Book Review: In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption

Title: In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption by Rhonda M Roorda
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Adoption, race

Synopsis: While many proponents of transracial adoption claim that American society is increasingly becoming "color-blind," a growing body of research reveals that for transracial adoptees of all backgrounds, racial identity does matter. Rhonda M. Roorda elaborates significantly on that finding, specifically studying the effects of the adoption of black and biracial children by white parents. She incorporates diverse perspectives on transracial adoption by concerned black Americans of various ages, including those who lived through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era. All her interviewees have been involved either personally or professionally in the lives of transracial adoptees, and they offer strategies for navigating systemic racial inequalities while affirming the importance of black communities in the lives of transracial adoptive families.

(72) Review: This is a straight forward and very eye opening book for white families adopting black or bi-racial children.  With a lot of adoption history as well as civil rights history there are interviews with prominant figures that speak on helping trans-racially adopted children learn about their roots, learn what it means to come from whatever rich culture they are from.  Its about helping white families empower their children of color without sugar coating the realities, its about teaching parents how to help their children of color grow up in a still very racist society.  While some of the content of this book might be very in your face, its needed to break through the barriers of many white parents who take on a color blind approach to parenting. The world isn't color blind so adopting transracially often means getting out of your comfort zone for the sake of your children.

This book also provides a wake up call to agencies and those who place children for adoption to educate families and really find the appropriate families to raise children of color.  Not all families are cut out for the job, it's not always comfortable, its not always easy but the rewards are worth it when you raise a confident child who has a sense of cultural identity. Straddling two worlds can be complicated as Ms. Roorda can attest to as a woman of color raised by white parents.  This is not a book bashing trans-racial adoption in fact she supports it but also encourages families to step up and look at the hard questions in deciding if trans-racial adoption is the right fit for thier family and encourages agencies to take step out of their comfort zones and really teach families about what trans-racial adoption really entails.