Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Transracially Adopted Child's Bill of Rights

Our adoption agency, WACAP, got a new website recently and in surfing around I found a link to Pact, a non-profit organization formed to support transracially adopted children. They have a ton of articles to that end, and I will most likely spend quite a bit of time sorting through them in the coming weeks. But the one I gravitated to right away was called A Transracially Adopted Child's Bill of Rights. Here they are:


A Transracially-Adopted Child's Bill of Rights
Adapted by Liza Steinberg Triggs from "A Bill of Rights for Mixed Folks," by Marilyn Dramé
  • Every child is entitled to love and full membership in her family.
  • Every child is entitled to have his culture embraced and valued.
  • Every child is entitled to parents who know that this is a race conscious society.
  • Every child is entitled to parents who know that she will experience life differently than they do.
  • Every child is entitled to parents who are not looking to "save" him or to improve the world.
  • Every child is entitled to parents who know that being in a family doesn't depend on "matching."
  • Every child is entitled to parents who know that transracial adoption changes the family forever.
  • Every child is entitled to be accepted by extended family members.
  • Every child is entitled to parents who know that, if they are white, they benefit from racism.
  • Every child is entitled to parents who know that they can't transmit the child's birth culture if it is not their own.
  • Every child is entitled to have items at home that are made for and by people of his race.
  • Every child is entitled to opportunities to make friends with people of her race or ethnicity.
  • Every child is entitled to daily opportunities of positive experiences with his birth culture.
  • Every child is entitled to build racial pride within her own home, school, and neighborhood.
  • Every child is entitled to have many opportunities to connect with adults of the child's race.
  • Every child is entitled to parents who accept, understand and empathize with her culture.
  • Every child is entitled to learn survival, problem-solving, and coping skills in a context of racial pride.
  • Every child is entitled to take pride in the development of a dual identity and a multicultural/multiracial perspective on life.
  • Every child is entitled to find his multiculturalism to be an asset and to conclude, "I've got the best of both worlds."


I want to take some time here in coming weeks to reflect on each of these, as this is a complex list that proscribes a rather tall order for intentionality and flexibitily for adoptive parents. Not all of these "rights" are ones that make intuitive sense to white people - many are aspects of our ethnic identity that are invisible to us because we are ascribed them automatically. More on that soon.

I'm away this weekend, working at a church training event, but expect to see more on this and related issues when I return.

1 comment:

  1. oh this is wonderful!! i have to check out their new site!!

    ReplyDelete