How do adoptions really turn out? How do adopted children feel about the family they were given and the opportunities they were offered? To what extent do they fulfil their new parents’ expectations of them? And does it matter whether their adoption grew out of a fostering relationship or was considered right from the start as a permanent arrangement?
Originally published in 1980, the major follow-up study on which this book is based sought to answer these questions. The research involved 160 sets of parents and over 100 of their adopted children, now young adults. This was, in fact, the largest group of adult adoptees anywhere in the world to be interviewed and studied in a systematic way. As they look back over their life together, the parents and the young people explain what adopting or being adopted was like for them.
This title offers glimpses of adoptive family life over a period of more than twenty years, compares the views of the young people with those of their adopters and measures the factors which influenced the various outcomes. Particular attention is paid to the basis on which the child was originally placed, in order to shed light on the controversial subject, at the time, of whether a preliminary fostering period represents a useful safeguard.
The information gathered by Lois Raynor and her colleagues provided the feedback so long sought by social work teachers and by those practising social workers who had the responsibility for making long-term plans for children and for approving foster home or adoption applications at the time. Readers with personal experience of adoption will be interested in making their own comparisons, while prospective adopters will learn to avoid some pitfalls and to enjoy an adopted child as their own.
Table of Contents
Foreword. Acknowledgements. Part 1: Looking Back on Adoption 1. Adoption in Retrospect 2. Earlier Follow-Up Research in Adoption 3. Design of This Study 4. Some Preliminary Data Part 2: How Have the Adoptions Turned Out? 5. The Parents’ Overall View 6. The Adopted People’s Overall View 7. The Adopted People’s Present Life-Adjustment Part 3: The Adoptive Family 8. Contact Between Adopters and Birth Parents 9. Talking About Adoption 10. Family Relationships 11. Problems in Growing Up 12. Expectation and Achievement Part 4: Findings and Implications 13. Findings and Their Implications for Practice. Appendixes: A – Some Do’s and Don’ts from Adoptive Parents. B – Guide to Interview with Adoptive Parents. C – Guide to Interview with Adult Adoptees. References. Index.