Transracial Adoptees and Their Families: A Study of Identity and Commitment

By Rita J. Simon; Howard Altstein | Go to book overview

said that they expect to marry a black person) than did our white adoptees and white adolescents born into the family.

We shift now to another aspect of the respondents' future, one that affects only the adopted children. We asked them:

Would you like to be able to locate your birth parents? Have you tried to locate them?

The distribution of responses looked like this:


Want to or Have Tried to Locate Birth Parents*
Yes, and have tried22.5
Yes, but have not tried thus far15.3
Not sure, maybe in future25.2
No37.0
*The responses are given only for the TRAs. The N's are too small for the
white adoptees, six of whom know who their birth parents are.

Thirty-eight percent of the TRAs have already tried or have some interest in locating their birth parents. When we asked why, most answered: "Curiosity. I'd like to see what I'm going to look like when I'm older." A few said "to find out why they gave me up," or "because I'll feel incomplete until I do."

None of the respondents said that they were looking for their "real" parents, or that they hoped to be reunited with their birth parents or family. The adolescents were expressing a sense of incompleteness about their origins and a need for more information about their personal histories. They are not, we believe, declaring an ambivalence about their adopted parents or uncertainty about their feelings of belonging to their adoptive families. Indeed, all the issues discussed in this chapter confirm the adopted adolescents' commitment to their families and their involvement with their adoptive parents, siblings, and other relatives.


NOTES
1.
There were 92 such children; 35 were not interviewed because they were too young (under 12 years of age); 34 were not interviewed because they were away at school and a suitable time could not be arranged after several attempts; or the parents were divorced and the children were living, temporarily or permanently, with the parent who had moved away.
2.
Included in the "black" category are children of mixed "black and white" backgrounds.

-83-

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