Twelve years have gone by since our initial contact with the families described in this volume. We met them in 1972, when they had only recently embarked on a largely untravelled and potentially difficult road of adopting children of different racial backgrounds than their own, some of whom had mental and physical disabilities, while at the same time parenting children to whom they had given birth. As ready as they might have been for hostility and rejection by their relatives, friends, and neighbors, they were least prepared for the attacks upon them by blacks, native American leaders, and professional social work groups, who charged them with everything from ignorance to participation in racial genocide. The results of the second and third surveys showed that, with a few exceptions, all of the parents believed that they had done well by the children whom they adopted and that, had they not adopted them, the children would have spent their childhood in an institution or in one or more foster homes. The parents repeatedly emphasized that they made their decision to adopt because they wanted a child and were prepared to love and care for it regardless of the child's racial or personal background. Again, with few exceptions, all of the parents are still committed to that view and are willing to urge other families to adopt transracially.
As we said many times, the children seem even more committed to their adoptive parents than the other way around. For the children, even during these sensitive, complicated years of adolescence, their adoptive parents are the only family they have and the only set of parents they want. Some of the family relationships have been rocky, accusative, and angry -- and some remain so -- yet they are a family and they are fully committed to one another.
At the end of both the 1972 and 1979 studies, we emphasized the tentativeness of our conclusions. While focusing on the positive experiences that