Publication Date

2012

Abstract

Transracial adoption has been a controversial form of adoption since it came into vogue in the United States in the 1950s. In 1972, The National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) established a decree stating transracial adoption was akin to cultural genocide because they were concerned that under the tutelage of White parents, Black children would not learn the skills needed to survive in a racist society. Whereas the NABSW was looking out for the well being of domestic children of color, there was no corresponding advocate for children of color adopted internationally.

Recognizing that large numbers of children are adopted from Asia, racism is still an issue for people of color and not all White people are aware of the extent that racism exists in our society, I set out to learn if and how White adoptive parents of Asian born children talk about race related issues within the context of the family. This dissertation shares the insights and experiences of White parents from nine families who adopted children from Korea and the Philippines. The goal of the study was to learn if and how White parents talk to their Asian born children about racism, how comfortable and confident they feel having those conversations and who they turn to when they need help in supporting their children around race related issues.

The results indicate that before children reached adolescence, they were much more open and willing to share upsetting events with their parents. Pre-adolescent youth turned to their parents for comfort, support and guidance. During the teen years, communication between parents and children decreased thus limiting the parent’s influence about imparting wisdom about how to navigate race related situations. The final chapter offers recommendations for practice, research and policy.