First Advisor

Andrew Mashburn

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology and University Honors




Interracial adoption, Intercountry adoption, Family services -- United States, Adopted children -- United States -- Psychology, Adoptive parents -- Services for, Cultural competence




Transracial adoption, which is the adoption of a child of a race or ethnicity different from the race or ethnicity of the adoptive parents, is a relatively new practice with the first reported case in the U.S. in 1948 (The Adoption History Project, n.d.). As such, there is a limited amount of academic research that is currently available studying the effects of this practice on the Transracial Adoptee (TRA) in their cultural, ethnic, and racial socialization processes and on how well they adjust to a racialized society outside of their adoptive family unit. Since the 1940s, an estimated one million children have been adopted internationally, most frequently to white parents (Hu, Zhou & Lee, 2017). In recent years as adult TRAs have come forward and shared their experiences growing up in a transracial adoptive home, the need for culturally competent training programs has come to light. Cultural competence in reference to transracial parenting can be defined as developing a “particular set of attitudes, knowledge, and skills into the ability to meet their children's unique racial and cultural needs” (Vonk, 2001, p. 248). Currently, there are some training programs that exist for adoptive parents interested in adopting transracially, however, they are rarely mandatory and very few training programs have been studied or researched for effectiveness. Additionally, post-adoption support for adoptive parents to increase their cultural competence seems nonexistent and something that must be sought out by the parents themselves who may not recognize the need for more support in that area. This literature review presents the current research about cultural competency in transracial adoption parenting. Included is a table that was created by the author compiling available cultural competency training programs for purchase on the internet and the strengths and weaknesses of these programs were detailed and evaluated. The argument will be made for the need for future research to be conducted to analyze the effectiveness of cultural competence training that includes teaching cultural competence, racial awareness, cultural socialization, and racial socialization.


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