We are family—a husband and wife, mom and dad, sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters. Sometimes we forget that we don’t have solely biological “ties” within our family. The facts of “born into” and “adopted into” are blurred. How we came together holds no importance, other than it is part of our incredible family story and rich culture.

Sometimes we fail to see how much we do differ when with each other. We dwell deeper, seeking and recognizing the human essence encased within the skin and features of the child or adult we know, love and respect. Despite our differences we are far more alike than not.

We take it for granted that others outside of family and friends “see” those invisible threads and how we interconnect and transect. We forget that others can’t get past the fact that a family comprised of whites, Hispanics and Asians is unusual—until we are reminded by one of those “why don’t you take a picture” looks, an intrusive comment or question. Such is the territory of transracial and multiracial families. Conspicuous families.

What adults and children question and comment on unifies us because we are forced to confront and talk over why those questions and comments arise and how we feel and address them. We talk and share, over and over again, the remarkable stories that are part of us, as individuals and as a family. Being in the position of having to validate the legitimacy, the “ties,” of our family on a regular basis provides the opportunity to claim our children and each other over and over again.

Claiming is important. It is an integral piece of the foundation of healthy relationships. Take every opportunity you can to claim your children. Remind them that they belong and they fit into your family. Claiming says:

“I value you.”

“You matter.”

“You belong.”

By using possessive adjectives, such as: “my child, “our family,” and “your sister,” you reinforce the connection of your family’s members. Celebrate what you enjoy and have in common—foods, hobbies activities. Emphasizing family relationships will encourage a feeling of safety and deepens attachment in your children.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.