Parenting in Transracial Adoption

Real Questions and Real Answers

by Jane Hoyt-Oliver, Hope Haslam Straughan, and Jayne E. Schooler


Hundreds of thousands of adopted children in America live in transracial families.

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Cover image for Parenting in Transracial Adoption

February 2016


Pages 171
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Psychology/Child and Teen
  Race and Ethnicity/General

An essential resource for transracially adoptive parents and the professionals who serve them, this book offers practical strategies for helping a transracially adopted child through the challenges he or she may face.

Anchored in a qualitative study of parents who have adopted children identified as being of a different race, this book draws from real-life experiences to raise and respond to questions that arise before, during, and after transracial adoption. Its goal: to help adoptive parents (and child welfare professionals) understand the underlying racial challenges in a transracial adoption so they can help their children cope.

The book addresses questions from the obvious—for example, how to respond to comments from family and community members—to the practical—how a Caucasian mother can learn to help her African American daughter groom her hair. Topics include parental understanding of race while growing up, parental understanding of the challenges within the community, and communicating within the adoptive family. The book also shares advice from practitioners about preparing and supporting families in transracial adoption. A highlight of this book is a chapter written by three adult adoptees who grew up within transracial families.

Equipped with the information in this helpful volume, readers will be prepared to parent in ways that empower, rather than impede, their child's social, emotional, and identity development. This book will enable children welfare professionals to better help and support parents involved in these processes.


  • Includes advice and questions for discussion and thought by parents considering transracial adoption; for parents already on the journey with older children, the authors examine racial identity development
  • Offers concrete strategies for parents parenting a child from a different race
  • Provides practical steps related to managing influences and opinions from within the extended family and the community
  • Suggests ways parents can learn from members of their child's racial community—and how to manage challenges that arise in transracial adoption situations
  • Shares the stories of three adults who were transracial adoptees as well as vignettes from (and interviews with) dozens of parents who were involved in transracial adoptions
Author Info

Jane Hoyt-Oliver, MSW, PhD, ACSW, is chair of the Department of Social Work and professor of social work at Malone University in Canton, OH. She was named Social Worker of the Year for the state of Ohio in 2000 and has presented nationally on adoption and on social work ethics. She and her husband adopted their daughter as an infant.

Hope Haslam Straughan, MSW, PhD, ACSW, is associate dean for social work, leadership, and policy and associate professor of social work at Wheelock College in Boston. She has presented nationally on the subject of adoption and on spirituality in social work practice. She serves as a volunteer foster care case reviewer for the Department of Children and Families in Massachusetts and is on the boards of FAMILY, Inc. and KEY, Inc. She and her husband adopted their two sons when they were preschoolers.

Jayne E. Schooler, MBS, has worked for many years as an adoption worker and trainer, both nationally and internationally. She is the author or coauthor of six books related to adoption, including The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family; Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Children: Making Sense of the Past; and Wounded Children, Healing Homes: How Traumatized Children Impact Adoptive and Foster Families. She and her husband adopted their son when he was in his early teens.



"This book offers insight and strategies for parents to help them prepare their children and their family for the world as it exists. Beyond parents, this book is an indispensable resource for professionals working with TRA families. This book will help clinicians working with TRA children or parents continue this important dialogue."—PsycCRITIQUES

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The Educated Parent 2 cover imageParenting Mentally Ill Children cover imageTelling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child cover image

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