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Creating the New American Family: The Transracial Adoption Option

In a region as diverse as the San Francisco Bay Area, it does not seem possible that racial tensions would prevent prospective parents from adopting a child of a different ethnic background. Nevertheless, in recent months, publications from various metropolitan areas throughout the United States are reporting on the trends and pitfalls of transracial adoptions, and our San Jose adoption attorneys believe that it is highly important to take notice of this issue. One should never be dissuaded from bringing a new child into the family, but it is also critical that a person considering adoption enter the situation “with eyes wide open,” according to Billy Hancock, a family recruitment specialist from Seattle. Maddy Day, a family development coordinator from Redmond, WA agrees. She believes that many parents interested in adopting a child walk into the process with “naïve bliss,” and fail to consider obstacles or difficulties that may arise once that child is no longer an infant.
Although adopted children will certainly begin to take notice of physical differences between themselves and their parents as they reach maturity, this stage of development can be dealt with quite smoothly if the adoptive parents have properly prepared themselves to address the inevitable questions. Many Santa Clara County adoption resources are easily accessible –it is only a matter of knowing where to look. In addition to assisting with the legal process, a good adoption attorney can help adoptive parents seek resources such as classes, literature, and parenting associations that focus specifically on issues surrounding transracial adoption.

Another factor to consider is whether the child is an American citizen of a different ethnic background than the prospective parents, or a party in an international adoption. For instance, in an international adoption case, the child may face language barriers in addition to physical differences. In terms of expenses, international adoptions are also extremely expensive. Nevertheless, parents who are sufficiently prepared to deal with the process say that the potential benefits far outweigh the potential costs. “You look at what you spend money on, and it was worth every penny,” says David Clubb, the proud father of an adopted daughter from China. Club insists that even mountains of paperwork, substantial expenses, and long waiting periods couldn’t deter him from adopting again. Sara Cole, the adoptive mother of Rosie, who is African American, sees the issue as a human, and not a racial one. “My biggest responsibility,” says Cole, “is to prepare her for how people perceive her and make decisions based on how she looks. I think that’s the biggest challenge for parents of any child of color.”

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