How the Parents' and Children's Accounts Match Up
This chapter compares responses to questions that were asked of both the parents and the adolescents in their separate interviews. The topics concern the racial characteristics of friends and dates, grades in school, favorite activities, consensus or lack of it about the adolescent's future vis-a-vis schooling and work. It also compares the parents' and adolescents' perceptions of how close they will be to each other when the adolescent leaves the family home, as well as comparing their expectations about the racial characteristics of the community in which the adolescent is likely to live as an adult and the racial background of the adolescent's choice of a marriage partner. Responses on the adolescents' interests in finding their birth parents and the likelihood that they will try to do so are also compared.
We found in examining these issues that, on the whole, the parents' and adolescents' responses reflect considerable consensus and similarity of opinions. The parents' responses by and large indicate that they understand their children, and the adolescents' responses reflect views and lifestyles that are shared by their parents. Our overall impression of these families is supported by these responses -- the families are an integrated unit; the adoption has bound them together and has developed and strengthened ties or commitments to each other that racial differences have neither weakened nor broken, nor are they likely to do so. As different as the children may look from their parents and siblings, they are an integral part of the family, and the assumption of independence because of adulthood is not likely to cause a breakup of the family unity. The children of the TRAs will be in every sense the grandchildren of these parents and the nieces and nephews of their brothers and sisters. Their physical departure and separation from the family will not disrupt or cut off family ties and commitments between the adopted children and their parents.