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November 28th, 2012
06:14 PM ET

Transracial adoptees navigate identity

By Sheila Steffen, CNN

(CNN) - Rachel Noerdlinger says she felt "a big void" when she was in her 20s and went through an identity crisis.

"My parents thought we could be color-blind, and they raised us in an environment where we didn't talk about race," said Noerdlinger, who is black.

'My parents were color-blind'

Adopted by white parents and raised in New Mexico, she grew up without any knowledge of where she came from.

"It was hard. I went through a lot of different confusions."

She is quick to point out how grateful she is for her adoptive parents. And although she would not change her experience, she offers this advice: "At the end of the day, the most important thing to your child's well-being is that he or she is around diversity."

Thirty-nine percent of adopted children in America have parents of a different race or ethnic group. Domestically, transracial adoptions were made easier by the Multiethnic Placement Act in 1994, which essentially keeps race from being a factor in adoptions. Still, the majority of transracial adoptions are international; others are from foster care and from private adoptions. FULL POST

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Filed under: Black in America • How we look • Who we are