She’s black, we’re white
What should parents tell their children about interracial adoption?
Dear Parent24

My two-year-old adopted daughter is black, her father and I are white. Does she need to know now that she is different to us? Do we ever need to tell her? Is there a way to chat to other parents of adopted black kids to share experiences? Thanks, Mandy

Answer from Parent24 parenting expert, Anne Cawood:

It is never too early to start helping an adopted baby/toddler to know that they are adopted- and therefore were specially chosen by you. Saying ‘You are our very special adopted baby’ is a good way to start. Then, when she is older she will ask you what adopted means - and you can gently explain this to her.

It is crucial to be open and honest - and not to wait until she hears it when she is much older. This can be a huge shock to a child. Obviously she will see that she is different to you. Start now to say things like ‘Look at your beautiful black skin’ or hold your hand next to hers and say ‘Mommy/Daddy have white hands and you have little black hands’. This way she will grow up just knowing that this is the way it is - and it is fine. Read her books  with black children in them sometimes and make sure she has black dolls.

I am not sure where you live, so not sure whether there would be a group in your area. Bigger cities usually have agencies like Child Welfare who offer supportive counselling for parents who adopt. You could find out via the internet - it would be very helpful to talk to other parents. Very good luck.

A blogger’s view

Blogger Ebony & Ivory has her own take on interracial adoption: ‘If one day my Angel should ask "Why" she is "Black", I have an answer ready. I found this poem on the net, I will read it to her, and give it to her. I will show her WHY she can be PROUD of who she is, and I know she will know she is as much loved as any child. And she will always know, how beautiful she is.’

From Parent24 Editor

For chat you could join the Adoptive Family Network on Facebook, where you will find all sorts of different families.

I also recommend that you join our new Parent24 adoption forum.

What do you think? How should Mandy phrase this to her child, or shouldn’t she mention it? Answer in the comment box, or mail your thoughts to

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