race-preferencesRecently, we have seen a number of families who were contacted by potential birth mothers outside of their racial preferences.  In most cases, the adoptive parents have decided that although the situation is outside of what they were seeking, they are choosing to pursue the adoption. 
There may be two things at play here, both of which have important considerations for adopters:
“With this opportunity, we’ve decided we are okay opening up and want to move forward.”
If this is a true opening up of your preferences, you need to immediately contact your home study provider.  You were evaluated and approved based on many factors, including the race of the child you were seeking.  Depending on your provider and the races you are opening up to, you may be required to take additional classes or training to be parents to a child of another race.  It is important to do this because if your home study is not appropriate for the type of adoption you’ve opened up to, it will delay the birth parents from signing their consents to adoption until your home study has been updated.
Ensure that, if married, you are both on the same page with this change in your preferences.  It needs to be a true acceptance and understanding that this child has a different ethnic heritage than yours, and it cannot be ignored.  People will make comments; you need to embrace and educate your child, and you may look more like a family built through adoption than you planned.  Those are not bad things, they are just things that you need to be aware of and prepared for, and your home study provider plays a key role in your preparation.
“We’ve waited long enough. We just want to be parents and be past this waiting.”
If this thought enters your mind, it’s time to stop and do some soul-searching.  You never want to “settle.”  All children deserve to have parents who are passionately in love with them for who they are, not simply because it was the best they could get at the time.  This may sound harsh, but we have seen it come up down the road, as difficulties in marriage or even in bonding with the child.  You never want to see your child as “the only one you could get.”
Additionally, both parents need to be on the same page and in agreement.  A child’s race may not seem like that big of issue but there was an agreement to what you were seeking initially.  If that has changed, it needs to change regardless of the immediate opportunity presented, meaning that if this falls through, you will remain open racially.


Consider revisiting Lesson 1, Getting Started‘s preference sheet.  Open, clear communication is vital when considering a change to any of your preferences, especially race.