By Taylor Szczepaniuk | Urban Agenda
I will never be able to thank my parents enough for loving me unconditionally, for making me love my home, and for accepting me for who I am.
I am a black, 17-year-old girl who was adopted by loving white parents when I was a baby.
Many people don’t understand the term “transracial adoption.” Transracial adoption is taking a child into your home that is a different race than the adoptive parents.
In 1998, an estimated 15 percent of 36,000 adoptions were transracial or transcultural, according to adoption.com. But that number is going up.
Jacqueline Wilson, chief executive officer of Three Rivers Adoption Council, Downtown, said she advises adults adopting a child of a different race to recognize and embrace their child’s culture.
She tells them to find ways to respect other cultures and races. This looks different for every family, she said, but it’s important to make their child feel comfortable
Wilson said she did a study a couple of years ago, and she talked to black foster children about the possibility of being adopted by parents of a difference race.
Wilson said that the children had a few things that would make that sound better to them. For example, the children told Wilson that they would want to go to a racially mixed, or a culturally diverse church.
Wilson also said that it’s good for both the parents and the children to be open-minded about cultural differences between the kids and the parents.
Carly, 20, a black woman who was adopted by a white family as a child, had a lot to say about that.
“Honestly, I think that there is nothing wrong with transracial adoptions,” she said. “It might be a little confusing while we are growing up, but it just goes to show that skin color isn’t necessarily important.”
More transracial adoptions could help decrease racial tensions, she said.
“Yes I do think it would help. It might get people to see that it’s not about the outside but the inside,” she said.
I know what she means. Some people take adoption to be a joke. When I was younger, kids would always make fun of me and judge me for being different.
Many kids have told me that I was given up for adoption because “my real family didn’t want me.”
I’d always blame my adoptive parents. I never thought people outside my family knew anything about adoption.
For me, at times, it felt like it was the end of the world. I didn’t know very many other people going through what I was going through.
I talked to Wilson about my personal experience of being adopted. I told her that my adoption was also transracial.
My own adoption taught me a lot about who I was, to love myself no matter what other people thought.
It taught me that not everyone is educated, and that I was special, not weird. After meeting a couple of other people who were adopted, I realized that I was lucky.
I hope that all kids who are transracially adopted will accept being different. I hope that they will embrace the difference in culture instead of running from it.