Title

Experiences with Birth Culture, Identity, and Feeling Different: Insight from Transracial Adoptees

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2015

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Michael Chovanec

Abstract

Ethnic and racial socialization of transracially adopted children has been acknowledged as a vital social work practice area in the adoption community. Transracial adoptees are often torn between two cultures and attempt to navigate their identity in a racialized society. Parents play a critical role in supporting the development of their child's ethnic and racial identity. The primary purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between parental involvement and engagement with their adopted child's birth culture and the child's ethnic identity development and sense of belonging and acceptance. Using an online survey design, the study recruited 62 transracial adoptees between the ages of 20 and 55. The results showed that as parents placed more value and importance on learning the values and heritage of their child's birth country, the child identified less feelings of being different. However, over half of the respondents (56.5%) reported no emphasis was placed on learning the values and heritage of their birth country and no respondents (0%) reported too much emphasis. Twenty-four respondents (38.7%) rated the amount of emphasis as "Just the right amount." Additionally, multiracial participants reported the highest feelings of being different compared to the other ethnic groups represented in the sample. The findings suggest that parental efforts for socializing children to their ethnic and racial culture are crucial.

Keywords

transracial adoption, ethnic identity, race

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.