Home   JFSRI News   Mark your calendars; JFS to host a thought-provoking and poignant transracial adoption program

Mark your calendars; JFS to host a thought-provoking and poignant transracial adoption program

“Creating Family Across Race”

Each adoption brings its own unique joys and challenges, yet parents adopting children through transracial adoptions – an individual or a couple adopting a child of a different race – face a different set of issues. “When you don’t match [your children in appearance], you’re pretty conspicuous as a family,” said Peg Boyle, LICSW, JFS Adoption Options’ adoption coordinator. Recently, many parents who’ve adopted transracially, through Adoptions Options or elsewhere, are eager to come together for mutual support, education and, perhaps, socialization.

Given those requests for more education, JFS is excited to host this program on transracial adoptions. The first is a workshop with a Caucasian couple, who wrote a book about their adoption of two African-American boys. In their book, “The Interracial Adoption Option: Creating a Family Across Race,” Marlene Fine and Fern Johnson eloquently depict their sons’ lives from infancy through young adulthood, and their roles as adoptive mothers, said Boyle.

After hearing the couple speak in another forum, Boyle was determined to bring this “fantastic couple” to Providence. Their highly informative and engaging presentation, “White Women Raising Black Children,” will include a Q-and-A session and the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the authors. The free program, open to the entire community, will be held September 22nd from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Jewish Family Service, 959 North Main Street, Providence, RI. Fine and Johnson will share the benefit of their wisdom with audience members and read brief excerpts of their book, which will be available for purchase, as well.

Their book drew positive reviews on Amazon, too. “This work eloquently weaves together cutting edge scholarship on racial identity development in children with pragmatic approaches to parenting transracially,” Kathleen Reardon, Ph.D., MSW, founder and co-director, Crossroads Counseling Associates, Harvard, Mass., wrote in a review for Amazon. “They provide rich vignettes that boldly and poignantly illustrate the preparation and skills necessary for all involved in the field of transracial adoption.” Don’t know if we need this or if it makes the story too long.

Several reasons contribute to the upswing in transracial adoptions in recent years, said Boyle. With more International adoptions, a shrinking pool of young Caucasian children available to adopt and more individuals embracing transracial adoptions, it’s becoming more popular.

While JFS staff have heard some say, “I don’t even notice color, I just want to provide a loving home for a child,” it’s important to remember, said Boyle, that we still live in an era where color counts. “Caucasians who adopt transracially have privileges, including the privilege of not experiencing racism first-hand; their children, however, will have the experience of encountering racism.” She continued, “As much as they’re your children and you love them, they are different from you in a very basic, powerful way.”

Made continues continued as her quote was in past tense…

While transracial adoptions can be fulfilling, joyful and richly meaningful to parents and children alike, individuals and couples who pursue transracial adoptions should be prepared to be especially thoughtful and reflective about their values and lifestyles as well as those of their extended family, friends and community members.

“We hope this event will draw an audience of adoptive parents, potential adoptive parents and anyone interested in learning more about transracial adoption,” said Boyle, who added that individuals attending the program can get information about JFS’ Adoption Option services and monthly informational sessions.

For more information, contact Peg Boyle at 331-1244 or peg@jfsri.org.

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