-dominated spaces. Drawing upon her own experience and research, Angela educated attendees about common issues related to transracial adoption, shared strategies for responding to adoption-specific micro-aggressions, and led a discussion on how to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment for adoptees.

Eighty-five couples participated in the Adoption Resources workshop on Zoom. Approximately half of the attendees were pre-adoptive parents, and the other half were already parenting a child of a race other than their own. All of the parents who attended shared an interest in learning how they could handle tough questions and support and advocate for their children.

“I appreciated Angela’s honesty and the way she addressed issues about racial conflict within a transracial family,” said one of the parents who attended the workshop. “Hearing it from her, although it was difficult, helped me to understand some of the challenges my child might encounter growing up as a Black son of a white mother.”

Ongoing Education

Participation in transracial adoption requires a lifetime commitment to learning, growing, and advocating for social change. The Adoption Resources team continues to consult with colleagues in the adoption community and other experts to increase their knowledge of adoption and race.

“Many of our families are looking for anti-racism resources right now,” said Deb. “We have been recommending books, articles, and videos that share the lived experiences of Black people and transracial adoptees. Centering these voices is key as we work to change society and ourselves.”

Learn more about Adoption Resources.

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