Interracial Adoption and Race

This research paper looks at the different types of child adoption, in particular to interracial adoption. There is an emphasis in the role of race in interracial adoption and how interracial adoption can benefit and/or affect the children and parents who are part of it. However, the main thing that should be taken into account is the best interest of the children. Thousands of children are adopted and of those many are adopted internationally each year on the basis of love. However, love is not enough in interracial adoption. Studies have shown that the children’s heritages need to be taken into account and changes in lifestyle need to be made to accommodate the children.

In this world today, children are frequently being given up for adoption. The reason behind giving up the child may vary, like a couple might not feel ready to raise a child, so they want the child to have a better life. Everybody sees adoption as a good thing, and in a lot of cases it is a good thing, but how about if that child is born into a family with a different background. An example of this would be a white couple adopting a black baby. This is interracial adoption and sometimes the child will grow up to be great, and still face challenges, and for some other children, this will be a challenge that they will have to face for the rest of their lives in which they feel like they cannot overcome. Adopting a child outside of his or her culture will have a negative impact on the child’s lives.

The reason why couples chose to adopt children outside of their culture can vary. People who go to adopt children do not have the same thought process. Some might say that they don’t care about what culture the child is from because they just want a baby. Some think about the challenges that the child will face growing up and how will they try to combat these issues. Some don’t even look for children outside of their culture so they can avoid all the problems that comes with that.

There are situations that many children who are interracially adopted face. Things like this may be taken as just a question of curiosity on behalf of the children; however, it is a lot more profound than that. Children at an early age are aware of the racial differences, yet they might not know what those differences will mean in their life. People who adopt, adopt on a love basis, nevertheless, sometimes fail to realize that love is not enough, and other things need to be considered. Things like their race and where they come from. Those things can have an impact in the later life of the child when they are adopted.

Between 1968 and 1972, approximately 50,000 black and biracial children were adopted by white adoptive parents. At the time, adoption of black children by white families was thought necessary due to the increasing number of black children in foster care and the seeming lack of black adoptive families. “The practice of interracial adoption, or the adoption of a nonwhite child by white parents, has existed for over 50 years” (Briggs, 2012; Herman, 2008; Rothman, 2005) In the early 1970s, interracial adoptions gained in popularity as the number of available white infants declined and the number of prospective adoptive parents continued to grow. (POV. 2000, January 18)

Nevertheless, there were many people, agencies as well as the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) that opposed this practice calling it a “particular form of Genocide.” After the statement to the NABSW, interracial adoption had a rapid decline, and it took a while for it to come back. In the years preceding the resolution of the NABSW, 2,274 black children were adopted by white families, in 1970, 2,574 were adopted in 1971, and 1,596, were adopted in 1972. But in 1973, there were only a little more than 1,000 Black children adopted by white families. (Simon & Altstein, 2000)

Gradually, children of color began to be placed in white homes, with mixed results: While some families suffered harassment and even violence, others had few issues. Between 1968 and 1972, approximately 50,000 black and biracial children were adopted by white parents. At the time, the adoption of black children by white families was motivated largely by the increasing number of black children in foster care and the seeming lack of black adoptive families. In the early 1970s, the number of transracial adoptions rose as white infants became less available and the number of prospective adoptive parents continued to grow. (POV. 2000, January 18)

The child will be robbed of his or her identity. Let’s say there is a boy from China who was adopted and raised by a Russian couple. When the boy is growing up, he will be losing all of his cultural attachments, and his identity will be like new. Instead of the boy being Chinese, he believes that he is Russian and not anything else. Sometimes when a child sees that they really don’t fit in the family that they were adopted in, this will change their behavior. The child can be more violent or more disruptive when reacting to certain things. This is due to the fact that the child is not only angry with himself, but angry because he does not know his true self. Steinburg and Hall (2013).

Learning the adoptees language can be a problem for the child. If it is a baby that is being adopted, then this might not be an issue since babies cannot retain information. If it is a child who has been given up at a young age from three to nine, they already have their language down packed. To cooperate with their new parents though, the couple has to teach the child their language, so they can be on the same page with them. Valby (2016)

This is a big challenge because it takes a while for one to learn a second language. The child may struggle, and this will frustrate the parents, and that can cause the parent to have little patience, verbally assault the child for not being smart, or just might give up on him or her.

There are psychological effects that the child will struggle with. The child may feel a sense of rejection. Faima Baker, a person who was adopted into an interracial family said that “I wish my father knew what he was getting into when he adopted me, that it shouldn’t have been a light-hearted decision and that he was taking away from my natural background” Faima Baker (2018, April 03)

The child, while growing up, will feel like their biological parents abandoned them because they did not want them, and this will damage the child. He or she will go throughout their lives thinking that they are nothing because of what their biological parents have done. In some cases, that can even lead to depression and ultimately, the child either runs away from their new home, or they commit suicide.

The child will receive questionable looks from people and even questions from their friends. When a person sees a family out in public and something seems odd about that family, people will look at the child different. It is obvious if you see a black child in a white family, that usually implies that the child is not of the same background. This will generate a lot of questions and statements from strangers and even friends. “Are those really your parents?”, “What color are your siblings?”, are some questions people may ask the child. In the child’s mind, they begin to question themselves. They start to feel like they do not belong or fit in the family they are in. This can cause the child to want to escape and it also ties in with rejection. The child will feel like they are an outsider to their new home. Kathryn Patricelli (22 Dec 2015)

Once a child realizes that he or she are adopted, he or she will want to search for their origins. While wanting to do this, and track down their biological parents, the child may feel like they are betraying they’re adoption parents. The child may feel like they are trying to disown their new family to go back where they came from. This can also be difficult on the adoptees because they don’t want to lose that child to their biological parents. It is very hard losing a child whether they are their birth parents or adopted parents. “Transra- cial adoptees experience a peculiar condition of dual connection to two cultural backgrounds: the heritage culture, on one hand, and the national culture on the other hand” Pinderhughes, E. E., & Rosnati, (2015)

After months or years of anticipating parenthood, the excitement of the actual adoption can give way to a feeling of being let down or sadness in some parents. Researchers have dubbed this “postadoption depression syndrome,” or PADS, and it may occur within a few weeks of the adoption finalization. The realities of parenthood, including the dullness, lack of sleep for parents of infants or children with behavioral or sleep issues, and the weight of parental responsibilities can be overwhelming. Parents may have difficulty attaching to the new child and may question their parenting capabilities. They also may be hesitant to admit that there are any problems after the long-awaited adoption. (Wolf, 2011)

In some cases, the depression resolves on its own as the parent adjusts to the new life. In cases in which the depression lasts for more than a few weeks or interferes with the individual’s ability to parent, peer support or professional help (with an adoption- competent therapist) may help the parent to address the issues causing the depression and regain the confidence necessary to assume the parenting role.

Adoptive parents may worry that they don’t feel like parents, even after the adoption is complete. They wonder whether they are really entitled to parent their new son or daughter. Or, after years of keeping their parenting desire in check, either as foster parents or because of an uncertain legal outcome, they are reluctant to fully embrace parenthood or to believe they are truly parents like other people are. Parents may even question why they don’t immediately love their new child or wonder if they love their child enough. For these new parents, parenting may seem like a tentative status at best. Furthermore, the lack of role models for adoptive parents may give them a sense of isolation. (Wolf, 2011)

For some parents, there is a crucial moment when they first feel like a parent, (Ex: the first visit to the doctor, school registration, the first time the child says momma). For others, it is the day-to-day routine of caring for the child and helping the new son or daughter navigate the world that gradually leads to self-identification as the child’s parent. Identifying as the parent is generally linked to a sense of entitlement, or claiming, and responsibility. Parents are able to move beyond feelings of being not worthy or not capable of parenting their child. They become comfortable in their new role, accepting the responsibility and recognizing and feeling fully entitled to parent their child

Some claim that the process is easier overseas and other places than right here in America. Another reason is that children adopted overseas are usually younger than children in America. Jeff Katz (27 April 2014) Having a child while he or she is very young can probably decrease the affects the child will have. There are downsides also to adopting a child overseas. The cost of the child will be more than a child adopted right here in America.

The cost for children waiting to be adopted will be about the same but with children overseas, it can be costly considering the fact that the child is an immigrant. The couple will have to pay for the child’s visa and will have to save money for the child to live. Raising a child will cost a lot of money ranging from purchasing food and clothing for the child. The couple will also have to go to the child’s birth place if they decide they want the child to see their biological parents, which after a while can really pile up a lot of cash. American Adoptions, Inc. (2012)

Another major issue with adopting a child overseas is the waiting time to receive the child. Let’s say you order something online on EBay, and the seller is shipping from Hong Kong. Usually it takes about 3 weeks to a month to arrive at your front door. This is the same concept with adopting a child that lives overseas. The wait time will be different depending on where the child comes from, but it is still a very long wait. Carlson and Dermer (2017)

One of the main benefits or positives of interracial adoption is the higher availability of children. It is a fact that there is a greater demand of children of the same race as the parent and hence there are a greater number of transracial children available to be adopted in all parts of the world, thus making the process easier.

Another positive associated with adopting interracial children is that this means that parents are embracing the diversity and are more focused on having a child rather than on the cultural or racial differences. This promotes unity and an understanding of the race to which the child belongs.

Adoption can be hard on a child whether the child be taken into a family that is similar to them or not. A child adopted by a couple that’s not of the same culture can be a real hassle. From trying to teach the child their language to the child having personal struggles, interracial adoption is tough. Trying to figure out who they are can have long lasting effects on them. To combat these effects on the child’s life, the parents have to look into the child’s background, and take them seriously. The couple will have to understand that there are challenges they will face, and they cannot simply ignore it. They must understand that the child will struggle realizing that they are adopted by people that don’t look like them. They must provide heavy care and love until the child can understand themselves. Interracial adoption can be detrimental to the child’s life.

“The term “mixed methods” refers to an emergent methodology of research that advances the systematic integration, or “mixing,” of quantitative and qualitative data within a single investigation or sustained program of inquiry. The basic premise of this methodology is that such integration permits a more complete and synergistic utilization of data than do separate quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis”

Mixed methods can be an ideal technique to assess complex interventions (Homer, Klatka, Romm, et al., 2008; Nutting, Miller, Crabtree, et al., 2009). Evaluators can choose from five primary mixed methods designs depending on the research questions they want to answer and resources available for the evaluation.

Mixed methods also mirror the way individuals naturally collect information by integrating quantitative and qualitative data (Creswell and Plano Clark, 2011). Mixed methods have great flexibility and are adaptable to many study designs, such as observational studies and randomized trials, to elucidate more information than can be obtained in only quantitative research.

There are many methods that can be used for my research. Nevertheless, mixed method of both qualitative and quantitative data has been collected to utilize for my research. Mixed method will help grasp the problem. Using mixed method will help comprehend the effects of the child(ren) on the parents.

The materials that was needed was a computer to do the survey and send it out to others. Survey Monkey was used to create my survey. Survey Monkey was more workable and had more quality than any other survey development. It develops an easier plan to produce a question that will be uncomplicated for those that are doing the survey.

The procedure of this paper was justly simple. I had to come up with a strong topic and research question that I would be comfortable with. I wanted to do a topic that would interest me and that was adoption. I know that adoption would be comfortable for me since I have a lot of resources. I would join groups on Facebook dealing with adoption. The one that was interesting was interracial adoption. I looked at peer reviewed paper that talked about interracial adoption and how it affects parents and children. After researching I created questions on Survey Monkey.


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  2. American Adoptions, Inc H. (2008). ‘What does adoption mean to a child?’ Retrieved from
  3. Bakar, F. (2018, April 03). Should white parents only adopt kids of the same ethnicity and background? Retrieved from
  4. Carlson, J., & Dermer, S. B. (2017). The SAGE encyclopedia of marriage, family, and couples counseling. Los Angeles: SAGE Reference.
  5. Hall, B., & Steinberg, G. (2013). Inside transracial adoption: Strength-based, culture-sensitizing parenting strategies for inter-country or domestic adoptive families that dont ‘match’. London: Jessica Kingsley.
  6. Kathryn Patricelli, Long-Term Issues for The Adopted Child. (22 Dec 2015.). Retrieved from
  7. K. J. (2014, April 27). Why is it easier to adopt a child from overseas than from another state? Retrieved from
  8. Pinderhughes, E. E., & Rosnati, R. (2015). Adoptees ethnic identity within family and social contexts. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
  9. Pov. (2000, January 18). Adoption History | First Person Plural | POV | PBS. Retrieved from
  10. Simon, R. & Altstein, H. (2000). Adoption across borders. United States of America: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  11. Valby, K. (2016). The Realities of Raising a Kid of a Different Race. Retrieved from
  12. Wolf, M. D. (2011). Post adoption depression syndrome: An exploration of adoption specialists attitudes and need for intervention services.
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Interracial adoption and race. (2021, May 08). Retrieved August 10, 2022 , from

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