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March 2024Vol. 25, No. 2Supporting Positive Racial Identity Development Among Children in Diverse Adoptive Families

Children and youth from diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds need support developing a positive racial, ethnic, and cultural identity—especially when they are adopted into a family that doesn't share their background. Adoptive families should be prepared to have difficult conversations about race, racism, and White privilege to better support their children.

AdoptUSKids published a discussion guide in 2022 to support these efforts. The guide is designed to help parent group leaders facilitate discussions with adoptive parents, specifically White adoptive parents, of children of color. The topics addressed are meant to help White caregivers understand their role in supporting their child's racial identity development. The guide is divided into three parts: (1) the history and impact of systemic racism, (2) the reality of White privilege, and (3) racial identity work. It provides resources and tips to help facilitators discuss the following topics with their groups:

  • Setting expectations for emotional safety
  • Systemic racism in the United States
  • Defining identity
  • The impact of assumptions and implicit biases
  • The impact of language
  • Working to be culturally aware and open to learning more
  • Defining White privilege
  • Setting expectations for mutually agreed-upon norms for hard conversations
  • Critical responsibilities of those who parent children from different racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds
  • Racial identity and broader racial justice considerations
  • Navigating a sense of belonging
  • Showing your child your work to fight racism
  • Parental roles and responsibilities across the lifespan

Within each topic, the guide provides information and resources for facilitators to share and questions to ask. It concludes with five full pages of resources about parenting in racially, culturally, and ethnically diverse families. The free guide, Supporting a Positive Racial Identity for Black, Indigenous, and Other Children of Color in Transracial Placements With White Parents, is available on the AdoptUSKids website.