Three of the 11 families whose problems were reported to us for the first time in the 1984 interviews are divorced. Some of the children's problems stem from the parents' relationship; but learning disabilities and other developmental problems are also reported for the children in these families.
There are two patterns in the eight other problem families. In one group, the parents portrayed their problems and their sense of estrangement from their transracially adopted child in harsher, more negative terms than those used by the child or the siblings to describe the relationship. Some of these parents did attribute their problems with the child to racial differences. They were hurt, disappointed, and pessimistic. The children, on the other hand, characterize much of what they are experiencing as a phase or bad period. In the long run, the adopted children believe the relationship with their parents will be a good one.
In the second group, most of the children, those adopted and those born into the family, and the parents feel positively toward each other. One child has engaged in delinquent behavior or has rejected the family's rules and left. These parents, like many of the others, do not trace the source of the problems to the child's racial background. They emphasize instead developmental and personality characteristics. They also point out that their other transracially adopted child has not engaged in antisocial behavior.
Having drawn in some detail a negative, harsh portrait of these 18 families, we turn next to the much larger category of "ordinary" families.