Mitt Romney And Transracial Adoption


transracial adoption mitt romneyAs an international adoption agency, MLJ Adoptions is familiar with transracial adoption and the issues that surround it. The complexities of adoptive parenting are only magnified when parents raise children of a different race than them, doing the best they can to preserve an adoptive child’s culture and help him or her navigate society as a confident independent person. Parenting itself is a daunting task, adding in a racial component brings added challenges. Race and adoption were recently brought to the front line this past week when former governor and Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, appeared in his family’s Christmas card picture surrounded by his grandchildren, the youngest, recently adopted, sitting on his lap. The photo of Kieran Romney sitting with his grandfather set off a storm of controversy after the photo was shown on Melissa Harris-Perry’s talk show.

Instead of the photo leading to meaningful conversations about race and adoption, commentators used the opportunity to highlight the lack of diversity in the Republican Party and to mock the difficulties that Kieran Romney will experience because of his race. Sadly, one young boy, recently adopted into a high profile family demonstrates the prejudice of American society and its inability to discuss race in a productive manner. In an American society full of transracial families and transracial adoptions, the inability to discuss the complexities of race could lead to poorly adjusted adults unsure of where they fit.
Throughout a family’s adoption journey, no matter which country a family chooses to adopt from, MLJ Adoptions provides cultural education to begin conversations with parents that will continue throughout their child’s life. Race is a significant part of a child’s personal and cultural identity. Without learning how to converse in a meaningful way about who they are, children will be unable to interact with a large part of their identity. While we believe it is largely the responsibility of adoptive parents to help their adoptive child explore and create their identity, the recent news coverage highlights just how outside factors can influence how children view themselves. The adoption community and larger society can only hope that conversations about race become more constructive, especially when adoption is concerned.
We want to know what you think. Transracial families are all around us, is this a conversation that even needs to happen any more?

Photo via Mitt Romney’s official Twitter page.

For more information about MLJ’s international adoption program, please click here.

Caitlin Snyder works as the Director of Marketing and Outreach for MLJ Adoptions. Working in international adoption has given Caitlin the unique opportunity to pursue both a passion to advocate on behalf of vulnerable people and a profession at the same time.