Ordinary Families: A Collective Portrait
The previous chapter described all of the bruises, warts, and ugliness we discovered in the families who were experiencing problems. Some of the vignettes portrayed deceit, ignorance, and lack of trust between parents and children, between the adopted children and the children born into the family, and between adopted siblings. We reported anger, disgust, lack of communication, and indifference by persons in each of these categories. We have to assume that the reader has been affected by those accounts and wonders about the wisdom and practicality of transracial adoption. The collective portrait that we draw in this chapter is not meant to disavow the facts described in the "problem families," but it is intended to depict the dominant themes, the life patterns, the emotions, and the interactions among the majority -- indeed, among at least four out of five of all the families in the study. This picture was developed after reading all of the parents' and children's interviews and examining the tables derived from the descriptive statistics.
In journalism, it is "bad news" -- catastrophes, tragedies, both human and naturally induced -- that sell newspapers, make headlines, keep listeners glued to their radios and TV sets. But in science, we are more interested in the major trends, in the larger patterns, in what seem to be the predominant themes, without of course discarding the deviant cases. Thus, what we did in the previous chapter was to provide the reader with all the information we could glean from our data about the difficulties our families were confronting and the ways in which they were responding to these problems.
This chapter looks at the "ordinary families." We believe that the portrait that emerges is a positive, warm, integrated picture that shows parents and children who feel good about themselves and about their relationships with each other. On the issue of transracial adoption, almost all of the parents would do it again and would recommend it to other families. They believe that they