Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Untangling Race, Trauma And Belonging As The Mixed Race Daughter Of A Transracially-Adopted Mother

One of my earliest memories is of me speaking to my grandmother, querying her about my mum's adoption. She said, "We were quite disappointed when we got your mother, we had wanted one of those blue-black children, you know." Even as a very young child, I knew how wrong this casually-presented statement sounded.

For many of us the concept of identity can be challenging enough, particularly within a context of mass global migration, forced or otherwise. But in the 60s and 70s, there was a significant increase in transracial adoption and it was considered quite trendy for seemingly progressive white people to adopt black children. As a mixed-race woman raised by a black mother who was adopted by white parents, I know for those who have been transracially adopted, the issue of 'identity' is a minefield. As I have further understood intergenerational trauma, I can see how my mum’s adoption hugely impacted us both.