While many proponents of transracial adoption claim that American society is increasingly becoming "color-blind," a growing body of research reveals that for transracial adoptees of all backgrounds, racial identity does matter. Rhonda M. Roorda elaborates significantly on that finding, specifically studying the effects of the adoption of black and biracial children by white parents. She incorporates diverse perspectives on transracial adoption by concerned black Americans of various ages, including those who lived through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era. All her interviewees have been involved either personally or professionally in the lives of transracial adoptees, and they offer strategies for navigating systemic racial inequalities while affirming the importance of black communities in the lives of transracial adoptive families.
In Their Voices is for parents, child-welfare providers, social workers, psychologists, educators, therapists, and adoptees from all backgrounds who seek clarity about this phenomenon. The author examines how social attitudes and federal policies concerning transracial adoption have changed over the last several decades. She also includes suggestions on how to revise transracial adoption policy to better reflect the needs of transracial adoptive families.
Perhaps most important, In Their Voices is packed with advice for parents who are invested in nurturing a positive self-image in their adopted children of color and the crucial perspectives those parents should consider when raising their children. It offers adoptees of color encouragement in overcoming discrimination and explains why a "race-neutral" environment, maintained by so many white parents, is not ideal for adoptees or their families.
|Publisher:||Columbia University Press|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Foreword, by Leon W. Chestang
Introduction: Moving Beyond the Controversy of the Transracial Adoption of Black and Biracial Children
Part I. Jim Crow Era (1877–1954)
Evelyn Rhodes, great grandmother and matriarch
W. Wilson Goode Sr., first black mayor of Philadelphia (1984–92)
Cyril C. Pinder, mentor and former National Football League player
Part II. Civil Rights Era (1955–72)
Arthur E. McFarlane II, great grandson of W. E. B. Du Bois and advocate for the preservation of cultural heritage
Lora Kay (pseudonym), principal of a charter school in Washington, D.C.
Chester Jackson, professional adoption worker and adoptive father
Henry Allen, professor of sociology
Part III. Post–Civil Rights Era (1973–Present)
Vershawn A. Young, author and scholar
Michelle M. Hughes, adoption attorney and adoptive mother
Mahisha Dellinger, CEO and founder of Curls
Deneta Howland Sells, physician and civil rights advocate
Tabitha, child welfare bureau chief
Bryan Post, CEO of the Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy and adoptee
Shilease Hofmann, spouse of a transracial adoptee
Chelsey Hines, foster care alumna and transracial adoptee
Demetrius Walker, entrepreneur and cofounder of the dN|BE Apparel
Appendix: Multicultural Adoption Plan
What People are Saying About This
In the fourth installment of In Their Voices, Rhonda M. Roorda delivers the missing voices of black and biracial nonadopted adults on the topic of race, family, identity, and adoption. The transcribed interviews, laid bare without analysis, convey the keen insights of her participants, as well as pieces of her own story. In journeying through the reflections of persons who grew up during the Jim Crow era, the civil rights era, and the post–civil rights era, readers will come to realize that the identity work for any person who is racialized in our society is complex, context-tied, and a lifetime process. This book is not preachy or overly academic, and it is unique for its historically situated organizing of the interviews by generation. Thanks, Rhonda, for keeping the conversation of racial socialization and identity going within and beyond the adoption community!
An important and frank book that deepens the conversation around transracial adoption. Roorda examines the history of transracial adoption in America and the challenges black adoptees face in white households, broaching topics that few dare talk about but many think about. Every transracial adoptive family should have this on their bookshelf.
A straight-forward statement on the problem of developing positive racial identity for transracial adoptees. It provides a clear context for the problem, and a creative response through sixteen interviews with persons who have credibility to speak to the issue.
At a time when a postracial society remains an elusive fantasy, In Their Voices is indispensable. This book represents the dinner party I wish my parents had thrownfull of interesting African Americans whose wisdom I now know reflects my own experience. Whether formed through adoption or marriage, multiracial families looking for tools to raise healthy children of color will find Roorda's latest book to be a valuable resource.
Roorda has made a major contribution to the study of transracial adoption by introducing into the scholarly discussion the impressions and memories of adoptees and others intimately associated with this important, albeit neglected, facet of American race relations. While forthrightly sharing her own views, she displays an impressive ability to elicit and document a wide array of beliefs and sentiments that have played important roles in shaping the contours of interracial adoption policy. In Their Voices is a fascinating and intelligently edited compilation, one that should receive a broad readership.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Who can resist this cover? It stirs deep emotions, and anyone with experience in or concern for biracial families will find this book as heart and mind-opening as the cover. As with the Roorda-Simon trilogy, these interviews come alive thanks to Rhonda's congenial personality and insightful questions. Dr. Chestand's Foreword sets the stage where all are welcome, whether pro, con or unsure about trans-racial adoption. The Black American interviewees' stories interwoven with their views and counsel regarding black children raised in white communities provide excellent reality checks and encouragement for social workers, parents, adoptees, teachers, and people of faith.
In her newest book, “In Their Voices Black Americans on Transracial Adoption”, Rhonda Roorda, a transracial adoptee, takes a step many of those involved in transracial adoption should take, that is, to ask Black people what they think about this controversial subject. As with many issues, those intimately involved are usually those we can learn the most from, after all they have lived it. Rhonda interviews Black people who have unique historical and contemporary perspectives on how transracial adoption evolved from the recommendations against transracial adoption by the National Association of Black Social Workers in 1972 to the enactment of MEPA and IEPA in 1994 and 1996. Many transracial adoptive parents who have adopted since the enactment of the latter bills have little idea of the historical issues involved in this controversial subject. Rhonda’s book not only explores the historical context but adds the extremely important insight that only Black Americans can share. Our country has not evolved much unfortunately, since the Civil Rights era of the sixties. The development and necessity of the Black Lives Matter movement is a primary example. I believe that most transracial adoptive parents love their children deeply and want the absolute best for them. I also believe that social workers and policy makers care about these children as well. However, we cannot and must not ignore what Black people say about what it’s like to be Black and their experiences matter! Transracial adoptive parents and those involved in these adoptions will find in Rhonda’s latest book, not only the important historical issues but the wise words from the perspectives of those who live “being Black” every day. One of the interviewees, Cyril Pinder, who was one of Rhonda’s mentors and a former NFL player, tells Rhonda, it is her job, as a transracial adoptee to educate these parents to encourage them to make connections to the black community. Rhonda has accomplished that with this book and how she has dedicated her life to helping transracial adoptees like herself. However, it is not just Rhonda’s job. As a transracial adoptive parent myself and a social worker, it is not only my primary job as well, but it is the responsibility of all of us involved in transracial adoption to do the absolute best we can and Rhonda has lived the life, done the research and given us the information and the advice we all must heed! We absolutely owe it to these children! Kathy Yates Transracial adoptive parent and social worker