Connecting With the Black Community

Find ways to bond and connect with the culture of your adopted African American child.

A girl who is part of a transracial family smiles at the camera

Dru Davies is the mother of three teenage children, two of them adopted transracially. Her 18-year-old daughter Jane wrote, “Even though Mom is white, she has been the one to teach me racial pride.”

Here Dru offers a few words of practical advice to parents hoping to do the same:

Joining an African-American church: “It turned out to be a really nice experience. I just looked in the phone book, and I found African Methodist Episcopal, which is about 10 miles from where we live. The people there were very welcoming to all of us.”

[Expert Audio: Transracial Adoption—Are We Prepared?]

Finding support: “The minister at our church has been very supportive over the years. When a discriminatory situation arose at my daughter’s school, I talked to him one on one, and then he spoke to us together. Kids need to know that racism exists and be as prepared as possible to handle it.

I also found a black psychologist through the Department of Social Services. I asked if they knew of someone my daughter could talk to about racial issues, and they were able to refer us to someone not too far from our home.”

Hair care: “You need to find a good beauty parlor or barber shop and learn to help with hair care. Here in New England, we have the New England Black Pages, a phone book of black-owned businesses. (It’s also on the Web.) I located several beauty parlors that were not too far away, we tried out a few of them, and we finally settled on the one that my daughter liked best.”

[Parent-to-Parent: Explaining Attention and Questions from Strangers]

Educating yourself: “We joined the NAACP, and their magazine, The Crisis, has book reviews for high school-age kids, as well as for adults. As a parent, it’s so important to educate yourself along with your children. Ever since the kids were little, whenever I’ve found movies or books with a multicultural theme, I’ve brought them home for us to share.”

Camps and other activities: “If you live in a place where there aren’t many people of color, I would recommend going into a city and joining a YMCA or YWCA, where your son or daughter can meet a more diverse range of kids. I also found a really good leadership and cultural awareness camp for black kids, Camp Atwater, in North Brookfield, Massachusetts. My son has gone—this will be his third year—and it’s been very helpful to him and to the family.”

Understanding temperament: “A lot depends on whether you have a sensitive child or one who’s more happy-go-lucky. My son accepts himself as part of a multiracial family. He’s been willing to do more things, like Camp Atwater. My daughter hasn’t been willing to do all the same things. I’ve learned to be receptive to that.”

[Preparing Our Children to Talk About Race]


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