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This Woman Is on a Mission to Support Transracial Adoptions

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Experience This Story

The term “transracial adoption” is used to describe a parent of one ethnicity adopting a child of another ethnicity. It’s a beautiful thing — but it comes with several unseen challenges that parents have long struggled to navigate through. Perhaps a seemingly minuscule challenge at first mention is a parent being unfamiliar with handling the textured hair of colored children.

For Tamekia Swint, transracial adoptions are admirable, but the cultural challenges she has witnessed hit home. She realized that transracial adoptive parents often lack the tools and resources they need to care for their young children’s hair. It’s a matter of personal hygiene, which is why Tamekia founded an organization to help close the knowledge gap. Here’s her story.

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The Hidden Challenges of Transracial Parenting

There’s no arguing that personal hygiene and grooming are essential skills to learn as a child, but what happens when adoptive parents aren’t familiar with their children’s textured hair and its special requirements? Many people who don’t have textured hair may not realize that standard shampoos and products simply don’t work with this hair type.

Textured hair requires special care — like protective styles to prevent breakage — and failing to accommodate its needs can leave children with painful knots, mats, or even hair loss. Teens may already know how to care for their own hair, but they may still need help with braiding, styling, and finding products. Young children, however, depend entirely on their parents to take care of their hair and teach them good grooming habits.

You could say that it’s about more than hair, too. In addition to being essential to personal grooming, hair is a form of self-expression. Children of color should embrace their cultural background and know how to work with their hair in a way that allows them to show off their style just like any other child. So, how do adoptive parents offer that to their kids? hidden challenges

How Styles4Kids Came to Be

You could say Tamekia stumbled upon this problem of transracial adoptive hair care. An adoptive mom came to her one day asking for advice on how to care for the textured hair of her three daughters. Tamekia showed her some styles and walked her through the basics. At the same time, she found herself surprised by this challenge so many parents are facing — and also extremely supportive of that mom’s willingness to ask for help.
Before she knew it, Tamekia was helping countless adoptive parents, and each parent seemed to refer even more new parents to her for help. It didn’t take long for Tamekia to realize how big this knowledge gap was, and that’s when she was inspired to found Styles4Kids.
Styles4Kids is a non-profit organization offering personal grooming advice and resources to transracial adoptive parents. Tamekia knows that her mission is important, and she also recognizes that it’s far too easy to dismiss.
“Sometimes transracial adoptive families don’t understand how important hair is,” she explains. “It’s much bigger than hair. It’s really about the care and the confidence that we’re giving to the child through the hairstyle.” She feels that, if children never learn the proper way to care for and style their hair, they’re missing out on a big part of their personal identity, too.
What started as a friendly gesture in her community turned into a full-fledged organization that now helps thousands of parents and their children learn about caring for textured hair. She also offers services for children in foster care, detention centers, and residential facilities.
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The Impact of Tamekia’s Organization

Tamekia is an excellent example of a person who saw people in her community facing difficulties and chose to take the time to offer guidance. She realized that she had an important role to play in supporting adoptive parents to create a safe haven for their children and, rather than turning a blind eye, she stepped up.

What might be everyday knowledge to Tamekia and other people of color is a completely foreign subject matter to many adopting parents, which is why Styles4Kids has such an important part to play in supporting transracial adoptions.

One mom with six black children recalls when she realized that her hair styling skills wouldn’t cut it for her kids’ textured hair. When she made that realization, she ended up finding out about Tamekia and her willingness to help. Through Tamekia’s resources, she learned how to care for her kids’ hair and she’s now an avid supporter of Styles4Kids.

“I would want to tell other transracial adoptive parents that it is your job to make your kid look decent when you’re out of the house, and if you can’t do that naturally on your own — and most of us can’t — then it’s your job to seek out help from somebody who can teach you,” she says.

You can find countless educational resources from Styles4Kidz on Facebook and Instagram, where Tamekia and others share information on caring for textured hair and teach easy styles that parents can do at home. The goal is to support personal grooming and hygiene, but also to boost the self-esteem and pride of these children, who otherwise might not have anyone to help them with their hair.


How DonorWerx Can Help

Tamekia likes to call her services “Hair Care With Heart,” and she embodies the attitude that everyone should be embracing. Stepping up to the plate when there’s no one watching, when there’s no responsibility to do so, is proof of great character and strong values. As a pastor, these are the exact things you want to inspire in your congregation.

If you need help talking about giving or inspiring your church to follow in the footsteps of kind hearts like Tamekia, DonorWerx can help. Get started today with our coaching programs and donation software.

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