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

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

Three of the 11 families whose problems were reported to us for the first time in the 1984 interviews are divorced. Some of the children's problems stem from the parents' relationship; but learning disabilities and other developmental problems are also reported for the children in these families.

There are two patterns in the eight other problem families. In one group, the parents portrayed their problems and their sense of estrangement from their transracially adopted child in harsher, more negative terms than those used by the child or the siblings to describe the relationship. Some of these parents did attribute their problems with the child to racial differences. They were hurt, disappointed, and pessimistic. The children, on the other hand, characterize much of what they are experiencing as a phase or bad period. In the long run, the adopted children believe the relationship with their parents will be a good one.

In the second group, most of the children, those adopted and those born into the family, and the parents feel positively toward each other. One child has engaged in delinquent behavior or has rejected the family's rules and left. These parents, like many of the others, do not trace the source of the problems to the child's racial background. They emphasize instead developmental and personality characteristics. They also point out that their other transracially adopted child has not engaged in antisocial behavior.

Having drawn in some detail a negative, harsh portrait of these 18 families, we turn next to the much larger category of "ordinary" families.


NOTES
1
Rita J. Simon and Howard Altstein, Transracial Adoption: A Follow-up ( Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1981), pp. 29-30.
2
Among the 11 families who did not participate, 7 moved out of areas where it would have been feasible to conduct the interviews, and 4 refused.

-107-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Part I 1
  • 1 - Where We Are Today: Numbers, Practices, and Policies 3
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - Recent Court Rulings 12
  • Notes 22
  • Part II 25
  • 3 - Looking Back at the Familles 27
  • Notes 32
  • 4 - The Parents' Story 33
  • Notes 56
  • 5 - The Children's Account 57
  • Notes 83
  • 6 - How the Parents' and Children's Accounts Match Up 85
  • Notes 91
  • 7 - Special Families: Problems, Disappointments, Conflicts 92
  • Notes 107
  • 8 - Ordinary Families: A Collective Portrait 108
  • Notes 118
  • Part III 119
  • 9 - Effects of Abortion, Birth Rate, and Lifestyle on Inracial and Transracial Adoptions 121
  • Notes 126
  • 10 - Single Parent Adoption: A Continuing Alternative 127
  • Notes 131
  • 11 - Intercountry Adoption 132
  • Notes 138
  • Concluding Remarks and Recommendations 140
  • Note 143
  • Selected Bibliography 145
  • Index 147
  • About the Authors 151
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