Do children who are adopted do as well in school as those who are raised by their biological parents? How do children who are adopted from other countries fare in school? Parents and teachers will find conflicting evidence and few certainties when searching for answers to these questions.
Some literature suggests that U.S. children who are adopted may be at greater risk than nonadopted agemates for school problems and special education placement (Bordwell, 1992). Silver (1989), for example, found that in a sample of students with learning disabilities, the frequency of adoption was 4.5 times greater than the norm. Brodzinsky and Steiger (1991), too, surveyed public and private schools and concluded that adopted children were overrepresented among children with neurological impairments, perceptual impairments, and emotional disturbances. On the other hand, children studied through the Colorado Adoption Project showed no signs of increased risk of learning disabilities or special education placement among “easily placed, ” Caucasian infants (Wadsworth, DeFries, & Fulker, 1993). According to Brodzinsky, Smith, and Brodzinsky (1998), the “vast majority of infant-placed adoptees do quite well and are within the normal range of psychological functioning” (p. 50).