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Transracial Adoption

  • W.I.S.E. Up Powerbook by Marilyn Schoettle (6-teens). Great resource for helping older kids handle personal and general questions about adoption. This one is a must have for parents and kids alike. I used this as a discussion starter to be read to my kids when they were in early to mid elementary school and then left is where they could access it when they were older.
  • A Euro-American on a Korean Tour at a Thai Restaurant in China by Chris Winston. I wasn’t exactly sure where to include this book. It is not really an adoptive parenting book, yet it talks about adoptive parenting issues. It is not really a transracial adoption book, yet it talks about raising transracially adopted kids. Since the chapter on race and transracial adoptio is so strong, I decided to include it here. This book is an honest account of one mother’s journey to bridging the gap between her two transracially internationally adopted kids with their birth culture. If you are interested in going beyond culture camps and cooking lessons, this book is a jewel. Winston explores the ups and downs of her desires to create a truly dual culture for her kids. Ultimately she founded the Korean Adoptee/Adoptive Network. BTW, don't you just love the title?!
  • Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama. This well written memoir is an honest portrayal of the successes and struggles of being raised as a black child in a white family. Although Obama is mixed race, the world perceived him as black, and he had to learn to live in American society as a black man. His journey was not always smooth and his struggles were not those of an average American adolescent, but he survived and obviously has flourished. The love and support of his mother and grandparents supported and grounded him. This is a great resource to help white parents understand from a black child’s perspective what it is like to be raised in a white family and society. It was written shortly after he left law school, and is not a political book.
  • Gift Children by Doug Bates. A fascinating memoir of a white couple who adopted two black babies in the 1970's. The following quote from the book sums up the book beautifully: “My spouse and I have no illusions about tidy, fairy-tale endings, and life continues to mix our blessings with setbacks. Like America, we are somewhat more cynical today, a little less idealistic, a lot more world-weary than we were back in 1970 when we thought we could handle just about anything life chose to send our way."
  • Black Baby White Hands: A View from the Crib by Jaiya John Dr. Jaiya John was the first black child in the history of New Mexico to be adopted by a white family. In this emotionally honest memoir he talks about being raised in a white family. He was loved deeply by his adoptive parents and it is through their love that he puts all the pieces of past and future. This is a book for parents or teens, but I suggest that you read it first so you can talk with your teen about it.
  • Dim Sum, Bagels and Grits: A Sourcebook for Multicultural Families by Myra Alperson. Alperson adopted her daughter from China as a single mom. I like this book for many reasons, mostly the voice and the the fact that she includes the stories of adult transracial adoptees. Great book if you are considering adopting across racial lines.
  • In Their Own Voices, In Their Parents' Voices, and In Their Siblings' Voicesby Rita Simon & Rhonda Roorda. In Their Own Voices is a collection of interviews with young adult transracial adoptees, and In Their Parents' Voices, as the title suggests, is an interview of parents who have adopted in the first wave of transracial adoptions. In Their Siblings' Voices is a story of 20 white non-adopted siblings who grew up with black or biracial brothers and sisters. The first book answers the questions like, "how does being raised by parent's of a different race affect a young adult's racial and social identities, their choice of friends and marital partners, and their lifestyles?" In the second book, parents discuss what worked in parenting and what would they do different. In the third book, the children of the families in the other two books share their experiences with multiracial adoption.
  • Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption edited by Jane Jeong Tranka, Julia Chinyere Oparah and Sun Yung Shin. I'll have to be honest that this was a hard book for me to read; however, this collection of essays, focusing on the darker side of transracial adoption, is important for us to consider since the authors are the ultimate experts--adult transracial adoptees. I question whether they are a representative sample, but I imagine the editors would say that it wasn't their intent to give a representative view.
  • Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff. Although written by a mother who adopted transracially in a U.S. open adoption, this book addresses hard issues any family formed by adopting across racial lines may also face
  • A Single Square Picture by Katy Robinson. Memoir by an adult Korean who was adopted at age seven and returned to Korea to search for her birth family.
  • After the Morning Calm: Reflections of Korean Adoptees edited by Sook Wilkinson and Nancy Fox. Collection of essays by adult Korean adoptees expressing a range of emotions and experiences.
  • Beyond Good Intentions: A Mother Reflects on Raising Internationally Adopted Children by Cheri Register. Interesting viewpoint of a mom of two children adopted from Korea who are now adults.
  • Inside Transracial Adoption by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall. Written primarily from the perspective of Caucasian parents adopting African American children domestically, but still useful information.
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