One of the paramount truths of transracial adoption is that racial mirrors are the key to an emotionally healthy child with strong self-esteem and racial identity.
There is absolutely nothing worse than keeping a child of color in racial isolation. Making your child integrate into these towns, churches, schools, as well as your family has been viewed by many adult transracial adoptees as abuse. I tend to agree.
Want to guarantee that your child will hate how they look? Keep them isolated from their birth culture.
Want to guarantee your child is racially confused? Surround them by people who they will never look like. People who reinforce unattainable beauty and desirability standard for your child.
From what I see, this is almost a guaranteed recipe for self-hatred, self harm, and suicidal ideation.
Adoptees as a whole are generally over-represented in suicide statistics. Add the additional layer of transracial adoption and the numbers are staggering. I am not just talking about actual suicides, which break my heart, I am also talking about suicide attempts, ideation, and deep self loathing. Many TRAs I know struggle through all of these issues. Way too many.
And it is time for adoptive parents to wake up.
We know your agency didn’t prepare you.
We know you’ve been taught “love can conquer all”
But if you had a “magic bullet” that you knew would help your child possibly not feel that their skin color was wrong, wouldn’t you use it?
Having your child around mirrors is more than taking your Black child to the annual Juneteenth festival. It’s more than bringing your Chinese children to the Asian market once or twice a year.
Mirrors are sustained and meaningful relationships with people who look like them. People from all socioeconomic backgrounds and not just the “good ones.”
Mirrors help your child shape who they want to be in the future. They help them to make informed and educated decisions on what they like and do not like about their birth culture. They help them navigate from a life under your white privilege into the world as a person of color.
If you have adopted or are thinking about adopting a child of color, take a look around you and imagine how a person of color would fit in. Would they blend, or would they stick out? If it is the former, then carry on. But if it is the latter, then you need to make some changes.
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