What Do Race/Ethnicity Have to Do with Loving Your Foster/Adoptive Child?

It may feel like enough to simply provide love, stability, and care for children and youth from hard places. But part of parenting is helping your child understand who they are and affirming their identity so they maintain a sense of self and a connection to their family and community.

In this moving talk about growing up in a multicultural family, Annie Bellavia shares her complicated experiences being raised in a white family and how it impacted her understanding of her own identity and her family connection. Annie makes the case that if you’re parenting a child whose race or ethnicity differs from your own, you will likely need to be more intentional in talking about and integrating your child’s cultural background into your caregiving and everyday life.

Foster and adoptive parents who care for a child or youth from a different culture, race, or ethnic background might try some of these ideas to support a child’s or youth’s birth identity:

  • Join multicultural support groups
  • Attend religious services in the child’s faith community
  • Incorporate food and festivals into family life
  • Take lessons in the child’s birth language
  • Enroll the child in a diverse school
  • Find transcultural role models for the child
  • Discuss racial issues as a family

Interested in more conversations and learning centered around race and ethnicity? Foster, kinship, and adoptive parents are encouraged to join any of our media circles.