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Social and Academic Experiences of Black Transracial Adoptees at Four-Year Higher Education Institutions
AuthorGarcia, Mariluz C.
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Transracial adoptees (TRAs) from all racial/ethnic backgrounds remain an invisible population throughout research pertaining to the college students. This qualitative study examined social and academic experiences of Black TRAs who attended four-year institutions of higher education. This study used critical race theory (CRT) as the theoretical framework to examine the history of adoption in the United States and the disproportionality that exists for Black TRAs throughout the foster care system and adoption process. All 10 participants in this study were raised and educated in predominantly White spaces. Data were collected through two semi-structured telephone interviews and the participants’ social media platforms. Findings illustrate four major themes, each with three subthemes. First, caring adoptive homes emphasized cultivating a sense of belonging, facilitating academic support, and seeking support for handling racist encounters. Second, navigating White spaces led to experiencing racism and discrimination, embracing sense of self through expressions of hair, and carrying the weight of narrative burden. Third, connecting with others in the higher education setting illustrated valuing campus diversity, relying on systems of support, and seeking social interactions with co-ethic peers. Fourth, counteracting challenges with intrapersonal assets highlighted drawing strength from past experiences, maintaining a positive mindset, and pursing opportunities to help others. Implications for K-12 educators and higher educational professionals are discussed.