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

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

4
The Parents' Story

Eighty-eight percent of both the fathers and mothers participated in the 1983-84 study. Among the remaining 12 percent, the mother served as the respondent most of the time. We found, returning to the families four and a half years after our second study, that 83 percent of the parents were still married to their original partners; six had divorced before 1979 and two after 1979. Three of the parents were separated. Half of the divorced couples had remarried. The mother had custody of the children in four families, the father in two, there was joint custody in two, and each parent had custody of at least one child in three families. In four of the families the father died, and in one family both parents died before 1979 and the children had been reared by older siblings.

The fathers' median age was 44.4 years and the mothers' 43.5 years. In 1984, 72 percent of the mothers were employed full-time outside their homes, almost all of them in technical and white-collar positions as teachers, nurses, secretaries, and so on. Sixty-six percent of the fathers continued to work in professional fields as lawyers, ministers, teachers, professors, and doctors. Most of the others were in business. The median "family" income was $44,000 (based on 92 responses). The median for the mothers was $12,000 (based on 45 responses) and for the fathers $35,000 (based on 62 responses).

The strength and form of their religious attachments remained much the same as they had been in earlier years. Of the 80 percent who designated a religious preference, 19 percent are Catholics, 2 percent are Jews, and the others are Protestants, with Lutheranism named most often by 20 percent of those who reported a religious preference. Fifty-two percent said that they went to church at least once a week. Forty-eight percent of the mothers and 46 percent of the fathers said that they prefer the Democratic over the Republican party; 53 percent of the mothers and 48 percent of the fathers described them-

-33-

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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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