|VOLUME 2 NUMBER 2||
Research Literature Survey
Policy & Practice Literature Survey
to Adoption Access, a literature survey newsletter created in 1998 by the
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute to provide, on a quarterly basis,
an up-to-date resource of published research and policy and practice literature
relevant to the field of adoption. The content in volume two, issue two
covers April, May, and June 1999, and has been selected from medical, social
science, adoption, legal, and child and social welfare journals. The newsletter
is organized into three main sections: 1) Research Literature Survey -
abstracts of empirical studies; 2) Policy & Practice Literature Survey
- abstracts of substantive policy and practice literature; and 3) Other
Select References - citations from articles on related topics that may
be of interest to members of the adoption community. Within the three main
sections, the articles are organized alphabetically by author.
Comments, requests for back issues ($6.00 each), and articles for consideration for inclusion should be sent to Debbie Martin, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 120 Wall St., 20th floor, New York, New York 10005. Phone 212-269-5080 ext. 15 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about obtaining a subscription is on the last page.
There are several ways to obtain copies of the articles cited in Adoption Access. One way is to contact your local library. If your local library does not have a copy, the librarian can usually obtain the article for you from another library. Certain articles may also be purchased from on-line document delivery services such as Carl UnCover (http://uncweb.carl.org/) and ProQuest Direct (http://www.umi.com/).
RESEARCH LITERATURE SURVEY
|back to the top||Updated, reliable statistics on the number of ever married women seeking
to adopt children were recently released by the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention. New findings from the leading longitudinal study of openness
in adoption were published this quarter as well. And, the extent to which
attachment issues impact the adoptive family continues to be an issue examined
by researchers. The focus for one group of researchers is on the possible
root causes of attachment problems for children adopted from orphanages,
while other researchers have chosen to examine how adoption agencies can
offer assistance to families coping with these issues.
New York was the first state to utilize a photolisting, often called "Blue Books," service. This report examines the effectiveness of this service in finding adoptive homes for waiting children in the foster care system. Overall, for children who had a case resolution, 72.7 percent were placed for adoption, 21.38 percent had aged out of the system and 5.75 percent were withdrawn from the system prior to placement. Ninety-six percent of the children entering foster care as infants were eventually placed for adoption compared to only 40 percent of those entering the system at age 12 or older. One of the key findings from the study was that, controlling for all other factors, sibling groups listed together on the same page, especially Black and Hispanic sibling groups, were significantly more likely to be placed for adoption. Overall, the earlier a child is listed, the greater the likelihood that the child will be adopted. For older children, children of color, and children with psychological problems, it appears that updating the listings does not increase their chance of placement. The author recommends alternative strategies for recruiting families for these children.
The author evaluates a post-adoption support program designed to offer
advice, information and training to families having difficulty understanding
and coping with attachment issues. The design of the support program included
group meetings several times a year and discussions led by an expert on
attachment theory. The parents identified issues that the groups had helped
them to learn to manage, including: 1) acknowledging loss, 2) understanding
the nature and the depth of trauma to the child; 3) educating others; 4)
learning to nurture themselves and their families; and 5) developing a
different concept of parenting.
The authors evaluated the effectiveness of a post office box system for
maintaining contact between adoptive and birth families. At the time of
the survey, 121 adoptive parents and 170 birth relatives were utilizing
the service. Forty-eight birth relatives and sixty-two adoptive parents
replied to the survey. Areas that were identified as being insufficient
were: lack of acknowledgment of all transactions, lack of guidelines on
how to write letters, such as what information to include, and lack of
guidance regarding how to intervene with noncompliant parties.
Abma, Joyce; Maza,
This article reports on the prevalence of adoption and relinquishment based on data gathered from a nationally representative sample of women surveyed in 1973, 1982, 1988, and 1995. The percent of women who have ever adopted a child declined from 2.1 percent in 1973 to 1.3 percent in 1995. Thirty-one percent of the 9.9 million women who reported that they had considered adoption had actually adopted a child. In 1995, 232,000 ever-married women took concrete steps toward adoption. The 1988 estimate was 204,000, suggesting that the demand for adoption has remained fairly stable. The prevalence of adoption increases with age, education, and incomes. The women surveyed expressed strong preferences toward the characteristics of a child they were willing to adopt, but also indicated they were willing to adopt a child with less desired traits.
and Aguiar, Lyndon J.
The authors conducted a secondary analysis of 581 adoptees who were part of a large adoption study in Iowa. This analysis sought to examine whether the age of birthparents at the time of placement is related to adoptee psychopathology. All birthparents in this sample had confirmed psychiatric diagnoses. The authors concluded that adoptees of very young birth fathers (13-17 years old) are at an increased risk of genetically transmitted problems with antisocial behaviors and alcohol problems. However, adoptees whose birthparents were older at the time of placement (41-62 years old) are at an increased risk of genetically transmitted problems with depression. The authors suggest that "...when there is a disturbed genetic background in the birthfamily, the personality structure and genetic makeup of the youngest birthparents differs from that of the oldest birthparents and that these differences are genetically linked to the differential risk of adoptee psychopathology."
The authors examined socioemotional outcomes in 190 adopted children. The
researchers sought to identify the effects of both preadoption risk factors
and current adoptive family functioning on the child. The relationship
between varying degrees of openness in adoption and outcomes for children
was examined as well.
The researchers compared families with a child conceived by in vitro fertilization;
families with a child conceived by donor insemination; families with a
child conceived by egg donation; and families with an adopted child. At
the time of the study, the children ranged in age from four years-old to
eight years-old. Information about genetic parentage had been kept secret
from all of the children conceived by donor insemination and all but one
of the children conceived by egg donation. All of the adopted children
had been told that they were adopted.
The author reports on her study of 105, 6 to 9 year-old children adopted from orphanages in the former Soviet Union by parents from the U.S. At the time of the study, the children had been living with their families for at least two years. She sought to identify which factors in the adoptive family environment promoted competence in the child. The author focused on the degree to which family members help and support one another (Cohesion), and the degree to which family members directly communicate their feelings to one another (Expressiveness). The author concluded that "the relationship between risk and competence was mediated by family environment."
Lynn, and Aguinis, Herman.
The researchers presented 129 undergraduate students with written scenarios describing a playground aggression supposedly committed by a seven-year-old. Among the childÕs attributes, which were provided as part of the description, was his adoptive status. The researchers performed a series of analyses to examine the effects of adoptive status and rater gender on the evaluations of the children. A key finding of the study was that no statistically significant difference existed between the ratings of adopted versus nonadopted children, either by male or female raters. The authors theorize possible explanations for this finding: 1) despite contrary statements, there may be no negative stereotype of adopted children; 2) adoption may not be a stigmatizing attribute for the college age population that participated in this survey; or 3) while the process of adoption may be sterotyped negatively, these views may not extend to the children.
This article presents preliminary findings from a study of 209 adopted children and focuses on results related to sibling relationships. Eighty-five of the adopted children had birth siblings. Over half of the children had siblings living elsewhere in two or more locations. Thirty-two percent of the children with siblings who had been adopted had a birth sibling in their adoptive family. Ongoing contact was more likely when a sibling lived with a grandparent or aunt/uncle than with a birth parent.
G.; Bredenkamp, Diana; and Rutter, Michael.
The authors examined attachment processes in a group of 111 children who had spent time in Romanian institutions and were later adopted. These children were compared with a group of 52 adopted children who had never resided in an institution. The core behavior the researchers examined was the extent the children demonstrated social interactions that could be characterized as having a superficial and impersonal quality, and rarely reciprocal in nature. Two key findings were that children adopted as young as three months exhibited attachment disorder behaviors and a substantial number of non-institutionalized adopted children exhibited the same behaviors. Also of note, a considerable number of children who displayed indiscriminate behavior when first adopted did not display attachment disturbance at the age of four. The authors stress that children who exhibit some degree of inappropriate social approach do not necessarily have attachment disorder. Based on their study, the researchers think that it is unlikely that either malnutrition or cognitive impairment play a causal role in attachment disorders.
R.; Atkins, Marc S.; and McKay, Mary McKernan.
The authors classified research that seeks to explain the causes of behavior
problems in adopted children into five descriptive models: 1) genetic or
biosocial factors, 2) pathogenesis of the adoption process, 3) impaired
preadoption childrearing, 4) referral bias in adoptive parents, and 5)
impaired adoptive parent-adoptee relations.
Bass, Barbara; and Speirs, Carol Cumming.
This article reports on the evaluation of a search and reunion support
group developed in 1996 by the McGill University School of Social Work
in Quebec. Participants consisted of seven individuals, primarily adopted
persons, but biological mothers and adoptive mothers attended as well.
The group met eight times over a four month period. A preseminar and postseminar
questionnaire was administered to the attendees. An analysis of the questionnaire
indicated that the participants felt more secure after the group experience
than before. They also felt somewhat less angry. The researcher discovered
that it was important for the group leaders to encourage the attendees
to discuss common concerns such as loss and loyalty.
E., and Dozier,
The researchers use two case studies of infants in foster care to illustrate examples of extreme terror of strangers and indiscriminate friendliness. The authors review attachment theory literature and discuss the factors that place foster infants at risk for developing unusual coping mechanisms, such as neglect, maltreatment, and the loss of a primary caregiver. The authors note that the foster mother's state of mind with regard to attachment and sensitivity to attachment cues may influence the development of attachment disorders.
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S., and Palusci, Vincent J.
This article examines how establishing an ombudsman's office can improve case management and service provision in child welfare agencies. The state of Michigan instituted an Office of Children's Ombudsman to investigate complaints regarding harm to children while in the care of child protection systems. In the first 18 months of its existence, January 1, 1995 to June 30, 1996, the Office investigated 443 referrals involving 820 children. The majority of the complaints, 258, involved Child Protective Services. Fifty-nine complaints involved foster care and 31 complaints involved adoption services. The Office also received 433 complaints which were not investigated because they did not meet the required criteria. The Office identified 209 cases in which "administrative acts" of child protective services, foster care or adoption agencies led to real or potential harm to children. Thirty-four percent of the complaints investigated involved serious physical harm or fatality. Fifteen other states have established similar ombudsman programs.
and Boisen, Laura.
The authors surveyed 261 child welfare professionals practicing in Minnesota
regarding their perceptions of and attitudes toward kinship foster care.
The researchers compared the responses of Caucasian professionals and professionals
of color to determine if differences in perceptions exist. Most workers
agreed that children were better off being placed with kin rather than
nonkin, that kinship foster care can be beneficial to the child in his/her
identity formation and that kin foster care carries less stigma for the
child than nonkin foster care.
The authors used data collected in California to examine their hypothesis that a relationship exists between unemployment rates and foster home placements. Previous research had documented a relationship between poor economic factors and reported child abuse and neglect. Monthly prevalence of foster home placements in California during the test period ranged from 21,512 to 53,385. The researchers documented a statistical relationship between monthly increases in seasonally adjusted unemployment and monthly changes in the number of foster home placements. The authors conclude that placements associated with unemployment may have represented a meaningful fraction of the increases in total placements. They also conclude that families who lose benefits through welfare reform are at increased risk of experiencing more foster home placements.
The researchers sought to examine foster parents' satisfaction and its
relationship to their desire to continue to foster parent. Based on a survey
of 539 licensed foster parents in the state of Ohio, the authors conclude
that recruitment efforts are not nearly as important in increasing and
retaining the number of quality families as are the support, training,
and professional regard given to foster parents after they have begun to
care for children. The researchers found that foster parents who are treated
with respect and positive regard by agency social workers are more satisfied.
The level of satisfaction was a critical factor in the intent to continue
being a foster parent. The factor most likely to decrease the desire to
foster was being unprepared to deal with the difficult behavior of a foster
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E., and Motta, Robert W
Three groups of children in foster care were compared to examine any possible relationship between child abuse and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Previous studies have reported conflicting findings regarding the prevalence of PTSD among sexually abused children. The groups compared were 50 sexually abused, 50 physically abused, and 50 nonabused foster children. The sample consisted primarily of African American and Hispanic males ranging in age from 8 to 19 years old. However, the majority of the females in the study were in the sexually abused group. The researchers used multiple measures to assess PTSD. The results indicated that sexually and physically abused children demonstrated PTSD at a high level. The authors believe that the fact that the children in this study had experienced multiple instances of trauma may explain the high percentages of PTSD in the two groups. Over 60 percent of the sexually abused foster children were diagnosed with PTSD. Preadolescents (children 8 to 12 years of age) demonstrated more severe PTSD than early adolescent children. And, proportionately more girls than boys were diagnosed with PTSD.
|back to the top|| The
study compared how children in one county who entered foster care under
privatization (n=56) fared with a group of children who entered care before
privatization (n=43). The study measured: 1) number of days spent in out-of-home
placements, 2) number of days spent in first out-of-home placement, 3)
number of placement moves, 4) number of children who returned home to their
parents, and 5) number of children placed within the same county. The group
placed prior to privatization experienced longer first placements and fewer
moves, and were more likely to be living back home or in the same county
as their home at the end of the study period. The group placed under privatization
were spending fewer days in their first placement, and were moving between
placements twice as often as the children in the other group.
POLICY AND PRACTICE
Practice concerns such as genetic testing, interstate issues, paternity registries, and considerations for custody arrangements when adoptive parents divorce have all been the subject of recent articles. Adlard, Carole
This article presents an overview of an array of adoption education programs
designed by Adoption Option Inc. The programs target counselors who work
with pregnant women/teenagers and their families, teachers of family life/sex
education classes aimed at teenagers, and members of the media. The initiatives
for professionals provide an introduction to adoption's role in history,
discuss the impact of negative perceptions about the adoption process and
give advice on how to talk about adoption issues to adolescents. The organization
also provides support and mentor services for pregnant women and their
family members. The founder of the program feels that its success can easily
be replicated in other areas.
Practice concerns such as genetic testing, interstate issues, paternity registries, and considerations for custody arrangements when adoptive parents divorce have all been the subject of recent articles.
This article presents an overview of an array of adoption education programs designed by Adoption Option Inc. The programs target counselors who work with pregnant women/teenagers and their families, teachers of family life/sex education classes aimed at teenagers, and members of the media. The initiatives for professionals provide an introduction to adoption's role in history, discuss the impact of negative perceptions about the adoption process and give advice on how to talk about adoption issues to adolescents. The organization also provides support and mentor services for pregnant women and their family members. The founder of the program feels that its success can easily be replicated in other areas.
|back to the top|| The
author compares different types of paternity registries and examines the
role registries play in determining fathers' rights in adoption. The author
argues that existing registries do not protect the rights of fathers and
that states should modify current statutes to ensure that men whose rights
are terminated under the statue actually know of the registration requirement.
Furthermore, the author argues that states should implement uniform statutes
or develop arrangements for sharing information from state to state. To
date, twenty-six states have passed legislation creating paternity registries.
Three Supreme Court cases which define the nature of the biological fatherÕs
interest in his child are reviewed, including: Stanley v. Illinois, Quilloin
v. Walcott, and Caban v. Mohammed. Stanley v. Illinois was the first case
in which the Supreme Court held that the United States Constitution affords
unwed fathers some degree of protection.
The author argues that rewarding agencies strictly for the number of finalized adoptions, which Adoption 2002 incentives are designed to do, does not take into consideration the fact that adoption is not always the appropriate goal for children who are removed from their homes. He recommends a method of rewarding agencies that is based on consideration of the possibility of reunification and which takes into account the number of adoptable children only. The author presents a model for estimating these factors.
|back to the top|| This paper explores ways in which
American adoption law and practice can be more consistent toward same-gender
adoptive parents. The discussion presupposes that states which have laws
restricting adoption by gays and lesbians may be unwilling to acknowledge
another state's adoption decree. The author argues that this inability
of a family to move or perhaps travel from one state to another without
risk is harmful to the child's sense of belonging.
The author frames her discussion around the concept of adoption as extending and adding to the child's family rather than replacing parents.
Health and Human
The purpose of this report was to identify the strengths and weaknesses
in the implementation of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
The Interstate Compact was designed to ensure that children placed or moved
across state lines receive adequate protection and services. The survey
identified four main weaknesses: 1) lack of knowledge about the Compact
among judges, attorneys, and caseworkers; 2) placements in violation of
the Compact; 3) the lengthy process; and 4) differing adoption laws among
states that may hinder placements.
Fisher, Susan M.
"Adopted Children and Custody Arrangements."
In The Scientific Basis of Child Custody Decisions. Edited by Robert M. Galatzer-Levy and Louis Kraus.
New York: John Wiley & Sons, 257-264. March 1999.
|back to the top|| This
book chapter highlights how to deal sensitively with issues of loss, separation,
and abandonment, which may become intensified in an adopted child when
parents divorce. Other unique challenges adoptive families can face include
ensuring that contact with birthfamilies remains on-going if it has been
meaningful. The author asserts that every effort must be made to maintain
the adopted child's sense of security in making custody and visitation
The author discusses court cases in which adoptive parents have brought wrongful adoption charges against agencies. Courts have recognized cases involving intentional acts of misrepresentation of background information as well as negligent provision of inaccurate information. Many states have laws requiring disclosure of a child's background and medical information to adoptive parents. Acquiring adequate background information can be a challenge for those professionals working in the fields of international adoptions and foster care adoptions.
|back to the top|| This
article outlines the legal process regarding contested adoptions in Australia.
A specific example in which a birth mother does not agree with the family
selected by the agency is used to review the laws.
The author provides assessment guidelines for choosing whether confidential adoption, open adoption, or out of home placement is best for a child who has been removed from their parent's home because of inadequate parenting. Three cases from the Israeli court system are used to illustrate the decision making process. Key to the process is what the author defines as two different aspects of parenting, the moral aspect-the actual ability of the parent to provide for the child and the experiential aspect-the quality of the relationship between the child and parent. While some parents are unable to fulfill the moral aspect of parenting the attachment between the child and parent is quite strong. In these cases, the author recommends arrangements other than confidential adoption.
|back to the top|| The
author reports on data from an adoption clinic which suggests that clinicians
caring for internationally adopted children should be aware of the possibility
of incomplete immunity to polio, and should either revaccinate or verify
immunity to all three types of polio.
The issues addressed in the literature include recommendations for dealing with the challenges of seeking adoptive homes for teenagers, ethical considerations regarding testing foster children for genetic disease, and a critique of one example of privatization of foster care. Elstein, Sharon
The author focuses on some of the reasons that many teenagers in foster
care are not being adopted and urges professionals to advocate for permanency
planning for teens. The author reviews studies which report on the negative
long term impact of foster care. These same studies indicate that adolescents
in foster care desire to be adopted. The author addresses both the positives
and negatives associated with terminating the parental rights of the teenagers'
biological parents before adoptive parents have been identified. Many attorneys
and judges are reluctant to create legal orphans before adoptive parents
have been found. Social workers argue that it is too difficult to recruit
an adoptive family unless the teen is free for adoption. The author recommends
ways for attorneys and judges to be involved in the process of recruiting
for adoptive families. A brief discussion of the developmental tasks of
adolescents is included.
The author discusses primary socialization theory and questions if it applies
to disadvantaged members of society, as it assumes that the three primary
sources of socialization are family, school, and peers. The author goes
on to explain how foster children may rely on sources other than family,
school, and peers for primary socialization since they are sometimes faced
with inadequate or absent family, schools, and peers. Primary socialization
theory may label these other sources of socialization as secondary socialization
sources which prevent bonding with the primary socialization sources. The
author, however, argues that children are socialized by these inadequate
sources, which can result in their desire to emulate the persons who have
abused and neglected them. The author questions whether children who have
been exposed to dysfunctional families, multiple care takers and ineffective
school systems can create new norms that reflect resiliency, creativity,
and the ability to function in society.
The issues addressed in the literature include recommendations for dealing with the challenges of seeking adoptive homes for teenagers, ethical considerations regarding testing foster children for genetic disease, and a critique of one example of privatization of foster care.
The author focuses on some of the reasons that many teenagers in foster care are not being adopted and urges professionals to advocate for permanency planning for teens. The author reviews studies which report on the negative long term impact of foster care. These same studies indicate that adolescents in foster care desire to be adopted. The author addresses both the positives and negatives associated with terminating the parental rights of the teenagers' biological parents before adoptive parents have been identified. Many attorneys and judges are reluctant to create legal orphans before adoptive parents have been found. Social workers argue that it is too difficult to recruit an adoptive family unless the teen is free for adoption. The author recommends ways for attorneys and judges to be involved in the process of recruiting for adoptive families. A brief discussion of the developmental tasks of adolescents is included.
The author discusses primary socialization theory and questions if it applies to disadvantaged members of society, as it assumes that the three primary sources of socialization are family, school, and peers. The author goes on to explain how foster children may rely on sources other than family, school, and peers for primary socialization since they are sometimes faced with inadequate or absent family, schools, and peers. Primary socialization theory may label these other sources of socialization as secondary socialization sources which prevent bonding with the primary socialization sources. The author, however, argues that children are socialized by these inadequate sources, which can result in their desire to emulate the persons who have abused and neglected them. The author questions whether children who have been exposed to dysfunctional families, multiple care takers and ineffective school systems can create new norms that reflect resiliency, creativity, and the ability to function in society.
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OTHER SELECT REFERENCES
Bleichrodt, N., Hoksbergen, Renee. A. C., and Khire, Usha. "Cross-Cultural Testing of Intelligence." Cross-Cultural Research v 33, n 1 (February 1999): 3-25.
Blyth, Eric. "Secrets and Lies: Barriers to the Exchange of Genetic Origins Information Following Donor Assisted Conception." Adoption & Fostering v 23, n 1 (Spring 1999): 49-58.
Broad, Bob. "Improving the Health of Children and Young People Leaving Care." Adoption & Fostering v 23, n 1 (Spring 1999): 40-48.
Canham, Hamish. "The Development of the Concept of Time in Fostered and Adopted Children." Psychoanalytic Inquiry v 19, n 2 (1999): 160-71.
Dietz, Patricia M.; Adams, Melissa M.; Spitz, Alison M.; Morris, Leo; Johnson, Christopher H.; and The PRAMS Working Group. "Live Births Resulting from Unintended Pregnancies: Is There Variation Among States?" Family Planning Perspectives v 31, n 3 (May/June 1999): 132-136.
Dye, Jane Lawler, and Presser, Harriet B. "The State Bonus to Reward a Decrease in 'Illegitimacy': Flawed Methods and Questionable Effects." Family Planning Perspectives v 31, n 3 (May/June 1999): 142-47.
Fahrenhorst, Irene. "Adoption and Child Welfare: A German Point of View with Special Regard to the European Convention on Human Rights." Tilburg Foreign Law Review v 7, n 3 (1999): 185.
Golan, M. "Anorexia Nervosa Treated in a Foster House Setting: A Case Report." Journal of the American College of Nutrition v 18, n 2 (April 1999): 186-8.
Holody, Richard. "Toward a New Permanency Planning: How Kinship Care Can Vitalize the Foster Care System." Arete v 23, n 1 (Winter 1999): 1.
Mason, Kathy; Selman, Peter; and Hughes, Mike. "Permanency Planning for Children with Down╣s Syndrome." Adoption & Fostering v 23, n 1 (Spring 1999): 31-39.
McMillen, J. Curtis, and Tucker, Jayne. "The Status of Older Adolescents at Exit from Out-of-Home Care." Child Welfare v 78, n 3 (May/June 1999): 339-60.
Ribner, David S., and Wolowelsky, Joel B. "A Note on Mourning an Adoptive Parent in an Orthodox Jewish Family." Journal of Family Social Work v 3, n 2 (1999): 79.
Saul, Rebekah. "Teen Pregnancy: Progress Meets Politics." The Guttmacher Report on Public Policy v 2, n 3 (June 1999): 6-9.
The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute is committed to developing and implementing a high quality education program that responds to the needs of adoption professionals and others who work in the field.
|back to the top||THE EVAN B.
DONALDSON ADOPTION INSTITUTE STAFF
ADOPTION ACCESS is
edited by Debbie Martin
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute