Transracial Adoption Books for Adults

PicMonkey CollageThe cream of the crop on books regarding transracial adoption, black history, black culture.  *Books written by adoptees, first families and/or people of color are marked with a *.

Different and Wonderful: Raising Black Children in a Race conscious Society, by Dr. Darlene Powell Hopson and Dr. Derek S. Hopson.  Direct and clear, this book offers a positive, realistic approach to preparing African American children to become productive and self respecting (actually their advice holds true for children of any minority).

Does Anybody Else Look Like Me? A Parent’s Guide to Raising Multiracial Children, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa.  Nakazawa’s new book offers advice from both parents of children with multiracial or transracial backgrounds, and from the children themselves.

I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Raising Healthy Black and Biracial Children in a Race Conscious World, by Marguerite Wright.  This guide for parents and teachers of black children offers clear, compelling, well grounded advice on self esteem, shatters common myths about race, and reveals practical ways adults can instill children with positive racial identities.

Inside Transracial Adoption,  by Gail Steinberg and Beth Hal. This ambitious undertaking is sure to become a classic. There has never been a more comprehensive guide for families whose members don’t “match.” Authors Gail Steinberg and Beth Hall stress the practical over the theoretical, offering specific suggestions and personal advice.

*It’s All Good Hair, by Michele N K Collison.  Here’s an excellent book for parents beginning to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of braiding, twisting, and parting as well as those practiced in these arts who want to expand their repertoire.

*Kinki Kreations: A Parent’s Guide to Natural Black hair Care for Kids, by Jena Renee Williams. Offers step by step, easy to follow instructions for styles that can be created in less than fifteen minutes. This innovative handbook reveals expert techniques for crowning little heads with afros, braids, cornrows, twists, and a variety of other all natural styles. Tips for proper shampooing, caring for newborns’ hair, and finding the right salon are included too. Best of all, Kinki Kreations showcases Williams’s work in dozens of adorable, helpful photographs.

Wavy, Curly, Kinky: The African American Child’s Hair Care Guide, by Deborah R. Lilly. Now taking care of your child’s hair can be fun, easy, and trouble free! In Wavy, Curly, Kinky, renowned stylist Deborah Lilly shows parents the best ways to style and maintain African American boys’ and girls’ hair from infancy to the preteen years. She presents clear, easy to follow hair care guidelines for the three different types of African American hair and gives you expert recommendations for the best products and techniques for each hair type.

Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption, by  Barbara Katz Rothman.  In Weaving a Family, the sociologist and white mother of an African American girl provides an accessible, sensitive portrayal of the inherent sociological complexities of mixed race adoption and parenting.

Plaited Glory, by Lonnice Brittenum Bonner.  Gives the lowdown on everything from choosing a braiding salon to differentiating between styles and their costs. More than a “hair do” book, this is a hair primer with a cultural twist. Photos.

Brown Babies Pink Parents, by: Amy Ford. A practical guide for Caucasian parents who are raising Black children. With firsthand experience in facing the challenges of transracial adoption, she addresses a multitude of concerns from basic skin and hair care, racial socialization, accepting white privilege, and ways to celebrate the diversity of your family.

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by: Beverly Daniel Tatum.  As Tatum sees it, blacks must secure a racial identity free of negative stereotypes. The challenge to whites, on which she expounds, is to give up the privilege that their skin color affords and to work actively to combat injustice in society.

*The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, by: James McBride. Tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan.  The Color of Water addresses racial identity with compassion, insight, and realism. It is, in a word, inspiring, and you will finish it with unalloyed admiration for a flawed but remarkable individual and, perhaps, a little more faith in us all., by: Gregory Howard Williams.  This autobiography presents the unusual story of a man who grew up believing he was white, but who discovered he had a father who has passed for Italian but who was actually half black. The family’s split began his journey along the color line and the author’s personal explorations of the social and economic differences between white and black worlds.

*I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by: Maya Angelou.  In this first of five volumes of autobiography, poet Maya Angelou recounts a youth filled with disappointment, frustration, tragedy, and finally hard won independence. Sent at a young age to live with her grandmother in Arkansas, Angelou learned a great deal from this exceptional woman and the tightly knit black community there. These very lessons carried her throughout the hardships she endured later in life, including a tragic occurrence while visiting her mother in St. Louis and her formative years spent in California where an unwanted pregnancy changed her life forever. Marvelously told, with Angelou’s “gift for language and observation,” this “remarkable autobiography by an equally remarkable black woman from Arkansas captures, indelibly, a world of which most Americans are shamefully ignorant.”

1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History, by: Jeffrey Stewart.  Jeffrey C. Stewart, Associate Professor of History at George Mason University, takes the reader on an all encompassing journey through the entirety of African American history that is pithy, provocative, and encyclopedic in scope. Here are all the people, terms, ideas, events, and social processes that make African American history such a fascinating and inspiring subject.

*Growing Up Black in White, by: Kevin Hoffman.  Born to a white mother and black father in Detroit in 1967, the author was taken to a foster home and then adopted by a white minister and his wife, already the parents to three biological children.  In this fascinating memoir, Hoffman reveals the difficulties and joys of being part of this family, particularly during a time and in a location where acceptance was tentative and emotions regarding race ran high and hot. Hofmann shares with readers the pressures and joys of being part of a family that navigated through tumultuous waters, and came out the victors in an old and oft fought battle. This is a book that offers insight, humor, and plenty of hope.

, by Jaiya John.  uly 15, 1968. It is only three months following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the nation is burning. Black and White America are locked in the tense grip of massive change. Into this inferno steps an unsuspecting young White couple. Neither significantly knew even a single African American person while growing up. Now, a child will change all of that forever. In this fateful moment, a Black baby becomes perhaps the first in the history of New Mexico to be adopted by a White family. Here is a brazenly honest glimpse into the mind and heart of that child, a true story for the ages that flows like a soulful river separated from his mother at birth, placed into foster care, adopted, and finally reunited with his biological family in adulthood an astounding journey of personal  discovery. Jaiya John has opened the floodgates on his own childhood with this piercing memoir. Black Baby White Hands, a waterfall of jazz splashing over the rocks of love, pain and the honoring of family.

*In heir Own Voices: Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories, by: Rita Simon and Rhonda Roorda. Nearly forty years after researchers first sought to determine the effects, if any, on children adopted by families whose racial or ethnic background differed from their own, the debate over transracial adoption continues. In this collection of interviews conducted with black and biracial young adults who were adopted by white parents, the authors present the personal stories of two dozen individuals who hail from a wide range of religious, economic, political, and professional backgrounds. How does the experience affect their racial and social identities, their choice of friends and marital partners, and their lifestyles? In addition to interviews, the book includes overviews of both the history and current legal status of transracial adoption.

In Their Parents’ Voices: Reflections on Raising Transracial Adoptees, by: Rita Simon and Rhonda Roorda.  These candid interviews shed light on the issues these parents encountered, what part race played during thirty plus years of parenting, what they learned about themselves, and whether they would recommend transracial adoption to others. Combining trenchant historical and political data with absorbing firsthand accounts, Simon and Roorda once more bring an academic and human dimension to the literature on transracial adoption.

In Their Siblings’ Voices: White Non Adopted Siblings Talk about Their Experiences Being Raised with Black and Biracial Brothers and Sisters, by: Rita Simon and Rhonda Roorda. In Their Siblings’ Voicesshares the stories of twenty white non-adopted siblings who grew up with black or biracial brothers and sisters in the late 1960s and 1970s. Belonging to the same families profiled in Rita J. Simon and Rhonda Roorda’s other books, these siblings offer their perspectives on the multiracial adoption experience, which, for them, played out against the backdrop of two tumultuous, politically charged decades. Simon and Roorda question whether professionals and adoption agencies adequately trained these children in the challenges presented by blended families, and they ask if, after more than thirty years, race still matters. Few books cover both the academic and the human dimensions of this issue.  In Their Siblings’ Voices helps readers fully grasp the dynamic of living in a multiracial household and its effect on friends, school, and community.

*Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, by: Jane Jeong Tranka, Julia, Chinyere Oparah, and Sun Yung Shin. Healthy white infants have become hard to locate and expensive to adopt. So people from around the world turn to interracial and intercountry adoption, often, like Madonna, with the idea that while growing their families, they’re saving children from destitution. But as Outsiders Within reveals, while transracial adoption is a practice traditionally considered benevolent, it often exacts a heavy emotional, cultural, and even economic toll. Through compelling essays, fiction, poetry, and art, the contributors to this landmark publication carefully explore this most intimate aspect of globalization. Finally, in the unmediated voices of the adults who have matured within it, we find a rarely considered view of adoption, an institution that pulls apart old families and identities and grafts new ones. Moving beyond personal narrative, these transracially adopted writers from around the world tackle difficult questions about how to survive the racist and ethnocentric worlds they inhabit, what connects the countries relinquishing their children to the countries importing them, why poor families of color have their children removed rather than supported about who, ultimately, they are. In their inquiry, they unseat conventional understandings of adoption politics, ultimately re-framing the controversy as a debate that encompasses human rights, peace, and reproductive justice.


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