Special Families: Problems, Disappointments, Conflicts
This chapter focuses on families who characterized their current relationships with each other as problematic and troublesome. It also provides updates on families who reported problems in 1979; and it reviews information from the two earlier phases of the study about the ten families who participated in the 1979 survey and refused to participate in the 1983-84 study. We also profile the six families in which the parents refused to allow their children to participate, but agreed to participate themselves.
In 1979, we allowed the parents to define what the major family problems were and to label themselves as families whose problems stemmed from the adoption. In this phase, because we interviewed the children, and because they are old enough to make evaluations, we have used the parents' and/or the children's definition of the situation as the basis for labeling a family as one that has problems.
Seven of the families who refused to be interviewed were in the Minneapolis- St. Paul region. Two of these families were having problems when we interviewed them in 1979. In one family, the mother traced the problems to an accident that had occurred in 1971 when their transracially adopted six-year- old son was hit by an automobile. The accident left him physically impaired and brain damaged. In 1979 the mother reported: "There have been lots of problems since the accident. He's very irritable to his sisters. He is not doing well in school. He has problems making friends although he tries. "During the interview, the mother complained that there were "too many studies being done about transracial adoption." She agreed reluctantly to participate