Hoyt-Oliver provides practical advice for transracially adoptive parents in new book


Parenting is always full of joys and challenges, but parenting adopted children who are of a different race creates unique issues, noted social workers Jane Hoyt-Oliver, Hope Haslam Staughan, and Jayne E. Schooler.

Together they authored the forthcoming book, Parenting in a Transracial Adoption: Real Questions and Real Answers.

“Little research has been conducted to understand how adopting parents view themselves, how they viewed race and culture when they were growing up or how their current worldview can affect the family dynamics,” Professor of Social Work Hoyt-Oliver said. “We began by discussing our own stories, then developed a set of questions which contained elements of themes based on previous research. We then interviewed parents who had adopted transracially and professionals who assist with such adoptions. Our goal was to develop and understand how parents viewed race and culture before they adopted as well as how they view it now that they are parents of children who are identified as being of another race."

The trio of authors wrote individual chapters, and also worked together throughout the process, interviewing 13 couples from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

“I truly enjoyed listening to the stories that the parents told both about the joys of parenting their children and the realities that they have faced,” said Hoyt-Oliver. "It is our hope that the book will provide practical advice to those who are considering transracial adoption." 

Three adult transracially adopted children also provided their stories. The book also includes insights from the interviews and a brief summary of some of the most important scholarly research on this topic.

“Certainly it was clear that adopting parents deeply love and are committed to their children,” Hoyt-Oliver said. “But many parents were surprised that their children faced racial discrimination in their schools and churches. A number of parents struggled to know what to do in those situations - even what to say to their children.”