SOCIAL SCIENCES

What White Parents Should Know about Transracial Adoption: An Adoptee’s Perspective on Its History, Nuances, and Practices

North Atlantic Oct. 2021. 264p. ISBN 9781623175825. pap. $18.95. CHILD REARING
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Guida-Richards didn’t learn until age 19 that her white American parents had adopted her from Colombia. When she tried to read up on adoption, she found mostly materials written by agencies, mental health professionals, or parents who had adopted; there were few resources from an adoptee’s perspective and almost none from a transracial and transnational perspective. This book is an attempt to bridge the gap. Guida-Richards writes that adoptees often struggle with self-destructive thoughts or insecurities, so parents who adopt must learn to help their kids process these emotions. She discusses microaggressions, implicit bias, white saviorism, and other challenges that multiracial kids face, with a special focus on the complications that adoption (particularly by a white parent) can add to these struggles. Her focus is on transnational transracial adoptions; other books may better address transracial adoption within the U.S., specifically of Black and Indigenous children (see Susan Devan Harness’s Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption). Guida-Richards ends her book with responses to a survey of adoptees and parents.
VERDICT A much-needed volume from an adoptee’s perspective; sure to be a must-read for parents who adopt. Recommend alongside Nicole Chung’s memoir All You Can Ever Know.
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