Cohesion within a family rarely has anything to do with physical appearance and, arguably, love between a family shouldn’t have much to do with appearance at all. Explanation, understanding, and acceptance, however, are often influenced by it heavily.
With phrases like “You have eyes like your mother!” or “You’re a spitting image of your father!” it becomes nearly impossible not to notice an absence of visual comparison or similarity between transracial adoptive families. At the same time though, many families also see adopting transracial children as an opportunity for growth and a chance for new depth in connection.
How Do I Decide on Transracial Adoption?
In an article on Adoption.net, Kristen Nicole writes:
For us, adoption was just the way we started our family. When we were asked to check the race box, we checked ‘any race’ without thinking twice. For us, it really was that simple. We felt the baby we were meant to have in our lives would be placed with us and it didn’t matter what they looked like. We just wanted them to be healthy. So, we didn’t really ‘decide’ to become a transracial family. The first time we adopted, we became an adoptive family. The second time, we became a transracial family.
Ultimately, whether your decision is simple or requires consideration at length, it should be rooted in love and commitment. If you’re adopting on your own, make sure that you understand the implications of adopting a transracial baby and what that will mean to you as a new parent.
Similarly, if you’re adopting into a family, make sure that everyone sees the significance and is in agreement of such a commitment.
How Could This Look Different for My Family?
Obviously you can’t choose any of the genetic characteristics of your adoptive child, not their hair color, eye color, face shape, or even their eventual height. That then means that you may never receive any sort of physical likeness between adoptive child and family. Not to mention, any adoptive child, transracial or not, will most likely never have the same DNA as the Adoptive Family.
You can, however, ensure relatively similar complexion in an attempt to save yourself from some sideways glances or probing questions. But here’s a probing question maybe: why avoid those things? Why sidestep new challenges? Why skip out on the hard questions?
Really, all families have them – transracial or not. Your child may ask why they have different hair, different skin, or different eyes, but so might an adoptive child with your same race. Questions will be asked in every adoptive home and they will always need to be answered. In the end, a transracial family might look different, but why should it feel any dissimilar? A family is a family so long as all its members truly love one another, and that principle applies to transracial families as well.