White parents' perceptions of their role in the racial socialization of their transracially adopted children
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This qualitative study explored the ways in which white transracially adoptive parents describe their roles in the racial socialization of their children. This study provides an understanding of these parents’ racial socialization practices as well as their thoughts regarding racial differences. As social worker’s our quest in assisting transracially adoptive families in attaining their highest functioning should include an understanding of the family dynamics, which includes the parents’ perspectives on racial socialization. The basic qualitative design used in these study employed in-depth interviews of 8 mothers and the constant comparative method of analysis in pursuit of the following questions: 1) how do white parents of transracially adopted children describe their roles in the racial socialization of their children?; 2) how do white parents describe any changes in their racial views since the adoption? Data analysis guided by the constant comparative method revealed these 8 mothers incorporated into their families’ lives various levels of socialization into the child’s birth culture and/or other cultures. Throughout the interviews mothers reflected upon their thoughts regarding racial differences. For instance, some mothers expressed the importance of downplaying race as a way to foster equality, while others chose to highlight differences as a means of appreciation. Their racial socialization practices and their racial views appeared to be congruent, in that if a mother downplayed racial differences she also incorporated less cultural activities into her family’s life. Mothers shared what appeared to be subtle changes in their racial views since the adoption of their child. Additionally, mothers expressed the idea that God played a role in the adoption, pointing to the possibility of a relationship between their spiritual beliefs and their socialization practices. The implications of this research point to the need for continued exploration of the parents’ racial socialization practices and racial views. This research indicates the importance of social work practitioners impacting these families by way of assisting the parents in their own exploration of how their racial views and possibly their spirituality affect the racial socialization of their children.