Many foster arrangements and adoptions are “transracial”, meaning the child is of a different race or heritage than one or both of the foster or adopting parents.
As it is, foster and adopted children are subjected to “microaggressions” which are subtle (and not-so-subtle) slights based upon their family status.
Add to this the fact that children who are racial minorities can be subjected to hundreds of microaggressions per month (English, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology) and it becomes crucial for parents to address these issues head-on.
Two approaches experts tend to favor are “cultural socialization” and “preparation for bias training”. Both have data that corroborate they improve a child’s self-esteem and ability to cope.
Cultural socialization is when the whole family takes a real interest in the race, culture and heritage of their child. This means getting exposed to the history, music, food, film, books and other facets of that child’s birth culture.
One example of a cultural socialization opportunity exists in Chicago, where Styles4Kidz provides hair styling services for transracial families so non-African American parents can learn about how to celebrate the tradition of styling and keep their kids feeling confident and proud. A salon doesn’t necessarily have to be set-up to train parents for you to go with your child, have them feel welcomed and for you to learn a few crucial basic skills.
Not surprisingly, the data strongly supports the value of social culturalization in transracial foster and adoptive families. A study of 241 US, caucasian families that adopted children from Korea showed that children were 26% more likely to have higher self-esteem when their families practiced social culturalization.
In this course we'll cover the steps to starting the foster process, how to help children who've suffered emotional and physical trauma, how to navigate transracial challenges, what the process looks like for single and LGBTQ individuals, and the process of adopting through the foster care system.