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Today you can get the box and have the video and step-by-step instructions in different languages.” There tends to be a dispiriting response to stories of transracial adoption—particularly when adoptees dare share feelings of ambivalence or pain—that adoptees should be grateful, considering the alternatives.

But to suggest that they should pipe down because they didn’t languish in foster care or an orphanage is to deny the idea that every child deserves the best possible home with a family who is willing and prepared to meet their needs.

In our own adoption training I mostly remember sitting in our agency’s room with other prospective white parents nibbling on fruit and cheese, listening to white people talk about race.

The main takeaways were either aesthetic in nature, about the practicalities of black hair and skin care, or hopelessly broad.

At the time Ben was a 6-year-old boy who had just learned to ride his bike after only two trips up and down the driveway with his father running alongside him.

Her mother did many smart things to foster her only daughter’s connection to the land of her birth.She accepts for now that she is confusingly adrift between her American and Chinese identities.“I think every adoptee inevitably is going to go through a period where the shock of race is real,” she says. And when you’re really depressed and feel really different you don’t want to hear .“When I meet adoptive parents I tell them to look to my era to what didn’t work,” says Chad Goller-Sojourner, 43, a Seattle-based black author and playwright who was adopted by white parents and who is working on a book that is half memoir and half training exercises for adoptive parents.“If you imagine my parents, they were the ones who got the box of Ikea furniture with no directions in Swedish English.

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