“Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does.
So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's
when you find out who you are." - Joss Whedon

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Glimpse into Our Trans-Racial Adoption Experience

This was posted on the Co-Chair Yahoo Group. I found it very insightful and asked Rebecca if I could share it with all of you. She speaks briefly about her perspective on their trans-racial adoption experience.

We have 3 children who are adopted- 2 boys and a girl. Our daughter is Caucasian/African American although most people think she is Samoan. Our second son is actually a biological half sibling with her but is full Caucasian. When people ask questions about “where we got her from?” they are very surprised and always say they would have guessed our two boys were biologically related not our 2nd son and daughter. Immediately after adopting our daughter we also began receiving a lot of attention in public. Except for occasional times, we enjoy discussing adoption and it is a very positive conversation. One of those times, a particular woman who wasn’t very sensitive in the way she asked questions got a reply that “Of course they were all mine, they just have different fathers.” :) At a very young age, about 3, our daughter began noticing that she “looked different than us.” She has been aware but OK with it. Now, in kindergarten, she is even more aware of it. I could chalk this up to being a mom that is extra sensitive about my baby girl starting school, but the first day of kindergarten she sat down at a table next to three blue-eyed blond-haired little girls and they not only totally ignored her but picked up their toys and moved away from her to another table. She was hurt but I just quickly moved her to another table with more racially mixed little girls and they have been great friends ever since.

We were always very conservative when it came to marking our acceptance of racial/ethnic backgrounds in our adoption paperwork, but when contacted about our daughter had no hesitation at all in saying yes. She is a joy and any “comments” or “issues” we face have been eye opening for us and strengthened the bonds of our eternal family. Overall, we have found it easier and more smooth than anticipated.

As for counsel, I would just suggest that couples be aware and prepared with responses for situations that are bound to occur so they can protect their children and reduce the potential negative affects. Also, be aware of special needs for them such as for their skin and hair. It took us a little while to become aware of that but we were comfortable talking to strangers to get answers. Also, try to find a few children who they feel are “like them” as friends.

Resources- People- Other adoptive families who have adopted trans-racially, as well as those that are the race of your child.

Adoption Story book- A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza

I hope this quick response is helpful. Feel free to contact us with any other questions.


Rebecca & Todd Harrison
Executive Co-Chairs, Oregon FSA Chapter

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