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

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

Concluding Remarks and Recommendations

Twelve years have gone by since our initial contact with the families described in this volume. We met them in 1972, when they had only recently embarked on a largely untravelled and potentially difficult road of adopting children of different racial backgrounds than their own, some of whom had mental and physical disabilities, while at the same time parenting children to whom they had given birth. As ready as they might have been for hostility and rejection by their relatives, friends, and neighbors, they were least prepared for the attacks upon them by blacks, native American leaders, and professional social work groups, who charged them with everything from ignorance to participation in racial genocide. The results of the second and third surveys showed that, with a few exceptions, all of the parents believed that they had done well by the children whom they adopted and that, had they not adopted them, the children would have spent their childhood in an institution or in one or more foster homes. The parents repeatedly emphasized that they made their decision to adopt because they wanted a child and were prepared to love and care for it regardless of the child's racial or personal background. Again, with few exceptions, all of the parents are still committed to that view and are willing to urge other families to adopt transracially.

As we said many times, the children seem even more committed to their adoptive parents than the other way around. For the children, even during these sensitive, complicated years of adolescence, their adoptive parents are the only family they have and the only set of parents they want. Some of the family relationships have been rocky, accusative, and angry -- and some remain so -- yet they are a family and they are fully committed to one another.

At the end of both the 1972 and 1979 studies, we emphasized the tentativeness of our conclusions. While focusing on the positive experiences that

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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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