Adoption and Development

"Are my eyes blue like you?"- Child
"Let's take a look in the little mirror."- Mom
"They are brown! They are brown!"- Child
"Yes they are... and they are beautiful."- Mom

This short dialogue captures a powerful moment for an internationally transracially adopted Chinese child when for the first time, she realizes that she does not look like her parents. This child did not make this discovery in isolation, in a classroom or on the school play yard. This discovery of self was made in a safe and loving space where the adoptive parents were available and the support was ready.

All of us belong to an ethnic group by birth. For most of us, our belonging is part of our life experience. For transracially internationally adopted Chinese children, this is not the case. Because the majority of adoptive parents in this population are Caucasian, the children's birth culture and ethnic identity are removed from their lives.

Transracial adoption poses many questions concerning the positive development of the ethnic identity of adopted children.

The Ponte and Chau Adoption and Development division is ready to help navigate these challenges. Dr. Ponte has been specializing in supporting families who have adopted children from China for many years. In 2001, Dr. Ponte helped launch a Chinese cultural socialization support program for 10 families. Today, this program has expanded with more groups of varying ages.

These cultural socialization programs have lead to Dr. Ponte to the development of a unique curriculum for transracially adopted children between the ages of 3 and 12 and expertise in return trips. Our Adoption and Development division has three areas of service:

1) Curriculum for Adoptive Families and Educators
2) One-On-One Support for Adoptive Families
3) Return Trip Preparation and Consultation for Adoptive Families
4) Inclusive Training for Educators and Service Providers