What Is a Transracial Family?

We're excited to introduce April Dinwoodie, chief executive of the Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) in New York City and the latest member of our team of industry experts. A transracially adopted person herself, April is committed to DAI's mission of improving adoption laws, policies and practices through sound research, education and advocacy.

Brian: Hi, Brian here with Gays With Kids, and today I have a guest that I'm very, very, excited about; everybody, please meet April Dinwoodie. She's the Chief Executive of the Donaldson Adoption Institute. April does a ton of work helping adoptive families, especially transracial adoptive families. In fact, that's what we're here to talk about today. So, April, welcome and thank you so much for joining us.

April: Thanks Brian, thanks for having me.

Brian: April, what would you like to say to the many gay dads in our community who are raising transracial families?

April: So first it's important that we talk about what the definition really is. What I would say first is that most, many, ALL in my opinion, adoptions are transcultural because there are no two families' culture that is exactly the same, even if you went as far as to get very specific about the family of origin and the family of experience and almost make it cookie-cutter … no two families operate the same.

Second, I would say the most obvious differences are in race, different race, when it comes to transracial adoption and being a more obvious family when you are a different race than that of your children. And we see that in blended families that have nothing to do with adoption when there is a mixing of races, but certainly there is a specific way we operate in transracial families.

The first and most important thing that most families and parents should be thinking about is their own connection and feeling and realities about difference of race, class and culture. When you start there, you can really help your kids and help them to really understand where they fit in. A big part of that, too, is to understanding that and the connectivity to families of origin and birth families. We don't always know the culture and what the ethnic and cultural background of your adopted child so it's hard to embrace that fully.

There are a lot of core jumping off points and places that we'd start with to make sure that a) we understand what the culture and what the ethnicity is, and then how we all embrace that. And then obviously as human beings, how we think and feel about race, class and culture.

Watch the next video: Race, Class & Culture: When and How to Talk to Your Kids.

Posted by April Dinwoodie

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