Navigating Identity: The Significance of Names in Self-Discovery

By Cj Rosenstiel

In the intricate tapestry of identity, our names are the first threads, weaving the fabric of who we are. They carry history and significance, shaping our sense of self from birth. But what if the name we're given doesn't quite fit? This question sparked my journey of self-discovery, delving into the essence of being and my place in the world. Despite multiple legal name changes, none felt right, prompting a deeper exploration.

When my partner, Jennie, and I welcomed our boys into our family, we knew their first names would remain unchanged. However, understanding the importance of cohesion and security, we opted for matching last names. This decision was crucial, providing a safety net for our young sons, especially our eldest, who was prone to wandering.

Embracing tradition and heritage, we decided on Hebrew names for our boys. Giving our eldest the agency to choose his Hebrew name empowered him to assert his identity. Jennie and I incorporated parts of their Hebrew names into their middle names, a collaborative process that reflected our family's journey of exploration and understanding.

Now, aged 12 and 10, both boys are aware of their full names given by their mother of origin. They understand the significance of names in shaping identity and know they have the freedom to explore and redefine themselves. Supporting their journey of self-discovery is paramount to us, as we hope they find names that are a perfect fit—a true reflection of who they are.

In our family, names are not just labels but symbols of individuality and belonging. They remind us of the complexities of identity and the power of self-discovery. As we navigate this journey together, our hope is that our sons embrace their names with pride, knowing they signify not only where they come from but also who they aspire to be.

Cj

Bio

Cj works in IT doing telephony project work at Progressive by day, advocating for trauma-informed care in public schools and as a board member of Transracial Journeys, he contributes to fostering understanding in transracial adoption communities. Together with his partner Jennie, Cj lovingly parents two transracially adopted boys by night, showcasing his commitment to family and inclusivity.

This post is from our April, 2024, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, as well as information about our annual Transracial Journeys Family Camp and our monthly Zoom call to provide support for our transracial adoption parents please subscribe.


Sharp Edges of Exclusion that Come with Adoption, Family Separation and Differences of Race

by TRJ Executive Director, April Dinwoodie

“Where is she from?”

“Does she look like her dad?”

“Do you know who her real parents are?” 

These and other questions came hard and fast at my mom and me when we were out in a world that wants us to match and did not understand the realities of adoption, family separation, and the impact of trauma that comes with both.  

As a kid, I never quite understood why folks were so interested in my family, why my mom would get kind of mad when these things would happen, and why I felt so weird when it did. Why did anyone care what we looked like, why I was brown, or how we came together as a family?  Also, what were “real parents” anyway?  None of it made sense and over time, unwanted attention based on how I looked and where I “fit” within the family that surrounded me was constant. In a majority white community where families matched, I was singled out and often wondered if I belonged anywhere.  

In addition to the comments about how our family looked there were comments about how lucky I was or how lucky our family was.  Lucky? Why was I lucky to have what everyone else had, a family?  It did not make sense and it made me feel uncomfortable.  We rarely unpacked these things as a family so I was left to wonder why my family was so different, why I was different and why I should feel the least bit lucky about any of it?  

Sitting next to all of this were my complex feelings of sadness and confusion about my family of origin and looking so different from the people around me.  While I truly loved my family and  these feelings were not all-consuming, they were serious distractions as I navigated the world.  I simply wanted to fit in, to be like everyone else and to feel like I belonged.  

There was no bright or easy path to true belonging because those closest to me did not realize the weight of my reality and most others were too busy expecting me to be grateful.  I needed a community like TRJ to help my parents know and do better and I needed to be around other children and families.  

This year TRJ’s camp theme centers on inclusivity and belonging.  As always, we will create space for deep learning and development as well as moments for joy and community.   Together, we will work to soften the sharp edges of exclusion that come with adoption, family separation and differences of race.  Together, we will co-created the brightest path to belonging for the children entrusted to you through adoption.  

This post is from our March, 2024, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, as well as information about our annual Transracial Journeys Family Camp and our monthly Zoom call to provide support for our transracial adoption parents please subscribe.


Continued Reflection: What Love Means with Racial Identity as a Central Element

by TRJ Executive Director, April Dinwoodie

As a kid I remember hugging my dolls, my dog, and my books.  These were the things that I loved and I held them close at heart.  I had lots of dolls but there was one that my mom made for me it was brown like me and had coarse hair made of yarn that looked and felt like mine.  I loved this doll so much. The arms and legs moved and she was soft yet durable.  I loved on that doll so much, eventually part of her hair fell out.   Even then, bald patch and all, I loved her.

Growing up on a farm, there were lots of animals around but our dog Monique was my sister and my favorite.  She was a poodle.  She was black and she was a complete love.  She would be the one in our room during thunderstorms and we’d hold her tight as we waited for the storm to pass.

My books were another prized possession that I loved and held very close. Specifically, this set of hardcovered Disney books that I read over and over, I would literally hug them and hold them close to my chest.  I would get lost in these classic fairytales and at the same time, find myself in the family disruption and conflict.  The eventual happy endings gave me hope. 

Confusion of Love and My Family of Origin

With the love from my adoptive family and others around me, I understood that loving people and things meant you held them, you kept them close, and you looked after them.  Imagine my confusion when my adoptive parents explained adoption and my separation from my family of origin as something related to love. 

The mother I grew inside of loved me so much she gave me to another mother, father, and family to love.  It did not make any sense.  I was confused and was not even sure what questions to ask.  There wasn’t any additional conversation and so I wondered about this love thing.  Could I really be loved and left?  Does everyone that loves you eventually leave?   

This foundational complexity was intertwined with the reality that I was a different race than the family that surrounded me.  Yet another topic that did not get enough discussion and with this, my very specific needs that were different than my siblings were not met.

Love and Racial Identity

It’s been a long time since I was that little girl holding tight to her books and dolls.  I’ve had to wrestle with lots of elements of love and racial identity, focus on healing, and find my place of self -love and wholeness on my terms.  Today, I can clearly articulate the things I needed then that would have elevated the realities of love and racial identity in the context of adoption.  As I look back, I can see that many of the transactional elements of love were there but some of the transformational elements were not. 

There was love around me but not enough comfort and conversation surrounding the realities of our multiracial family that was connected because of loss of another family.  My parents did not lead the way forward into the harder parts of our coming together as a family.  There was an avoidance of family of origin altogether. And even though my mother knew that having a brown baby doll mattered, there was a color-evasiveness that left me unprotected in the majority white environment. 

This month, as you elevate even more celebration and honoring of Black history than you do all year long, remember that deeply loving the child entrusted to you through adoption requires your continued reflection on what love means with racial identity as a central element.   Be sure to lean into the conversation cards this month.  Even if you have to sit quietly alone and hold the questions close, do that in earnest.  Keep coming back to these foundation elements even if you think you’ve got this, bring in that higher love!  You’ve got this and I love you! 

This post is from our February, 2024, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, as well as information about our annual Transracial Journeys Family Camp and our monthly Zoom call to provide support for our transracial adoption parents please subscribe.


Celebrating a Decade of Dedication: Honoring Avril McInally’s Inspiring Journey with TRJ

by TRJ Executive Director, April Dinwoodie

Honoring Avril McInally

A decade ago, Transracial Journeys (TRJ) was graced by the presence of an exceptional individual, Avril McInally. Her relationship with TRJ has been nothing short of transformative, not only for her family but for our extended family of adoption. As Avril takes her leave from the TRJ Board of Directors, her commitment and contributions will always be remembered.

Avril's journey began when she and her daughter Mary attended their first camp, in northern Pennsylvania. Inspired by their initial camp experience, Avril and Mary became dedicated volunteers, and Mary evolved into a counselor-in-training and Co-Director of Children’s Programming. Avril's other daughter, Maggie, also joined as a camp counselor, solidifying their family's bond through TRJ's unique experiences.

The McInally connection to TRJ has fortified their multiracial family formed through adoption. Through TRJ, they have delved into discussions about adoption, race, racism, family, and trauma. Avril acknowledges the pivotal role that TRJ has played in helping her balance these complex issues. The organization has provided them with a platform to explore and commit to these important matters, fostering a sense of security and solidarity among them.

Avril has witnessed firsthand the transformative impact of TRJ on its counselors, who found a sense of community among their peers. She encourages families with teenage children to consider becoming counselors-in-training, emphasizing the privilege she has experienced in watching counselors she has known since childhood blossom into inspiring leaders.

Avril's journey with TRJ took another significant turn when she joined the board and later became an officer. As the board secretary, she dedicated herself to various tasks, from recording meeting minutes to fundraising, building connections, and helping to organize annual camps. Her contributions extended to creating content for the monthly newsletter and curating an annual bibliography of essential books for families.

While Avril recently retired from her lifelong career as a public librarian and embarked on her small business venture, an exciting opportunity emerged. She was invited to write music for an independent film. Despite her deep sense of honor and curiosity, Avril realized that she couldn't fully commit to the project without relinquishing another responsibility. With a heavy heart, she made the difficult decision to tender her resignation from the TRJ board.

As Avril McInally steps away from her role as board secretary at TRJ, her spirit continues to resonate. Her camaraderie and unwavering dedication have left an indelible mark, and her hope for TRJ's continued growth and success remains. Avril's journey with TRJ serves as an inspiration to all, a testament to the transformative power of commitment and community. Thank you, Avril for the decade of dedication to TRJ. We are deeply grateful and we look forward to our continued connection.


Reflections: Entry Point for Living Fully with Authenticity and Purpose as an Adoptive Family

by TRJ Executive Director, April Dinwoodie

As I reflect on my younger years as a transracially adopted person, I am filled with so many wonderful childhood memories with my sister, brothers, my parents and extended family. I am also filled with the memories of feeling isolated with my feelings and thoughts about adoption and differences of race.

My parents, busy as they were looking after us, were not in tune, and rhythm with some of the needs that I had as a Black/biracial transracially adopted person. We didn’t talk enough about the realities of separation from family of origin or differences of race, and I was left to navigate these big real realities mostly on my own.

Conversations: An Entry Point for Living Fully with Authenticity and Purpose

Today, I can confidently say that the entry point for living fully with authenticity and purpose as an adoptive family where difference of race is present, is grounding conversation that is ongoing and ever present in your daily life.

Adoption is both a journey rooted in love, and it’s also a path intertwined with unique challenges, especially when it involves racial differences. It’s crucial to recognize that adoption doesn’t just create your family; it weaves together origins, cultures, and backgrounds that may be vastly different.

Encouraging an Environment of Discussion

Start by encouraging an environment where questions and discussions about adoption and race are welcomed and encouraged. It’s important for children to feel safe in expressing their feelings and curiosities. This always starts with you.  So often, I hear parents say – “my child never asks me questions” or “they never really want to talk about adoption or our differences”.  Almost always the questions are there but the space to explore them is not. 

Getting more into the flow of ongoing conversation requires commitment from parents and caregivers as well as resources to support the effort.   Use books, movies, and cultural events as tools to celebrate your child’s heritage and your family’s multiculturalism. This not only helps them connect with their roots but also aids the whole family in understanding and appreciating culture, ethnicity and heritage more holistically.  Check out our book corner and conversation cards as you continually add to your tool kit. 

Connecting With Other Adoptive Families

Another way to scaffold your family is to connect with other adoptive families, especially those with similar dynamics. Sharing experiences and insights can be invaluable for both parents and children.  Transracial Journeys is excited to remind parents of a partnership that began in October 2023 with Adoption Network Cleveland to bring our parents the  Transracial Adoptive Parent Support Group. Join us Thursday, January 18, 2024 7:00pm-8:00pm and third Thursdays of each month.  Registration details can be found on the Adoption Network Cleveland website.

And finally, do not be ashamed or afraid to seek professional guidance from counselors or therapists, particularly those who specialize in adoption and multicultural families. They can provide strategies and support for navigating complex emotions and situations.  Here is a state by state directory of mental health professionals who identify as adoptees and work with adoptees /adoptive families in a variety of public and private settings. This list was curated by Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker and I encourage you to visit her website to learn more. 

Remember, these conversations are not a one-time event but an ongoing dialogue that evolves as your child grows. It’s about building a foundation of trust, understanding, and respect for your child’s unique identity and your families unique reality. 

This post is from our January, 2024, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, as well as information about our annual Transracial Journeys Family Camp and our monthly Zoom call to provide support for our transracial adoption parents please subscribe.


The Gift of Growing up with Books to Reflect a Diverse Human Experience

by TRJ Parent and Librarian, Avril McInally

Image from The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

Meet “Peter” the small African-American child who inspired Ezra Jack Keats “The Snowy Day”.

Ezra had noticed that the main characters in the books he illustrated were always white. That didn’t seem fair to other children, who deserved to see characters in books that looked like them. He decided that Peter would be the hero of his story because “he should have been there all along.”

Origin of the Annual TRJ Bibliography

A few years ago and with a similar thought in mind, I (TRJ parent and librarian, Avril McInally) thought about searching for books for Black children with characters that look like them and reflect their experience. Then, I thought of finding books featuring characters who were adopted, biracial or LGBTQIA+. So began the annotated bibliography for families formed by transracial adoption in 2021.

A year later, Vicki Richards, a children’s librarian stepped in to help find and vet these books too because, unfortunately, some still don’t quite get the adoption experience right. For the last few years, we’ve been reading lots of books and reviewing them.

2023 Bibliography for the Giving Season and All Year Long

This year, we’re attaching the 2023 Bibliography to this month’s newsletter so you can work to:

  • Support authors and illustrators who are POC (people of color)
  • Support a small, but growing group of authors who are adoptees
  • Give books to our children and families so they can see reflections of themselves in them
  • Give books to white children and families to help them understand the perspective of children who are Black or queer or who have experienced adoption
  • So you don’t miss the boat on giving your children the opportunity to grow up with beautiful books, stories and characters that reflect their experiences

I recommend supporting independent bookstores, especially Black-owned ones and purchasing your books directly from them. If you want to visit a brick-and-mortar shop and don’t know where to find one, just call your local public library and ask a librarian to help you locate one. We have also included links to each book as found on bookshop.org which helps to support independent bookstores.

I’ll see you at TRJ camp in Athens, Ohio next summer with a fully-stocked book sale featuring our book picks for 2024!

Avril

This post is from our December, 2023, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, as well as information about our annual Transracial Journeys Family Camp and our monthly Zoom call to provide support for our transracial adoption parents please subscribe.


Beyond Words: Sustaining Strong and Healthy Families

by TRJ Executive Director April Dinwoodie

Generosity and good heartedness are core values in the family system I was adopted into.  Throughout the year and especially during at the holiday season,  you’ll hear members of my family saying, "There is always room at our holiday table." It's a sentiment that suggests inclusivity and kindness and it feels good to open hearts and home to folks that may need a seat at your family table. 

With this spirit and with amazing cooks in the mix, on any given Sunday or holiday, there is a mix of family and friends, old and new, around our dining table. Laughter, love, and abundance fill the space and it’s hard not to feel blessed to have been enveloped into this warmth. At the same time, there were members of my family of origin that hung at the edges. As extended family and friends gathered round our table, I could not help but wonder where my extended family of origin were where? What were their holiday cultural traditions? And what was it like to look around a table and see genetic mirrors and physical resemblances?

Adoption is often characterized as a beautiful and transformative journey that brings families together. It is often accompanied by the sentiment, "There is always room at our table," reflecting the openness and love adoptive parents have for the children entrusted to them through adoption. However, when these words are spoken while family of origin are not welcomed, it raises important questions about the true meaning of inclusivity within the adoption experience.

The Importance of Family of Origin Inclusion:

Family of origin is an intrinsic part of identity and heritage for all human beings. Excluding family of origin from the adoptive family's table sends a message that their role and connection are not valued or acknowledged. It is essential to recognize that an adopted person’s story is not complete without healthy connections to the family that came before adoption. Excluding them not only denies the child their full history but can also create feelings of loss, confusion, and a sense of divided loyalty.

Adoption requires parents to center on true inclusivity and shift from merely extending words of welcome to actively fostering connections with family of origin. Here's how adoptive parents can challenge the status quo and create a more inclusive environment:

See Family of Origin as Your Family too:

I often hear adoptive parents speaking about an adopted person’s family of origins as “their family” when in reality, it’s really “our family.” Even with the complexities of family separation, abuse and neglect, there are ways to be in relationship with even the idea of family of origin with open, truthful, and age-appropriate conversation. In order to fully embrace family of origin, parents must first internalize their feelings connected to the kin of the child. This is big human work and with supports as needed, community to validate the difficulties, and with the best interests of children at the center, these important connections are possible.

Building Bridges, Not Barriers:

View the family of origin as potential partners and positive influences in the child's life. If healthy relationships are not possible, there are other complications with the contact and previous abuse and neglect, you may have to work hard to make sure there is at the very least a conversational connection to family of origin. By integrating the appropriate level of discussion and action surrounding family adoptive parents demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and recognize the value of the child's entire support network and the importance of healthy identity.

Celebrate Shared Moments:

For more practiced families, incorporation of the family of origin into significant events and milestones in the child's life can be transformational. Birthdays, graduations, and holidays can be celebrated together, creating an inclusive environment where a child does not feel they have to choose which family they want to celebrate with. If there is not an opening for connections to family of origin, you can engage in active dialogue about the family that is not always present to acknowledge and honor the child's roots, traditions, and cultural heritage.

Create Opportunities for Conversation:

Take the lead in fostering a supportive environment where children feel comfortable discussing and exploring their feelings about family connections. Encourage open conversations about adoption and provide resources that help them understand and navigate your unique family dynamics. By acknowledging and validating emotions, parents can help their children develop a healthy sense of self and identity. The November conversation cards help set the tone and guide discussions.

Remember, as adoptive parents, when you say, "There is always room at our table," are you truly open to any and all pulling up a chair? Inclusion goes beyond words; it requires active efforts to build bridges, promote open communication, and celebrate shared moments. By recognizing the importance of family of origin, adoptive parents can create a more culturally appropriate and nurturing environment for children. Only by embracing the full spectrum of a child's identity and heritage can we truly honor the spirit of adoption and create a more inclusive, loving, and supportive family dynamic.

I sought out my family of origin and am in connection with many family members on my maternal side but we have yet to all sit down at the holiday table together. My hope is that your children get connected to origins in whatever way possible with you by their side with open hearts and minds.

This post is from our November, 2023, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, as well as information about our annual Transracial Journeys Family Camp and our monthly Zoom call to provide support for our transracial adoption parents please subscribe.


Masks, Masking, and Mental Health

by TRJ Parent Avril McInally

It’s now autumn. The leaves are changing color. The days are getting shorter. Some of us are getting ready to celebrate Halloween at the end of the month. Whether or not we participate in this holiday, we can all relate to masks for one reason or another. They’ve been used throughout the ages in religious ceremonies, as works of art, as occupational accoutrements and as protection from disease. A mask is a cover for the face or a disguise. It may be used to frighten, shock or simply amuse others. A mask hides what lies behind it.

The National Council for Adoption states, “The statistics are revealing. A third of adolescents referred for psychotherapy are adopted. Adolescence is the peak period for psychiatric referrals in the life of the adoptee. Approximately 5–17 percent of adolescent adoptees receive mental health services, although they represent only 2 percent of the population.1 While research suggests that these statistics may reflect the fact that for a variety of reasons, adoptive parents may be more inclined to seek out services for their teens, it is also true that many adopted teens need specialized support. Adolescence is a time when adoptees struggle with an extra layer of challenges related to their identity, their future, and their past. The “normal” or typical developmental tasks of the teen years are intensified by adoption, particularly if teens are being raised by parents of a different race or culture.”

As we think about the impact of loss, grief, and differences of culture and race it stands to reason that transracially adopted persons might wear masks more frequently than their non-adopted peers. October 10, 2023 is World Mental Health Day and we can dig deeper into the meanings behind masks and the practice or habit of masking for children with intersectional identities.  “Mental health masking means camouflaging or suppressing your mental health symptoms so you fit in with others.” “People mask their mental health symptoms because they want to maintain their relationships, keep their jobs, and be socially accepted.”  To put a finer point on this for our community, it’s been widely discussed that adopted persons often put on masks to shield their caregivers or because there is seems to be little validation or support when they do share feelings.  One of April’s prompts from her October suite of cards asks, “have you ever tried to hide or mask your feelings?” It’s a good question to ask. Consider also asking another of her prompts for the month “do you think people wear masks that we can’t see?”

Make time and space for having these conversations with your children. Use the props of masks and masking to help bring awareness to and support of your children’s mental health this October.

This post is from our October, 2023, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, as well as information about our annual Transracial Journeys Family Camp and our monthly Zoom call to provide support for our transracial adoption parents please subscribe.


Reclaiming the Calendar

by Avril McInally

Per Encyclopedia Britannica, one of the definitions of the word reclaim is, “to get back something (that was lost or taken away).” Think about this definition for a minute.   Generally, I’ve considered the claiming (the taking), but not the reclaiming (the loss that has occurred). It’s how most of society processes adoption.  People generally think about the claiming and the taking but not the loss that has occurred. 

April asks in her cards for September, “What special days do you put on the calendar every year so you don’t forget?”  I  write some things down… my daughters’ birthdays, my fiancé's birthday, vacations to look forward to, holidays, special invitations, deadlines, one of my favorite bands playing near my hometown, medical appointments and more. But, never have I thought what in my calendar is a reclamation of what’s been lost?  What’s been lost and how do I reclaim it? What’s been lost for my adopted daughter and how can I help her regain what she’s lost?

Think about this, Dear Reader, and consider using your calendar to reclaim your child’s identity, culture, family of origin as you continue to build an inclusive, multicultural and “multifamilial” (yes, I just made that word up) vehicle to celebrate your family.  Here are some other meanings of the word reclaim to help you in this endeavor:

 

Recondition

Redeem

Remodel

Regenerate

Recycle

Restore

Recover

(for more about this month's theme of how to use reclaiming the calendar as a way of bringing your family more clarity and confidence, see our post on this month's conversation prompts; September is for Navigating and Moving Through Life with Clarity and Confidence)

This post is from our September, 2023, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, as well as information about our annual Transracial Journeys Family Camp and our monthly Zoom call to provide support for our transracial adoption parents please subscribe.


Books, Books and More Books featuring Black protagonists!

by Avril McInally and Vicki Richards

August is the month we prepare our children for going back to school and April’s August card for Facing and Embracing Differences of Race and Culture asks some introspective questions that might prepare our families for the school year to come.

  • What can you do to better prepare me for what I might face at school?
  • How do you think your experiences in school were different from mine?

To help us adults to remember and to introduce our children to a range of possibilities and experiences that might unfold for them in the academic year ahead, we choose to focus on differences of race and culture via our recently-launched Transracial Journeys Bibliography. This bibliography has been a year in the making and prepared for our families by myself (a professional adult librarian) and my friend and colleague Vicki Richards, a professional children’s librarian. From birth through adulthood, we’ve curated a collection of titles that share experiences (fictitiously and non-fictitiously) that touch on topics and stories shared from the perspective of African Americans.  Whenever we could find them, we also included stories and experiences of adoption, fostering, blended families, and LGBTQ+ people. There isn’t a lot out there about adoption, but there is more now than there has been in the past. Vicki and I are searching for more for next year’s bibliography.

In this Transracial Journeys Bibliography 2023, back-to-school and school themes are prevalent as stories like the following unfold:

  • Vanessa in “Becoming Vanessa” grapples with her name on the first day of school
  • “Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn” depicts a multicultural society experiencing the change of season
  • “Henry at Home” illustrates what happens between siblings when one of them leaves home for the first time to attend kindergarten
  • In “Class Act” we see our Black protagonist enter 9th grade in a mostly white school
  • Dax Devlon-Ross in “Letters to My White Male Friends” shares a lot about transitioning from an all Black school to an all white private school as a child in D.C.. His memoir imparts glimpses into racial situations our own children might be navigating but don’t want to talk about.

In most of the fiction for teens or young adults, there are lots of school scenarios depicting not only first love but also attending Black Lives Matter marches or children coping with racism and/or bullying.

Between us, Vicki and I have read every single title on this bibliography and either one or both of us has wholeheartedly endorsed the books that made it to our list. It’s in your hands to promote, support and share this growing, beautiful body of Black authors and illustrators. It’s in your power to create a reading experience for your children populated with bedtime stories, humor, comics, memoirs and literary experiences featuring Black characters and protagonists. There is a literary African American canon, unfolding and building momentum, of authors and illustrators we should be sharing with all of our children (Black and white). It would be a loss to not grow up experiencing the books of Kadir Nelson, Sharon Flake, Jewell Parker Rhodes, Sharon Draper, Kwame Alexander, Justin Reynolds, Jason Reynolds or L.L. McKinney to name a few.

It’s our hope that you not only share these titles with your children, but that you (the grown ups) read them too in order to get some insight into the landscapes our children navigate away from home and away from us (their parents, their teachers, their neighbors, etc.). We also would ask that you share these books with non Black or non adopted children and adults to help promote more understanding of the sometimes invisible challenges of racism or phobias our children encounter. These books help us get back to Facing and embracing differences of race and culture. Sometimes this embrace can be as simple as cracking open a book, turning the page and sharing it with a loved one.

With a love of and wonder in reading,

Vicki Richards and Avril McInally

(click here to open/print/download Transracial Journeys Bibliography 2023)

This post is from our August, 2023, newsletter. If you would like to get our newsletter in your inbox each month, as well as information about our annual Transracial Journeys Family Camp and our monthly Zoom call to provide support for our transracial adoption parents please subscribe.