For her enthusiastic support and encouragement, I would like to thank my supervisor, Fiona Broderick. Fiona was continually encouraged and was always ready and excited to support her in the research project. I also want to thank my friend Chloe for giving me research advice. Lastly, thank you to all the participants who participated in the research and made this research possible.


Culture has been redefined by the growth of the multi-racial population in the world today. The shaping of mixed identities encompassed by varied ethnicity, social class, nationhood, sexuality, race, and gender depends on the integration of a sense of belonging or self for the mixed multi-racial community. Construction and understanding of mixed identities depend on developing resilience in the inscription of a less racial society. Discrimination is still out there, despite these drastic changes in our reality. Are you able to deal with people’s questions, often outsiders, about the children’s heritage or parentage? What about the confidence in the extended home? Unlike aliens, where comments may be new, they typically know what to expect from home. Will it annoy you if the uncle was using racial slurs? How much are you going to find that person? Once a year, huh? Is that enough to affect the decision one way or the other? Be mindful that you will need to get in contact with some of the house members to support the boy. The world of child adoption has laid policies that diminish discrimination on the basis of race. Besides, this research focuses on the possible culture of an adopted or mixed-race child in the world today.

Philosophy and reason why this topic is important

The transracial child-adoption topic has been chosen for discussion because of the underlying realities that revolve around the life of adoption. Some of the known facts of raising a child of a varied race include that are worth teaching the world is that color does not matter during adoption and it is only a belief that contributes to diversity. Perhaps, a sense of belonging to a given origin and culture has been another aspect that has been found common among adopted children who later form their own identities and start reconnecting to their original birth background and culture (McCaughren, & McGregor, 2018, p299). Discussion of a race during the adoption process is essential because it allows children to settle in their new families where they have been adopted without a doubt. Cultural differences are the most profound challenges that most people placed under foster care experience; however, children who face these challenges and cope with them can become the best foster parents in the future. Besides, this topic also unfolds cultural socialization while addressing discrimination issues and how adaptability can be achieved in transracial families. The fundamental truth behind transracial adoption is that children should be given a choice in order to gauge which culture is most preferred before adopting culturally. However, the paradox involved in transracial and mixed-culture families can be minimized by focusing on strategies that can resolve the existing challenges, especially discrimination. Cultural assimilation, racial inoculation, and enculturation are possible ways to focus on resolving challenges for transracial adoption (Barn, Ravinder, and Derek Kirton, 2012, p25). Adoption policy demands that child welfare needs be made a priority and, considering the abundance of available ‘white’ adopters and the lack of ‘black’ adopters, calls for ‘trans-racial’ adoption to be seriously considered. From the world of “child adoption,” “a child means a young person of either sex, whether by birth or by adoption (Pramaggiore, 2015, p176). Although “adoption” means the act or process of adopting a person, “infant adoption” means the legal act or process of making another person’s child part of your family so that he or she becomes one of your children. Much of the cases of adoption involved a possible pool of adoptive parents whose women are infertile. Others include family planning, where they decide not to be pregnant. However, would the public commonly question if it is appropriate for the adoption to take place? Is the adoption of an infant in different races can have an effect on the Child’s future and how they have to conduct themselves at home and work or college with their friends? Will the adoption cure the child of extreme violence and neglect in the maternal family? Perhaps, under what grounds will the rights of adopted child be guaranteed under the new homes and new families with different culture andmaybe race (Pramaggiore, 2015, p176).This is important because it shows us that such differences will enable the adoptive to feel secure, have high self-esteem, and a good self-perception. Another main result is that race and ethnic disparities brought on by the ‘mixed ethnicity’ aspects of adoption are important factors in search of the adoptive for their birth heritage. Another result is the holder’s possession of a ‘trans-racial’ identity and how this is a radicalised identity that consists of being neither black nor white’ but ‘mixed.’

Cross-Cultural Adoption

Adoption is defined by cultural dynamics in the foster care system today. Cross-cultural adoption involves different races whereby the child and the parents are not of the same race. In short, these adoptions are not the entire same race; transracial adoption is very common among enthusiastic couples willing to adopt. Transracial adoption is the adoption by a couple of other races of a child of one race. Adopting children from various races has stirred up many debates, and the government has had to step in. There are mixed opinions on transracial adoption, some of which claim that it is culturally detrimental to the child, while others believe that there is nothing wrong with it. The adoption officials’ primary purpose must be to get the child into the home as soon as possible, thus mitigating the impact that it would have on the child, whether it is a white or a black family that adopts it (McCaughren, & McGregor, 2018, p299). There’s nothing wrong with transracial adoption because a child can be raised by anybody willing to love him or her. After all, love is color-blind. Additionally, some people argue that cross-cultural adoption can be less complicated if the parenting side often makes the child’s culture and background part of the family life by sharing their heritage to balance similarities and differences that may prevail. Besides, should children of color have to spend the most helpless years of their lives in foster care or orphanages simply because a family of their race is unavailable? What kind of family of a different race might adopt these children? Are they to be out in a stable, loving house, or are they to be kept in homes in order to attract a family of the same race? It can take years to find same-race families. Why place the kids in such tough times because they have a caring family? To the children, it’s unfair! Interracial adoption is for the good of families and children and must be embraced by all (Mullan, et al, 2007, p417).  The opposition of interracial adoption is concerned with the formation of personality and psychological adaptation in children seeking interracial adoption because they claim that individuals cannot adequately parent children of different races. They then referred to it as “racial genocide.” The National Association of Black Social Workers, the largest agency for interracial adoption, argues that their community and their families affect children’s beliefs, characteristics, and appearance. Therefore, this organization claims that interracial adoption will weaken their community (Pramaggiore, 2015, p176).

Challenges for Adoptive Parents

According to Barn (2013), TRA supporters and adversaries accept that the child should be put in the family if a proper family is found within the child’s race. According to Barn, TRA can only be used as a last resort after adoptive parents have worked hard to gain the awareness and tools they need to help their children build a healthy racial/ethnic identity and teach them how to manage a race-obsessed society. Whether luckily or sadly, it is not always possible for a child to be put in a family with a similar racial or ethnic history. Moreover, social workers cannot legally put children alone on the basis of race (Jacobson et al., 2012). As transracial adoptions are and, research and adoption practitioners must look for ways to prepare families for transracial adoption better and provide them with community support. The concern that parents and families are not entirely transracially equipped is a legitimate concern. Researchers found that many families seeking or completing transracial adoptions took on a very naive obligation to raise transracially adopted children with little social support (Raible, 2008). TRA parents are urgently needed to face the pressures of raising children of color with positive racial identities. Only half of those programs that currently support transracial adoptions provide parents through adoption with cultural competence training. Very few public and only one third of private organizations provide training and follow-up after placement of those agencies (Vonk & Angaran, 2003).

Societal Response to TRA

Although a lack of appropriate preparation can have a negative impact on trans-racial adoption, community and social support play a vital role in adaptation. 7 According to a 2013 study on negative reactions to the adoptive transracial families (Katz & Doyle), attitudes towards racial adoption could influence racism and dissimilar parental-child appearance. Over the years, racism has developed from straightforward and aggressive to more modern. The benefits of White privilege or the specific challenges facing minority groups are not recognized by modern racists. Moreover, people are uncomfortable seeing together parents and children who are uncomfortable. Visible racial differences violate traditional families of birth, as similar common characteristics tend to validate family relations. Modern racist attitudes, in combination with the need for identity families based on a similar shared appearance, make the adjustment, welcome and acceptance difficult for transracial families. The Katz and Doyle (2013) study found that the devaluation of Black children in general and adopted children could discourage the adoption of Black children by White families. Trans-racial families, particularly families mixed Black and White, are devalued to promote discrimination and prevent couples from adopting children in need while also interfering with child adjustment.

Adoptive Family Support

Preparing families with skills to raise their transracially adopted children to become healthy and happy adults needs to become a priority in the adoption and foster care realm. Still, even that is pointless unless communities shift to become more open-minded and supportive. Society has not yet determined how to adequately support interracial adoptive families or integrate social networks and institutions. The public as a whole has also failed to prepare and support the courageous families who have taken on the complexities of race and adoption in their own lives (Raible, 2008). Results from Katz and Doyle’s study (2013) show that adoption workers should thoroughly educate and prepare prospective adoptive families regarding the eight negative responses they may receive from society regarding their decision to adopt transracially. They discovered that after placement, families would benefit from strong support to help combat the added stress caused by observer reactions. Their study recommends an educational strategy paired with exposure to TRA families to minimize negative feelings about TRA. Transracial adoptions can be very beneficial for those concerned and serve as a fantastic opportunity to address the difficulties of race in today’s society if the proper support structure and education are in place. Rita J. Simon, a writer, spent over twenty years researching families who had undergone transracial adoption. She reached several conclusions after reviewing her results. According to Simon (1996), transracial adoption appears to provide children with the ability to build an understanding of race and appreciation for various physical characteristics. She observed that many parents purposefully engaged their families in programs that aimed to improve racial understanding and identity. If the parents withdrew from these events, it was normally at the behest of the adoptees. Simon administered a self-esteem questionnaire as well as a family integration ability test to the children of the families she researched. She looked at the outcomes of Black TRAs, other TRAs, White birth children, and White adoptees. Despite her initial hypothesis that adopted children will feel less integrated into their families and have lower self-esteem than non-adopted children, she discovered no significant differences in scores between both categories (Simon, 1996). Simon was able to research the same families for over a decade and recognize some of the long-term, positive effects of TRA on adoptee identities, such as self-confidence and stability. Simon mentioned the resources that families used to help their children grow up safe and feeling loved, such as dinner table discussions about race and living in diverse neighbourhoods

Mixed Culture

Many children dreamed about what their birth parents look like, what they’re doing for a living, and how much they’re missing. Life experiences also bring adopted children back to memories of the past. Birthdays, holidays, and significant events are difficult for these children. What is a time of joy for others is also a sad reminder of loss or rejection? We celebrate the day they were born, but they secretly lament the loss of their parents. Children interpret life and experience, whether or not we speak to them about it (Williams, 2017, p1394). We also stop talking about something we don’t want to do, hoping kids won’t worry about it. An emotionally impaired child who is adopted may go through depression and withdrawal. In certain cases, it can become so serious that intervention and therapy are required. The adoptive parent must be cooperative with the child and attempt to interact with the child as much as the child requires. Self-identity issues are typically the case for adoptive children. This is particularly true of children who have been adopted from other countries. They’re going through culture shock and wondering where they fit in. Some may become dangerous because of a language barrier. These kids might find it hard to make friends at school. Adoptive parents should make every effort to accept the child’s culture and educate the child about the new culture and surroundings (McGhee, et al, 2018, p1176). Often, if they want to buy any toys or something and their adoptive parent doesn’t but make the adopted children know that they don’t treat them like a son. Adopted children may be saddened by the lack of relationship with their birth parents and the loss of cultural and family bonds that would have formed with those parents. They still have something to do with why their parents want to leave them. Perhaps, some people assume that children would not associate with their own culture in interracial adoption; in fact, exposure to all cultures helps them cross the cultural divide. The most divisive adoptions are between white and black families: never-ending, interracial adoption ensures that eligible children will work in black and white communities. Kids in interracial families prefer not to reveal their nationality. Children in interracial households have a rare understanding of living in the white and black world and, by using this perspective, are able to appreciate and adapt to their ethnicity and the race of their adoptive parents (Burns, K., & McGregor, 2019, p115). Since they are introduced to all ways of life, trans-racial children are more likely to indulge in interracial dating, bonding, and overall support with individuals of all races when they are older than children who have been raised into the same color families. It is clear that the research indicates that interaction with all cultures helps children to interact with their community and the culture of their parents, giving them a special perspective, making them well-rounded individuals. The child’s sense of belonging and finding a stable home with a caring family is more important than racial matching. Interracial adoption is typically fruitful in a family that offers affection, protection and gives a child a strong sense of racial identity. Interracial adoption is considered a success if the child adjusts well in childhood and maturity, has a strong sense of racial identity, has healthy self-esteem, and is interested in social relations with people of different races (McCaughren, & McGregor, 2018, p299). Interracial adoptive parents look beyond the child’s skin color to see a kid who wants to have a stable, caring family regardless of race; therefore, Americans should avoid using skin color to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Interracial adoption would also be less divisive and would encourage children to have a more comfortable lifestyle (Palmer, & O’Brien, 2019, p399). The parenting level is more important than whether the child is adopted interracially or from the same race. Most people will agree with this argument since the amount of love, care, and stability a family provides to a child is more important than race matching (McGhee, et al, 2018, p1176). The kind of adoption that we know today did not exist a hundred and fifty years ago. The form of adoption in those days generally means a child who has relocated to a family or a child who lives with an unrelated family in exchange for jobs. In these two cases, the adults who “adopted” the children could not legally become guardians of the children. Such forms of adoptions were also not long-lasting, and “adopted children were not supposed to be threatened as biological children by adoptive parents. However, after centuries of evolution, adoption has become formal, well-planned, and must go through the legal process. By the end of the nineteenth century, several countries had demanded that a range of legal steps be taken before cases of adoption could be taken (Gupta, & Featherstone, 2020, p165). People prefer transracial or transcultural adoption for a number of reasons. In the US, fewer young Caucasian children are eligible for adoption, and some adoption agencies placing Caucasian children do not consider individuals or applicants older than 40 years of age. Some prospective parents feel bound through their heritage or by personal experiences such as travel or military service to a specific race or culture. Others also like the idea of reaching out to poor children, wherever they come from. Adoption experts have differing perspectives on this form of adoption. Some argue that children eligible for adoption should only be placed with a family that includes at least one parent of the child’s race or culture. This is done so that the child can form a clear ethnic or cultural identity. Adoption agencies that have a deep dedication to working with families of color and are versatile in their policies, according to these individuals, are very active in hiring same-race families. Other experts believe that race should not be a factor when choosing a family for a child. All that matters to them is a caring family that can accommodate the needs of a specific child. Others argue that if an organisation tries very hard for a certain amount of time but fails to locate a same-race family, the child should be placed with a caring family of any race or culture who can accommodate the child’s needs.

Development of Biracial Identity

For several people, the process of developing one’s identity is complicated. Biracial people’s experiences are also more complex because they struggle the most with the process of constructing their identities (Butler-Sweet, 2011b). Many Biracial people struggle with the idea of having to choose between their two ethnic identities, and they often feel alienated as a result. However, racial identification is regarded as necessary in terms of one’s perception of oneself, those in one’s racial category, and those in other racial groups (Poston, 1990). Most previous models of biracial identity formation ignore the likelihood of individuals deciding to accept and identify with multiple ethnic identities. Poston (1990), dissatisfied with the shortcomings of previous theorists, created a model to more accurately explain the five complex phases of identity formation that Biracial individuals go through (see Table 1). Most previous models of biracial identity formation ignore the likelihood of individuals deciding to accept and identify with multiple ethnic identities. Poston (1990), dissatisfied with the shortcomings of previous theorists, created a model to more accurately explain the five complex phases of identity formation that Biracial individuals go through (see Table 1).

Individuals are usually very young in the first level, Personal Identity, and belonging to a specific ethnic group is only being discussed. Identity is instead focused on self-esteem and feelings of self-worth that are experienced within a family. The following step, Choice of Group Categorization, forces individuals to choose an identity, usually of a single ethnic group, or to belong to a specific peer or family group. It is unusual for a person at this age to choose a multiethnic identity because it necessitates a certain level of awareness and development surrounding cultures that necessitates a higher cognitive level than is normal for this age group. Enmeshment/Denial is the third stage of Poston’s model, according to Poston (1990). Individuals are experiencing confusion and guilt during this period as a result of making a decision that does not fully express or embrace one’s background. During this time, boundaries within the family unit can become blurred, stifling individual development. Individuals may often experience remorse and loss of acceptance from one or more ethnic groups, as well as guilt for denying one parent’s heritage. Adolescents in this stage must either work through and overcome their frustration and learn to understand both parents’ racial backgrounds or remain at this level. When people reach the Appreciation stage, they begin to value their multiple identities and broaden their reference group orientation. Individuals continue to identify more with one group than another, but they are interested in learning about their ethnic/racial heritage and cultures. In the final stage of integration, individuals experience wholeness by recognizing and valuing their ethnic identities. McRoy and Freeman (1986) identified five strategies for parents to support their children in this complex identity development process (see Figure 2). These strategies are intended to aid in the development of positive racial identities. Encourage children to talk about their racial heritage with their parents and other family members. Individuals and parents who believe their child’s racial/ethnic background differ from their own are critical to developing a positive racial identity. Another strategy suggests providing opportunities for children to form relationships with peers from various backgrounds, such as living in diverse areas with diverse schools. According to McRoy and Freeman (1986), allowing children to meet role models who look like them is beneficial. Finally, establishing a family identity as an interracial unit will aid children in their process of identity formation.

Ch Methodology Research

This thesis employed a qualitative research design, precisely one based on the human experience. Its aim is to explain the phenomenon of identity formation in the context of transracial adoption. Semi-structured interviews were used in the study to investigate the adoptees’ process of identity creation and the nature of their experience.


The study sample was intended to include 2-4 people who identified as Black and were adopted as children into White households. The participants in the study were young adults in their transitional years, aged 18 to 25. To ensure that the sample is consistent and representative of the desired sample population, criterion sampling was used. The sample included two people, both 21 years old, both females. Both participants identified as Biracial, or Black and White. One of the participants was adopted and raised in a family with two White parents, two White siblings, and two Black siblings. The second participant was adopted by a family that included a White parent, a Black parent, and a Biracial sibling. Both sets of adoptive parents had fathers who had earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree and mothers who had attended college. Both of the participants were adopted when they were babies.

Data Collection Procedures

The survey was sent to their participant’s emails or Whatsaap. Once contact was made, the researcher set up a phone conversation to go over the study details, including making sure the participant met the criteria for the study. The interviewee chose when they were ready to discuss their experience and determine whether they wanted to stay anonymous or public. Most of them decided anonymously. The interviewees first filled out a form asking for demographic information. Due to covid19, the interview was conducted via zoom meeting.

Following the transcription and interpretation of the initial interviews, the researcher concluded that more detail would be needed to accurately represent the participant’s experiences. One phone call with each participant was used as a follow-up to clarify details and build on the participants’ responses—the content of those questions was based on the information given in the initial interviews.

Data Analysis

I spent time after each interview listening to the recording and typing up transcripts from the conversation, which I then loaded into my password-protected computer. The confidentiality of my participants was necessary, so participant privacy was essential. I ensured that each participant’s privacy was protected, and I assigned pseudonyms to each of them. Each interview lasted 5 to 10 minutes, 259 to 400 words.

: Findings

The participants described various ways in which they were encouraged as they grew up in their identity formation. The participants in this study revealed their path to being confident in their identities, from particular ways their families provided help to group experiences. Both participants named their parents as their primary source of support. Participants emphasised openness, integrity, and communication as the most potent qualities in their relationships and experiences with their parents.

“They would encourage me to have black friends, to have sleepovers over their house so I could learn some stuff from my African culture. Because there was so much that they could teach me. And it is not their fault I never blamed them for that.”

“My mom had an African friend that went church with us. I pretty much grew up with her daughter so whenever my mother would feel unable to answer my questions about my cul- ture. She would nicely say to me in a friendly way that we could ask my friend’s mom. It was okay because they were understanding about my situation”

“When I turned 21, I got a nose job to make it look more white than black, so I will feel confident in myself and stop the bullying (I wish I hadn’t). Today I’m 27. I’ve learned to love myself, and I have connected with my father’s side. I’m learning about the other culture. I’m lucky to have my family. They accept me as I am, and they have never judged me. And I’m also grateful for the friends that I have now.”

We can see the difference between the two candidates, on how their parents were more aware in terms of what was happening in their lives. At the age of 21, Chloe had decided to get a nose job for a more narrow nose. One participant spoke in times of doubt and insecurity about the reassurance and support provided by their parents. She felt stuck in both classes to match both Black and White peers.

They would encourage me to have black friends, to have sleepovers over their house so I could learn some stuff from my African culture. Because there was so much that they could teach me. And it is not their fault I never blamed them for that.

One of the Candidate experienced bullying because of their appearance. People commented on her family members’ various races. Her friends expected her to behave, and when she didn’t satisfy these concepts, she was mocked about it. She had such standards. Not only were the white people’s problems, neither did the few black students in her school include her in their community.


This study aimed to investigate how the experience of transracial adoption affects identity formation, especially when Black children are adopted into White families. This study’s aim was also to discover how parents can help their children’s identity creation. Surprisingly, two Biracial people were the only ones who responded to this report. Although the sample changed the study questions, the theme of identity creation in the sense of a transracial adoption remained. The biracial participants in this study present as well-adjusted young adults who attribute their performance in identity formation to their support system, primarily their parents. The two participants tended to attribute their difficulties and problems with identity formation to their Biracial backgrounds rather than the fact that they were adopted. Their perspectives were consistent with the literature on the creation of biracial identity. Feelings of not fitting in and difficulties identifying with peers are totally common for Biracial adolescents during adolescence (Poston, 1990). They experienced periods of feeling isolated from their peers and family members who did not share their Biracial identity. Still, they eventually tend to accept and admire their multiethnic identities and seek out opportunities to share about their experience. Although the participants in this study were eager to share their families’ strengths, they were also able to admit additional ways in which their parents might have better helped them. Both participants discussed growing up in predominantly White areas and acknowledged that more diversity would positively affect their identities. One participant stressed the challenge of not having peers who looked like her or shared similar experiences growing up. She mentioned that having people with whom to discuss her specific experiences of growing up Biracial might have helped her become “more comfortable” in her Biracial identity. These findings are consistent with the literature (McRoy & Freeman 1986) and may serve as a tool for future families deciding to adopt transracially or who are raising Biracial children. Although both participants developed many characteristics of their parents and other significant individuals in their lives, “love” was an essential part of their experience. The love and help they received from their families eventually helped them in solving identity issues. Both participants expressed their appreciation for their parents and the ways they cherished and nurtured them. One participant described how love helped her overcome obstacles and how she believes it has the power to “get [people] through a lot of things.” The participants agreed that, with the right behaviours, it is possible to raise transracial children to have positive identities but, most importantly, with love. Both of the participants are in a stage of their lives where they are transitioning from one stage to the next. They also have opportunities to learn and evolve as individuals. The majority of the participants’ problems were not related to their transracial adoption; they were transracially adopted, but it was not one of their main concerns when it came to fitting in, identifying with peers, and so on. It’s likely that they’ll remember later in life that their transracial adoption has a greater effect on their identity and lives than they knew as teenagers. Their transracial adoption experience may have had a different impact on them than they realized. The second participant, who has one Black and one White parent, stated that he has no difficulty finding his place of belonging within his family or school. It’s likely that, later in life, he’ll see the benefit of being able to ‘pass’ as his father’s son in terms of forming his racial identity. The two participants in this study went through a variety of stages in their growth as Biracial people. Poston (1990) described the stages of development in his Biracial Identity Development Model, which the stages of development closely match. One participant talks about the shifts in her racial identity thinking that she observed. She did not describe herself as a young child by race, according to the literature.

Today I’m 27. I’ve learned to love myself, and I have connected with my father’s side. I’m learning about the other culture. I’m lucky to have my family. They accept me as I am, and they have never judged me. And I’m also grateful for the friends that I have now.

Both of the researchers spent the majority of their childhoods in overwhelmingly White school systems, surrounded by white peers. Given the lack of exposure to Black or mixed-race peers, it’s reasonable that the participants spent the bulk of their time with White peers and may have associated with them. Though they may not have preferred to associate with White people on purpose, their experiences are consistent with the Choice of Group Classification.

“When I was in secondary school people didn’t really know that I was adopted. The reason why I didn’t share this is because I didn’t want to explain myself how I got adopted and why didn’t I just get adopted to an African family instead. People forget that you don’t choose were you’re adopted. It’s the families that chooses you if you’re lucky”

Study Challenges

The most challenging aspect of carrying out this research was finding participants. Despite the previously detailed efforts, the researcher was only approached by two people. One of the individuals received the survey from a colleague, and the other learned about the study by word of mouth. There may be many reasons why the researchers were unable to reach their recruitment targets. Individuals meeting the research criteria may have felt uncomfortable reaching out to share their stories due to the pandemic or perhaps the sensitive nature of the subject, identity creation, within the context of a widely debated practice, transracial adoption. As previously mentioned, the aim of this study was to interview people between the ages of 18 and 25. It is likely that adoptees are less interested in support groups or other communities related to their adoptions once they reach maturity and have moved out of the homes of their 31 adoptive families. Neither study participant had ever been a member of a support group as a child or as an adult. If adoptees in this age range are not interested in support groups, are not related to other adoptees who are in support groups, or are not attending the researchers’ university, they are unlikely to have been exposed to this report.

Issues that comes with Transracial adoption

White families adopting black and Asian children is a common theme in transracial adoption stories. When the opposite occurs and black and Asian parents adopt white children, officials and members of the public may become suspicious. I read an article by (Megha Mohan,2020) Johnny, a seven-year-old, was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. He’d awoken in a sulk, and it was only getting worse as the day went on. Now, Peter could see Johnny arguing with another child in the play area at a diner in Charlotte, North Carolina. He needed to act quickly to get his foster son out of the restaurant before he threw a loud tantrum. Peter quickly paid the bill while holding the boy in his arms. The child wriggled moodily in Peter’s embrace as he carried him to their car, and he was still agitated when Peter set him down to open the car door. A woman shouted “Where is this boy’s mother?” And Peter replied “I’m the father” The woman walked back and stood before the car of Peter. She looked down and brought her phone out. She said calmly down the telephone, “Hi, please police.” “Hey, a black man is here. Hey. I believe a little white boy is kidnapping.” Suddenly Johnny stood still, looking at Peter. The arm around his son was placed by Peter. “It’s OK,” he told the kid. We can clearly see the reaction Peter received because he was a black man and adopted a white child. If it was the other way around, people would have possibly ignored the matter. There are more obstacles that Peter Experienced while being with his son. On vacation, Anthony was detained by airport security and asked where his parents were. Anthony pointed to the officials, who began a background check immediately. Increasingly Anthony was frustrated by what he saw as open racism, but Peter calmed him down. Peter’s respond to Anthony was “I’m your dad and I love you, but people who look like me, we aren’t always treated well,” Peter said to Anthony, who was now 13. “Your job is not to get angry at the people who treat me this way, your job is to make sure you treat people who look like me with honour.” When the travel restrictions are lifted, Peter has plans for the kids. He wants to take them to Uganda to learn about their father’s origins. He wishes to make friends with Johnny’s family so that the boy’s return home is not painful. Despite this, based on some offers in his Instagram direct messages, he has no plans to start a romantic relationship.

Implications for Practice

This research examined the ethnic identity formation of ‘trans-racial adoptees’ in Ireland & United Kingdom. The adoption of “black” children by “white” parents has received special attention. This is because it is the most popular form of ‘trans-racial adoption’ and the one that has sparked the most controversy. This area of the adoption debate has been dominated by those who oppose “trans-racial adoption,” whose claims are founded on politicised ideas of an essential “black” identity. The issue with this form of focus, i.e. levels of identification that emphasise an important “black identity,” is that it has not been researched how and why these groups of ‘trans-racial adoptees define themselves in a certain way. In this research report, I attempted to address this by investigating how an adoptee’s ‘trans-racial identity is socially constructed. As a result, unlike previous studies, this study did not consider “black” racial identity to be the normal and defined racial identity and attempted to assess its effective ownership by the “trans-racial” adoptee. Rather, it has investigated the malleability of identity formation and, in doing so, it has looked at how the adoptees construct a ‘trans-racial identity. The social constructionist viewpoint, in particular, was used, which included the construction of racial identity based on identity theory and the works of Theoretical Interactionist theorists Mead (1995), Blumer (1969), and Goffman (1969). (1982). This view regards to race and “blackness” as socially created labels resulting from an ongoing relationship between the person, (ii) the individual’s social contact with other individuals, (iii) how the individual believes others perceive him or her, and (iv) the individual’s social climate. As a result, this research has contributed to the discourse by deconstructing, evaluating, and updating current theories about racial identity, precisely the concept of an essential “black identity,” as well as emphasizing the importance of empowering adoptees to speak for themselves about their experiences. This research had three broad objectives. The first was to investigate the ethnic identity formation of ‘transracial adoptees.’ The second objective is to investigate the effects. Research on adoption policy. The third goal was to evaluate the utility of the life history method in researching the lives of ‘transracial adoptees.’ The thesis had a range of objectives in light of these goals. There were three goals in terms of the first goal: to investigate the racial identity formation of ‘trans-racial adoptees.’

The conceptualisation of a ‘transracial identity

The study identified a number of factors necessary for the formation of racial identities and the perceptions of ‘transracially adopted individuals’ by the adopt and this researcher. These observations and arguments were based on these findings. The story of Anthony and Peter revealed the first main result, which looked at the adoptees’ perceptions of being adopted into a family with an ethnic history that was either wholly or slightly different from their own. The story questioned, “how these interactions have affected the development of the racial identity of the adopted?” It was therefore discovered that the adopters knew their ethnic distinctions continuously. The current research has described these feelings of difference extensively. However, while most of these racially distinguished views were negative, it was found that adopted persons felt alone in the disparity and saw it as an ongoing reminder that they were not a “true” family member. It was also found that these variations were not viewed negatively by all adopters. This is because it has given them some unique positive publicity, i.e. they have become ‘novelty’ and have been treated well. This is an interesting finding. As it suggested that the adopts had ambivalent feelings about “trans-racial” adoption, i.e. not entirely for or against it. Thus the Chapter argued that in the sense to which these distinctions impact the conception of themselves of the adoptive family plays a crucial role. However, it also emerged that not all adoptees searched in order to resolve identified issues. Instead, they did so to answer the racialized questions of others. Therefore, the key finding of this Chapter argued that in different ways and to different degrees, the adoptees’ birth heritage plays a vital role in the adoptees’ development of a racial identity. That being said, it was observed that not all adoptees searched to address identified problems. They did it instead to answer other people’s racial questions. Consequently, the key finding of this research argues that the birth of adoptees plays a vital role in the development of their racial identity in different ways and to different degrees. This study investigated the adoptees’ racialized identity and negotiation of a ‘transracial identity by questioning what constitutes a ‘transracial identity. As a result, the study’s main finding emerged. Adoptees have a ‘transracial identity, which is a racialized identity that consists of being “mixed.” It was also found that there are numerous forms of ‘transracial identities since adoptees were racialized in various ways. Their acceptance, rejection determined the adoption of a particular type of ‘transracial identity, and challenging negotiations on their physical characteristics, socially and culturally constructed ideas of others, their experiences with their birth patrimony and, indeed, their racism experiences. This meant that their choice of a ‘transracial identity represented their negotiation of a positive racial identity that they felt comfortable with. This also supports the idea that racialised identities are not fixed, but rather they are open to interpretation and modification, meaning that there is no essential “blackness” or essential “whiteness.” Their choice of a ‘transracial identity’ meant that they negotiated a positive racial identity with which they felt comfortable. This also supports the idea that racialised identities are not fixed but open to interpretation and change so that no essential “blackness” or “blankness” is present. A “black”-“white” continuum shows how the adoptees have developed and settled on a racialised identity in order to map the development of this “transracial” identity. The research argues that the adopts have negotiated a “mixed” positive racial identity due to the ‘trans-racial aspects of their adoption. The complex, flexible and diverse nature of racial identity can be seen in this “mixed” identity. It is obvious that all the adopted people had somewhat different experiences and, therefore, a slightly different “transracial” identity. However, everyone had undertaken a process of negotiating racialised similarities and differences to resolve their ‘transracial identity. So whether or not they had strong ‘black’ identities, they all had the same ‘trans-racial problems that were linked to ‘black,’ Korean or ‘mixed race’ born and taken to a ‘white’ home. At the time, the adopters had a ‘transracial identity and had negotiated a position on a ‘black’ – ‘white’ continuum. Their identification of themselves in this continuum was based on how the people around them had socially categorised their race and the group inclusions and exclusions formed on the basis of (Denney and Ely, 1987). Therefore in ongoing social interaction with adopted ‘transracial identity, where established racially-based meanings and assumptions were adopted or rejected and questioned, the adopts would find a positive, ‘transracial identity which addressed the two sides of their ‘black’ and ‘white’ heritages, and felt comfortable with them. The adoption conditions and life experiences of the adopted people are ‘trans-racial.’ This is because they were born and adopted by a different ethnicity, i.e. because they were born from “black” (or of “ethnic minority”) heritage and were adopted as a “white” heritage. In this context, the study adopted were satisfied that the word “transracial” was used to characterise its adoption. However, as the adopts had negotiated a “mixed” racial identity that included all parts of their ethnicity, even though there were more “blue” or “white” who recognised themselves, they were not willing to use the word “trans-racial” to describe the racial identity. Therefore, this study challenges how the word ‘transracial’ is continued to define the racial identification of persons engaged in this form of adoption and proposes that an alternative term is to be used instead. The new term should recognize the diversity of ethnic patrimony. It is also important to determine the fact that the people to whom it refers are becoming increasingly active and their recognition of themselves as a separate race. From the point of view of sociological and social work, this substitute word must not further marginalize this group. It must also be an accurate but still usable expression. As a researcher who believes in close consultation with the community being studied, I think that the best source to consult in finding a substitute term is the existing population of ‘trans-racial’ adoptees, i.e. the adoptees interviewed in this report. Adoptees proposed that the replacement term includes the terms “mixed” or “multiple” to reflect the complex and numerous states of the adoptees’ racial identities. The adoptees also agreed with the researcher’s decision to use the word heritage to identify the adoptees’ families, history, and racial group in the report. Considering the suggested and preferred alternative to describe the adoptees, their racial identity formation, and the essence of their adoption is’mixed heritage,’ which is the term used from now on. A term like this emphasizes the shift away from restrictive positivist ideas about race and “blackness.” As such, the debate on “mixed heritage” and racial identity development has various distinctive advantages. First, the complexity of the race and the identity issue would be examined in greater depth. Secondly, a precise description of the experiences of a group of persons labeled, adopted like this. The new term would allow decision makers and social workers to consider the impact of broader social factors in early childhood development, allowing them to make more precise and responsible choices when placing children for adoption.

My belief and attitude

You may believe that you know yourself and your family members very well; however, before adopting a child of another race or culture, you should evaluate your values and attitudes regarding race and ethnicity. Consider if you have made any assumptions about people based on their race or ethnicity. This exercise serves two purposes: it tests you to ensure that this form of adoption is right for you, and it prepares you to be seen as “different.” When you adopt a child of a different race or culture, it is not just the child that is special. Your family transforms into a “different” family. Some people are at ease with diversity. To them, difference is exciting, wonderful, and one-of-a-kind. Others are afraid of difference and are uncomfortable with it. As a result, some relatives, family members, acquaintances, and even strangers will rush to your aid, while others might make disparaging remarks and stare. You should consider how you will react to the second group in a way that will make your child feel good about himself or herself during the pre-adoption process. When your child is young, an extra hug and a heart-to-heart conversation can be all that is needed to help him or her get through a tough situation. While the hugs and heart-to-heart conversations will continue, as your child grows older, you and your child may need more practical coping strategies to cope with any racial prejudice you will encounter as a family. Are you prepared to completely comprehend these problems and assist your family in dealing with whatever occurs?

Defining Race

The race is a human classification scheme focused on external features, including eye colour, skin tone, hair texture, and other facial and body characteristics. Via these features, humans are classified into ten distinct population categories, and this is reinforced by the fact that the characteristics are entirely inherited. A shared history, language, and traditions also some of the notable aspects that predetermines race in many ways; for instance, in America, African-American English is their language that reconstructs their race and differences. However, race creates a social reality via which social groping can be achieved; hence races lead to social constructs that develop under varied economic, legal, social, and political aspects (Mc Sherry, Malet, & Weatherall, 2013, p45). Historically, the origin of race can be traced since ancient times when people and groups of humans have in the long run identified themselves as different from their neighborhood groups of humans even though the though differences have not been well understood even in the past.

Confusions that may be caused

Adoption is based on multiple considerations that hold the necessity of having a child and a family. However, under different circumstances, adoption may be linked to multiple ideologies that may be subject to confusion. First, adoption in most multi-racial families is linked to a number of challenges that the child in question may experience before realizing his or her capabilities in life. Most orphans will prefer an environment that is substantially balanced and conducive; however one will always want to have a family and home where he or she feels appreciated and loved. The deep state of confusion is where one cannot be guaranteed less or no discrimination in the family and society simply because it is very common today (Malet, et al, 2010, p77). Perhaps, it is essential to keep adoption laws updated and followed to enhance a balanced and sustainable lifestyle.

Handling discrimination/rejection

Discrimination is one of the dominant challenges that adopted children experience in most cases. Coping with a new environment and culture is very difficult sometimes, and it may need someone to remain solid emotionally. Discrimination is mostly caused by differences in culture, race, and ethnicity. During adoption, parents are mostly advised to consider the child’s rights and maintain equity in their family to help avoid the feeling of injustice or unfairness amongst the adopted children. On the other hand, children can avoid discrimination by remaining positive towards new home culture and even race (Gupta, & Featherstone, 2020, p165). Captivating a high level of self-acceptance can also help one control his or her feeling without despair, even in case of discrimination. Moreover, rejection is part of life and can be handled by focusing on moving forward rather than remaining negative due to past experiences.

Adjusting among different races

Adoption, in most cases, acts as an opportunity for a lonely child to rediscover his or her dreams in life. Most orphans often hope to find new homes with the aim to start from scratch and build themselves to what they want to become in the future. In one way or another, adopted children are very adaptive to situations and can find ways to suit even in mixed and multi-cultural families. In Ireland, the politics of adoption identifies the aspect of commonality and differences in the dire experience of child adoption (Burns, K., & McGregor, 2019, p115). The reality of adoption is based on learning to accept and move forward despite physiological influence, especially information of emotional attachments with a new family and even race. Most of them struggle to redeem their low self-esteem and rediscover their capabilities due to new norms and practices that may outrage the existing ones.

The weight that they carry to balance each race outside of their home or even in family

The adoption of children from different backgrounds is tied to policies that focus on the adopted child’s well-being. In some instances, despite finding a new home, some children find it difficult to cope with the new and different culture at new homes (McGhee, et al, 2018, p1176). For multi-cultural adoption, the child has more weight to carry as compared to people of the same race. The way of life is ultimately different, and one may take time to get used to it. In one way or another, in a multi-cultural family, an adopted child might be getting everything he or she wants, but that connection with his or her family is still not there (Caballero, et al, 2008, p33). Under some situations, the pride of belonging to given ethnicity or background does not exist when the other race dominates the adopted child in a mixed multi-cultural family. The weight in balancing your race and that of a family member’s race is very difficult in the family and even outside the family.


The present thesis concluded with a conception of a “mixed patrimony” (formerly referred to as the “trans-racial”). In light of the adopted stories sampled in this study, it also re-examined the literature. The chapter utilises the results and experience of research to comment on the future of adoption policy and practice, where a number of advice are provided and reflect on the utility of the life (hi)story approach for studying this topic. Several observations on future research are also available here. All of these are presented with the five main findings and arguments of this study. The initial finding is that adopted individuals were continually conscious of their racial differences. In considering adoption, race must not be a factor. People should think the person and not the colour of the skin. Some people let the colour of the skin interfere with marriage, friendships and children. In American society, interracial couples become more acceptable. Some families are ready to share the love with kids regardless of race. Some risks are associated with adopting an infant, just as there are risks in life, so what does learn from other cultures through adoption wrong? When adults want to embrace children, they should be sure that they know exactly what their roles are.

While most of the views were negative as the adopts felt alone and saw that they were not a “true” family member, some adopted members had a positive understanding of those differences. That is important because it shows us that these differences will help the adopted person who is optimistic, has a high self-esteem and a positive view of himself. The next observation is that race and the racialized disparities caused by the adoption’s’mixed heritage’ dimensions are important factors in adoptees’ searches for their birth heritage. The third result is that people have a ‘transracial identity and that the racialized identity is not ‘black or ‘white,’ but ‘mixed.’ A fourth point is the useful perspective that the current population of ‘mixed heritage’ adopters will hold policy debates. The core argument is the importance of the analysis of life history, particularly the oral interview as a data collection method when studying the creation of a ‘mixed heritage.’ In general, an adopted or mixed-race child’s culture can have a role to play in his or her life in an adopted family. Adoption has some prevalent basic considerations and policies aimed at assuring protection of the adopted child’s rights in their newly found homes. Each country has its basic laws that govern the important aspects of adoption, such as age, whereby only a person aged at a certain age is allowed to adopt a child. Parenting also depends on multiple grounds, such as understanding the role to play as a parent. In some families, adopted children find it easy and less challenging to cope up with new culture if the parents are good at their roles. Perhaps, upon adoption, children can adjust to new norms and lifestyles by upholding high self-esteem to enhance new culture learning with time.


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Appendix A: Demographic Form