Looking Back at the Familles
The research described in this book began in 1972 when we contacted 206 families living in five cities in the Midwest who were members of the Open Door Society and the Council on Adoptable Children, and asked them whether we could interview them about their decision to adopt a nonwhite child. All but 2 of the families agreed to participate in the study. The parents allowed a two-person team to interview them in their home for 60 to 90 minutes at the same time that each of their children who were between three and eight years old was being interviewed for about 30 minutes.
Seven years later we sought out these families again and were able to locate 71 percent of them. This time we interviewed only the parents by mail and telephone. In the fall of 1983 and the winter of 1984, the families were contacted a third time, when we returned to our original research design and conducted personal interviews in the respondents' homes, including the parents and the adolescent children who were still living with them.1
The major themes developed in this volume explain how the family members relate to each other; the racial identities of the adopted children; the adopted children's sense of integration with their families; the parents' and children's expectations concerning the future identity and bonds that the transracial adoptees (TRAs) are likely to have toward the mainly white-oriented world of their parents and siblings; and the ties that the TRAs will probably develop with the community of their racial and ethnic backgrounds, or with some composite world. We begin by briefly recounting the major findings of the first two studies.
The most important finding to emerge from our first study was the absence of a white racial preference or bias on the part of the white and nonwhite children. Contrary to other findings that had thus far been reported, the children reared in these homes appeared indifferent to the advantages of