Adopting kids

Beth Hall, Director of PACT - An Adoption Alliance, shares advice for parents of transracial adopted families on raising your children and teaching your kids to celebrate their race and culture
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Adopting kids

When people come to me and want to ask about transracial adoption, I have a few ideas and things to give them for advice. First of all race matters, and for those of us that are white in particular, sometimes we are under the allusion that it won't matter because we don't want it to matter. We want to feel close to our kids, but if to feel close to someone we need to see them for who they are. So we need to name it, we need to learn how to talk about it and that can present some challenges. We haven't been taught by our culture how to talk about race very often, so we have to learn to talk about it, to name it, to recognize it, to become our childrens' ally. Other pieces of advice? Stay connected to your kids. Eat dinner with them every day. Whether it is really dinner or figuratively, spend time together. Adopted children have had a first experience, and maybe several experiences, of broken relationships, from that first mother (their birth mother) and maybe in orphanages, maybe in foster homes. Whatever it is. They need to know, as every child needs to know, but the especially need to know we are in their corner and nothing could break our connection to them. We have their back no matter what. They need to know that. We need to act like that. One of the things that is unique, perhaps, about this kind of parenting is that our experience is really different from that of our childrens. We have a different racial experience in the world. Most of us that adopt transracially, we are not adopted ourselves. We have a different entry into our family experience. And that's really important when we think about how we are going to parent our kids. It's really important to recognize that their experience is different than ours and to be thoughtful about that, what that means about every parenting decision we are making.

Beth Hall, Director of PACT - An Adoption Alliance, shares advice for parents of transracial adopted families on raising your children and teaching your kids to celebrate their race and culture


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Beth Hall

Director, Pact - An Adoption Alliance

Beth Hall is an adoption educator who co-founded Pact, An Adoption Alliance, which is a multicultural adoption organization dedicated to addressing essential issues affecting adopted children of color. Pact offers lifelong support and placement services for birth and adoptive families with adopted kids of color. A national speaker, she is also the author of numerous articles and a book, Inside Transracial Adoption, which is filled with personal stories, practical suggestions, and theory, and delivers the message that race matters; racism is alive; and families built transracially can develop strong and binding ties. In 2010 she received the Outstanding Practitioner in Adoption Award, from the Adoption Initiative at St. John's University. She currently serves as a contributing author and advisory board member for “Adoption Clubhouse,” a project promoting positive identity in transracially adopted children for the Evan B. Donaldson Institute for Adoption and as an Advisory Board Member for the On Your Feet Foundation, dedicated to supporting birth mothers of adopted children.Commitment to family is a way of life for Beth. She is the white adoptive mom of two young adults: Sofia, a Latina, and James, an African American. Beth grew up a member of an adoptive family—her sister, Barbara, was adopted. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and sometimes her adult children, when they are home.

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