Warning to parents on identity issues

Professionals need to ensure that adoptive parents address race and
culture issues with their adopted children, an expert has

Joseph Crumbley, a family therapist and social worker in the US,
said adopted children and young people from ethnic minorities had
“gaps” in their development of identity because adoptive parents
often ignored their history and culture.

He was speaking in London last week at a seminar of adoption
professionals, organised by the Post-Adoption Centre.

Crumbley said many parents in trans-racial adoptions thought
raising their children as “good human beings” with a solid
educational background and sense of morality was enough.

He warned: “If you don’t address the full spectrum of identity, if
you don’t address race and culture, you could leave gaps in their
sense of self.”

He said professionals did not need to “re-invent the wheel” when
offering guidance to adoptive parents, but they did need to make
sure that parents understood the importance of racial and cultural

“Identity becomes just as important as education, especially during
adolescence,” he said. “It can become more important than
attachment. Parents may think love is enough but it isn’t.”

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