What can be said in answer to the argument that only same-race placements give a child a positive racial identity? Our response is that it is not necessary for a child to identify with his entire cultural system whether he is black, Asian, Latino, or white. Many white adoptive parents successfully teach their children about their ethnic/racial culture and help foster in them a sense of ethnic pride.
How well white parents do in raising children transracially has been researched for more than twenty-five years. According to Elizabeth Bartholet, however, few of these studies were designed to look at the positive aspects of transracial adoption, and virtually none were set up to assess the negatives associated with same-race placements only. No studies have been done to compare the experience of children placed immediately with white families to those of children held in foster or institutional care while they waited for a same-race home.
In a long research study on transracial adoptions that focused on African-American, international, and Native American children who were placed transracially, adoptees have been found after twenty years to be stable, emotionally healthy, and comfortable with their racial identity and to have positive relationships with their parents. Most of the children in the study were adopted before the age of one.
The materials for this course have been reprinted with permission from the book The Complete Adoption Book, Third Edition, Copyright © 2005, 2000, 1997, by Laura Beauvais-Godwin and Raymond W. Godwin. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Media, Inc. Co. All rights reserved. The complete book is available at bookstores on and offline.