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A descriptive study of the adoption experience of adolescents and their families Gamlin, Sandra J. 1985

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A D E S C R I P T I V E STUDY OF THE ADOPTION E X P E R I E N C E OF A D O L E S C E N T S AND T H E I R F A M I L I E S by SANDRA J . GAMLIN B. A., U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1981 A T H E S I S SUBMITTED IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in THE F A C U L T Y OF GRADUATE S T U D I E S Department o f C o u n s e l l i n g We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s a s to the required  Psychology conforming  standard  THE U N I V E R S I T Y OF B R I T I S H COLUMBIA J u n e 1985 © S a n d r a J . Garni i n , 1985  I n  p r e s e n t i n g  r e q u i r e m e n t s o f  B r i t i s h  i t  f r e e l y  a g r e e f o r  t h a t  t h i s f o r  a n  I  a v a i l a b l e  u n d e r s t o o d  t h a t  f i n a n c i a l  b y  h i s  d e g r e e t h a t  r e f e r e n c e  f o r  p u r p o s e s  o r  p a r t i a l  a g r e e  f o r  p e r m i s s i o n  s c h o l a r l y  i n  a d v a n c e d  C o l u m b i a ,  d e p a r t m e n t f o r  t h e s i s  o r  c o p y i n g  b e  h e r o r  g a i n  s h a l l  T h e  U n i v e r s i t y  o f  B r i t i s h  V a n c o u v e r , V6T 1Y3  D a t e  DE-6  r v a n  C a n a d a  t h e  U n i v e r s i t y s h a l l  a n d  s t u d y .  I  c o p y i n g b y  t h e  o f  p u b l i c a t i o n b e  a l l o w e d  C o l u m b i a  o f  t h i s o f  I t  i s  t h i s  w i t h o u t  m a k e  f u r t h e r  h e a d  r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  n o t  t h e  L i b r a r y  g r a n t e d  p e r m i s s i o n .  1956 Main Mall  a t  o f  t h e  e x t e n s i v e  m a y  f u l f i l m e n t  t h e s i s m y  t h e s i s m y  w r i t t e n  ABSTRACT  A d e s c r i p t i v e s t u d y was c o n d u c t e d t o i n v e s t i g a t e t h e experience within the family.  adoption  A d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n  t h i s s t u d y w e r e a s s u m e d t o be a r e l a t i v e l y h e t e r o g e n e o u s  sample of the  t a r g e t p o p u l a t i o n - f a m i l i e s w i t h a t l e a s t one a d o p t e d c h i l d who  had  b e e n a d o p t e d e a r l y i n l i f e , and who was p r e s e n t l y 14-18 y e a r s o f  age.  Thirteen adoptive f a m i l i e s p a r t i c i p a t e d in the study.  Qualitative  data r e g a r d i n g each i n d i v i d u a l ' s p e r c e p t i o n of the a d o p t i o n was o b t a i n e d t h r o u g h s e m i - s t r u c t u r e d i n t e r v i e w s . completed  the Family Environment  experience  Each p a r t i c i p a n t a l s o  S c a l e (Moos, 1 9 7 4 ) , w h i c h was u s e d  as  a d e s c r i p t i v e measure o n l y . Data from t h e i n t e r v i e w s underwent a q u a l i t a t i v e d a t a a n a l y s i s t o a r r i v e a t t h e t h e m e s and p a t t e r n s t h a t d e s c r i b e d the adoptee's  and t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ' e x p e r i e n c e s .  Parent-  c h i l d p e r c e p t u a l d i s c r e p a n c i e s were a l s o a n a l y s e d t o a s s e s s t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s and t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n f a m i l y p e r c e p t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e adoption  experience.  C o n c l u s i o n s t h a t c a n be d r a w n b a s e d on t h e r e s u l t s o f t h e q u a l i t a t i v e a n a l y s i s i s t h a t a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s a p p e a r t o be v u l n e r a b l e t o  problems  d u r i n g the a d o l e s c e n t stage of the f a m i l y l i f e c y c l e because of the adoptee's  emerging  c u r i o s i t y and t h e p r o b l e m s  these concerns within the family.  of openly  communicating  Results from t h i s study a l s o p o i n t  t o t h e need f o r a d o p t i n g c o u p l e s t o r e c e i v e e d u c a t i o n r e g a r d i n g t h e r o l e of adoptive parenthood,  and c o u n s e l l o r s who w o r k w i t h  adoptive  f a m i l i e s s h o u l d be a w a r e o f when t h e f a c t o r s o f a d o p t i o n c a n c o n t r i b u t e t o f a m i l y d i f f i c u l t i e s and d y s f u n c t i o n .  TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE Abstract Table  ,  (ii)  o f Contents  ( i i i )  Ac-knowledgements  {v)  CHAPTER I  INTRODUCTION Why F o c u s on t h e A d o p t e d A d o l e s c e n t ? Statement o f t h e Problem  2 ... 3 4  II  REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 7 A B a c k g r o u n d Look a t A d o p t i o n 7 Adoption P o l i c y i n B r i t i s h Columbia 11 Adoptive Family Relations 14 The A d o p t e d A d o l e s c e n t , 20 P s y c h o h i s t o r i c a l Aspects 22 Psychosexual Aspects 26 Psychosocial Aspects..,., 27 '. The E m p i r i c a l P i c t u r e o f A d o p t i o n 30 C l i n i c a l S t u d i e s o f Adopted C h i l d r e n . . 3 1 Non^-Clinical Studies o f Adoptees. 41 The F o l l o w - u p R e s e a r c h . 45 . The R e t r o s p e c t i v e S t u d i e s . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47  III  METHODOLOGY 58 Design , . , . , 58 Qua-lit-i.tative R e s e a r c h P a r a d i g m . . , ... ...58 Sample , 59 Instruments 61 Interview Guides. . .61 Family Environment S c a l e . , .62 Procedure, .63 The I n t e r v i e w s 63 Method o f D a t a A n a l y s i s 64  IV  RESULTS. . P e r c e n t Agreement R e s u l t s . Demographic Data Family Environment S c a l e A n a l y s i s .  73 ,....73 73 74  Q u a l i t a t i v e Data A n a l y s i s R e s u l t s ..,76 Preface, 76 F a m i l y Communication 76 Family Relationships., 85 The P a r e n t s ' A d o p t i o n E x p e r i e n c e 93 The B i o l o g i c a l P a r e n t s 102 The A d o l e s c e n t s ' A d o p t i o n Experience....118  (iii)  PAGE 131  Q u a l i t a t i v e D a t a A n a l y s i s Summary V  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Conclusions Family Communication Family Relationships B i o l o g i c a l Parents Parents' Adoption Experience Adolescents' Adoption Experience Summary Suggestions f o r Further Research Recommendations Counselling Implications  *  139 139 139 144 147 152 155 159 161 163 166  Reference Notes  171  References..  172  Appendices  180  A  Letter of Introduction  180  B  Family Consent  182  C  Adoptees'  D  Parents' Interview Guide  187  E  Parents Q u e s t i o n n a i r e —  191  F  The Family Environment  195  G  Letter of Appreciation  Form  I n t e r v i e w Guide.,  (iy)  Scale & Instructions  184  199  ACKNOWLEDGMENTS  D r . J o h n Banmen, c h a i r p e r s o n o f my t h e s i s c o m m i t t e e , s u p p o r t , and p a t i e n c e as I l a b o u r e d o v e r t h i s  f o r h i s guidance, project.  Dr. Robert Conry, f o r h i s a d v i c e r e g a r d i n g t h e c o n t e n t a n a l y s i s , and his encouragement. D r . B i l l B o r g e n , who w a i t e d s o p a t i e n t l y f o r t h e f i n i s h e d Wendy J o h a n n s o n ,  t h e s e c o n d i n t e r v i e w e r , who c h e e r f u l l y  product. participated  in t h e i n t e r v i e w i n g p r o c e s s , and p r o v i d e d h e r s k i l l e d  services  for free. To a l l t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s who p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h i s r e s e a r c h , f o r without t h e i r i n t e r e s t , enthusiasm, never have been completed.  and t r u s t , t h i s p r o j e c t  could  I am v e r y g r a t e f u l t o t h e m f o r t h e i r  confidence i n this research  (v)  endeavor.  A DESCRIPTIVE STUDY OF THE ADOPTION EXPERIENCE OF ADOLESCENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES  CHAPTER I  1  2 Introduction Family  t h e r a p i s t s have v o l u m e s o f  available  to,, them as  an  In  years,  number o f  recent  through divorce material and  and  regarding  blended  frame of  from  American  that  family  g r o u p t h a t has  therapists  adoptive  i s the  family  dynamics o f  f a m i l i e s are  Kirk,  a d o p t was  little  (Pringle,  1 9 6 7 ) . But  and  relational  significantly  1981). F o r  the  from t h o s e o f  take place  among s t e p - p a r e n t s  process of  non-relative  concerned.  In  these  family.  little  adoptive  family.  the. a d o p t i v e the  these  years the  adoptive the  Sokoloff,  family  to stress  history that  and  (Sorosky, Baran,  o n e ' s own  family  biological  that  the  group  depart  family  (Kirk,  relatives,  the  child  has  to  roles  1964;  1979). A l t h o u g h a d o p t i o n s and  &  children  agree t h a t  i t i s with  adoptions with which t h i s  instances  warrant  suggests  myth e x i s t e d  now  . ..o •<  i n North  evidence that  families  many r e s e a r c h e r s  a l , 1978;  adoptive  families  a different  i s a minority  d i f f e r e n t than bearing  norms o f  genealogical  resource  received  more v u l n e r a b l e  Sorosky et  and  single parent  i n many c a s e s ,  f a m i l i a l problems than b i o l o g i c a l 1978;  further  t h e r a p i s t s acknowledge t h a t  i n v e s t i g a t i o n because of  Pannor,  f a m i l i e s formed  f o r t r e a t i n g these f a m i l i e s ' problems  s o c i e t y the  adoptive  dynamics.  reconstituted  dynamics of  A family  A l t h o u g h the  family  studying  families require,  1970).  attention  serious  the  reference  material  r e m a r r i a g e have g e n e r a t e d  f a m i l i e s . Family  reconstituted  (Olson,  the  a i d to  resource  do the  researh  is  a biological,  i s d i f f e r e n t from t h a t o f  medical  the  3  A l l a n Gurman ( 1 9 8 2 ) , a f a m i l y t h e r a p i s t w r o t e : Whitaker's (1976) i d e a t h a t people are fragments o f f a m i l i e s b r i n g s t o mind the q u e s t i o n : from which f a m i l y i s t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d a f r a g m e n t ? To w h i c h family t r e e i s the c h i l d attached - the b i o l o g i c a l f a m i l y , t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y , b o t h , o r n e i t h e r ? ( p . 70) The r e s o l u t i o n o f t h i s d i l e m m a a t an i n t e l l e c t u a l o r e m o t i o n a l  level  i s n o t a l w a y s an e a s y t a s k f o r t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y . F a m i l i e s w i t h c h i l d r e n o f t e n have u n r e s o l v e d problems  r e l a t e d to the sense of belonging  o f t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d and t h e n a t u r e o f t h a t b e l o n g i n g ( G u r m a n , This problem  adopted  1982).  i s u n i q u e t o t h o s e f a m i l i e s w h e r e no b i o l o g i c a l t i e s e x i s t .  The f a c t o r o f a d o p t i o n a d d s a n o t h e r d i m e n s i o n f o r e x p l o r a t i o n and r e s o l u t i o n i n t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y , and c a n g e t i n t h e way o f t h e d e v e l o p m e n t a l  tasks  f a c i n g b o t h p a r e n t and c h i l d ( E r i c k s o n , 1 9 6 1 ) . Why  f o c u s on t h e a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t ?  The f o c u s o f t h e p r e s e n t  study  i s on a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s and t h e i r p a r e n t s . A d o p t i o n i s an o n g o i n g  process  w h i c h a f f e c t s t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y members' d u r i n g e a c h s t a g e o f t h e  adoptee's  maturation  ( S o k o l o f f , 1979).  Developmentally,  adolescence i s a p o t e n t i a l l y  more s t r e s s f u l t i m e f o r t h e a d o p t e e and h i s p a r e n t s b e c a u s e o f p o s s i b l e c o n f l i c t s a r o u n d t h e i s s u e s o f a d o p t i o n . T h i s s u b j e c t w i l l be e l a b o r a t e d on i n c h a p t e r two. M a c k i e  ( 1 9 8 2 ) r e p o r t s t h a t many a d o l e s c e n t  adoptees  r e f e r r e d t o him f o r t r e a t m e n t a p p e a r e d t o h a v e had t r o u b l e - f r e e c h i l d h o o d s , but upon r e a c h i n g a d o l e s c e n c e s u d d e n l y d e v e l o p e d p r o b l e m a t i c much t o t h e a n x i e t y and b e w i l d e r m e n t  of t h e i r parents.  behavior  Winnicott  (1971)  b e l i e v e s t h a t a l l c h i l d r e n r e o r i e n t t o l i f e a t p u b e r t y and a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n a t t h i s age h a v e a s p e c i a l t a s k and n e e d s p e c i a l i z e d h e l p . He f u r t h e r s t a t e s t h a t a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s a l s o need s p e c i a l i z e d h e l p i n managing t h e i r f e e l i n g s s t i r r e d up by t h e a d o l e s c e n t s ' c u r i o s i t y a b o u t t h e i r o r i g i n s and t h e i r s t r i v i n g s f o r  independence.  4  Statement  of the  Problem  Many h y p o t h e s e s  have been g e n e r a t e d  i n an a t t e m p t t o e x p l a i n why  t h e a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e m i g h t be a t r i s k f o r p r o b l e m s ,  but l i t t l e e m p i r i c a l  d a t a has been o b t a i n e d from t h e adopted a d o l e s c e n t t o v e r i f y hypotheses. A f u r t h e r problem  these  i s t h a t t h e a d o l e s c e n t has b e e n s t u d i e d  i n i s o l a t i o n f r o m t h e f a m i l y . In o r d e r t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e s p e c i a l p r o b l e m s t h a t adopted a d o l e s c e n t s might f a c e , , r e s e a r c h must i n c l u d e a l o o k a t t h e f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s , and t h e f e e l i n g s and p e r c e p t i o n s o f b o t h  parent  and c h i l d s o t h a t t h e d y n a m i c s o f t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p c a n be e l u c i d a t e d . A r a r e l y considered f a c t o r in the study of f a m i l i e s i s the lack of congruence  b e t w e e n f a m i l y members' p e r c e p t i o n s o f t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s  and i n t e r a c t i o n s ( O l s o n , 1 9 7 0 ) .  Olson (1970) b e l i e v e s t h a t t h e  level  o f i n t r a f a m i l y s t r e s s may be e l e v a t e d due t o t h e d i s c r e p a n t p e r c e p t i o n s o f p a r e n t s and t h e i r a d o l e s c e n t s r e g a r d i n g f a m i l y i s s u e s and  dynamics.  F o r t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y , d i s c r e p a n t p e r c e p t i o n s b e t w e e n p a r e n t and  child  r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n i s s u e s m i g h t be a f a c t o r a d d i n g t o t h e s t r a i n o f adoptive family l i f e , p a r t i c u l a r l y during adolescence.  This issue  w i l l be e x p l o r e d i n t h e p r e s e n t r e s e a r c h . In o r d e r f o r t h e r a p i s t s t o c o m p e t e n t l y  counsel adoptive f a m i l i e s  an u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e d y n a m i c s o f t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y i s , i n t h i s w r i t e r ' s o p i n i o n , a b s o l u t e l y e s s e n t i a l . Adult adoptees  have r e p o r t e d t h a t  i f t h e s u b j e c t o f a d o p t i o n was r a i s e d i n t h e r a p y t h e y w e r e a s s u r e d t h a t i t was u n r e l a t e d t o t h e i r p r o b l e m ,  and m u s t n o t be a l l o w e d t o become an  f o r t h e i r p r e s e n t d i f f i c u l t i e s (Sorosky e t a l , 1978).  Adoptees  who  excuse are  a l r e a d y o v e r w h e l m e d w i t h c o n f u s i o n and s e l f - d o u b t f i n d t h e i r s e l f - d o u b t r e i n f o r c e d in a process of therapy t h a t does not r e c o g n i z e t h a t a d o p t i v e  5  s t a t u s c a n be a s o u r c e o f d i s t u r b a n c e i t s e l f ( S o r o s k y e t a l , , 1978 ) . The a d o p t i v e f a m i l y , l i k e t h e b l e n d e d f a m i l y , d o e s n o t f u n c t i o n l i k e t h e b i o l o g i c a l f a m i l y , and t h e r a p i s t s m u s t become a w a r e o f a d o p t i o n p s y c h o l o g y and r e c o g n i z e when p s y c h o l o g i c a l p r o b l e m s the c l i e n t ' s adoption  m i g h t be r e l a t e d t o  experience.  A g r e a t d e a l o f r e s e a r c h has b e e n c o n d u c t e d  by c h i l d w e l f a r e  p r o f e s s i o n a l s on a d o p t i o n o v e r t h e y e a r s , b u t u n f o r t u n a t e l y t h e d a t a remains small concerning the adoption experience i t s e l f .  base  So much has b e e n  w r i t t e n a b o u t t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y , and s o l i t t l e on w h a t i t f e e l s l i k e t o be a d o p t e d , t h a t i t s t i m e r e s e a r c h e r s b e g a n r e a l l y e x a m i n i n g  the  adoption  e x p e r i e n c e t h r o u g h t h o s e i n d i v i d u a l s m o s t i n v o l v e d -- t h e a d o p t e e and adoptive parents. A s s e s s i n g the cause of adoptive f a m i l y problems r e l e v a n t o n c e t h e r e s e a r c h e r knows w h a t h a s b e e n e x p e r i e n c e d . notions concerning the nature of the adolescent adoptee's  is only  The  theoretical  emotional  h a v e b e e n v e r i f i e d o n l y t h r o u g h r e t r o s p e c t i v e a c c o u n t s by a d u l t  the  problems  adoptees.  A d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s and t h e i r p a r e n t s h a v e n o t had t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o d e s c r i b e t h e i r e x p e r i e n c e s i n any s y s t e m a t i c s t u d i e s known t o t h i s r e s e a r c h e r . The p u r p o s e o f t h i s s t u d y i s t o e x p l o r e t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e w i t h i n t h e f a m i l y t o f i n d o u t how a d o p t i o n i s e x p e r i e n c e d by a d o l e s c e n t and t h e i r p a r e n t s . T h i s w i l l be a c c o m p l i s h e d t h r o u g h w i t h t h e a d o p t e e s and t h e i r p a r e n t s .  adoptees  in-depth interviews  For the purposes of t h i s  study,  "experience" i s defined as, the r e a c t i o n to adoption i n c l u d i n g the e n t i r e r a n g e o f t h o u g h t s , f e e l i n g s , o r b e h a v i o r s w h i c h r e l a t e i n any way  to  a d o p t i o n , and t h e m e a n i n g g i v e n t o t h e s e e v e n t s , and t h e e f f e c t on t h e f a m i l i e s ' everyday  lives.  6 As this study is descriptive in nature, the following questions are addressed: 1.  How does the adopted adolescent experience adoption? What problems i f any, do they face?  2.  How do the adoptive parents experience adoption? What problems i f any, do they face?  3.  Are there any recurring patterns in the adoptive family situation? Are there common themes in the l i v e s of the adolescents,  and  adoptive parents? 4.  What are the s i m i l a r i t i e s or differences between the parents' and adoptees' perceptions of the adoption experience?  5.  What implications do these findings have f o r therapists counselling adopted adolescents, or adoptive parents? By describing the adoption experience from the perspective of the  adopted adolescent and the adoptive parents, the information gleaned from t h i s q u a l i t a t i v e research can be used by adoption agencies to benefit the adoption process; and counsellors who work with troubled adolescents or families would be more aware of when the adoption situation can create family d i f f i c u l t i e s , and therefore be in a better position to treat the presenting problem(s).  CHAPTER I I Review o f t h e L i t e r a t u r e  A Background  Look a t A d o p t i o n  H i s t o r i c a l l y , l e g a l a d o p t i o n i n N o r t h A m e r i c a i s a r e l a t i v e l y new p r o c e s s . A d o p t i o n has e x i s t e d f o r c e n t u r i e s i n most p a r t s o f t h e w o r l d , b u t t h e f i r s t g e n e r a l a d o p t i o n laws w e r e n ' t e n a c t e d u n t i l t h e m i d - n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y (Derdeyn, 1979). North American  E n g l i s h Common Law, t h e f o u n d a t i o n o f much o f  law, d i d n o t r e c o g n i z e a d o p t i o n as a l e g a l p r o c e d u r e  1926 ( D e r d e y n & W a d l i n g t o n ,  1977).  until  During this e a r l y period of adoptions  t h e laws w e r e d e s i g n e d t o m e e t t h e n e e d s o f t h e a d o p t e r s , n o t t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d . Many a d o p t i o n s w e r e a r r a n g e d c a s u a l l y t h r o u g h n e w s p a p e r a d s s u c h a s ; " m o t h e r w a n t s t o g i v e up b a b y b o y , two w e e k s o l d " , o r " w a n t e d t o a d o p t a b a b y g i r l up t o f o u r y e a r s " ( D e r d e y n , 1 9 7 9 ) .  Throughout  t h e 1920 s and 1930 s 1  1  t h e s o c i a l s e r v i c e a g e n c i e s i n t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s had t o r e c r u i t a d o p t i v e parents f o r white i n f a n t s . Negative a t t i t u d e s toward  i l l e g i t i m a c y and  t o w a r d b r i n g i n g c h i l d r e n o f " d i f f e r e n t b l o o d " i n t o a f a m i l y s e t up s t r o n g b a r r i e r s t o a d o p t i o n ( R e i d , 1957).  T h i s a t t i t u d e l e d t o a b e l i e f by many  a d o p t i o n w o r k e r s t h a t t h e a d o p t e r s w e r e d o i n g t h e c h i l d a f a v o u r by a d o p t i n g h i m / h e r . T h e p r e s s u r e s a r i s i n g f r o m t h i s r e c r u i t m e n t p o l i c y l e d t o an  emphasis  on m a t c h i n g p a r e n t t o c h i l d , a n d g u a r a n t e e i n g t h a t t h e c h i l d was w i t h o u t p h y s i c a l , emotional o r mental d e f e c t s ( R e i d , 1957).  C h i l d r e n who d i d n ' t  pass t h e t e s t s were u s u a l l y c o n s i d e r e d unadoptable and p u t i n t o f o s t e r c a r e . Babies were h e l d f o r c o n t i n u e d o b s e r v a t i o n and developmental  tests in order  t o r e a s s u r e t h e a d o p t e r s t h a t t h e baby had good h e a l t h and i n t e l l e c t u a l potential. T h i s e a r l y a d o p t i o n procedure p l a c e d g r e a t e r emphasis  upon t h e s t u d y  and s c r e e n i n g o f t h e c h i l d t h a n upon t h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h e a p p l i c a n t s . B u t d u r i n g t h e l a t e 1940's a n d e a r l y 1950's p s y c h i a t r i s t s a n d o t h e r p r o f e s s i o n a l s 7  8 began e x a m i n i n g t h e a d o p t i o n a g e n c i e s ' i n f a n t t e s t s and p r o c e d u r e s , and p r e s s u r e began mounting on t h e a g e n c i e s t o r e s e a r c h t h e i r p o l i c i e s and p r o c e d u r e s more f u l l y .  Bowlby's  ( 1 9 5 1 ) r e s e a r c h on m a t e r n a l c a r e a n d  m e n t a l h e a l t h , a n d t h e s u g g e s t e d e f f e c t o f m a t e r n a l d e p r i v a t i o n o n an i n f a n t ' s development,promoted health concerns.  a s h i f t i n emphasis from h e r e d i t y t o mental  Agencies were encouraged t o modify t h e use o f i n f a n t t e s t s  and p r o m o t e t h e p l a c e m e n t o f c h i l d r e n a t an e a r l i e r a g e . T h e d e c a d e o f t h e 1 9 5 0 s was a p e r i o d t h a t p r o d u c e d a g r o w i n g a p p l i c a t i o n o f m e n t a l h e a l t h 1  principles to adoption.  P r i o r t o t h a t t i m e l i t t l e s i g n i f i c a n t r e s e a r c h on  a d o p t i o n h a d a p p e a r e d i n t h e j o u r n a l s , a n d much o f t h e t h e o r y a n d p r a c t i c e was b a s e d on t h e l i m i t e d e x p e r i e n c e o f t h e a d o p t i o n w o r k e r . A d o p t i o n i s now v i e w e d a s t h e m o s t s u i t a b l e means o f p r o v i d i n g s t a b l e homes f o r c h i l d r e n w h o s e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s w i l l n o t , o r c a n n o t c a r e f o r t h e m , and s e c o n d a r i l y , p r o v i d i n g c h i l d r e n t o c h i l d l e s s c o u p l e s . D i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e adopted c h i l d ' s b i o l o g i c a l , m e d i c a l and g e n e a l o g i c a l h i s t o r y from t h a t o f t h e a d o p t e r s has l e d t o t h e s o c i e t a l concern t h a t t h e adopted c h i l d c o u l d s u f f e r from bad h e r e d i t y . T h i s concern, i n t u r n , l e d t o t h e b e l i e f t h a t adopted c h i l d r e n s h o u l d n o t r e c e i v e a l l t h e r i g h t s and p r i v i l e d g e s due n a t u r a l o r "born t o " c h i l d r e n .  F o r some t i m e a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n d i d n o t h a v e  i n h e r i t a n c e r i g h t s from t h e i r adoptive f a m i l i e s .  In B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a t h e  l e g i s l a t i o n was c h a n g e d i n 1953 t o a l l o w a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n t o i n h e r i t f r o m t h e i r extended adoptive f a m i l i e s .  A l t h o u g h t h e c o n c e r n o v e r bad h e r e d i t y ,  o r b a d b l o o d , i s n o t t h e s e r i o u s i s s u e i t o n c e was, t h e i s s u e o f i l l e g i t i m a c y , w i t h a l l i t s n e g a t i v e c o n n o t a t i o n s , h a s f o s t e r e d a p e s s i m i s t i c v i e w o f some adoptees' p o t e n t i a l .  9 S o c i a l c l i m a t e i n t h e l a t e 1 9 4 0 s and 1 9 5 0 s was d i f f e r e n t i n many 1  1  r e s p e c t s f r o m t h a t o f t h e 1970's and 1 9 8 0 ' s , p a r t i c u l a r l y w i t h r e g a r d t o two key i s s u e s i n a d o p t i o n - h e r e d i t y and i l l e g i t i m a c y ( R a y n o r , 1980 ) . D u r i n g t h e 1940's and 1 9 5 0 ' s , i l l e g i t i m a c y was c o n s i d e r e d s h a m e f u l , and i f a g i r l was i l l e g i t i m a t e t h e r e was t h e f e a r t h a t s h e m i g h t g r o w up t o r e p e a t t h e " s i n s " o f t h e unwed m o t h e r . In f a c t , one o f t h e o r i g i n a l p u r p o s e s o f t h e s e a l e d r e c o r d i n a d o p t i o n was t o p r o t e c t i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n f r o m t h e s t i g m a a t t a c h e d t o t h e i r s t a t u s (Baran, Pannor, & Sorosky, 1974).  Adoption  legislation  i n B. C. s t a t e s t h a t " t h e f a c t o f i l l e g i t i m a c y s h a l l n o t be r e f e r r e d t o i n t h e a d o p t i o n o r d e r " ( A d o p t i o n A c t RSBC 1979, Ch. 4, s 1 0 ( 5 ) ) , t h u s t h a t i l l e g i t i m a c y i s s t i g m a t i z e d i n s o c i e t y . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , most  indicating adoptees  t e n d t o assume t h a t t h e y a r e i l l e g i t i m a t e because o f t h e n a t u r e o f a d o p t i o n itself. During the l a s t decade changing s o c i e t a l a t t i t u d e s toward  illegitimacy,  t h e more common u s e o f o r a l c o n t r a c e p t i v e s , t h e g r e a t e r a v a i l a b i l i t y o f s a f e , m e d i c a l a b o r t i o n s , and t h e i n c r e a s e d number o f unwed m o t h e r s  electing  t o k e e p t h e i r b a b i e s , has had a t r e m e n d o u s i m p a c t on t h e number o f c h i l d r e n a v a i l a b l e f o r a d o p t i o n . In 1960 a f a m i l y c o u l d a d o p t a h e a l t h y C a u c a s i a n i n f a n t e v e n i f t h e y a l r e a d y had two o r t h r e e c h i l d r e n . In t h e 1 9 8 0 s 1  p r o s p e c t i v e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s must m e e t e l i g i b i l i t y c r i t e r i a and t h e y f a c e a w a i t o f up t o f i v e y e a r s t o g e t a C a u c a s i a n i n f a n t ( M u r r a y ,  1984).  T r a d i t i o n a l l y , t h e p r o c e s s o f a d o p t i o n has f o l l o w e d a s y s t e m o f s e c r e c y . R e c o r d s h a v e b e e n s e a l e d a f t e r an a d o p t i o n i s l e g a l i z e d , and t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d i s "as i f b o r n t o " t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y . Many a d o p t e e s grown up n o t k n o w i n g t h a t t h e y w e r e a d o p t e d .  have  By t h e l a t e 1950's a d o p t i o n  workers were u r g i n g a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s t o t e l l t h e i r c h i l d r e n t h a t t h e y were  10 adopted e a r l y i n l i f e .  T h e a g e n c i e s w a n t e d t h e c h i l d r e n t o know t h a t t h e y  w e r e a d o p t e d a n d t h a t t h e y w e r e w a n t e d o r c h o s e n by t h e i r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s . (Raynor, 1980).  A l t h o u g h t h e a g e n c i e s s u p p o r t e d t h i s p o l i c y , many p a r e n t s  would n o t , o r c o u l d n o t b r i n g t h e m s e l v e s t o t e l l t h e c h i l d . Today most workers b e l i e v e i t i s i n t h e f a m i l y ' s best i n t e r e s t t o t e l l t h e c h i l d e a r l y , a n d m o s t p a r e n t s t e l l t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n now a b o u t t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s surrounding t h e i r arrival in the family. In t a c k l i n g r e s e a r c h o n a d o p t i o n i t i s i m p o r t a n t t o k e e p i n m i n d t h a t s o c i e t y ' s changing m o r a l s , a t t i t u d e s and v a l u e s have i n f l u e n c e d t h e practice of adoption.  I t i s p o t e n t i a l l y harmful f o r a researcher studying  a d o p t i o n o u t c o m e a n d a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e t o t r y t o g e n e r a l i z e t o o much from t h e past. and c o m m u n i c a t i o n  M o s t a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n t o d a y know t h a t t h e y a r e a d o p t e d , a b o u t a d o p t i o n i s m o r e o p e n t h a n i t was 20 y e a r s a g o ,  so t h e f o l l o w - u p s t u d i e s o f t h e 1950's and 1960's do n o t c o m p l e t e l y r e f l e c t t h e g e n e r a t i o n s o f t h e 1970's and 1980's. I n f o r m a t i o n g l e a n e d from t h i s r e s e a r c h must be i n t e r p r e t e d c a u t i o u s l y , b e a r i n g i n mind j u s t when a n d w h e r e i t was d o n e .  A c u r r e n t example o f t h e changes  in society's  a t t i t u d e i s t h e C a b b a g e P a t c h d o l l phenomenon t h a t h i t N o r t h A m e r i c a i n 1983.  I t i s now t r e n d y f o r y o u n g c h i l d r e n t o p l a y a t b e i n g a d o p t i v e  p a r e n t s and t h i s r e f l e c t s a more open a t t i t u d e toward a d o p t i o n and i t s place in this society.  I t s h o u l d a l s o be m e n t i o n e d  however, t h a t t h i s  d o l l c r a z e h a s a l s o g e n e r a t e d some n e g a t i v e f e e l i n g s f r o m some i n d i v i d u a l s i n v o l v e d i n a d o p t i o n r e f o r m , as t h e y b e l i e v e t h a t t h e m a r k e t i n g  approach  t a k e n w i t h t h e s e d o l l s has t r i v i a l i z e d a d o p t i o n and i t s a t t e n d i n g  problems.  In r e c e n t y e a r s an i n c r e a s i n g l y v o c a l g r o u p o f a d u l t a d o p t e e s h a v e b e g u n p r e s s u r i n g government t o r e a s s e s s i t s p o l i c y and open t h e a d o p t i o n The c o n t r o v e r s y o v e r s e a l e d v s o p e n r e c o r d s g e n e r a t e s much h e a t e d  files. debate  from a l l those i n v o l v e d i n t h e adoption t r i a n g l e - t h e adoptee, t h e adoptive  11 p a r e n t s and t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s . T h i s i s an i s s u e m i r e d i n e m o t i o n a l i s m , and s u b j e c t t o t h e v e s t e d i n t e r e s t o f d i f f e r e n t p r e s s u r e g r o u p s  (Burgess,  1976).  Q u e s t i o n s t h a t t h i s c o n t r o v e r s y g e n e r a t e s a r e : does t h e government have a r i g h t t o d e n y an a d u l t a d o p t e e h i s / h e r b i r t h r i g h t ; w h a t p r o t e c t i o n do t h e b i r t h parents deserve i f they wish t o maintain anonymity,  o r , on t h e o t h e r  h a n d , w i s h t o h a v e a r e u n i o n w i t h t h e r e l i n q u i s h e d c h i l d ; and w h a t r i g h t s belong t o the a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s - s h o u l d they have a guarantee t h a t they can r a i s e t h e i r adopted c h i l d without o u t s i d e i n t e r f e r e n c e ? These c o n t r o v e r s i e s h a v e c r e a t e d a new f a c e t t o t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e t h a t no new f a m i l y can i g n o r e .  In B.C.,  adoptive  a c t i v i s t g r o u p s s u c h as t h e C a n a d i a n  Reform a r e working toward p r e s s u r i n g t h e government t o reexamine adoption p o l i c i e s .  Adoptees' their  The m e d i a has a l s o become i n v o l v e d i n t h e s e i s s u e s and  have s u b s e q u e n t l y p u b l i s h e d s t o r i e s o f b i r t h parent/adoptee r e u n i o n s s e p a r a t e d s i b l i n g r e u n i o n s . The p u b l i c i t y t h a t s t o r i e s l i k e t h e s e i s l e a d i n g t o i n c r e a s e d p u b l i c awareness  and  generate  of the adoption process, but i t i s  also complicating the process f o r those i n d i v i d u a l s involved in the adoption t r i a n g l e . C o u p l e s who a d o p t t o d a y may  not have t h e s e c r e c y o f r e c o r d s ensured  i n t h e f u t u r e , and a d o p t i n g c o u p l e s may  h a v e t o be p r e p a r e d f o r t h e i r  children to investigate their biological origins.  adopted  In o r d e r t o f u r t h e r  understand the circumstances surrounding the formation of the adoptive f a m i l y , B. C.'s a d o p t i o n p o l i c y i s b r i e f l y o u t l i n e d i n t h e n e x t s e c t i o n . Adoption p o l i c y in B r i t i s h Columbia.  In B. C. m o s t a d o p t i o n s a r e  h a n d l e d by t h e F a m i l y and C h i l d r e n s ' S e r v i c e s d e p a r t m e n t Human R e s o u r c e s .  of the M i n i s t r y of  B. C. a d a p t i o n p p j _ i c x _ i s _ _ b a s e d . o n j t h e . p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e  A d o p t i o n A c t and i s g e a r e d t o w a r d p r o t e c t i n g t h e i n t e r e s t s o f t h e c h i l d .  12 In 1935 p r o v i s i o n s w e r e made i n t h e A c t t o i n t r o d u c e s e c r e c y o f a d o p t i o n documents.  I n B. C , when a n a d o p t i o n i s l e g a l i z e d , " a n a d o p t e d c h i l d b e c o m e s  t h e c h i l d o f t h e a d o p t i n g p a r e n t , and t h e a d o p t i n g p a r e n t becomes t h e p a r e n t o f t h e c h i l d as i f t h e c h i l d had been born t o t h a t p a r e n t i n l a w f u l ( A d o p t i o n A c t , C h . 4, s 1 1 ) - In a c c o r d a n c e w i t h t h i s l e g i s l a t i o n ,  wedlock" adopted  c h i l d r e n r e c e i v e a l l t h e r i g h t s and p r i v i l e g e s t h a t n a t u r a l c h i l d r e n r e c e i v e from t h e i r p a r e n t s .  The r e l a t i o n s h i p o f p a r e n t t o adopted c h i l d c a r r i e s with  i t t h e same m u t u a l r i g h t s a n d o b l i g a t i o n s t h a t e x i s t b e t w e e n c h i l d r e n a n d t h e i r b i r t h parents (Murray,  1984).  When c o u p l e s a d o p t a c h i l d t h e y a r e g i v e n n o n - i d e n t i f y i n g b a c k g r o u n d i n f o r m a t i o n o n t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s i f t h e y want i t . T h e a d o p t i o n  worker  w i l l prepare a birth family h i s t o r y (deleting a l l identifying information) f o r t h e a d o p t i n g p a r e n t s , and t h i s i s a v a i l a b l e a f t e r placement.  The  a d o p t e d c h i l d h a s no l e g a l a c c e s s t o t h e s e r e c o r d s , b u t a t 19 y e a r s o f a g e they can apply t o r e c e i v e t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n from t h e Post-Adoption S e r v i c e s department  o f t h e M i n i s t r y o f Human  In 1975 t h e B e r g e r C o m m i s s i o n  Resources. o n F a m i l y Law recommended t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t  i n B. C. o f an a d o p t i o n r e g i s t r y w h i c h w o u l d h e l p i n t e r e s t e d a d u l t a d o p t e e s and t h e i r b i r t h p a r e n t s t o r e u n i t e ( M u r r a y , 1 9 8 4 ) . became a l a r m e d a t t h i s r e c o m m e n d a t i o n ,  Many a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s  l o b b i e d s u c c e s s f u l l y , and d e t e r r e d  t h e government from implementing t h e recommendations o f t h e Commission (Murray, 1984).  H o w e v e r , r e q u e s t s b y a d o p t e e s t o be p u t i n t o u c h w i t h  t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l r e l a t i v e s i s i n c r e a s i n g a l t h o u g h t h e M i n i s t r y o f Human R e s o u r c e s d o e s n o t a s s i s t i n t h e s e r e u n i o n s b u t c o n t i n u e s t o make information available.  background  13 The number o f a d o p t i o n s t a k i n g p l a c e i n B. C. h a s d r a m a t i c a l l y s h i f t e d o v e r t h e y e a r s and has b e g u n t o a f f e c t t h e g o v e r n m e n t ' s p o l i c y regarding adoption.  P r i o r t o t h e 1 9 7 0 ' s t h e p r o b l e m was  homelessness.  B a b i e s o f t e n w a i t e d i n h o s p i t a l s o r f o s t e r homes f o r some f a m i l y t o them. 1,943  In 1960, 882 c h i l d r e n w e r e p l a c e d i n a d o p t i v e homes, and i n c h i l d r e n w e r e p l a c e d (MHR  choose 1970,  R e p o r t , 1970, N o t e 1 ) . In 10 y e a r s t h e  p l a c e m e n t o f c h i l d r e n i n a d o p t i v e homes i n c r e a s e d by 120%.  It is the  c h i l d r e n o f t h i s d e c a d e , some o f whomare now a d o l e s c e n t s , t h a t h a v e p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h i s s t u d y . The number o f h e a l t h y C a u c a s i a n i n f a n t s h a s s t e a d i l y d e c l i n e d s i n c e t h e n s o t h a t now t h e demand f o r h e a l t h y i n f a n t s and y o u n g c h i l d r e n f a r exceeds the supply (Murray, 1984).  B e c a u s e o f t h i s g r o w i n g demand i t i s  now t h e p a r e n t s t h a t a r e b e i n g c h o s e n , n o t t h e b a b i e s .  Eligibility  criteria  w e r e i n t r o d u c e d i n 1981, so i f y o u w a n t t o a d o p t i n B. C. t o d a y y o u m u s t b e ; a B. C. r e s i d e n t b e t w e e n 22 and 40 y e a r s o f a g e , l e g a l l y m a r r i e d o r l i v i n g common-law, c h i l d l e s s o r w i t h o n l y o n e c h i l d p e r m a n e n t l y u n a b l e t o h a v e any c h i l d r e n (MHR Manual, Note 2 ) .  i n t h e home, o r  Family & Childrens' Services Procedure  A p o s i t i v e aspect to the present adoption s i t u a t i o n i s  t h a t b e c a u s e o f t h e demand f o r c h i l d r e n , more o l d e r c h i l d r e n and n e e d s c h i l d r e n a r e b e i n g p l a c e d i n a d o p t i v e homes.  special  So w h i l e i t i s a  f r u s t r a t i n g , o f t e n sad e x p e r i e n c e f o r the c h i l d l e s s c o u p l e w a i t i n g f o r a baby, i n t h i s w r i t e r ' s o p i n i o n , i t i s p r e f e r a b l e t o having a g l u t o f a d o p t a b l e b a b i e s and no p e r m a n e n t f a m i l i e s f o r t h e m . A l t h o u g h MHR  a r r a n g e s m o s t a d o p t i o n s i n B. C ,  t a k e p l a c e and a p p e a r t o be on t h e i n c r e a s e .  p r i v a t e a d o p t i o n s do  These k i n d of adoptions are  o f t e n a r r a n g e d t h r o u g h a p h y s i c i a n and t h e n r e g i s t e r e d w i t h MHR.  The  changes  14 i n p o l i c y h a v e b e e n i n f l u e n c e d by t h e s h i f t i n t h e r a t i o o f  adoptable  c h i l d t o a d o p t i v e f a m i l y , and i s c o n t i n u i n g t o e v o l v e t o m e e t t h e demands of society.  Current adoption p r a c t i c e , although d i f f e r i n g from country to  c o u n t r y , and p r o v i n c e t o p r o v i n c e , s t i l l f u n c t i o n s f r o m a r a t h e r l i m i t e d d a t a b a s e r e g a r d i n g t h e n a t u r e o f a d o p t i v e f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s . What has been l e a r n e d about t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y i s d i s c u s s e d n e x t . Adoptive Family Relations Our s o c i e t y ' s c u l t u r a l v a l u e s h a v e t y p i c a l l y p u t g r e a t e m p h a s i s on b l o o d t i e s and f a m i l y k i n s h i p .  A d o p t i o n h a s a c c o r d i n g l y , b e e n v i e w e d as a s e c o n d  best a l t e r n a t i v e to b i o l o g i c a l parenthood.  The f a c t t h a t s o c i e t y h a s g i v e n  p r i o r i t y t o b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t i n g can r e i n f o r c e f e e l i n g s o f b e i n g d i f f e r e n t , i m p a i r e d , o r i n f e r i o r i n c o u p l e s who  adopt (Andrews, 1979).  Most r e s e a r c h e r s  g e n e r a l l y accept t h a t adoptive f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s are s u b j e c t to s t r a i n s not f o u n d i n t h e b i o l o g i c a l f a m i l y ( T o u s s i e n g , 1962;  K i r k , 1964;  Sorosky et a l ,  1978). A l t h o u g h a d o p t i o n a u t h o r i t i e s n o r m a l l y make c l e a r t h e l e g a l  and  administrative r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of adoption to the adopting couple, often the emotional r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s are unclear. If i n f e r t i l i t y i s the reason f o r a d o p t i o n , t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s must f a c e t h e reasons f o r b e i n g unable t o b e a r t h e i r own c h i l d r e n . O t h e r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s must come t o t e r m s t h e i r f e e l i n g s about i l l e g i t i m a c y . Adoptive mothers w i l l not pregnancy  with  experience  and b i r t h i n r e l a t i o n t o t h e i r c h i l d r e n , and t h e a d o p t i n g  f a c e s a s e r i e s of d i f f e r e n t p r e p a r a t o r y e x p e r i e n c e s b e f o r e assuming r o l e o f a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ( P r i n g l e , 1967).  K i r k (1981)  has  clearly  couple the  15 o u t l i n e d 10 s i t u a t i o n a l d i s c r e p a n c i e s promised events"  - c o n t r a d i c t i o n s between " c u l t u r a l l y  and a c t u a l p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e s  - that t y p i c a l l y confront  t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y . T h e s e s i t u a t i o n a l d i s c r e p a n c i e s a r e o u t l i n e d on 1.  K i r k ' s (1981) i n v e n t o r y of the s i t u a t i o n a l d i s c r e p a n c i e s  Table  between  b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t h o o d and a d o p t i v e p a r e n t h o o d d o e s n o t h o w e v e r ,  completely  apply t o f a m i l i e s where b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n c o e x i s t with adopted c h i l d r e n . Some o f t h e r o l e h a n d i c a p o f a d o p t i v e p a r e n t h o o d i s a l l e v i a t e d i n m i x e d f a m i l i e s because o f t e n the parents don't have the i n f e r t i l i t y burden t o cope with.  F a m i l y c o n s t e l l a t i o n has n o t b e e n e x t e n s i v e l y s t u d i e d i n  a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s , b u t t h e o r d i n a l p o s i t i o n o f an a d o p t e d c h i l d , o r  the  p r e s e n c e o f n a t u r a l b o r n c h i l d r e n i n t h e f a m i l y c o u l d be a c o n t r i b u t i n g f a c t o r in the successful/unsuccessful  adjustment of adoptive  families.  The m i x e d f a m i l y m i g h t a l s o f a c e some a d d i t i o n a l t a s k s i n i n t e g r a t i n g an adopted c h i l d into a s i b l i n g group of b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n . p s y c h o l o g i c a l s t r e s s may  be e x p e r i e n c e d  by a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n i n f a m i l i e s  w h e r e c h i l d r e n d i f f e r i n s t a t u s , and t h e "own" can s e r v e t o e x e m p l i f y  Increased  d i f f e r e n c e s (Kraus,  vs " a d o p t e d " d i s t i n c t i o n  1978).In order to f u r t h e r  u n d e r s t a n d how f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e c a n a f f e c t a d o p t i v e f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s i t i s c l e a r t h a t more r e s e a r c h Once t h e a d o p t i n g  is indicated.  c o u p l e r e c e i v e s a c h i l d t h e i r t a s k s as  parents  c o n t i n u e t o d e v i a t e f r o m t h o s e o f b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s . One o f t h e adopters! t h e i r own.  m a i n t a s k s i s t o come t o f e e l and e x p e r i e n c e J a f f e e & Fanshel  t h e c h i l d as  ( 1 9 7 0 ) r e f e r t o t h i s as e n t i t l e m e n t ,  a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s m u s t f e e l t h a t t h e c h i l d b e l o n g s t o t h e m , and t h a t are e n t i t l e d to him/her.  Toussieng  the they  (1962) b e l i e v e s t h a t the lack of a  TABLE I Situational Discrepancies Biological  Adoptive  Parenthood  Parenthood  1. P r e p a r a t i o n f o r a d u l t l i f e p r e s u m e s t h a t t h e r e w i l l be c h i l d r e n . T h u s c o u p l e s have a mental l i n k between m a r r i a g e and t h e a b i l i t y t o h a v e offspring.  There i s l i t t l e p r e p a r a t i o n f o r s t e r i l i t y . Not many c o u p l e s e v e r c o n s i d e r s t e r i l i t y as a p o s s i b i l i t y in t h e i r marriage.  2. The c h i l d ' s i m p e n d i n g a r r i v a l makes p o s s i b l e s h a r i n g o f news w i t h family & friends.  The u n c e r t a i n t y c o n n e c t e d w i t h a d o p t i o n p l a n s f r e q u e n t l y i n h i b i t s any d i s c u s s i o n with family & f r i e n d s .  3. B i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t h o o d i s r e w a r d e d i n s o c i e t y . M e d i c a l and h o s p i t a l plans help defray the costs of a child's arrival.  A d o p t i n g c o u p l e s have few arrangements to take care c h i l d ' s a r r i v a l . Tax laws provide f o r the deduction expenses.  4.Once m a r r i e d , t h e c o u p l e h a v e no f u r t h e r r e q u i r e m e n t s t o meet t o make, t h e m e l i g i b l e f o r p a r e n t hood.  A d o p t e r s h a v e t o show a u t h o r i t i e s that they are f i t f o r parenthood.  5. The b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s a r e u l t i m a t e l y independent i n the procurement of t h e i r c h i l d . 6. P a r e n t a l s t a t u s i s i n i t i a t e d d u r i n g p r e g n a n c y and f u l l y s e c u r e d at b i r t h .  A d o p t e r s a r e u l t i m a t e l y d e p e n d e n t on t h e s e r v i c e s o f a m i d d l e man, i . e . the agency or lawyer.  7. P a r e n t s a r e e x p e c t e d t o make t h e new b a b y one o f t h e i r g r o u p , t o i n t e g r a t e him i n t h e f a m i l y .  A d o p t e r s must t e l l t h e c h i l d about h i s a d o p t i o n and t h i s c a n h a m p e r V t h e integration of the c h i l d into the family.  equivalent of the don't of adoption  Parental s t a t u s i s not f u l l y secured at the time o f t h e c h i l d ' s a r r i v a l . Guardian r i g h t s remain i n t h e hands o f other? u n t i l adoption i s l e g a l i z e d .  8. P r e p a r a t i o n f o r p a r e n t h o o d i s Preparation f o r parenthood tends to gradual, pregnancy p r o v i d e s a be a b r u p t , w i t h no c l e a r - c u t t i m e t i m e t a b l e t h a t moves t h e m t o w a r d s t a b l e by w h i c h t o s h a p e t h e i r t h o u g h t s and f e e l i n g s r e p a r e n t h o o d . parenthood g r a d u a l l y . 9. M a t e r n i t y c l o t h e s a c t as an e x t e r n a l F o r a d o p t e r s t h e r e a r e few s i g n s t o sign to others of the couple's i m p r e s s on o t h e r s & on t h e m s e l v e s t h e c h a n g i n g p o s i t i o n , & a s s i s t s them changing p o s i t i o n f o r which they are reaching. in moving toward parenthood. 10.At t h e t i m e o f t h e c h i l d ' s b i r t h 10. In a d o p t i o n t h e r e a r e no c e r e m o n i e s the f a m i l y u s u a l l y gathers around o f t h i s o r d e r t o mark t h e new member's t h e c o u p l e and l o o k s f o r f a m i l y a r r i v a l i n the f a m i l y . Knowledge of l i k e n e s s i n t h e newborn, & f r e q u e n t l y the rupture of the family line they are p a r t i c i p a n t s in r e l i g i o u s precludes looking f o r family likeness. c e r e m o n i e s t o a c k n o w l e d g e t h e new ( K i r k , 1981, pp. 3 1 - 3 4 ) baby's p a r t i n t h e f a m i l y group.  16  17 b i o l o g i c a l t i e l e a d s t o i n s e c u r i t y f e l t by t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , and f u r t h e r , t o t h e i r d i f f i c u l t y i n b e l i e v i n g the c h i l d r e a l l y belongs t o them. T h i s a t t i t u d e t e n d s t o c r e a t e a n x i e t y and t e n s i o n i n t h e c h i l d w h i c h c a n , i n t u r n , a f f e c t t h e e n t i r e f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p . The n e e d f o r t h e  parents  t o f e e l e n t i t l e d t o t h e c h i l d , and t h e n e e d o f t h e c h i l d t o f e e l i n t e g r a t e d with h i s adoptive f a m i l y tends to c o n f l i c t with the accepted  requirement  t h a t c h i l d r e n be t o l d a b o u t t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s ( T r i s e l i o t i s ,  1973).  S t o n e ( 1 9 7 2 ) has r e f e r r e d t o t h i s as a d o u b l e b i n d s i t u a t i o n , a d o p t i v e parents f i n d themselves  i n a " t r e a t h e r l i k e y o u r own,  but t e l l her  she  i s n ' t " s i t u a t i o n . T h i s c o n f l i c t t i e s i n with a second very d i f f i c u l t , but important t a s k f o r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s - h e l p i n g adopted c h i l d r e n base t h e i r i d e n t i t y on t h e c o n c e p t o f two s e t s o f p a r e n t s ( T r i s e l i o t i s ,  1973).  T h i s i s u s u a l l y a c h i e v e d by r e v e a l i n g t h e c h i l d ' s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s a t t h e a p p r o p r i a t e t i m e and t h r o u g h s h a r i n g w i t h t h e c h i l d i n f o r m a t i o n  about  the adoptee's o r i g i n s . The a c c o m p l i s h m e n t  o f a number o f t a s k s f o r t h e a d o p t e e a r e no  l e s s i m p o r t a n t t o t h e s u c c e s s o f t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y . The a d o p t e d  child  m u s t e v e n t u a l l y a c c e p t t h e l o s s o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s and t h e r e j e c t i o n t h a t t h i s i m p l i e s , b u t he m u s t a l s o t r y t o a c c o m o d a t e an image o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s and h i s g e n e a l o g y 1973).  in his developing self  (Triseliotis,  Y e t t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d m u s t a l s o come t o f e e l a s e n s e o f b e l o n g i n g  i n t h e a d o p t i v e home and i d e n t i f y w i t h t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y t o some e x t e n t . The a d o p t e e m u s t i n t e g r a t e t h e c o n c e p t o f a d o p t i o n and w h a t i t means w i t h t h e two s e t s o f p a r e n t s , a t a s k t h a t many a d o p t e e s d i f f i c u l t y with.  have g r e a t  The t a s k s u n i q u e t o b o t h a d o p t e e and a d o p t i v e  parent  18 c a n be h a m p e r e d by a number o f v a r i a b l e s t h a t w i l l be d i s c u s s e d when t h e empirical l i t e r a t u r e i s reviewed. A d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s h a v e a l s o b e e n v i e w e d as more v u l n e r a b l e t h a n o t h e r f a m i l i e s due t o t h e f o l l o w i n g f a c t o r s : 1. P r e g n a n c y s t r e s s - b i r t h m o t h e r s f a c i n g a d o p t i o n o f t h e i r b a b i e s may e x p e r i e n c e g r e a t e r s t r e s s and a n x i e t y w h i c h c a n h a v e p o s s i b l e e f f e c t s on t h e b a b y i n u t e r o . 2. The c h i l d may h a v e b e e n e x p o s e d t o an a n x i e t y l a d e n a t m o s p h e r e i n t h e v e r y e a r l y months o f l i f e . 3. The a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s and t h e a d o p t e e a r e u n e s c a p e d l y a f f e c t e d by s o c i e t a l a t t i t u d e s toward i l l e g i t i m a c y , e i t h e r e x p l i c i t l y or u n c o n s c i o u s l y . 4. A d o p t i o n i s n o t t h e p r e v a i l i n g p a t t e r n o f c h i l d r e a r i n g and t h e r e f o r e c o n s t i t u t e s a m i n o r i t y g r o u p ( P r i n g l e , 1967, p. 2 7 ) . These f a c t o r s suggest t h a t a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s can f a c e handicaps r i g h t  from  t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e f o r m a t i o n o f t h e f a m i l y , a l t h o u g h none o f t h e s e f a c t o r s have been s y s t e m a t i c a l l y e x p l o r e d t o determine t h e v a l i d i t y o f such a view. A t h e o r y o f a d o p t i v e r e l a t i o n s has b e e n o u t l i n e d by D a v i d K i r k ( 1 9 6 4 ; 1 9 8 1 ) , who  i s h i m s e l f an a d o p t i v e p a r e n t .  Kirk conducted  a number o f  r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t s o v e r a 10 y e a r p e r i o d ( p r i m a r i l y t h e 1 9 5 0 ' s ) on t h e s u b j e c t o f a d o p t i o n and a d o p t i v e p a r e n t h o o d . produced  The r e s u l t o f h i s  endeavors  h i s t h e o r y o f a d o p t i v e r e l a t i o n s . He p r o p o s e d t h a t t h e t r a n s i t i o n  to adoptive parenthood  was c o n s i d e r a b l y m o r e s t r e s s f u l t h a n t h e t r a n s i t i o n  to b i o l o g i c a l parenthood  ( K i r k , 1964).  K i r k (1981) i d e n t i f i e d  two  m a i n t h e m e s t h a t s t o o d o u t i n d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g how a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s c o p e d . Adoptive parents appeared to l e a r n to cope with the handicap a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e i r u n i q u e r o l e by e i t h e r r e j e c t i n g t h e d i f f e r e n c e s o r t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e i r f a m i l i e s and n o n - a d o p t i v e  acknowledging  families (Kirk,  1964).  19 The " r e j e c t i o n o f t h e d i f f e r e n c e " c o p i n g m e t h o d s e r v e s t o d e n y t h a t t h e adoptive family s i t u a t i o n i s d i f f e r e n t from that of b i o l o g i c a l parents, w h i l e t h e "acknowledgment o f d i f f e r e n c e s " coping method serves t o affirm the p e c u l i a r i t y of the adoption  s i t u a t i o n ( K i r k , 1964). K i r k  (1964) argues t h a t i t i s t h e r e j e c t i o n o f d i f f e r e n c e s c o p i n g  style  that places t h e adoptive family a t r i s k f o r adjustment problems because t h i s m e t h o d o f c o p i n g d o e s n o t p r o m o t e c o m m u n i c a t i o n among f a m i l y members about adoption  issues.  He b e l i e v e s t h a t t h e r e j e c t i o n o f d i f f e r e n c e s  a p p r o a c h may a s s u a g e t h e a d o p t e r s '  pain of t h e i r  own i n a b i l i t y t o h a v e  b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n , but does not i n t h e long r u n , f u r t h e r t h e achievement of t h e i r f a m i l y ' s i n t e g r a t i o n ' ( K i r k , 1981).  T h o s e p a r e n t s who a d o p t t h e  acknowledgment o f d i f f e r e n c e s coping s t y l e f i n d t h i s coping conducive  behavior  t o good i n t e r p e r s o n a l communication, and, t h e r e f o r e , t o  order and s t a b i l i t y w i t h i n t h e f a m i l y ( K i r k , 1964).  Kirk  (1981)  a d m i t s t h a t o n e f a m i l y may n o t c o n s i s t e n t l y d e m o n s t r a t e t h e s e behaviors,  coping  a n d t h a t m o s t f a m i l i e s w i l l m i x t h e two c o p i n g m e t h o d s i n  t h e i r day t o day l i v e s . F o r example, t h e r e j e c t i o n o f d i f f e r e n c e s  coping  m e c h a n i s m may p r o v e t h e m o s t s a t i s f y i n g mode o f a c c o m o d a t i o n f o r new adoptive parents  as i t a i d s t h e adopters  i n moving i n t o parenthood i n  f e e l i n g t h a t t h e c h i l d i s t h e i r s ; b u t when t h e c h i l d i s o l d e n o u g h t o a s k questions behavior  aboout adoption,  t h e acknowledgment o f d i f f e r e n c e s  should take p r e c e d e n c e . K i r k (1964) r e i t e r a t e s t h a t  coping parental  c o p i n g m u s t be o r i e n t e d t o w a r d t h e a c k n o w l e d g m e n t o f d i f f e r e n c e s m e t h o d as c o n s i s t e n t l y a s p o s s i b l e f o r s u c c e s s f u l a d o p t i v e f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s . A high degree o f acknowledgment o f d i f f e r e n c e s behavior  i s associated  with  empathy w i t h t h e c h i l d and w i t h t h e r e a d i n e s s o f a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s t o t h i n k of the c h i l d ' s b i o l o g i c a l parents  ( K i r k , 1981).  20 The c a p a c i t y f o r c o m m u n i c a t i o n  with t h e adoptee  i s a l s o e n h a n c e d by t h e  p a r e n t s ' r e a d i n e s s t o acknowledge t h e d i f f e r e n c e s between b i o l o g i c a l and adoptive parenthood  ( K i r k , 1964 ) .  K i r k (1964) b e l i e v e s t h a t a d o p t i v e  p a r e n t s need e d u c a t i o n f o r t h e i r s p e c i a l t a s k s  as t h e i r r o l e i s not l a i d  down by t r a d i t i o n a n d l e a r n e d a u t o m a t i c a l l y i n t h e c o u r s e o f g r o w i n g  up.  He b e l i e v e s t h e r e i s a g e n u i n e p r o b l e m  i n b e i n g t h e " r e a l " p a r e n t , and a t  t h e same t i m e a c c e p t i n g t h e b i o l o g i c a l  parent.  K i r k ' s t h e o r y h a s b e e n w i d e l y a c k n o w l e d g e d by o t h e r p r o f e s s i o n a l s i n t h e a d o p t i o n f i e l d , b u t i t r e a l l y h a s n o t b e e n e x t e n s i v e l y t e s t e d by f u r t h e r empirical studies.  Other a d o p t i o n r e s e a r c h e r s have n o t used t h e two d i f f e r e n t  c o p i n g s t y l e s as d e p e n d e n t v a r i a b l e s i n t h e i r s t u d i e s . In t h e p r e s e n t  study  an a t t e m p t was made t o l a b e l t h e s t u d y f a m i l i e s a s RD o r AD, b a s e d o n K i r k ' s p r e m i s e s , b u t i t was n o t e d t h a t e a c h f a m i l y a p p e a r e d t o u s e b o t h  coping  s t y l e s a n d no o v e r a l l j u d g e m e n t s c o u l d be made f o r a n y o f t h e s t u d y f a m i l i e s . F u r t h e r e m p i r i c a l r e s e a r c h i s needed i n t h i s a r e a t o more c l o s e l y c o r r e l a t e accepted theory with the current r e a l i t y o f adoptive family r e l a t i o n s . B e c a u s e t h e f o c u s o f t h i s r e s e a r c h i s on t h e a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t a n d t h e f a m i l y , t h e i s s u e s u n i q u e t o t h e a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t w i l l be o u t l i n e d n e x t . The A d o p t e d  Adolescent  F a m i l i e s w i t h a d o l e s c e n t c h i l d r e n f a c e - c h a l l e n g e s and s t r e s s e s which are unique t o t h i s stage o f t h e f a m i l y l i f e c y c l e (Mackie, 1982).  It is  a t i m e when a d o l e s c e n t s e x p e r i e n c e a r a p i d p e r i o d o f m a t u r a t i o n a n d b e g i n t o move t o w a r d  independence  f i v e developmental  from t h e i r f a m i l i e s . Tonkin (1984) has o u t l i n e d  tasks that face the adolescent.  The f i r s t t a s k i n v o l v e s  a c c e p t i n g o n e ' s p h y s i q u e a n d l e a r n i n g how t o u s e i t e f f e c t i v e l y .  The second  21 t a s k i n v o l v e s d e v e l o p i n g a p p r o p r i a t e s e x r o l e s and l e a r n i n g t o be c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h w h a t i t means t o be m a l e o r f e m a l e i n o u r s o c i - e t y . The t h i r d t a s k i s t o a c h i e v e economic  and e m o t i o n a l d e p e n d e n c e ,  e s p e c i a l l y from the f a m i l y .  F o u r t h , t h e a d o l e s c e n t must d e v e l o p a p p r o p r i a t e peer r e l a t i o n s h i p s , l a s t l y , adolescence ends with the f i f t h developmental a d u l t l i f e s t y l e i n a r e a s o n a b l e , r a t i o n a l way  and  t a s k , d e v e l o p i n g an  (Tonkin, 1984).  During  a d o l e s c e n c e i n t e l l e c t u a l m a t u r a t i o n a l s o t a k e s p l a c e as t h e a d o l e s c e n t reaches formal o p e r a t i o n a l thought. E r i k E r i k s o n has g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e d t h e l i t e r a t u r e on a d o l e s c e n t development  w i t h h i s w r i t i n g on y o u t h and i d e n t i t y .  H i s work has p r o v i d e d  a t h e o r e t i c a l b a s i s f o r t h e i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f w h a t many b e l i e v e t o be t h e s i n g l e most c r i t i c a l a s p e c t o f p e r s o n a l i t y development i d e n t i t y f o r m a t i o n (Adams & M o n t e m a y e r , 1 9 8 3 ) .  during adolescence -  E r i k s o n ( 1 9 6 8 ) has d e s c r i b e d  t h e e s s e n t i a l t a s k o f a d o l e s c e n c e as t h e d e v e l o p m e n t  of a sense of i d e n t i t y .  The t e r m i d e n t i t y has b e e n d e f i n e d by E r i k s o n ( 1 9 5 6 ) a s , " a p e r s i s t e n t s a m e n e s s w i t h i n o n e s e l f and a p e r s i s t e n t s h a r i n g o f some k i n d o f e s s e n t i a l character with o t h e r s " (p. 57).  E r i k s o n (1968) r e i t e r a t e s t h a t t h i s s e a r c h  f o r i d e n t i t y b e c o m e s e s p e c i a l l y a c u t e d u r i n g a d o l e s c e n c e as a r e s u l t o f r a p i d c h a n g e i n t h e b i o l o g i c a l , s o c i a l , and p s y c h o l o g i c a l s p h e r e s o f A l l these developmental  t a s k s a r e t h e same f o r a d o p t e d and  life.  non-adopted  a d o l e s c e n t s , b u t many r e s e a r c h e r s b e l i e v e t h e f a c t o r o f a d o p t i o n c a n a g g r a v a t e o r a c c e n t u a t e some o f t h e d i f f i c u l t i e s i n h e r e n t d u r i n g t h i s s t a g e o f t h e f a m i l y l i f e c y c l e ( K i r k , 1964; S t o n e , 1972; T r i s e l i o t i s , 1973; et a l , 1978). development  Empirical evidence regarding the adolescent  is limited.  adoptees'  Much o f t h e e x i s t i n g l i t e r a t u r e i s b a s e d  on  Sorosky  22 c l i n i c i a n ' s t h e o r e t i c a l notions gleaned from experience with d i s t u r b e d a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s , o r f r o m r e t r o s p e c t i v e p e r s o n a l a c c o u n t s by a d u l t adoptees. Comparative  s t u d i e s o f c l i n i c p o p u l a t i o n s o f a d o p t e d and  a d o l e s c e n t s have produced c o n f l i c t i n g r e s u l t s .  Nemovicher  non-adopted  (1960) concluded  t h a t adopted a d o l e s c e n t boys were l e s s w e l l a d j u s t e d t h a n non-adopted  peers,  w h i l e Mech ( 1 9 7 3 ) r e p o r t s t h a t no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s w e r e f o u n d b e t w e e n a d o p t e d and c o n t r o l g r o u p s  on m e a s u r e s o f a d j u s t m e n t . F r i s k ( 1 9 6 4 ) s t u d i e d  19 t e e n a g e r s a t t e n d i n g a p s y c h i a t r i c c l i n i c and n o t e d t h a t t h e y w e r e b a l a n c e d in general but developed problems to c o n f u s i o n of i d e n t i t y which development  in adolescence.  He a t t r i b u t e d t h e i r  problems  l i k e l y c a u s e d an u n f a v o u r a b l e c o u r s e o f  in their family.  G i v e n t h e i r s t a g e o f l i f e , and t h e v a r i o u s d e v e l o p m e n t a l  issues facing  t h e m , r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e b e e n a b l e t o e l u c i d a t e some s p e c i a l p r o b l e m s  the  a d o l e s c e n t m i g h t f a c e due t o h i s / h e r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s . I t i s n o t u n t i l early to middle adolescence that c h i l d r e n recognize that adoption involves a l e g a l t r a n s f e r o f p a r e n t a l r i g h t s and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s f r o m  biological  p a r e n t s t o a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ( B r o d z i n s k y , S i n g e r & B r a f f , 1981). I t stands t o r e a s o n t h e n , t h a t w i t h t h i s new c o g n i t i v e s k i l l w i l l come new q u e s t i o n s . S o r o s k y e t a l ( 1 9 7 8 ) , who o b t a i n e d much o f t h e i r i n f o r m a t i o n t h r o u g h i n t e r v i e w s with adoptees, b e l i e v e t h a t a d o l e s c e n t adoptees have g r e a t e r d i f f i c u l t y w o r k i n g t h r o u g h t h e p s y c h o s e x u a l , p s y c h o s o c i a l and p s y c h o h i s t o r i c a l a s p e c t s of t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t y development  than t h e i r non-adopted  peers.  These i s s u e s  w i l l be o u t l i n e d b e l o w . Psychohistorical Aspects. upon t h e a d o p t i o n p r o c e s s .  D u r i n g a d o l e s c e n c e a d o p t e e s r e f l e c t more d e e p l y  They r e c o g n i z e the element o f chance t h a t p l a c e d  23 t h e m i n one f a m i l y i n s t e a d o f a n o t h e r p a r e n t s may concerns  be i n t e n s i f i e d ( B u r g e s s ,  become more o f an i s s u e .  and t h e i r c u r i o s i t y a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l 1976).  As a r e s u l t , g e n e a l o g i c a l  T y p i c a l l y , adolescents don't  concern  t h e m s e l v e s t o o much w i t h t h e i r g e n e a l o g y o r a n c e s t r y , b u t f o r a d o p t e e s a l a c k o f k n o w l e d g e a b o u t t h e i r o r i g i n s c a n be a c a u s e o f m a l a d j u s t m e n t ( S o r o s k y e t a l , 1978  ) .  Wellisch(1952)  and t e r m e d i t g e n e a l o g i c a l b e w i l d e r m e n t . i s one who  f i r s t d e s c r i b e d t h i s phenomenon  A genealogically bewildered  e i t h e r has no k n o w l e d g e o f h i s n a t u r a l p a r e n t s , o r o n l y  knowledge o f them ( S a n t s , 1964).  child  uncertain  The r e s u l t i n g s t a t e o f c o n f u s i o n  and  u n c e r t a i n t y u n d e r m i n e s t h e s e c u r i t y and t h u s a f f e c t s the. c h i l d ' s m e n t a l health.  According to Sants  ( 1 9 6 4 ) , who  l a t e r e l a b o r a t e d on  Wellisch's  t h e o r y , any c h i l d w i t h a t l e a s t one unknown p a r e n t i s s u s c e p t i b l e t o t h i s problem.  S a n t s u s e s t h e c h i l d r e n ' s s t o r y , The U g l y D u c k l i n g  by Hans  C h r i s t i a n Anderson, to i l l u s t r a t e the p l i g h t of the g e n e a l o g i c a l l y The U g l y D u c k l i n g  t e l l s t h e t a l e o f a swan who  i s hatched  deprived.  i n a duck f a m i l y .  The swan i s r e j e c t e d b e c a u s e he c a n ' t do w h a t t h e o t h e r s i n t h e f a m i l y do as a r e s u l t o f h i s d i f f e r e n t g e n e t i c endowment ( S a n t s , Persecution  1964).  l e a d s t o p o o r s e l f - e s t e e m , d e p r e s s i o n , and w a n d e r i n g as t h e  u g l y d u c k l i n g s e a r c h e s f o r an i d e n t i t y . T h i s b i r d ' s d i f f i c u l t y , to Sants  can  according  ( 1 9 6 4 ) , was t h a t n o n e o f t h e d u c k s knew he was a swan, t h e y  know h i s g e n e a l o g y .  Consequently,  they c o u l d not understand  didn't  his skills  o r h i s p o t e n t i a l . The u g l y d u c k l i n g n e e d e d t o i d e n t i f y w i t h o t h e r s i n o r d e r t o f e e l t h a t he b e l o n g e d , t h a t d i f f e r e d so much f r o m h i m .  b u t he c o u l d n ' t i d e n t i f y w i t h t h e d u c k s Sants  (1964) concludes  c h i l d r e n can f e e l l i k e the u g l y d u c k l i n g .  t h a t many a d o p t e d  This concern over t h e i r genealogy  24 may n o t a p p e a r a t e v e r y s t a g e o f d e v e l o p m e n t ,  but evidence suggests t h a t  genealogical concerns begin in e a r l y adolescence In a r e t r o s p e c t i v e s t u d y o f a d u l t a d o p t e e s  (Sants,  1964).  searching for  i n f o r m a t i o n or b i r t h p a r e n t s , a l l of the adoptees emphasized t o know a b o u t t h e i r g e n e a l o g y 1973).  background their  in order to complete themselves  need  (Triseliotis,  I t was d u r i n g a d o l e s c e n c e t h a t t h e y r e p o r t e d t h e m o s t i n t e n s e  c u r i o s i t y and d e s i r e f o r t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n , e v e n when t h e i r p a r e n t s g i v e n them i n f o r m a t i o n b e f o r e ( T r i s e l i o t i s , 1973). adoptees' d e s i r e t o search i n t o t h e i r backgrounds  had  The s t r e n g t h o f t h e u s u a l l y r e f l e c t e d the  t y p e o f f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s p r e v a i l i n g a t home. The more u n s a t i s f a c t o r y the r e l a t i o n s h i p s were, the g r e a t e r t h e a d o l e s c e n t s ' d e s i r e t o s e a r c h i n t o t h e i r backgrounds  (Triseliotis,  1973).  Triseliotis  (1973)  d i s c o v e r e d h o w e v e r , t h a t e v e n when s u c h f e e l i n g s w e r e s t r o n g , o n l y a s m a l l number o f a d o p t e e s  a c t e d on t h e m , and t h e e v e n t u a l d e c i s i o n t o  s e a r c h was m o t i v a t e d by some c r i s i s i n t h e a d o p t e e ' s  subsequent  adult  l i f e s i t u a t i o n . A l t h o u g h t h e t e r m " i d e n t i t y c r i s i s " h a s become an o v e r u s e d c l i c h e , f o r a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s t h e t e r m may what t h e y  aptly describe  experience.  E r i k s o n (1968) s t a t e s t h a t i t i s n e c e s s a r y f o r t h e a d o l e s c e n t t o know a b o u t t h e p a s t i n o r d e r t o p l a n f o r t h e f u t u r e .  This is a period  when a s y n t h e s i s o f t h e p a s t and f u t u r e t a k e s p l a c e . Where t h e p a s t i s v o i d , t h e r e i s an i n a b i l i t y t o make d e c i s i o n s a b o u t t h e f u t u r e so t h a t t h e a d o l e s c e n t tends t o d r i f t (Stone, 1972).  For the adopted  adolescent,  the l a c k of knowledge about the p a s t can l e a d t o i d e n t i t y c o n f u s i o n and t r i g g e r i n t e n s e c u r i o s i t y a b o u t t h e i r o r i g i n s ( T r i s e l i o t i s ,  1973).  The a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t has t h e d i f f i c u l t t a s k o f i n t e g r a t i n g i n t o h e r i d e n t i t y two g e n e a l o g i e s , t h e one b e i n g t h a t t o w h i c h s h e i s b o u n d by  25 a s o c i a l b o n d , and t h e o t h e r by a b i o l o g i c a l b o n d ( M a c k i e ,  1982).  T h i s t a s k i s a g g r a v a t e d when t h e a d o p t e e has i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g t h e b i o l o g i c a l parents e i t h e r d i s t o r t e d or w i t h h e l d from her. Toussieng  (1962)  has d e s c r i b e d a number o f c a s e s i n w h i c h a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s s t a r t  roaming  a r o u n d a i m l e s s l y , t h o u g h o c c a s s i o n a l l y t h e y c l a i m t o be i n t e n t i o n a l l y s e e k i n g the f a n t a s i e d "good, r e a l p a r e n t s " .  Toussieng  (1962):6as'interpreted  t h i s phenomenon as an a c t e d o u t s e a r c h f o r s t a b l e i n t r o j e c t s ( p e r s o n s w i t h whom t o i d e n t i f y ) t h a t w e r e n e v e r p r o v i d e d by t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s . F a n t a s i e s r e g a r d i n g the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s can preoccupy the a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e as s h e t r i e s t o c r e a t e a p i c t u r e o f t h e p a s t b a s e d on w h a t  little  i n f o r m a t i o n m i g h t be a v a i l a b l e . When t h i n g s a r e g o i n g p o o r l y a t home t h e adoptee can imagine t h e o t h e r p a r e n t s u n d e r s t a n d i n g her b e t t e r than adopters (Burgess, 1976).  her  A d o l e s c e n t f a n t a s i e s c a n a l s o be f o c u s e d on t h e  n e g a t i v e a s p e c t s o f t h e i r h e r i t a g e and e x e m p l i f y f e e l i n g s o f a b a n d o n m e n t and r e j e c t i o n . I t seems a p p a r e n t t h a t many a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s  have a  r e n e w e d n e e d t o know a b o u t t h e i r o r i g i n s o r r o o t s , and when t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o e x p l o r e t h e m i s r e m o v e d , i n c r e a s e d a n x i e t y and s t r e s s may  be t h e r e s u l t .  There i s c o n s i d e r a b l e c o n t r o v e r s y regarding the extent of the  adoptee's  i n t e r e s t i n knowing about, or meeting the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s .  Some  r e s e a r c h e r s t h i n k t h e s e c o n c e r n s a r e common t o m o s t a d o l e s c e n t and y o u n g adult adoptees  ( S o k o l o f f , 1979; S o r o s k y e t a l , 1 9 7 8 ) , w h i l e o t h e r s  b e l i e v e t h a t t h e c u r i o s i t y i s g r e a t e s t i n a d o p t i v e homes w h e r e t h e r e has b e e n s t r a i n e d r e l a t i o n s h i p s and d i f f i c u l t y c o m m u n i c a t i n g a b o u t t h e a d o p t i o n s i t u a t i o n ( T r i s e l i o t i s , 1973; way,  openly  Raynor, 1980).  Either  t h e a d o l e s c e n t ' s c u r i o s i t y d u r i n g t h i s time can cause t h e a d o p t i v e  26 parents a great deal of anxiety. Psychosexual  aspects.  Adolescent adoptees'  continuing sexual  maturation  can promote a s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t i n the n a t u r e of t h e i r c o n c e p t i o n . s e x u a l i t y are heightened  i n a d o l e s c e n c e , and t h e a d o p t e e ' s  Issues of  sexual growth  may c h a l l e n g e t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ' u n r e s o l v e d c o n f l i c t s o v e r t h e i r  own  s e x u a l i t y o r i n f e r t i l i t y (Tonkin, 1984).  "bad  The t e r m s "bad b l o o d " o r  seed", have been used i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e t o r e f e r t o p a r e n t s ' o f t e n  suppressed  f e a r t h a t t h e i r adopted c h i l d i s d e s t i n e d to repeat the r e a l or  imagined  mistakes of the b i r t h parents (Shapiro & Seeber,  (1984)  1983).  Tonkin  s t a t e s t h a t these b e l i e f s about the p r o m i s c u i t y of the b i r t h mother be p r o j e c t e d o n t o t h e a d o p t e e and a f f e c t t h e ways i n w h i c h e m e r g i n g  may sexuality  i s handled w i t h i n the f a m i l y . T h i s , i n t u r n , can l e a d t o a s e l f - f u l f i l l i n g prophecy  and t h e s e x u a l a c t i n g o u t by t h e f e m a l e a d o p t e e who may  believe  t h a t bad t e n d e n c i e s w e r e t r a n s m i t t e d t o h e r t h r o u g h h e r b i o l o g i c a l Adopted  a d o l e s c e n t s are r e p o r t e d t o have a g r e a t e r tendency  parents. toward  s e x u a l a c t i n g o u t , p a r t i c u l a r l y g i r l s who h a v e a p r o p e n s i t y t o i d e n t i f y w i t h an image o f a p r o m i s c u o u s  b i o l o g i c a l mother (Sorosky et a l ,  1978).  Raynor (1980), i n a r e t r o s p e c t i v e study of adoptive f a m i l i e s , r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e r e w e r e s e v e r a l i n s t a n c e s o f s e x u a l a c t i n g o u t among g i r l s i n t h e s t u d y during adolescence.  E r i k s o n ( 1 9 6 8 ) w r i t e s t h a t an i n d i v i d u a l who d o e s n o t  h a v e a s e n s e o f i d e n t i t y w i l l a v o i d i n t e r p e r s o n a l i n t i m a c y , o r w i l l become involved in s u p e r f i c i a l , promiscuous adoptee problems  r e l a t i o n s h i p s . For the adolescent  i n s o l i d i f y i n g an i d e n t i t y may  achieving sexual maturity.  a l s o c r e a t e problems  in  In a d d i t i o n , some c l i n i c a l e v i d e n c e i n d i c a t e s  t h a t a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s a r e more v u l n e r a b l e t o i n c e s t u o u s and s e x u a l a b u s e experiences than are non-adoptees  ( T o n k i n , 1984).  The u n i v e r s a l i n c e s t t a b o o  27 i s r e m o v e d i n a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s and t h i s may be a c o n t r i b u t i n g f a c t o r t o this  problem. D a t i n g and h e t e r o s e x u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s c a n a l s o b r i n g new a r e a s o f  c o n f l i c t to the adopted adolescent not apparent with t h e i r peers.  non-adopted  Often the lack of knowledge r e g a r d i n g t h e i r o r i g i n s r a i s e s questions  and c o n s c i o u s o r u n c o n s c i o u s f e a r s a b o u t d a t i n g a b i o l o g i c a l (Sorosky e t a l , 1978).  relative  T h i s f e a r o f p o s s i b l e i n c e s t w i t h an unknown  r e l a t i v e can i n c r e a s e the a n x i e t y t h e a d o l e s c e n t a l r e a d y f e e l s about d a t i n g and s e x . may d e m o n s t r a t e  I t has a l s o b e e n r e p o r t e d t h a t m a l e and f e m a l e a compulsive  adoptees  urge t o p r o c r e a t e , t h e r e b y p r o v i d i n g them  w i t h t h e i r f i r s t c o n t a c t w i t h a b l o o d r e l a t i v e (Sorosky e t a l , 1978). Another area where adopted a d o l e s c e n t s can have s p e c i a l problems  is  with t h e i r peer r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Psychosocial aspects.  In a d o l e s c e n c e , a c c e p t a n c e by p e e r s  sexual a t t r a c t i v e n e s s are paramount.  and  A f e e l i n g of belonging i s very  i m p o r t a n t t o a d o l e s c e n t s and i f an a d o p t e e  i s a l r e a d y f e e l i n g a sense  o f d i f f e r e n c e due t o h i s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s , any f u r t h e r e x p e r i e n c e o f i s o l a t i o n c a n i n c r e a s e f e e l i n g s o f r e j e c t i o n and a b a n d o n m e n t ( S t o n e , Adopted  a d o l e s c e n t s who a r e ashamed o f t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s may  c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s f o r f e a r of being exposed. w i l l look f o r acceptance  Some a d o p t e d  1972).  avoid  adolescents  i n a s o c i a l group t h a t i s below the s o c i a l  level  o f t h e i r f a m i l y . S o r o s k y e t a l ( 1 9 7 8 ) c o n c l u d e t h a t t h i s b e h a v i o r seems t o be an e f f o r t t o f i n d a g r o u p i d e n t i t y c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o t h e p r e d e s t i n e d g r o u p t h e a d o l e s c e n t i m a g i n e s he b e l o n g s t o .  In c o n t r a s t , o t h e r  w i l l compensate f o r these f e e l i n g s of inadequacy as a b a d g e and r e a d i l y t e l l i n g e v e r y o n e  by w e a r i n g t h e i r  adoptees adoption  (Sorosky e t a l , 1978). A review of t h i s  28 l i t e r a t u r e seems t o i n d i c a t e t h a t how  adolescents  i s an i m p o r t a n t  how  will  f a c t o r in determining  f e e l about being  adopted  successful t h e i r peer r e l a t i o n s h i p s  be. In a d d i t i o n t o t h e t h r e e a s p e c t s o f a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t ' s  personality  d e v e l o p m e n t t h a t h a v e b e e n d i s c u s s e d h e r e , t h e r e i s one o t h e r u n i q u e s i t u a t i o n t h a t s h o u l d be m e n t i o n e d - t h e a d o p t e e ' s p h y s i c a l a p p e a r a n c e . experience  a n x i e t i e s about t h e i r p h y s i c a l normality  (Tonkin,  Most  adolescents  1984). Whereas  most c h i l d r e n can look t o t h e i r p a r e n t s o r o l d e r s i b l i n g s t o see what they m i g h t end up l i k e , a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n c a n ' t do t h a t as t h e y h a v e no common genes with t h e i r f a m i l y group.  Adopted adolescents  a r e g o i n g t o l o o k l i k e , and t h i s i n c r e a s i n g c o n c e r n  d o n ' t know w h a t t h e y with physical appearance  can l e a d a d o p t e e s t o t r y t o e x p l o r e t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l r o o t s more f u l l y (Tonkin,  1984).  P a r n e l l ( 1 9 6 1 ) s t u d i e d how sons a f f e c t e d t h e i r c l o s e n e s s . and i t was  p h y s i c a l resemblance between f a t h e r s Nine hundred male students  f o u n d t h a t 70% o f t h o s e s t u d e n t s  f a t h e r s had p h y s i q u e s v e r y s i m i l a r t o t h e m .  who  were somatotyped  got along well with t h e i r  Where t h e f a t h e r ' s and  p h y s i q u e s w e r e v e r y d i f f e r e n t , t h e p r o p o r t i o n o f s o n s who w i t h t h e i r f a t h e r s was  r e l a t i v e l y low, 2 0 - 3 0 % .  got along  P a r n e l l (1961)  t h a t i m i t a t i o n o c c u r s much more r e a d i l y w h e r e t h e p e r s o n  t h i s study, Sants (1964) c o n c l u d e s  son's well  suggests  t h e son w a n t s t o  i m i t a t e i s s i m i l a r i n s o m a t o t y p e and g e n e t i c s t r u c t u r e t o b e g i n w i t h . reviewing  and  In  that i f differences in genetic  s t r u c t u r e b e t w e e n n a t u r a l f a t h e r and son can hamper i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s , i t seems m o r e l i k e l y t h a t i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i l l be e v e n m o r e h a m p e r e d when t h e r e i s no h e r e d i t a r y l i n k b e t w e e n f a t h e r and c h i l d .  No f u r t h e r e m p i r i c a l  studies  29 have been a b l e t o a s s e s s S a n t s  1  c l a i m , b u t i t seems p l a u s i b l e t h a t a  l a c k o f p h y s i c a l s i m i l a r i t y i n the a d o p t i v e f a m i l y can i n c r e a s e t h e adolescent adoptees' anxiety regarding t h e i r p h y s i c a l appearance. i s s u e w i l l be d i s c u s s e d a g a i n l a t e r i n t h e  This  paper.  One f u r t h e r a s p e c t t h a t a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s may h a v e t o d e a l w i t h when t h e i r adopted c h i l d reaches a d o l e s c e n c e i s t h e a d o l e s c e n t ' s use o f adoption to gain c o n t r o l over the parents. E s t a b l i s h i n g independence i s an i m p o r t a n t t a s k d u r i n g a d o l e s c e n c e , and a d o p t e e s h a v e t h e i s s u e o f a d o p t i o n t o h e l p them.  Statements  l i k e , "I don't have t o l i s t e n t o you,  y o u a r e n ' t my r e a l m o t h e r " , a r e u s e d by some a d o l e s c e n t s t o g a i n l e v e r a g e o v e r t h e i r p a r e n t s (Rowe, 1 9 7 9 ) .  Rowe ( 1 9 7 9 ) b e l i e v e s t h a t how  the  s u b j e c t o f a d o p t i o n i s h a n d l e d i n t h e f a m i l y i s an i m p o r t a n t i n d i c a t o r o f a d o l e s c e n t b e h a v i o r . I f a d o p t i o n has b e e n d i s c u s s e d o p e n l y  and  h o n e s t l y i n t h e home, t h e a d o l e s c e n t w i l l be l e s s l i k e l y t o u s e a d o p t i o n t o t r y t o w i n a f a m i l y a r g u m e n t (Rowe, 1 9 7 9 ) .  Bohman ( 1 9 7 2 ) n o t i c e d  i n h i s s t u d y o f a d o p t i o n w i t h a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s t h a t t h e y seemed t o f e a r the adolescent period.  The a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s f e l t i n s e c u r e a b o u t  they might handle the teenager's q u e s t i o n s about a d o p t i o n . a n x i e t y f e l t d u r i n g t h i s s t a g e may h a v e i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r how  how  The p a r e n t a l the  adolescent adoptee w i l l deal with h i s adoptive s t a t u s , i f the parents f e e l anxious about i t , i t i s q u i t e l i k e l y t h a t the a d o l e s c e n t w i l l too. In o u t l i n i n g some o f t h e u n i q u e p r o b l e m s f a c i n g a d o p t e d  adolescents  t h a t h a v e been r e p o r t e d i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e , i t i s c l e a r t h a t n o t a l l a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s w i l l e x p e r i e n c e t h e s e d i f f i c u l t i e s . The t h e m e r u n n i n g t h e l i t e r a t u r e seems t o r e f l e c t t h e a d o p t e e s ' n e e d t o know a b o u t o r i g i n s in order to e f f e c t i v e l y accomplish the developmental out in adolescence.  through their  tasks laid  30 E m p i r i c a l e v i d e n c e t o d i s p u t e o r s u p p o r t many o f t h e t h e o r e t i c a l v i e w s r e g a r d i n g the adopted adolescent i s g r o s s l y inadequate.  Many o f t h e  e m p i r i c a l s t u d i e s seem t o s t o p s h o r t o f r e c r u i t i n g a d o l e s c e n t s i n t h e i r samples  f o r reasons t h a t are u n c l e a r . T h i s i s r a t h e r c u r i o u s because  a r e many t h e o r e t i c a l i s s u e s t o d e b a t e r e g a r d i n g t h e a d o l e s c e n t The e m p i r i c a l r e s e a r c h t h a t has b e e n c o m p l e t e d  there  adoptee.  on t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y ,  and t h e f r a m e w o r k i t b u i l d s i n u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e d y n a m i c s o f a d o p t i v e f a m i l y l i f e w i l l be e x a m i n e d n e x t . The E m p i r i c a l P i c t u r e o f A d o p t i o n S t u d i e s on t h e p r o c e s s o f a d o p t i o n h a v e , f o r t h e m o s t p a r t , o r i g i n a t e d f r o m g e n e t i c r e s e a r c h e r s and c h i l d w e l f a r e o r g a n i z a t i o n s . i n t e r e s t e d i n g e n e t i c s and t h e h e r e d i t y v s e n v i r o n m e n t f a m i l i e s a r e an i d e a l s u b j e c t p o o l .  For the researchers  controversy,  adoptive  T h e s e s t u d i e s w i l l n o t be d i s c u s s e d  i n t h i s l i t e r a t u r e r e v i e w as t h e a d o p t i o n s i t u a t i o n i s u s e d as a medium t o a s s e s s g e n e t i c c o n c e r n s and t h e y do n o t f o c u s on t h e s o c i a l o r i n t e r p e r s o n a l aspects of the adoption experience.  R e s e a r c h t h a t has been s t i m u l a t e d  t h r o u g h t h e c h i l d w e l f a r e o r g a n i z a t i o n s has attempted  to determine  which  f a c t o r s i n t h e c h i l d , a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , and s o c i e t y i n f l u e n c e t h e a d o p t i v e p r o c e s s , and t o w h a t e x t e n t t h i s p r o c e s s c a n be f o r e c a s t p r i o r to placement  (Bohman,  1972).  P s y c h i a t r i s t s and o t h e r h e l p i n g p r o f e s s i o n a l s became i n v o l v e d i n s t u d y i n g a d o p t i o n when i t was n o t i c e d t h a t a s i g n i f i c a n t number o f c h i l d r e n w e r e s h o w i n g up a t m e n t a l  health clinics.  adopted  A number o f c l i n i c a l  s t u d i e s h a v e b e e n d o n e t o a s s e s s t h i s p r o b l e m - a n d t h e y w i l l be d i s c u s s e d in the next s e c t i o n . P r i o r t o t h e 1 9 6 0 s v e r y l i t t l e f o l l o w - u p r e s e a r c h had b e e n d o n e t o 1  31 assess the long term outcome of a d o p t i v e placements.  S o c i a l workers  w e r e a s s e s s i n g a d o p t i v e a p p l i c a n t s and m a k i n g p l a c e m e n t s  had  who  little  f a c t u a l knowledge of the a d o p t i o n p r o c e s s t o r e l y on. G r a d u a l l y the c h i l d w e l f a r e o r g a n i z a t i o n s began s t u d y i n g t h i s p r o c e s s i n o r d e r t o get b e t t e r i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t how a d o p t i o n w o r k s o u t a f t e r c h i l d p l a c e m e n t and w h a t c o u l d be d o n e t o i m p r o v e p r a c t i c e and o u t c o m e (Bohman, 1 9 7 2 ) . The s t u d i e s on a d o p t i o n o u t c o m e h a v e u s u a l l y f o c u s e d on v a r i a b l e s w i t h i n t h e s i t u a t i o n such as t h e e f f e c t c h i l d at the time of placement, the r e a l i t y of adoption.  adoptive  o f f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e , t h e age o f p a r e n t  and  and t h e r e s p o n s e o f c h i l d and p a r e n t t o  The d e v e l o p m e n t and a d j u s t m e n t  of adopted c h i l d r e n ,  and t h e i s o l a t i o n o f f a c t o r s i m p o r t a n t i n p r e d i c t i n g s u c c e s s o r f a i l u r e i n a d o p t i o n has a l s o b e e n s t u d i e d i n a number o f r e t r o s p e c t i v e s t u d i e s .  This  e m p i r i c a l p i c t u r e o f a d o p t i o n w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n t h e r e m a i n d e r o f t h i s chapter. C l i n i c a l s t u d i e s of adopted c h i l d r e n .  In 1960 M a r s h a l l S c h e c t e r , a  p s y c h i a t r i s t , w r o t e a p a p e r on t h e i n c r e a s e d i n c i d e n c e o f p s y c h i a t r i c d i f f i c u l t i e s i n adopted c h i l d r e n . Over a f i v e year p e r i o d of p r i v a t e p r a c t i c e he had o b s e r v e d t h a t 13% o f t h e c h i l d r e n he saw w e r e w h i l e t h e e s t i m a t e d number o f a d o p t e e s was o n l y a b o u t 1%.  adoptees,  in the general c h i l d population  He c l a i m e d t h a t a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n w e r e more l i a b l e  to require p s y c h i a t r i c a t t e n t i o n than t h e i r incidence in the general p o p u l a t i o n would suggest.  S c h e c t e r ' s (1960) o b s e r v a t i o n s were based  on  a s m a l l s a m p l e o f c h i l d r e n s e e n i n p r i v a t e p r a c t i c e , and h i s e s t i m a t e s o f t h e number o f a d o p t e e s  i n t h e p o p u l a t i o n was e r r o n e o u s , b u t  h i s a s s e r t i o n s r a i s e d many q u e s t i o n s among p r o f e s s i o n a l s i n t h e  nonetheless, adoption  32 field.  Many t h e o r e t i c a l a n d c l i n i c a l p a p e r s h a v e b e e n w r i t t e n s i n c e t h e n  as r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e t r i e d t o d i s c o v e r why a d o p t e d vulnerable t o emotional d i f f i c u l t i e s .  c h i l d r e n m i g h t b e more  Two m a j o r q u e s t i o n s s u r f a c e d i n t h e  l i t e r a t u r e t h a t many r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e t r i e d t o a n s w e r : do a d o p t e d  children  come t o t h e a t t e n t i o n o f p s y c h i a t r i c f a c i l i t i e s o u t o f p r o p o r t i o n t o t h e i r presence  i n t h e g e n e r a l p o p u l a t i o n ; a n d do t h e c l i n i c a l symptoms  between e m o t i o n a l l y d i s t u r b e d adopted Aponte, & Cross, 1969).  differ  and non-adopted c h i l d r e n ( O f f o r d ,  In t a c k l i n g t h e f o r m e r q u e s t i o n , S c h e c t e r ,  Carlson,  Simmons & Work ( 1 9 6 4 ) s u r v e y e d a number o f p u b l i c a n d p r i v a t e p s y c h i a t r i c c l i n i c s i n an a t t e m p t t o a s c e r t a i n p e r c e n t a g e s S c h e c t e r ' s e a r l i e r a s s e r t i o n s were supported reported a higher percentage estimated percentage  o f adoptees  o f adoptees  o f adoptees  i n treatment.  in that a l l of the settings  t h a n w o u l d be e x p e c t e d f r o m t h e  i n t h e p o p u l a t i o n ( S c h e c t e r e t a l , 1964).  O t h e r r e s e a r c h e r s who h a v e a s s e s s e d t h e p r e v a l e n c e o f e m o t i o n a l problems i n adoptees p s y c h i a t r i c treatment  have concluded t h a t adopted  children are referred f o r  a n y w h e r e f r o m two t o f i v e t i m e s a s f r e q u e n t l y a s t h e i r  n o n - a d o p t e d p e e r s ( T o u s s i e n g , 1962; Humphrey & O u n s t e d , 1964; S i m o n & S e n t u r i a , 1966;  M c W h i n n i e , 19.67; Work & A n d e r s o n , 1971; Bohman, 1970; B r i n i c h , 1 9 8 0 ) .  On t h e s u r f a c e , t h e s h e e r v o l u m e o f s t u d i e s s u p p o r t i n g t h e i n c r e a s e d  incidence  of emotional d i f f i c u l t i e s i n adoptees  case,  appear t o present a convincing  but t h e s e r e s u l t s s h o u l d be t r e a t e d c a u t i o u s l y . w h e t h e r more a d o p t e e s how many a d o p t e e s  In a t t e m p t i n g t o a s c e r t a i n  h a v e p s y c h i a t r i c d i f f i c u l t i e s i t i s r e l e v a n t t o know  are in the population.  O b t a i n i n g an a c c u r a t e  statistic  i s v e r y d i f f i c u l t b e c a u s e o f t h e number o f p r i v a t e a d o p t i o n s t h a t t a k e  place  unrecorded,  such  a n d t h e number o f s a m p l i n g  v a r i a b l e s involved i n computing  33  a statistic.  I n t r a - f a m i l i a l ( r e l a t i v e ) adoptions  c o u l d be i n c l u d e d i n a g e n e r a l adoption  rates.  or step-parent  adoptions  s t a t i s t i c thus spuriously i n f l a t i n g  the  A l s o , t h e m a j o r i t y o f t h e s e s t u d i e s h a v e b e e n b a s e d on  r e l a t i v e l y s m a l l s a m p l e s and c l i n i c p o p u l a t i o n s  t h a t a r e s e l f - s e l e c t e d , so  these f a c t o r s in themselves introduce p o t e n t i a l sources of b i a s .  In a d d i t i o n ,  t h e age r a n g e o f p a t i e n t s , t h e s e x r a t i o , i n c o m e l e v e l o f t h e f a m i l i e s  and  o t h e r r e l e v a n t v a r i a b l e s have not been comparable across s t u d i e s (Reece & Levin, 1968).  K i r k , Jonassohn & F i s h (1966) s t a t e t h a t a d o p t i v e  appear to represent higher socio-economic groups that tend to  contribute  d i s p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y t o t h e c a s e l o a d s o f p r i v a t e p s y c h i a t r i c and facilities.  G i v e n t h e number o f e x t r a n e o u s v a r i a b l e s and  flaws inherent in t h i s kind of research  counselling  methodological  i t is d i f f i c u l t to t r u l y ascertain  what t h e p e r c e n t a g e s o f a d o p t e e s s e e k i n g t r e a t m e n t The s t u d i e s a s s e s s i n g p r e s e n t i n g  families  are.  symptomatology of adoptees in c l i n i c  s a m p l e s h a v e f a r e d somewhat b e t t e r t h a n t h e i n c i d e n c e s t u d i e s . m a j o r i t y o f t h e s e s t u d i e s u s e d c o n t r o l g r o u p s , and a l t h o u g h  The  they  differ  i n t h e i r d i a g n o s t i c c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s y s t e m s , m e t h o d s o f s e l e c t i o n and m a t c h i n g , t h e y do p r o v i d e a s o u n d e r b a s i s f o r g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s . M e n l o v e ( 1 9 6 5 ) l o o k e d a t symptoms and d i a g n o s e s o f 51 a d o p t e e s m a t c h e d w i t h  a  c o n t r o l g r o u p o f n o n - a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n and r e p o r t e d t h a t more a d o p t e e s were diagnosed aggressive  as h a v i n g a n t i - s o c i a l symptoms and s y n d r o m e s r e l a t e d t o  behavior than the non-adoptees.  A number o f o t h e r  h a v e p r o d u c e d s i m i l a r r e s u l t s ( S c h e c t e r e t a l , 1964; 1966;  R e e c e & L e v i n , 1968;  A l t h o u g h some a d o l e s c e n t s  studies  Simon & S e n t u r i a ,  L i f s h i t z , Baum, B a l g a r & C o h e n , 1 9 7 5 ) . were i n c l u d e d i n the c l i n i c samples, i n most  o f t h e s t u d i e s d i s c u s s e d t h e s u b j e c t s w e r e c h i l d r e n u n d e r 14 y e a r s o f  age.  34  T o n k i n (1984) e s t i m a t e s t h a t p r i m a r y c a r e p h y s i c i a n s can e x p e c t t h a t about 1 i n e v e r y 50 a d o l e s c e n t s i n t h e i r p r a c t i c e i s a d o p t e d , and t h a t 1 i n e v e r y 10 o f t h e i r p r o b l e m c a s e s i s a d o p t e d . O f f o r d e t a l (1969) a t t e m p t e d t o e v a l u a t e t h e o v e r a l l s e v e r i t y o f t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d ' s d i s t u r b a n c e and f o u n d t h a t a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n m a n i f e s t e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y more s e v e r e a n t i - s o c i a l b e h a v i o r i n t h e home, s c h o o l and community than a matched disturbed children.  c o n t r o l group of non-adopted e m o t i o n a l l y  These r e s e a r c h e r s f u r t h e r concluded t h a t those c h i l d r e n  a d o p t e d l a t e r t e n d e d t o h a v e more s e v e r e a n t i - s o c i a l s y m p t o m s . & Ounsted  Humphrey  ( 1 9 6 4 ) r e p o r t e d t h a t c h i l d r e n a d o p t e d a f t e r s i x m o n t h s o f age  w e r e more p r o n e t o a n t i - s o c i a l c o n d u c t , p a r t i c u l a r l y s t e a l i n g and d e s t r u c t i v e behavior, whereas those c h i l d r e n adopted i n e a r l y i n f a n c y d i d not d i f f e r i n symptoms f r o m n o n - a d o p t e d  children.  e a r l y placement i s advantageous  These s t u d i e s support the view t h a t  to the c h i l d .  Some c o n f l i c t i n g r e s u l t s h a v e a l s o b e e n r e p o r t e d i n t h e In a s t u d y a s s e s s i n g b o t h i n c i d e n c e and s y m p t o m a t o l o g y  literature.  o f a d o p t e e s , i t was  found t h a t a h i g h e r i n c i d e n c e o f adopted c h i l d r e n were p r e s e n t e d f o r p s y c h i a t r i c t r e a t m e n t , b u t t h e r e s e a r c h e r s c o u l d n o t d e t e c t any  major  d i f f e r e n c e s i n the p r e s e n t i n g problems, or i n the f a m i l y circumstances t h a t d i f f e r e n t i a t e d t h e a d o p t e d and n o n - a d o p t e d Gluck, 1963).  groups (Sweeny, G a s b o r r o &  In a w e l l c o n t r o l l e d s t u d y by A u s t a d & Simmons ( 1 9 7 8 ) , 33  a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n w e r e a s s e s s e d on t h e i r p r e s e n t i n g s y m p t o m s . s u c h a v a r i e t y o f c o m p l a i n t s and s y m p t o m a t i c  They d i s c o v e r e d  behavior in the children that  no s i g n i f i c a n t t r e n d s a p p e a r e d t h a t c o u l d d i f f e r e n t i a t e t h e a d o p t e e s the non-adopted  children.  from  What A u s t a d & Simmons ( 1 9 7 8 ) n o t i c e d h o w e v e r , was  35  t h e way t h e symptoms w e r e d e s c r i b e d by t h e p a r e n t s  i n t h e sample. They  seemed n o t s o o f t e n c o n c e r n e d a b o u t t h e i r c h i l d ' s e m o t i o n a l  well-being  they were upset t h a t t h e i r adopted c h i l d r e n d i d n o t conform t o (Austad  & Simmons, 1 9 7 8 ) .  expectations  T h e m a j o r i t y o f t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n s ' symptoms  f e l l i n t o f i v e m a j o r symptom c a t e g o r i e s - o p p o s i t i o n a l b e h a v i o r , behavior,  as  aggressive  a n t i - s o c i a l a c t i n g o u t , academic problems, and d i f f i c u l t i e s i n  peer r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  A l t h o u g h t h e r e w e r e no s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n  non-adopted and adopted c h i l d r e n i n t h e i r p r e s e n t i n g problems, t h i s  study  d o e s r e f l e c t o t h e r c l i n i c a l s t u d i e s i n t h a t t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d seems t o h a v e p r o b l e m s o f an a g g r e s s i v e  and a n t i - s o c i a l n a t u r e .  The r e s e a r c h e r s  that the surface behavior  a n d symptoms b r i n g i n g t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d t o  may r e f l e c t p a r e n t - c h i l d i n t e r p e r s o n a l d i f f i c u l t i e s ( A u s t a d The e v i d e n c e  presented  suggested treatment  & Simmons, 1 9 7 8 ) .  h e r e , a n d i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e , seems t o s u p p o r t  t h e c o n c l u s i o n t h a t some a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n a n d a d o l e s c e n t s settings demonstrate serious aggressive  seen i n p s y c h i a t r i c  and a n t i - s o c i a l b e h a v i o r , p a r t i c u l a r l y  i f p l a c e m e n t i n an a d o p t i v e home was d o n e p a s t e a r l y i n f a n c y .  This i s a  problem worthy o f f u r t h e r study and v e r i f i c a t i o n s i n c e t h e o u t l i n e d symptoms a r e o f t e n d i f f i c u l t t o t r e a t a n d g e n e r a l l y p r e d i c t c o n f l i c t w i t h the law i f l e f t u n t r e a t e d c h i l d r e n might develop  (Reece & L e v i n , 1968).  emotional  and b e h a v i o r a l  Why some a d o p t e d problems has a l s o been  s t u d i e d i n an a t t e m p t t o a s s e s s w h a t f a c t o r s w i t h i n t h e a d o p t i v e m i g h t make t h e s e c h i l d r e n m o r e v u l n e r a b l e t o d i f f i c u l t i e s .  family  A number o f  t h e o r i e s and h y p o t h e s e s have been advanced t o e x p l a i n t h e i n c r e a s e d v u l n e r a b i l i t y o f adopted c h i l d r e n . discussed  next.  T h e s e t h e o r i e s and h y p o t h e s e s a r e  36 The e t i o l o g y o f p s y c h o l o g i c a l d i f f i c u l t i e s i n a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n . m o s t commonly c i t e d e x p l a n a t i o n f o r t h e a d o p t e e ' s p a r e n t s and t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t y p r o b l e m s , a n d p a r e n t and c h i l d ( L i f s h i t z e t a l , 1 9 7 5 ) .  problems  are; the  i n t e r p e r s o n a l problems  The adoptive  between  Attempting to assess the  r e l a t i o n s h i p s among a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ' p e r s o n a l i t i e s and a t t i t u d e s , and emotional disturbance in t h e i r c h i l d r e n i s , of course, very d i f f i c u l t  due  t o t h e number o f v a r i a b l e s i n v o l v e d , and t h e d i f f i c u l t y i n a s s e s s i n g t h e s p e c i f i c dynamics t a k i n g p l a c e .  It i s therefore understandable that very  l i t t l e s o l i d empirical evidence e x i s t s . T o u s s i e n g (1962) p o s t u l a t e d t h a t t h e major reason f o r e m o t i o n a l d i s t u r b a n c e i n a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n i s an u n c o n s c i o u s and u n r e s o l v e d a v e r s i o n to parenthood  i n e i t h e r one o r b o t h p a r e n t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y  the mother. A  m o t h e r who has n o t r e s o l v e d , h e r c o n f l i c t a b o u t b e i n g a m o t h e r i s l i k e l y t o demonstrate  t h i s c o n f l i c t i n her e a r l y r e l a t i o n s h i p with her c h i l d .  Toussieng  (1962) w r i t e s : M o t h e r s who f e e l damaged i n n o t g i v i n g b i r t h and a r e i n c o n f l i c t about mothering the c h i l d , i n t e l l i n g the c h i l d a b o u t a d o p t i o n w i l l be l e s s s e n s i t i v e t o t h e c h i l d and w i l l be a p t t o c h o o s e t h e w r o n g t i m e , o r do i t i n a way t h a t pushes the c h i I d f u r t h e r ' i n t o emotional d i f f i c u l t i e s and i n t o f a n t a s i e s r e g a r d i n g b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , ( p . 6 4 ) . I s s u e s r e g a r d i n g i n f e r t i l i t y have f r e q u e n t l y been c i t e d i n t h e as a r e a s o f p o t e n t i a l c o n f l i c t f o r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ( T o u s s i e n g , Humphrey & O u n s t e d ,  1964;  K i r k e t a l , 1966; W a l s h & L e w i s , 1969).  literature  1962; If  t h e p a r e n t s a r e a d o p t i n g b e c a u s e t h e y c a n ' t h a v e a c h i l d o f t h e i r own,  their  f e e l i n g s a b o u t i n f e r t i l i t y and t h e f a c t t h a t t h e y m i s s t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f pregnancy  and c h i l d b i r t h , a r e f a c t o r s t h a t c a n c o n t r i b u t e t o d i f f i c u l t i e s  in t h e i r subsequent  r e l a t i o n s h i p with the adopted c h i l d (Hersov,  Humphrey and O u n s t e d  1979).  ( 1 9 6 4 ) i n t e r v i e w e d 53 a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s r e f e r r e d  37 f o r p s y c h i a t r i c a d v i c e i n an a t t e m p t t o i d e n t i f y p r e c i p i t a t i n g f a c t o r s t h a t might lead adoptive f a m i l i e s t o experience d i f f i c u l t i e s .  They  i d e n t i f i e d a few f a c t o r s t h a t w e r e u n i q u e t o t h e a d o p t i o n s i t u a t i o n . o v e r h a l f t h e c a s e s t h e m o t h e r s w e r e o v e r 30 y e a r s o f age when t h e y t h e i r f i r s t c h i l d , and many o f t h e m had 10 y e a r s o f c h i l d l e s s b e f o r e a d o p t i n g (Humphrey & O u n s t e d ,  1964).  In adopted  marriage  A l t h o u g h i n t h e 1980's t h i s  d o e s n ' t seem t o be t h a t r e l e v a n t a f a c t o r , Humphrey and O u n s t e d  (1964)  s u g g e s t e d t h a t l a t e p a r e n t h o o d c o u l d h a v e an e f f e c t on t h e c h i l d ' s  development  b e c a u s e o l d e r p a r e n t s h a v e a t e n d e n c y t o be more o v e r p r o t e c t i v e , a n x i o u s and r i g i d .  O t h e r r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e a l s o r e p o r t e d l a t e p a r e n t h o o d as a  f a c t o r i n t h e s u b s e q u e n t a d j u s t m e n t o f some a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n ( M c W h i n n i e , 1 9 6 7 ; Sorosky et a l  1978).  W h e t h e r t h e c h i l d had b e e n p a r e n t a l l y d e p r i v e d b e f o r e a d o p t i o n a l s o e m e r g e d as a f a c t o r i n t h e Humphrey and O u n s t e d w o r k e r s now e m p h a s i z e  (1964) s t u d y .  Most a d o p t i o n  the importance of e a r l y placement f o r adoptive c h i l d r e n .  T h e y r e c o g n i z e t h e p o t e n t i a l s o u r c e o f s t r e s s on t h e c h i l d i n b e i n g p l a c e d i n a number o f t e m p o r a r y f a c i l i t i e s p r i o r t o a d o p t i o n . One s t u d y has shown t h a t i n f a n t s p l a c e d f o r a d o p t i o n who w e r e moved p r i o r t o t h e t i m e o f developing focused attachments  ( a r o u n d 5-6 m o n t h s ) ,  experienced very limited  disturbance, while those placed a f t e r t h i s time experienced f a r g r e a t e r d i s t u r b a n c e and s t r e s s ( Y a r r o w & Goodman, 1 9 6 5 ) . These r e s u l t s s u p p o r t t h e c o n c l u s i o n s o f O f f o r d e t a l ( 1 9 6 9 ) t h a t c h i l d r e n p l a c e d a f t e r t h e age o f s i x m o n t h s e x p e r i e n c e d more s e v e r e d i f f i c u l t i e s . Humphrey & O u n s t e d . ( 1 9 6 4 ) a l s o r e p o r t e d t h a t i n h a l f t h e s t u d y r e f e r r a l s , t h e d i s c l o s u r e o f a d o p t i o n had e i t h e r b e e n m i s h a n d l e d , a v o i d e d o r  postponed  38  by t h e p a r e n t s .  There were s e v e r a l i n s t a n c e s where l e a r n i n g o f a d o p t i o n  a t t h e w r o n g t i m e , o r i n t h e w r o n g way p r e c i p i t a t e d an e m o t i o n a l c r i s i s i n the child's l i f e . in the study.  F e a r o f unknown h e r e d i t y was a n o t h e r f a c t o r t h a t e m e r g e d  The r e s e a r c h e r s n o t e d t h a t t h i s was u s u a l l y a r e a c t i o n t o t h e  child's deviant behavior.  A d o p t i v e p a r e n t s have t h e o p t i o n o f b e i n g a b l e  t o d e t a c h t h e m s e l v e s f r o m t h e u s u a l p a r e n t a l g u i l t by d i s p l a c i n g t h e b l a m e f o r the c h i l d ' s b e h a v i o r onto g e n e t i c q u a l i t i e s (Sorosky, Baran & 1976).  Pannor,  T h i s t e n d e n c y f o r some a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s t o b l a m e t h e i r c h i l d ' s  p r o b l e m s on h e r e d i t y has b e e n w e l l d o c u m e n t e d i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e  (Clothier,  1943; E i d u s o n & L i v e r m o r e , 1953; E l o n e n & S c h w a r t z ,  1969; W a l s h & L e w i s ,  1969; R a y n o r ,  in a child  1 9 8 0 ) . In a s t u d y o f a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s  guidance  c l i n i c a common s o u r c e o f d i f f i c u l t y f o r t h e m was t h e g u i l t t h e y f e l t t a k i n g a c h i l d t h a t d i d n ' t b e l o n g t o them (Walsh & Lewis, 1969). mothers  about  These  had a t e n d e n c y t o d e v e l o p a d e f e n s i v e a t t i t u d e and p r o j e c t t h e s e  d i f f i c u l t i e s o n t o t h e c h i l d ' s h e r e d i t y . The p a r e n t s ' f e e l i n g s a b o u t g e t t i n g somewhat o f an unknown c o m m o d i t y when t h e y a d o p t a c h i l d c a n a f f e c t t h e s u b s e q u e n t p a r e n t - c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p i n t h a t t h e p a r e n t may become w a r y each time the c h i l d demonstrates  behavior that i s foreign to the family.  Other r e s e a r c h e r s have c o n c l u d e d t h a t i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y between p a r e n t and c h i l d l e a d s t o e m o t i o n a l d i f f i c u l t i e s i n t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d  (Jackson,1968).  Jackson (1968) d i s c o v e r e d t h a t n e i t h e r t h e e a r l y a d o p t i o n o f t h e c h i l d , t h e manner, nor t h e t i m e o f t e l l i n g t h e c h i l d about h i s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s were major f a c t o r s i n a l l e v i a t i n g e m o t i o n a l d i s t u r b a n c e i n a d o p t e e s . J a c k s o n ( 1 9 6 8 ) a l s o f o u n d t h a t i n t e l l e c t u a l and  temperamental  i n c o m p a t i b i l i t y b e t w e e n a d o p t i v e p a r e n t and a d o p t e e was a  prominent  nor  39 f e a t u r e i n f o r t y cases of s e r i o u s l y d i s t u r b e d adopted c h i l d r e n . Mismatches b e t w e e n p a r e n t and c h i l d i n t e m p e r a m e n t and c o p i n g s t y l e s has a l s o b e e n c i t e d by T o n k i n ( 1 9 8 4 ) as an a r e a w h e r e p a r e n t - c h i l d c o n f l i c t c a n e m e r g e and flourish. I t has a l s o b e e n h y p o t h e s i z e d t h a t a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n a r e n ' t m o r e p r o n e t o d i s t u r b a n c e s than t h e i r non-adopted  p e e r s , and t h a t a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s a r e  j u s t more a t t u n e t o p s y c h i a t r i c problems t h e i r c h i l d r e n (Sweeny e t a l , 1 9 6 3 ) .  and a r e m o r e a p t t o s e e k h e l p f o r  Or, a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s a r e more o v e r -  p r o t e c t i v e and a n x i o u s a b o u t t h e i r c h i l d r e n and h a v e a t e n d e n c y t o o v e r r e a c t t o normal developmental Simmons,  phases t h a t t h e i r c h i l d i s going through (Austad &  1978).  Many r e a s o n s h a v e a l s o been a d v a n c e d t h a t a t t e m p t t o e x p l a i n why e m o t i o n a l l y d i s t u r b e d a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n seem t o be p a r t i c u l a r l y p r o n e t o b e h a v i o r p r o b l e m s o f an a g g r e s s i v e o r a n t i - s o c i a l t y p e .  Simon & S e n t u r i a  (1966) have o u t l i n e d a few o f them: 1.  The h o s t i l i t y b e t w e e n t h e p a r e n t s f o r t h e i n f e r t i l i t y i s p r o j e c t e d onto the adopted c h i l d .  2.  The a d o p t e d c h i l d may a c t o u t t h e u n c o n s c i o u s h o s t i l e and s e x u a l i m p u l s e s o f one o f t h e p a r e n t s .  3.  The s i t u a t i o n o f t h e s p e c i a l c h i l d s t o r y w h e r e t h e p a r e n t s a r e e n c o u r a g e d t o l e t t h e c h i l d know t h e y g o t h e r s p e c i a l l y , makes i t d i f f i c u l t f o r b o t h t h e c h i l d and h e r p a r e n t s t o o p e n l y e x p r e s s a n g r y f e e l i n g s t o w a r d one a n o t h e r .  4.  P o t e n t i a l a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s are s u b j e c t e d t o such e x t e n s i v e s c r u t i n y by a d o p t i o n a g e n c i e s t h a t when t h e y a r e c h o s e n t h e y h a v e s u c h a reaction formation against t h e i r unconscious h o s t i l i t y that i t makes i t d i f f i c u l t f o r t h e m t o s e t r e a l i s t i c l i m i t s on t h e i r c h i l d .  5.  The a d o p t e d c h i l d i n h i s e f f o r t s t o s t r u g g l e w i t h t h e p r o b l e m s o f who h i s r e a l p a r e n t s a r e and why t h e y g a v e him up, may h a v e a c o n s t a n t i d e n t i t y p r o b l e m and may i d e n t i f y w i t h h i s " b a d " b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s  40 T o n k i n ( 1 9 8 4 ) b e l i e v e s t h a t t h e a d o l e s c e n t who p r e s e n t s w i t h b e h a v i o r p r o b l e m s may be an a d o p t e e who has b e e n s e x u a l l y a b u s e d ,  is overprotected,  o r a c t i n g o u t a p r o j e c t e d bad s e e d t h e o r y One l a s t f a c t o r t h a t s h o u l d be m e n t i o n e d  h e r e as i t h a s b e e n  prominently  d i s c u s s e d i n t h e l i t e r a t u r e , i s t h e " f a m i l y r o m a n c e f a n t a s y " t h a t was p o s t u l a t e d by S i g m u n d F r e u d ( 1 9 0 9 / 1 9 5 0 ) .  first  The f a m i l y r o m a n c e f a n t a s y i s  p u r p o r t e d l y a u n i v e r s a l phenomenon i n a l l c h i l d r e n . When any c h i l d r e n f e e l r e j e c t e d by t h e i r p a r e n t s t h e y h a v e a t e n d e n c y t o i m a g i n e t h e m s e l v e s o t h e r p a r e n t s who a r e more l o v i n g . f a n t a s y has a r e a l i t y b a s e .  with  For t h e adopted c h i l d t h e f a m i l y romance  Eiduson & Livermore (1953) i n d i c a t e d t h a t  d i s t u r b e d adopted c h i l d r e n c o u l d not s y n t h e s i z e t h e i r ambivalent f e e l i n g s f o r t h e i r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s b e c a u s e two a c t u a l s e t s o f p a r e n t s e x i s t e d , one s e t w h i c h c o u l d be d e s c r i b e d as bad and t h e o t h e r s e t a s g o o d .  Eiduson &  Livermore (1953) c o n c l u d e d t h a t p a t i e n t s i n t h e i r study p e r c e i v e d t h e i r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s as i n a d e q u a t e and v i e w e d t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s as t h e i r adequate  set of parents.  Other r e s e a r c h e r s have r a i s e d concerns t h a t t h e  f a m i l y romance syndrome would f u r t h e r a s p l i t t i n g of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s b e t w e e n b i o l o g i c a l and a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , and l e a v e t h e c h i l d a t r i s k f o r i d e n t i t y and e m o t i o n a l p r o b l e m s  (Andrews,  1980).  It i s q u i t e apparent t h a t the t h e o r i e s o u t l i n i n g the nature of the a d o p t e e ' s e m o t i o n a l d i f f i c u l t i e s a r e as d i v e r s e as t h e r e a r e r e s e a r c h e r s s t u d y i n g t h e i s s u e s . While enough c l i n i c a l e v i d e n c e e x i s t s t o a l l o w r e s e a r c h e r s t o c o n c l u d e t h a t t h e a d o p t i o n p r o c e s s can c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e development  o f e m o t i o n a l d i s t u r b a n c e , v e r y few e m p i r i c a l s t u d i e s h a v e b e e n  d o n e t o v a l i d a t e t h e d i v e r s e and c o n f u s i n g h y p o t h e s e s c o n c e r n i n g t h e s t r e s s  41 factors in the adoption process.  What c l i n i c a l and t h e o r e t i c a l p a p e r s do  e x i s t , h a v e , as c a n be n o t e d i n t h i s r e v i e w , a d e c i d e l y p s y c h o a n a l y t i c b e n t to them, which i s u n d e r s t a n d a b l e c o n s i d e r i n g t h e b u l k o f t h e c l i n i c a l r e s e a r c h was d o n e d u r i n g t h e  1960 s. 1  The t h e o r e t i c a l p r o b a b i l i t y o f an a d o p t e d c h i l d b e i n g s e e n i n a p a r t i c u l a r p s y c h i a t r i c s e t t i n g seems t o be d e p e n d e n t on a c o m p l e x s e t o f c i r c u m s t a n c e s ' a n d v a r i a b l e s i n c l u d i n g , t h e c h i l d ' s age a t t h e t i m e o f a d o p t i o n , the  p a r e n t s ' p a r t i c u l a r c o p i n g mechanisms,  and p a r e n t - c h i l d  compatibility  ( A u s t a d & Simmons, 1 9 7 8 ) . A much s m a l l e r p r o p o r t i o n o f t h e a d o p t i o n l i t e r a t u r e has b e e n d e v o t e d t o t h e m o r e n o r m a t i v e b e h a v i o r p a t t e r n s o f a d o p t e d and n o n - a d o p t e d  children.  These n o n - c l i n i c a l s t u d i e s have drawn t h e i r samples o f a d o p t e d and  non-adopted:  c h i l d r e n f r o m t h e g e n e r a l p o p u l a t i o n and t h e r e f o r e s h o u l d be m o r e e a s i l y g e n e r a l i z a b l e than the c l i n i c s t u d i e s of adopted c h i l d r e n . This research i s discussed next. N o n - c l i n i c a l s t u d i e s of adopted c h i l d r e n .  As w i t h t h e c l i n i c a l r e s e a r c h ,  s t u d i e s which have a s s e s s e d n o n - c l i n i c a l samples o f adoptees have a l s o produced mixed r e s u l t s .  S e v e r a l s t u d i e s h a v e f a i l e d t o f i n d any  significant  d i f f e r e n c e s between a d o p t e d and non-adopted c h i l d r e n i n t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and a c a d e m i c o r e m o t i o n a l a d j u s t m e n t (Mikawa & B o s t o n , E l o n e n & S c h w a r t z , 1969; |_awder, Lower, A n d r e w s ,  1968;  Sherman & H i l l , 1969 ;  N o r v e l l & Guy, 1 9 7 7 ) , w h i l e o t h e r r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e f o u n d s i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e two g r o u p s .  L i n d h o l m & T o u l i a t o s (1980) s t u d i e d  a d o p t e d and n o n - a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n o f e l e m e n t a r y s c h o o l age a n d f o u n d t h a t the  a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n w e r e r a t e d by t h e i r t e a c h e r s as h a v i n g m o r e c o n d u c t  42 d i s o r d e r s , p e r s o n a l i t y problems and s o c i a l i z e d d e l i n q u e n c y than t h e i r nonadopted peers. maladjustment  They a l s o n o t e d t h a t boys tended t o e x p e r i e n c e more t h a n g i r l s , and d i f f e r e n c e s between t h e sexes were g r e a t e r  f o r adopted than non-adopted  c h i l d r e n on t h e same t h r e e v a r i a b l e s ;  conduct  d i s o r d e r s , p e r s o n a l i t y problems and s o c i a l i z e d d e l i n q u e n c y ( L i n d h o l m & T o u l i a t o s , 1980).  Other r e s e a r c h e r s have r e p o r t e d s i m i l a r r e s u l t s .  Bohman ( 1 9 7 2 ) o b s e r v e d p o o r e r s c h o o l a d j u s t m e n t a n d a g r e a t e r i n c i d e n c e o f e m o t i o n a l p r o b l e m s i n 10-11 y e a r o l d a d o p t e d b o y s t h a n i n n o n - a d o p t e d and he f o u n d no d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e g i r l s i n t h e s t u d y .  Seglow, P r i n g l e  & Wedge ( 1 9 7 2 ) f o u n d a l m o s t t h e i d e n t i c a l r e s u l t s when t h e y m e a s u r e d maladjustment  among s e v e n y e a r o l d s .  greater maladjustment  The adopted boys  than t h e non-adopted  boys,  emotional  demonstrated  b o y s , a n d a g a i n , no d i f f e r e n c e s  w e r e r e p o r t e d among t h e g i r l s ( S e g l o w e t a l , 1 9 7 2 ) .  The f a c t t h a t adopted  boys might m a n i f e s t more problems t h a n a d o p t e d g i r l s i s i n t e r e s t i n g i n l i g h t o f t h e e v i d e n c e t h a t s u g g e s t s t h a t a d o p t e d g i r l s show much m o r e i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r a d o p t i o n t h a n do a d o p t e d b o y s ( F a r b e r , 1 9 7 7 ) .  In a  l o n g i t u d i n a l s t u d y o f a d o p t e e s f r o m b i r t h t h r o u g h t o l a t e n c y a g e , i t was r e p o r t e d t h a t f e m a l e s showed m a r k e d l y g r e a t e r i n t e r e s t , i n v o l v e m e n t , a n d a t t i m e s , s u g g e s t i o n s o f more c o n f l i c t around t h e i d e a o f a d o p t i o n t h a n d i d the males i n t h e study ( F a r b e r , 1977).  Females tended t o demonstrate t h e  most i n t e n s e i n t e r e s t i n t h e i d e a o f a d o p t i o n d u r i n g t h e ages  8'through'10:  F a r b e r ( 1 9 7 7 ) o b s e r v e d t h a t f e w m a l e s showed a n y i n t e r e s t i n t h e i d e a o f a d o p t i o n a t any t i m e .  She c o n c l u d e d t h a t t h i s l a c k o f i n t e r e s t m i g h t be  due t o d e f e n s i v e m a n e u v e r s t o a v o i d c o n f r o n t i n g t h e i d e a o f t h e i r a d o p t i o n . I f t h i s i s t h e c a s e , a d o p t e d b o y s m i g h t be o b s e r v e d t o e x p e r i e n c e more  43 behavior pathology than adopted g i r l s because they are a c t i n g out t h e i r c o n f l i c t s , w h i l e t h e g i r l s h a v e a t e n d e n c y t o a s k q u e s t i o n s and v e r b a l i z e t h e i r f e e l i n g s more o f t e n i n o r d e r t o r e d u c e t h e i r c o n f l i c t o v e r t h e i s s u e s of adoption. thoroughly  C l e a r l y , t h i s p u r p o r t e d s e x d i f f e r e n c e n e e d s t o be more researched.  A g a i n , as w i t h t h e c l i n i c s t u d i e s , i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o i n t e r p r e t t h e o v e r a l l p i c t u r e r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n and a d j u s t m e n t .  Some o f t h e n o n - c l i n i c a l  s t u d i e s s u f f e r f r o m t h e same m e t h o d o l o g i c a l f l a w s as t h e c l i n i c a l s t u d i e s ; small samples,  p o o r l y m a t c h e d c o n t r o l g r o u p s , n o n - c o m p a r a b l e m e a s u r e s and  n o n - c o m p a r a b l e age g r o u p s .  Brodzinsky, Schecter, Braff & Singer  (1983),  t r i e d t o r e m e d y t h i s s i t u a t i o n by d e s i g n i n g a s t u d y t h a t w o u l d o v e r c o m e the methodological flaws of the previous research. a d o p t e d and 130 n o n - a d o p t e d b e t w e e n 6-11  One h u n d r e d  and  thirty  c h i l d r e n drawn from t h e g e n e r a l p o p u l a t i o n  y e a r s o f a g e , w e r e w e l l m a t c h e d on r e l e v a n t d e m o g r a p h i c  and f a m i l y v a r i a b l e s . The c h i l d r e n w e r e r a t e d by t h e i r m o t h e r s and by t h e i r t e a c h e r s on a number o f p s y c h o l o g i c a l and e d u c a t i o n a l v a r i a b l e s . O v e r a l l , t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n w e r e r a t e d by t h e i r m o t h e r s as i n s o c i a l c o m p e t e n c e , and as m a n i f e s t i n g more b e h a v i o r p r o b l e m s  lower  than  non-  adopted c h i l d r e n . S i g n i f i c a n t d i f f e r e n c e s were noted between adopted non-adopted  and  c h i l d r e n on d e p r e s s i o n , s o c i a l w i t h d r a w a l , h y p e r a c t i v i t y ,  d e l i n q u e n c y , a g g r e s s i o n and c r u e l t y ( B r o d z i n s k y e t a l , 1 9 8 3 ) .  Mothers  o f a d o p t e d b o y s r a t e d t h e i r c h i l d r e n as h a v i n g more u n c o m m u n i c a t i v e b e h a v i o r , h y p e r a c t i v i t y , a g g r e s s i o n and d e l i n q u e n c y t h a n t h e r a t i n g s made by m o t h e r s o f n o n - a d o p t e d Although  c h i l d r e n ( B r o d z i n s k y e t a l , 1983).  i t c o u l d be a r g u e d t h a t t h e a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s i n t h i s s a m p l e  w e r e p e r h a p s j u s t more s e n s i t i v e t o t h e i r c h i l d r e n s p r o b l e m s , 1  or  perhaps  44  t h e y o v e r r e a c t e d t o normal developmental  i s s u e s , but r e s u l t s from t h e  teacher r a t i n g s c o n s i s t e n t l y i d e n t i f i e d adoptees than t h e non-adopted than t h e i r non-adopted independent  c h i l d r e n . Adopted  a s b e i n g more p r o b l e m a t i c  c h i l d r e n showed p o o r e r  adjustment  p e e r s on e v e r y s i n g l e s c a l e m e a s u r e d - o r i g i n a l i t y ,  l e a r n i n g , school involvement,  p r o d u c t i v i t y with peers, i n a t t e n t i o n ,  i n t e l l e c t u a l dependency, f a i l u r e anxiety, negative f e e l i n g s , u n r e f l e c t i v e n e s s , and i r r e v e l a n t t a l k ( B r o d z i n s k y e t a l , 1 9 8 3 ) . A d o p t e e s ,  both boys and g i r l s ,  r e c e i v e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y lower t e a c h e r r a t i n g s on s o c i a l competence and school  achievement,  r e l a t e d problems  and s i g n i f i c a n t l y h i g h e r t e a c h e r r a t i n g s on s c h o o l -  and p s y c h o l o g i c a l problems  ( B r o d z i n s k y e t a l , 1983).  than non-adopted  children  These r e s u l t s appear t o support t h e view t h a t  adopted c h i l d r e n a r e more v u l n e r a b l e t h a n o t h e r c h i l d r e n t o e m o t i o n a l , b e h a v i o r a l and e d u c a t i o n a l problems.  I t s h o u l d be n o t e d h o w e v e r , t h a t  a l t h o u g h a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n w e r e r a t e d a s more p o o r l y a d j u s t e d i n c o m p a r i s o n t o non-adopted  c h i l d r e n , t h e i r b e h a v i o r s t i l l f e l l w i t h i n t h e normal  range,  t h a t i s , t h e y d i d n o t m a n i f e s t r e a l l y s e v e r e p a t h o l o g y , b u t d i s p l a y e d more extreme forms o f behavior than a r e found i n non-adopted  children (Brodzinsky  e t a l 1983). In a d d i t i o n t o t h e c o m p a r a t i v e regarding t h e r e l a t i v e adjustment  s t u d i e s t h a t have been o f adoptees  o f f o l l o w - u p s t u d i e s have been completed  vs non-adoptees,  a number  t h a t have t r i e d t o i d e n t i f y t h e  f a c t o r s leading t o s u c c e s s f u l o r unsuccessful adjustment families.  completed  of adoptive  M o s t o f t h e s t u d i e s on a d o p t i o n o u t c o m e a r e d e s c r i p t i v e i n  n a t u r e and have r e l i e d on i n t e r v i e w i n g t e c h n i q u e s t o o b t a i n t h e d a t a . Some o f t h e r e s e a r c h h a s f o c u s e d o n t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d s e v e r a l y e a r s a f t e r placement  i n an a d o p t i v e home ( R i p p l e , 1968; E l o n e n & S c h w a r t z , 1 9 6 9 ;  45  L a w d e r , L o w e r , A n d r e w s , S h e r m a n , & H i l l , 1969; Bohman, 1 9 7 2 ) , w h i l e o t h e r r e s e a r c h e r s have i n t e r v i e w e d a d u l t adoptees  regarding their  adoption  e x p e r i e n c e s ( M c W h i n n i e , 1967; J a f f e e & F a n s h e l , 1970; T r i s e l i o t i s , 1973; Sorosky e t a l , 1978). One o f t h e d i f f i c u l t i e s i n t h i s a r e a o f a d o p t i o n r e s e a r c h i s t h a t by the time t h e s t u d i e s a r e p u b l i s h e d and t h e i n f o r m a t i o n d i s s e m i n a t e d , t h e c o n d i t i o n s t o w h i c h t h e y r e l a t e may h a v e c h a n g e d ( P r i n g l e , 1 9 6 7 ) . B e c a u s e o f t h i s f a c t , g e n e r a l i z i n g t h e r e s u l t s o f t h e s e s t u d i e s t o new g e n e r a t i o n s o f a d o p t e e s a n d a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s m u s t be d o n e c a u t i o u s l y . T h i s r e s e a r c h s h o u l d be s e e n f o r w h a t i t i s - a s g e n e r a l d e s c r i p t i v e i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t c a n h e l p o n e u n d e r s t a n d how a d o p t i o n i s e x p e r i e n c e d the time frame and c i r c u m s t a n c e s o f t h e s t u d y .  given  In s p i t e o f t h e l i m i t a t i o n s ,  t h e f o l l o w - u p r e s e a r c h o f f e r s t h e a d o p t i o n r e s e a r c h e r much new i n f o r m a t i o n on w h i c h t o b u i l d new h y p o t h e s e s .  The remainder o f t h i s c h a p t e r w i l l d e a l  w i t h t h e r e s u l t s and i m p l i c a t i o n s o f t h i s body o f r e s e a r c h . The f o l l o w - u p r e s e a r c h . T h e m a j o r i t y o f s t u d i e s a s s e s s i n g a d o p t i o n o u t c o m e r e p o r t t h a t m o s t a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s do v e r y w e l l ( W i t m e r , w e i n s t e i n , & S u l l i v a n , 1963; L a w d e r e t a l , 1 9 6 9 ) .  Herzog,  Witmer e t a l (1963)  a s s e s s e d a d o p t i v e f a m i l y f u n c t i o n i n g a f t e r 10 y e a r s a n d r e p o r t e d t h a t 70% o f t h e f a m i l i e s w e r e f u n c t i o n i n g s u c c e s s f u l l y . S e v e n t y - t h r e e  percent  o f t h e f a m i l i e s s t u d i e d by L a w d e r e t a l ( 1 9 6 9 ) w e r e r a t e d a s g o o d o r s u p e r i o r i n t h e i r adjustment  and f u n c t i o n i n g . Other r e s e a r c h e r s have  r e p o r t e d s i m i l a r r e s u l t s ( K a d u s h i n , 1 9 7 0 ; S e g l o w e t a l , 1972;  Raynor,1980).  G e n e r a l c o n c l u s i o n s h a v e b e e n d r a w n b a s e d on t h i s k i n d o f r e s e a r c h t h a t the environment  i s very important t o t h e c h i l d ' s development,  c h i l d w e l f a r e workers  and o v e r a l l ,  can have e v e r y c o n f i d e n c e i n a d o p t i o n as a v i a b l e  46 s u c c e s s f u l method o f c h i l d placement When E l o n e n & S c h w a r t z  (Raynor,  (1969) conducted  1 9 8 0 ) . ... a follow-up study of adoptive  f a m i l i e s , t h e y c o n c l u d e d t h a t a d o p t i o n p e r s e was n o t a c a u s a t i v e f a c t o r in the emotional problems  of adopted c h i l d r e n , but r a t h e r the  problems  stemmed f r o m t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ' r e a c t i o n s t o t h e i r c h i l d r e n , t h e i r q u e s t i o n s and f e e l i n g s , and t o t h e i m p o r t a n t e v e n t s i n f a m i l y l i f e .  Ten  p e r c e n t o f t h e s e p a r e n t s r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d had b e e n u p s e t in adolescence about being adopted.  Lawder e t a l (1969) r e p o r t i n t h e i r  r e s e a r c h on 200 a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s , s a t i s f a c t i o n i n p a r e n t r o l e , warmth and a f f e c t i o n t o w a r d t h e c h i l d , and a c c e p t a n c e o f a d o p t i v e r o l e w e r e m o r e important v a r i a b l e s f o r s u c c e s s f u l adjustment communication  than m a r i t a l s a t i s f a c t i o n ,  about adoption, or r o l e c o m p a t i b i l i t y .  I s o l a t i n g what v a r i a b l e s might promote more s u c c e s s f u l a d j u s t m e n t  in  a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s i s d i f f i c u l t , and t h e r e s u l t s o f r e s e a r c h e r s ' e f f o r t s a r e s t i l l rather confusing.  H o w e v e r , t h e r e d o e s seem t o be a g r e e m e n t r e g a r d i n g  some v a r i a b l e s ' s i g n i f i c a n c e . I t i s g e n e r a l l y a g r e e d t h a t t h e p e r s o n a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s and t h e i r a t t i t u d e s h a v e g r e a t b e a r i n g on t h e o u t c o m e o f an a d o p t i o n , w h i l e t h e i r s o c i o - e c o n o m i c  status,  i n c o m e , and e d u c a t i o n a p p e a r t o be i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l (Bohman, 1 9 7 2 ) .  Placement  o f a c h i l d s h o u l d be d o n e as e a r l y as p o s s i b l e , b u t t h e r e i s some disagreement  as t o when i s t h e m o s t a d v a n t a g e o u s  t i m e ; and a t l e a s t one  s t u d y f o u n d no r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n a c h i l d ' s age a t p l a c e m e n t adjustment  ( R i p p l e , 1968).  and  It i s a l s o g e n e r a l l y agreed t h a t a c h i l d  should  be t o l d e a r l y a b o u t h i s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s , b u t t h e r e i s some d i s s e n s u s r e g a r d i n g what age i s m o s t a p p r o p r i a t e f o r d i s c l o s u r e ; and i n one  study  47 i t was r e p o r t e d t h a t a d o p t e e s d i f f e r from adoptees  who d i d n ' t know t h e y w e r e a d o p t e d d i d n o t  who d i d know, i n t h e q u a l i t y o f r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e i r  parents, or the degree of psychopathology  t h e y m a n i f e s t e d as a d u l t s ( E l d r e d ,  R o s e n t h a l , Wender, Kety, S c h u l s i n g e r , W e l n e r , & J a c o b s e n ,  1976).  I t seems a p p a r e n t t h a t t r y i n g t o a s s e s s g l o b a l f a c t o r s o f  adjustment  and a d o p t i o n o u t c o m e i s a f o r m i d a b l e t a s k t h a t n e c e s s i t a t e s c o n t r o l l i n g f o r , and m e a s u r i n g  a c o m p l e x number o f v a r i a b l e s .  This i s perhaps  o f a d o p t i o n r e s e a r c h has n o t p r o g r e s s e d t e c h n i c a l l y , o r  why t h e s t a t e  methodologically,  and s t i l l r e l i e s on d e s c r i p t i v e r e s e a r c h t o a l a r g e d e g r e e .  However, i t i s  f r o m t h i s d e s c r i p t i v e r e s e a r c h t h a t some o f t h e r i c h e s t d a t a e m e r g e s . The m o s t t h o r o u g h  accounts o f t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e have been  obtained from a d u l t adoptees  and/or t h e i r parents in r e t r o s p e c t i v e s t u d i e s .  T h e s e r e t r o s p e c t i v e s t u d i e s must r e l y on t h e p a r t i c i p a n t ' s " c a n d o r  in  r e s p o n d i n g t o q u e s t i o n s , and i n t h e i r a b i l i t y t o a c c u r a t e l y r e c a l l and f e e l i n g s t h a t t o o k p l a c e i n t h e p a s t .  However, t h e p a r t i c i p a n t ' s  perception of events, i s a v a l i d r e f l e c t i o n of t h e i r perceived and a d d s d e p t h t o t h e i n f o r m a t i o n o b t a i n e d .  events  experiences  The i n f o r m a t i o n g l e a n e d  t h e s e s t u d i e s p r o v i d e s a m o r e s o l i d b a s e f o r r e s e a r c h , and t h e  from  present  s t u d y has e v o l v e d l a r g e l y f r o m t h i s d a t a . The r e t r o s p e c t i v e s t u d i e s .  A l e x i n a M c W h i n n i e ( 1 9 6 7 ) was t h e  first  researcher t h a t t r u l y examined the adoption experience from the p e r s p e c t i v e of the a d u l t adoptee.  M c W h i n n i e ( 1 9 6 7 ) i n t e r v i e w e d 58 a d o p t e d  a d u l t s aged  18 t o 60 and c o n c l u d e d t h a t , " w i t h i n t h e a d o p t i v e home t h e r e a r e p o t e n t i a l problems of adjustment  very d i f f e r e n t in k i n d from the normal problems of  b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t - c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p s , and t h a t t h e s e c a n r e l a t e t o t h e  48 whole area o f communication  and a t t i t u d e s about a c h i l d ' s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s "  ( p . 4 0 7 ) . One o f t h e r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s was t h a t f a m i l y  communication  r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n was l i m i t e d , a n d when i t o c c u r r e d i t was u s u a l l y o n e way, f r o m p a r e n t t o c h i l d ( M c W h i n n i e ,  1967).  Even t h o u g h t h e a d o p t e e s  were  c u r i o u s , t h e y w e r e r e l u c t a n t t o b r i n g i t up a n d w a i t e d f o r t h e i r p a r e n t s t o mention  i t . McWhinnie (1967) s u g g e s t e d t h a t p a r e n t s might need h e l p w i t h  communicating  t h e f a c t s o f adoption t o t h e i r c h i l d r e n because i t appeared  t o be s u c h a c l o s e d s u b j e c t a t home.  I f communication  b r e a k s down i n t h e  a d o p t i v e f a m i l y , McWhinnie (1967) b e l i e v e s t h a t t h e adoptee w i l l seek t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n o u t s i d e t h e home. W h i l e e x p l o r i n g t h e i s s u e s r e g a r d i n g b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , i t was n o t e d t h a t a l t h o u g h many a d o p t e e s t a l k e d o f w a n t i n g i n a d o l e s c e n c e t o m e e t t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , t h e y were emphatic t h a t t h e y d i d n o t want t h e s e p a r e n t s t o know who t h e y w e r e .  O n l y 5 o f t h e 58 a d o p t e e s i n t e r v i e w e d , v i e w e d a  r e u n i o n a s a way o f f i n d i n g a m o t h e r who w o u l d u n d e r s t a n d t h e m b e t t e r t h a n t h e i r a d o p t i v e f a m i l y (McWhinnie,  1967).  These f i n d i n g s tend t o c o n f i r m  t h e v i e w t h a t a d o l e s c e n c e i s t h e t i m e when q u e s t i o n s r e g a r d i n g o r i g i n s b e g i n t o p e r c o l a t e , and f u r t h e r s u g g e s t s t h a t i n most c a s e s , t h i s c u r i o s i t y  does  n o t i n d i c a t e a need f o r r e u n i o n w i t h b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , b u t r a t h e r i t i s a search f o r information re o r i g i n s .  McWhinnie (1967) a l s o noted t h a t a l t h o u g h  a d o l e s c e n c e i s a t i m e o f i n t e n s e c u r i o s i t y , t h e r e i s a p e r i o d around age 9 when t h e r e i s l i k e l y t o be a g r e a t d e a l o f d i s c u s s i o n a b o u t p a r e n t s a n d a d o p t i o n among t h e a d o p t e e ' s p e e r s .  S h e s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h i s m i g h t be a  g o o d t i m e f o r p a r e n t - c h i l d d i s c u s s i o n on t h e s u b j e c t ( M c W h i n n i e ,  1967).  Based on what she had f o u n d i n t h e i n t e r v i e w s w i t h a d u l t a d o p t e e s ,  49 McWhinnie (1968) extended h e r r e s e a r c h t o i n c l u d e group c o u n s e l l i n g s e s s i o n s with adoptive parents.  Two a r e a s o f d i s c u s s i o n w e r e c l e a r l y a v o i d e d by  t h e p a r e n t s ; d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l mother, and d i s c u s s i o n about how much b a c k g r o u n d  i n f o r m a t i o n r e g a r d i n g t h e i r c h i l d t h e y c o u l d remember.  McWhinnie (1968) c o n c l u d e d t h a t a n x i e t y about a d o p t i o n l i e s w i t h t h e p a r e n t s , n o t t h e c h i l d , a n d t h a t t h e y f e e l a m b i v a l e n t a b o u t b r i n g i n g up s o m e o n e e l s e ' s child.  McWhinnie (1968) a l s o n o t i c e d t h a t a l l t h e p a r e n t s i n t h e group  e x p r e s s e d a n x i e t y a b o u t t h e i r c h i l d a s an a d o l e s c e n t .  T h e p a r e n t s seemed  t o f e e l t h r e a t e n e d by t h i s p a r t i c u l a r s t a g e o f d e v e l o p m e n t  and wondered  w h e t h e r t h e y w o u l d c o p e a d e q u a t e l y a s p a r e n t s when t h e i r c h i l d r e n r e a c h e d adolescence.  T h e s e f i n d i n g s s u p p o r t Bohman's ( 1 9 7 2 ) o b s e r v a t i o n s t h a t  a d o p t e d p a r e n t s f e e l a n x i o u s a b o u t t h e a d o l e s c e n t s t a g e a n d w o n d e r how t h e y w i l l cope.  I f many p a r e n t s a l r e a d y f e e l a n x i o u s a b o u t t h e i r c h i l d ' s  adolescent years, these  f i n d i n g s s u g g e s t t h a t t h i s p a r e n t a l a n x i e t y may  set t h e stage f o r , o r promote, p a r e n t - c h i l d c o n f l i c t as t h e c h i l d  reaches  adolescence. A n o t h e r i n t e r e s t i n g f i n d i n g i n t h e M c W h i n n i e ( 1 9 6 8 ) s t u d y was t h a t some o f t h e e x t e n d e d f a m i l y members o f a d o p t i n g c o u p l e s who a l r e a d y h a d b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n , were n o t i n f a v o u r o f a d o p t i o n .  T h i s was p a r t i c u l a r l y  t r u e o f t h e g r a n d p a r e n t s , some o f who w e r e q u i t e r e j e c t i n g o f t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d (McWhinnie,  1968). These f a m i l y p r e j u d i c e s would f u r t h e r s e r v e t o  c r e a t e a n x i e t y among t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , a n d o n e c a n o n l y s p e c u l a t e a s to t h e e f f e c t t h i s a t t i t u d e might have on t h e adopted c h i l d .  The concern  o f g r a n d p a r e n t s r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n , a n d t h e i r r e s e r v a t i o n s a b o u t t h e i r own c h i l d r e n a d o p t i n g h a s b e e n r e p o r t e d i n some o t h e r s t u d i e s ( R i p p l e , 1968; J a f f e e & F a n s h e l , 1970; R a y n o r ,  1980).  50 R e s e a r c h i n t o a d o p t i o n o u t c o m e became more p o p u l a r d u r i n g t h e 1 9 7 0 ' s , and two f o l l o w - u p s t u d i e s w e r e u n d e r t a k e n t h a t t o o k a n o v e l a p p r o a c h  to  t h e e x a m i n a t i o n o f a d o p t i o n o u t c o m e ( J a f f e e & F a n s h e l , 1970; J a f f e e , 1974; Raynor,  1980).  A d o p t i v e p a r e n t s and t h e i r a d u l t a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n w e r e  i n t e r v i e w e d s e p a r a t e l y t o e x p l o r e t h e ways i n w h i c h a d o p t i o n had a f f e c t e d their lives.  J a f f e e & F a n s h e l ( 1 9 7 0 ) r e p o r t e d on t h e p e r c e p t i o n s o f  adoptive parents concerning the development children. study.  and a d j u s t m e n t o f t h e i r  100 adopted  In a d d i t i o n , 33 o f t h e p a r e n t s ' a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n t o o k p a r t i n t h e  The r e s u l t i n g s e t s o f r e p o r t s w e r e t h e n c o m p a r e d t o o b t a i n a two-  g e n e r a t i o n p o r t r a i t of adoption outcome.  Raynor  (1980) f o l l o w e d a s i m i l a r  r e s e a r c h d e s i g n when s h e s t u d i e d t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e o f 60 a d u l t a d o p t e e s and t h e i r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s . of f a m i l y adjustment,  B o t h s t u d i e s c o n s t r u c t e d t h e i r own  measures  and an a t t e m p t was made t o i d e n t i f y f a m i l i e s t h a t  had a c h i e v e d g o o d a d j u s t m e n t and t h o s e who had f a r e d p o o r l y .  As c o u l d be  e x p e c t e d , a w i d e r a n g e o f l i f e a d j u s t m e n t was f o u n d w i t h i n e a c h  sample,  f r o m a d o p t e e s w i t h s e r i o u s a d j u s t m e n t p r o b l e m s , t o o t h e r s who had e x p e r i e n c e d u n e v e n t f u l l i v e s . However, w i t h i n t h e s e samples themes were d i s c o v e r e d .  some f a i r l y c o n s i s t e n t  O n l y t h e m o s t s a l i e n t f i n d i n g s w i l l be d i s c u s s e d  here because t h e massive amounts o f d a t a o b t a i n e d i n t h e s e s t u d i e s would make r e c o u n t i n g a l l t h e r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s much t o o l e n g t h y f o r t h e of t h i s  purposes  review.  J a f f e e & F a n s h e l ( 1 9 7 0 ) f o u n d t h a t o v e r a l l , t h e a d o p t e e s and t h e i r parents presented congruent accounts of the nature of the functioning over the years, p a r t i c u l a r l y with regard to the academic  adoptee's adoptee's  f u n c t i o n i n g , social r e l a t i o n s , current r e l a t i o n s h i pwith parents,  51 and d e g r e e o f c l o s e n e s s i n t h e f a m i l y . In t h e a r e a s r e f l e c t i n g a d o p t i o n i s s u e s t h e r e s u l t s w e r e m a r k e d l y d i f f e r e n t . T h e r e was i n t e r g e n e r a t i o n a l disagreement  r e g a r d i n g t h e p a r e n t s ' view of adoptee s a t i s f a c t i o n with t h e  i n f o r m a t i o n g i v e n r e t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , and t h e a d o p t e e s ' v i e w s o f t h e amount o f i n f o r m a t i o n r e c e i v e d . O n e - q u a r t e r o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s f e l t t h a t t h e y had g i v e n f u l l i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s t o t h e c h i l d , w h i l e o n l y 1/10 o f t h e a d o p t e e s f e l t t h a t t h e i r p a r e n t s had g i v e n them f u l l and t r u t h f u l i n f o r m a t i o n ( J a f f e e & F a n s h e l , 1 9 7 0 ) .  More  t h a n h a l f t h e a d o p t e e s s a i d t h e y had p r e s s e d f o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , b u t o n l y 1/5 o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s g a v e t h e same r e p o r t ( J a f f e e , 1 9 7 4 ) .  In an a t t e m p t t o e x p l a i n t h e s e f i n d i n g s ,  J a f f e e and F a n s h e l ( 1 9 7 0 ) s u g g e s t e d t h a t when a d o p t e e s a s k e d f o r i n f o r m a t i o n they d i d i t i n such a t e n t a t i v e manner t h a t t h e p a r e n t s d i d n ' t r e c o g n i z e what t h e y w a n t e d . R a y n o r  (1980) n o t i c e d t h a t a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s f e l t a  s e n s e o f i n s e c u r i t y when i t came t o t a l k i n g a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l and b a c k g r o u n d  parents  i n f o r m a t i o n , e v e n when p a r e n t and c h i l d had a g o o d  r e l a t i o n s h i p , and e v e n when t h e c h i l d became an a d u l t . O f t e n t h e s e p a r e n t s f a i l e d t o p a s s on b a c k g r o u n d  i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t might have h e l p e d  to i n c r e a s e the c h i l d ' s p o s i t i v e s e l f - i m a g e (Raynor,  1980).  B a r a n , P a n n o r & S o r o s k y ( 1 9 7 4 ) i n t e r v i e w e d 60 a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r a t t i t u d e s a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s and  background  i n f o r m a t i o n , and d i s c o v e r e d t h a t t h e p a r e n t s w e r e e x t r e m e l y p r o t e c t i v e of t h e i r c h i l d ' s p o s s i b l e e n c o u n t e r w i t h t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s . They e x p r e s s e d c o n c e r n a b o u t t h e i r c h i l d b e i n g h u r t by a r e u n i o n and w e r e adamantly  opposed t o b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s i n i t i a t i n g a r e u n i o n . -Although  52 the couples expressed i n t e r e s t i n having f a c t u a l i n f o r m a t i o n about the backgrounds  o f t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n , i t was c l e a r t h a t t h e i r g r e a t e s t  a r e a o f c o n c e r n , and w h e r e t h e y n e e d e d t h e m o s t h e l p , r e l a t e d t o t h e i r f e e l i n g s and a t t i t u d e s t o w a r d s t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s . The r e s o l u t i o n o f t h e a m b i v a l e n c e t h e y f e l t t o w a r d t h e m d e t e r m i n e d , f o r t h e m o s t p a r t , how t h e y d e a l t w i t h t h e s e i s s u e s when c o n f r o n t e d by t h e i r c h i l d r e n ( B a r a n e t al,  1974). T h e r e now a p p e a r s t o be c o n s i d e r a b l e a g r e e m e n t  among r e s e a r c h e r s t h a t  b o t h t h e c h i l d ' s and t h e p a r e n t ' s f e e l i n g s a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s a r e o f c e n t r a l i m p o r t a n c e when e x a m i n i n g a d o p t i v e f a m i l y f u n c t i o n i n g . The r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s s u g g e s t t h a t a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s h a v e a t e n d e n c y t o f e e l d e f e n s i v e a b o u t t h e i s s u e s i n v o l v i n g b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , and t h a t a d o p t e e s h a v e a t e n d e n c y t o f e e l u n c o m f o r t a b l e and g u i l t y r e q u e s t i n g s u c h i n f o r m a t i o n f r o m t h e i r p a r e n t s . A d o p t e e s who d i d p r e s s f o r more background  i n f o r m a t i o n t e n d e d t o e n c o u n t e r m o r e p e r s o n a l and s o c i a l  p r o b l e m s and t o e x p e r i e n c e p e r s o n a l i t y d i f f i c u l t i e s as t h e y g r e w up  (Jaffee,  1 9 7 4 ) . R a y n o r ( 1 9 8 0 ) f o u n d t h a t a d e s i r e t o make c o n t a c t w i t h t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s was r e l a t e d b o t h t o a d o p t e e s a t i s f a c t i o n and t o a d j u s t m e n t .  Those  a d o p t e e s who had a d e s i r e t o c o n t a c t b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s w e r e v i e w e d  as  b e i n g l e s s h a p p y i n t h e a d o p t i v e home and l e s s w e l l a d j u s t e d t h a n  adoptees  who d i d n o t h a v e t h i s d e s i r e ( R a y n o r , 1 9 8 0 ) .  160  However, out o f t h e  a d o p t e e s i n t e r v i e w e d by R a y n o r , o n l y 21 w i s h e d t o a c t u a l l y m e e t t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , w h i l e a l m o s t a l l o f them s a i d t h e y w o u l d w e l c o m e m o r e information about themselves. Again, the adoptees' f e e l i n g s suggest t h a t a need f o r i n f o r m a t i o n , r a t h e r t h a n a need f o r a r e u n i o n w i t h a b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t i s a t t h e r o o t o f t h e i r c u r i o s i t y . T r i s e l i o t i s (1973) examined  the  53 d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n a g r o u p o f a d o p t e e s who w e r e m a i n l y s e e k i n g i n f o r m a t i o n and a g r o u p o f a d o p t e e s r e t r o s p e c t i v e study conducted  background  searching f o r b i o l o g i c a l parents in a  i n S c o t l a n d . He c o n c l u d e d t h a t a l m o s t a l l t h e  a d o p t e e s who d e s c r i b e d t h e i r home l i f e and f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s as u n s a t i s f a c t o r y w e r e now s e a r c h i n g f o r t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , w h i l e a s i g n i f i c a n t number o f t h o s e who p e r c e i v e d t h e i r f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s a s s a t i s f a c t o r y were s e a r c h i n g mainly f o r background  information. Triseliotis  (1973) wrote: the m a j o r i t y of adoptees s e a r c h i n g f o r t h e i r o r i g i n s conveyed a p i c t u r e o f a l i e n a t i o n and poor s e l f - i m a g e which they g e n e r a l l y a t t r i b u t e d t o d e p r i v i n g e x p e r i e n c e s w i t h i n t h e a d o p t i v e home. The s e a r c h f o r b a c k g r o u n d i n f o r m a t i o n was g e n e r a l l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a b e t t e r s e l f i m a g e and a m o r e s a t i s f a c t o r y home l i f e ( p . 9 1 ) . These f i n d i n g s p o i n t e d t o the importance as t h e p r i m a l f o r c e t h a t d e t e r m i n e d ( T r i s e l i o t i s , 1973).  and q u a l i t y o f f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s  t h e s e a r c h and i n f l u e n c e d i t s o b j e c t i v e s  A c a v e a t s h o u l d be a d d e d h e r e h o w e v e r , as m o s t o f  t h e a d o p t i o n s i n t h e T r i s e l i o t i s s t u d y t o o k p l a c e d u r i n g t h e 1 9 4 0 ' s and 1950's. Adoptees  o f t h e s e g e n e r a t i o n s had n o t b e e n e x p o s e d to- t h e  s e a r c h i n g c o n t r o v e r s y t h a t has b e c o m e p o p u l a r i z e d i n t h e m e d i a d u r i n g t h e l a s t few y e a r s . The m e d i a a t t e n t i o n and a d o p t i o n r e f o r m p u b l i c s u p p o r t t h a t t h i s i s s u e has r e c e i v e d , h a s moved i t away f r o m  the  s e c r e t i v e , t a b o o t o p i c i t was 30 y e a r s ago i n t o t h e m a i n s t r e a m adoptees'  l i v e s . Today most adoptees  o f most  a r e aware o f t h e s e a r c h i n g i s s u e  and t h e c o n t r o v e r s y i t s t i r s among t h e p a r t i e s o f t h e a d o p t i o n t r i a n g l e . F o r t h i s r e a s o n t h e r e s u l t s o f t h e T r i s e l i o t i s ( 1 9 7 3 ) s t u d y h a v e l o s t some of t h e i r g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t y t o t h e g e n e r a t i o n s o f adoptees t o d a y .  The  r e s u l t s of t h i s study have however, r e i n f o r c e d the p o p u l a r view  (although  i t i s d i m i n i s h i n g ) t h a t a d o p t e e s m u s t be d i s t u r b e d t o want t o s e a r c h  54 f o r p a r e n t s who h a d r e l i n q u i s h e d t h e m a t b i r t h .  T h i s view has f o s t e r e d  f e a r a n d g u i l t i n a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s who h a v e i n q u i s i t i v e c h i l d r e n , a n d g u i l t and a m b i v a l e n c e  i n a d o p t e e s who h a v e a n e e d t o know o f t h e i r o r i g i n s .  Sorosky e t a l (1976)  found t h a t t h e need t o s e a r c h f o r t h e b i o l o g i c a l  p a r e n t s p r o v e d t o b e r e l a t e d more t o t h e i n n a t e p e r s o n a l i t y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t h e adoptee and l e s s t o t h e n a t u r e o f t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p when t h e y s t u d i e d s e a r c h m o t i v a t i o n i n a g r o u p o f a d u l t  adoptees.  P a r e n t a l s a t i s f a c t i o n has been used i n t h e p a s t as one o f t h e major c r i t e r i a o f adoption outcome.  When a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s i n t h e J a f f e e & F a n s h e l  (1970) study were q u e r i e d as t o t h e i r o v e r a l l s a t i s f a c t i o n as a d o p t i v e parents they g e n e r a l l y responded  favourably.  p a r e n t s d i d n o t a t t r i b u t e any problems to their c h i l d ' s adoptive status.  The m a j o r i t y o f a d o p t i v e  experienced t o adoption per se, o r  Even p a r e n t s with problem c h i l d r e n  r e p o r t e d l i t t l e c o n n e c t i o n between t h e i r c h i l d r e n s ' adjustment and t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s ( J a f f e e & F a n s h e l , 1 9 7 0 ) .  difficulties  T h i s does n o t r u l e  out t h e " h e r e d i t y " e x p l a n a t i o n f o r a c h i l d ' s p a r t i c u l a r problem t h a t other r e s e a r c h e r s have found, o n l y t h a t t h e study f a m i l i e s d i d n o t b e l i e v e t h a t the c h i l d ' s problems  were caused because  he was a d o p t e d .  This reflects  K i r k ' s (1964) t h e o r y t h a t t h e " r e j e c t i o n o f t h e d i f f e r e n c e " c o p i n g b e h a v i o r may b e i n o p e r a t i o n h e r e . view a d o p t i v e parenthood  Some a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s d o n ' t w a n t t o  as d i f f e r e n t from b i o l o g i c a l parenthood, and  a t t r i b u t i n g s p e c i a l problems  t o adoptive parenthood  w o u l d do j u s t t h a t .  When R a y n o r ( 1 9 8 0 ) a s s e s s e d p a r e n t a l s a t i s f a c t i o n s h e f o u n d congruent p e r c e p t i o n s o f adoptee and p a r e n t a l s a t i s f a c t i o n .  fairly However,  she c o n t i n u e d t o f i n d t h e t e n d e n c y o f a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s t o b l a m e h e r e d i t y  55  when t h e i r c h i l d r e n had p r o b l e m s , w h i l e t h e c h i l d r e n t e n d e d t o b l a m e t h e m s e l v e s when t h e y had p r o b l e m s  (Raynor, 1980).  Parents with a  t e n d e n c y t o r e l y on h e r e d i t y m o r e o f t e n had c h i l d r e n w i t h b e h a v i o r p r o b l e m s , p a r t i c u l a r l y c h i l d r e n who a c t e d o u t t h e i r p r o b l e m s a n t i - s o c i a l way  (Raynor, 1980).  i n an  It is unfortunately, impossible in  a r e t r o s p e c t i v e s t u d y t o d e t e r m i n e c a u s e and e f f e c t . D i d t h e s e p a r e n t s h o l d t h e i r v i e w s on h e r i t a b i l i t y b e f o r e t h e y a d o p t e d , o r d i d t h e y f o r m t h e s e o p i n i o n s as a r e a c t i o n t o t h e i r c h i l d ' s p r o b l e m a t i c b e h a v i o r ? An i n t e r e s t i n g a r e a o f i n q u i r y i n b o t h t h e J a f f e e & F a n s h e l and R a y n o r  (1980) s t u d i e s t h a t bears p a r t i c u l a r importance t o t h e p r e s e n t  r e s e a r c h was t h e p a r e n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d ' s t o them.  (1970)  similarity  J a f f e e & F a n s h e l (1970) r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e more s i m i l a r t o them  i n temperament t h e p a r e n t s p e r c e i v e d t h e c h i l d t o be, t h e more l i k e l y that the parents reported less problematic adjustment  in their children.  J a f f e e & Fanshel (1970) a l s o asked p a r e n t s whether t h e y p e r c e i v e d a p h y s i c a l resemblance  with t h e i r c h i l d , hypothesizing that t h i s  r e f l e c t t h e d e g r e e t o w h i c h c l o s e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n had d e v e l o p e d p a r e n t and a d o p t e e . resemblance,  might between  O n l y 10% o f t h e t o t a l s a m p l e o f p a r e n t s saw a c l o s e  and f o r p a r e n t s o f h i g h p r o b l e m c h i l d r e n i t was  t o v i e w t h e i r c h i l d as a n y t h i n g l i k e t h e m s e l v e s . R a y n o r  difficult  (1980) r e p o r t e d  t h a t i f t h e c h i l d ' s a d j u s t m e n t was g o o d , p a r e n t s t e n d e d t o r e a d i l y  identify  w i t h h e r and i f t h e c h i l d had e m o t i o n a l p r o b l e m s o r a c h i e v e d p o o r l y , p a r e n t s s e l d o m saw h e r as l i k e t h e m s e l v e s . R a y n o r  (1980) c o n c l u d e d t h a t  t o l o o k a l i k e , o r s h a r e an i n t e r e s t , o r h a v e a . s i m i l a r p e r s o n a l i t y o r t e m p e r a m e n t , a l l i n c r e a s e d s a t i s f a c t i o n as p a r e n t s f r e q u e n t l y m e n t i o n e d t h e s e p o i n t s w i t h p l e a s u r e . I t has a l r e a d y been m e n t i o n e d  how  adopted  56 adolescents  can f e e l a n x i o u s about t h e i r l a c k of resemblance i n the  f a m i l y and how b u t i t now  t h i s can a f f e c t t h e i r sense of b e l o n g i n g  a p p e a r s t h a t t h i s i s s u e may  consequences f o r the adoptee. a d o p t i v e f a m i l y was a d o p t e e s who  i n t h e home,  h a v e more s e r i o u s l i f e - l o n g  Feelings of being d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r  associated with behavior  p r o b l e m s i n 3/4 o f  f e l t t h a t t h e y had no l i k e n e s s t o t h e i r p a r e n t s  the  (Raynor, 1980).  These research f i n d i n g s r e s u r r e c t the "matching" controversy has b e e n d e b a t e d i n t h e a d o p t i o n many a g e n c i e s '  that  f i e l d f o r many y e a r s . Some y e a r s  p o l i c y was t o t r y t o m a t c h c h i l d t o a d o p t e r  on  ago  variables  s u c h as p h y s i c a l t r a i t s , i n t e l l e c t u a l c a p a c i t y , b a c k g r o u n d , e t h n i c i t y , e t c . T h i s a p p r o a c h has r e c e i v e d c r i t i c i s m f r o m a d o p t i o n a number o f r e a s o n s .  researchers  for  F i r s t o f a l l , i t seemed r a t h e r u s e l e s s t o t r y t o  m a t c h an i n f a n t on t h e s e n e b u l o u s v a r i a b l e s , and an i n i t i a l m a t c h on a p p e a r a n c e was,  of course,  no g u a r a n t e e o f l a t e r r e s e m b l a n c e . A l s o , i t  was t h o u g h t t h a t t r y i n g t o m a t c h b a b i e s t o a d o p t e r s adopters  to the r e a l i t y of adoption  t h e c h i l d was  d i d not o r i e n t the  and w o u l d e n c o u r a g e t h e m t o  born t o them ( R i p p l e , 1968).  pretend  K i r k (1981) b e l i e v e s  the p o l i c y of matching led parents to ignore the inherent  that  differences  o f a d o p t i v e p a r e n t h o o d and e n c o u r a g e d t h e " r e j e c t t h e d i f f e r e n c e s " a d o p t i v e p a r e n t r o l e . However the f e e l i n g s of t h e a d o p t i v e members seems t o d i s p u t e t h e v i e w s o f t h e p r o f e s s i o n a l s . noted t h a t adoptive parents  family McWhinnie (1968)  approved of matching a c h i l d to adopter,  t h e y w e r e p a r t i c u l a r l y p l e a s e d when o u t s i d e r s commented on how t o them t h e c h i l d looked.  Both adoptive  parents  c l e a r t o R a y n o r t h a t a f e e l i n g o f l i k e n e s s was kinship.  and  similar  and c h i l d r e n made i t part of the f e e l i n g of  One o f t h e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f u n h a p p y a d o p t i o n s  was t h i s s e n s e  57  o f d i f f e r e n c e and n o t b e l o n g i n g on t h e p a r t o f t h e a d o p t e e 1980).  (Raynor,  B o t h a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s and a d o p t e e s e x p r e s s e d p l e a s u r e a t  s h a r i n g some s i m i l a r i t i e s , and t h e p e r c e i v e d s i m i l a r i t i e s seemed t o be c o n d u c i v e t o i d e n t i f i c a t i o n b e t w e e n p a r e n t and c h i l d ( R a y n o r ,  1980).  Given t h e p o s i t i v e manner i n which a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s p e r c e i v e d s i m i l a r i t i e s amongst themselves  and t h e p r o b l e m s  f a c e d by t h o s e a d o p t e e s who  felt  d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r adoptive f a m i l i e s , i t suggests t h a t t r y i n g to m a t c h c h i l d t o a d o p t e r i s n o t a s d e s t r u c t i v e a p r o c e d u r e as has b e e n i n t i m a t e d , and t h a t a t b e s t i t c a n e n h a n c e f a m i l y i d e n t i f i c a t i o n .  In  t h e p r e s e n t s t u d y t h e a b s e n c e o f p h y s i c a l s i m i l a r i t y was f r e q u e n t l y mentioned  by t h e a d o p t e e s  as a c c e n t u a t i n g f a m i l i a l d i f f e r e n c e s and  r e m i n d i n g them o f t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s . Although the r e t r o s p e c t i v e s t u d i e s have helped t o i n c r e a s e the knowledge base r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s ' f u n c t i o n i n g , more c u r r e n t knowledge r e g a r d i n g t h e stages of adoptive f a m i l y l i f e i s needed, p a r t i c u l a r l y during the adolescent stage.  I t i s hoped t h a t the p r e s e n t  s t u d y w i l l add a new d i m e n s i o n t o t h e a d o p t i o n r e s e a r c h t h a t has a l r e a d y been completed  by e x p l o r i n g t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e o f b o t h  a d o l e s c e n t s and t h e i r p a r e n t s .  In o r d e r t o f u l l y u n d e r s t a n d  adopted the  experiences of the adoptive family i t i s imperative that the perceptions o f b o t h p a r e n t and c h i l d be e x a m i n e d . issues of f a m i l y communication,  The p r e s e n t s t u d y a d d r e s s e s  family relationships, biological  the parents,  and t h e i n d i v i d u a l a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e s o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s i n t h e  study  to a r r i v e at a d e s c r i p t i o n of the adoption experience within the f a m i l y . In t h e f o l l o w i n g c h a p t e r t h e d e s i g n and a n a l y s i s o f t h i s r e s e a r c h i s outlined.  CHAPTER I I I Methodology Design The g o a l s o f t h i s s t u d y w e r e t h r e e f o l d . F i r s t o f a l l , t h e r e was a g o a l t o e x p l o r e and d e s c r i b e t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e . S e c o n d l y , t h e r e was a g o a l t o e x p l o r e a n d d e s c r i b e t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , a n d t h i r d l y , a g o a l t o e x p l o r e and d e s c r i b e t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s and d i f f e r e n c e s between t h e p a r e n t s ' and adoptees' perceptions of the adoption experience.  T h e q u e s t i o n s and  g o a l s p o s e d by t h e r e s e a r c h e r w e r e q u a l i t a t i v e i n n a t u r e , s o a c c o r d i n g l y a q u a l i t a t i v e r e s e a r c h s t r a t e g y was i m p l e m e n t e d .  T h e r e s e a r c h was  designed  as a d e s c r i p t i v e , q u a l i t a t i v e s t u d y b a s e d on s e p a r a t e i n t e r v i e w s w i t h a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s and t h e i r p a r e n t s . Q u a l i t a t i v e research paradigm. allows the important dimensions  o f t h e cases under study t o emerge from  the a n a l y s i s without presupposing be ( P a t t o n , 1 9 8 0 ) .  A q u a l i t a t i v e research strategy  i n a d v a n c e what t h o s e d i m e n s i o n s  Q u a l i t a t i v e designs subsequently begin with  will  specific  o b s e r v a t i o n s and b u i l d toward g e n e r a l p a t t e r n s . C a t e g o r i e s emerge as t h e r e s e a r c h e r comes t o r e c o g n i z e t h e p a t t e r n s . T h i s i n d u c t i v e a p p r o a c h i s in c o n t r a s t t o t h e experimental, o r d e d u c t i v e approach t o r e s e a r c h begins with s p e c i f i c hypotheses ( P a t t o n , 1980).  which  and v a r i a b l e s b e f o r e any d a t a i s c o l l e c t e d  Q u a l i t a t i v e r e s e a r c h does not r e p l a c e t h e e x p e r i m e n t a l ,  q u a n t i t a t i v e paradigm,  b u t r a t h e r a d d s a new d i m e n s i o n t o how o n e c a n  i n v e s t i g a t e human e x p e r i e n c e . In q u a l i t a t i v e r e s e a r c h t h e i n v e s t i g a t o r i s l o o k i n g f o r t h e commonality  which u n d e r l i e s i n d i v i d u a l v a r i a t i o n s ( G i o r g i , 1975).  58  It is  59 recognized  t h a t each person's e x p e r i e n c e has unique c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , b u t  t h a t some c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s may be common t o a l l i n d i v i d u a l s i n t h e same s i t u a t i o n . In q u a l i t a t i v e d e s i g n s v a l i d i t y i s based on t h e a c c u r a c y o f the a n a l y s i s f o r t h e unique'group under study.  The r e s u l t s , which  u n c o v e r t h e common e l e m e n t s u n i q u e t o o n e g r o u p , a r e t h e r e f o r e n o t easily generalizable  tcother  populations,  value derived from t h i s research richness  strategy  r a t h e r t h e s a t i s f a c t i o n and i s i n adding t o t h e d e p t h and  o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e phenomena u n d e r s t u d y ( G i o r g i ,  B a s i c a l l y , q u a l i t a t i v e data consist o f quotations descriptions  from  1975).  individuals,  o f s i t u a t i o n s , e v e n t s , i n t e r a c t i o n s and a c t i v i t i e s .  The  purpose o f t h e data i s t o understand t h e p o i n t o f view and e x p e r i e n c e s of other people (Patton,  1980).  S o c i o l o g i s t John L o f l a n d  suggests  t h a t t h e r e a r e f o u r elements t o c o l l e c t i n g q u a l i t a t i v e d a t a , and t h e f o u r elements o u t l i n e d here were i n s t r u m e n t a l  i n guiding  this  research:  1. T h e r e s e a r c h e r m u s t g e t c l o s e e n o u g h t o t h e p e o p l e i n t h e s i t u a t i o n t o be a b l e t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e depth and d e t a i l o f what i s g o i n g o n . 2. T h e r e s e a r c h e r must a i m a t c a p t u r i n g what a c t u a l l y t o o k p l a c e a n d what p e o p l e a c t u a l l y s a y - t h e p e r c e i v e d f a c t s . 3. Q u a l i t a t i v e d a t a c o n s i s t s o f a g r e a t d e a l o f p u r e d e s c r i p t i o n o f p e o p l e , a c t i v i t i e s and i n t e r a c t i o n s . 4. Q u a l i t a t i v e d a t a c o n s i s t s o f d i r e c t q u o t a t i o n s  (Lofland as  c i t e d i n P a t t o n , 1980, p. 3 6 ) . The m a i n m e t h o d o f o b t a i n i n g in-depth  individual  q u a l i t a t i v e data i s , of course, through  interviews.  Sample A d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s who p a r t i c i p a t e d  ' i n t h i s s t u d y w e r e a s s u m e d t o be  a r e l a t i v e l y heterogeneous sample o f t h e t a r g e t population  - families with  60 a t l e a s t o n e a d o p t e d c h i l d who h a d b e e n a d o p t e d e a r l y i n l i f e by n o n r e l a t i v e s , a n d who was p r e s e n t l y 14-18 y e a r s "of a g e . The s a m p l e o f a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s w e r e o b t a i n e d t h r o u g h a v a r i e t y o f community r e s o u r c e s .  A d v e r t i s e m e n t s were p l a c e d i n one d a i l y newspaper  ( c i r c u l a t i o n approx. 290,000), approx. 100,000),  and one weekly newspaper ( c i r c u l a t i o n  on f o u r s e p a r a t e o c c a s i o n s .  In a d d i t i o n , 1 0 0 p o s t e r s  o u t l i n i n g t h e p r o j e c t were d i s t r i b u t e d t o community c e n t r e s , l i b r a r i e s , and M i n i s t r y o f Human. R e s o u r c e s o f f i c e s i n t h e G r e a t e r V a n c o u v e r  area.  Three a s s o c i a t i o n s i n d i r e c t contact with adoptive f a m i l i e s - t h e Adoptive Parents A s s o c i a t i o n , Canadian Adoptees  Reform, and t h e Adoption  Research  P r o j e c t , w e r e m a i l e d l e t t e r s o u t l i n i n g t h e study and a s k i n g f o r t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n and c o o p e r a t i o n i n p u b l i c i z i n g t h e study. r a d i o s t a t i o n s i n t h e Vancouver  Finally, four  area b r o a d c a s t announcements o u t l i n i n g  the p r o j e c t f o r about f i v e weeks.  I n t e r e s t e d p a r t i e s were i n s t r u c t e d t o  c o n t a c t t h e r e s e a r c h e r by phone o r t h r o u g h t h e m a i l .  This study i s  t h e r e f o r e l i m i t e d by i t s d e p e n d e n c e on i n d i v i d u a l s who h a d e n o u g h interest o r concern t o volunteer f o r the research.  However, i n a  d e s c r i p t i v e s t u d y o f t h i s n a t u r e , t h i s was n o t c o n s i d e r e d t o be a s i g n i f i c a n t b i a s i n g f a c t o r . T h i r t y seven i n q u i r i e s were r e c e i v e d o f w h i c h o n l y 21 f i t t h e s a m p l e c r i t e r i a .  O f t h e s e 21 i n q u i r i e s , 15 w e r e  made by a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s a n d s i x w e r e made by a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s . T h e 21 f a m i l y members who e x p r e s s e d an i n t e r e s t i n t h e r e s e a r c h w e r e m a i l e d an i n t r o d u c t o r y l e t t e r ( A p p e n d i x A ) , a n d a f a m i l y c o n s e n t f o r m ( A p p e n d i x B ) . Six of these f a m i l i e s declined t o p a r t i c i p a t e .  Of t h e 15 p a r e n t s who  made i n q u i r i e s , two a d o p t e e s d i d n o t w a n t t o p a r t i c i p a t e a n d two s e t s  61 o f p a r e n t s d i d n o t h a v e t h e t i m e t o p a r t i c i p a t e . Of t h e s i x a d o p t e e s  who  made i n q u i r i e s , two o f t h e m c o u l d n o t g e t t h e i r p a r e n t s t o p a r t i c i p a t e . T h i s r e d u c e d t h e e l i g i b l e s a m p l e t o 15 f a m i l i e s . Two o f t h e s e f a m i l i e s p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h e p i l o t i n t e r v i e w s , so t h e r e s u l t s o f t h e s t u d y a r e  based  on 13 f a m i l i e s . In two o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t f a m i l i e s t h e r e was m o r e t h a n  one  a d o p t e e t h a t w a n t e d t o p a r t i c i p a t e , s o t h e f i n a l s a m p l e c o n s i s t e d o f 15 a d o p t e e i n t e r v i e w s and 13 p a r e n t i n t e r v i e w s . Instruments Interview guides. the adoptees  S e p a r a t e i n t e r v i e w g u i d e s were c o n s t r u c t e d f o r  and t h e p a r e n t s ( A p p e n d i c e s  C & D ) . The q u e s t i o n s on  g u i d e s w e r e f o r m u l a t e d by t h e r e s e a r c h e r , b u t w e r e g u i d e d by t h e o f t h e l i t e r a t u r e and t h e w o r k o f o t h e r r e s e a r c h e r s .  both review  The i n t e r v i e w g u i d e s  p r o v i d e d t h e s u b j e c t a r e a s w i t h i n w h i c h t h e i n t e r v i e w e r was f r e e t o e x p l o r e and a s k q u e s t i o n s i n o r d e r t o e l u c i d a t e t h e s u b j e c t .  probe,  An i n t e r v i e w  g u i d e s e r v e s t o make t h e i n t e r v i e w i n g p r o c e s s m o r e c o m p r e h e n s i v e and s y s t e m a t i c by d e l i m i t i n g t h e i s s u e s t o be d i s c u s s e d ( S e l l i t z , W r i g h t s m a n , & C o o k , 1976 ) . During the development phase of the i n t e r v i e w guides, s i x o b j e c t i v e adoptive parents, unconnected  with t h e r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t were asked  c r i t i q u e t h e q u e s t i o n s as t h e y w e r e d e v e l o p e d .  to  T h i s was d o n e i n o r d e r  t o guage the s e n s i t i v i t y of a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s i n g e n e r a l t o the  adoptee's  i n t e r v i e w g u i d e , and t o r e m o v e any q u e s t i o n s t h a t w e r e c o n s i d e r e d t o o inflammatory  by t h e r e v i e w e r s .  A l l the parents involved in the screening  f o u n d t h e q u e s t i o n s t o be a c c e p t a b l e and n o n - t h r e a t e n i n g . Two  pilot  i n t e r v i e w s were a l s o conducted with a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s i n o r d e r t o t e s t  62 t h e c o n t e n t v a l i d i t y o f t h e i n t e r v i e w g u i d e s and t o f a m i l i a r i z e t h e i n t e r v i e w e r s with t h e p r o c e d u r e . The i n t e r v i e w g u i d e s were s l i g h t l y revised a f t e r the p i l o t interviews into their present Family Environment 1974),  format.  S c a l e ( F E S ) . The Family Environment  S c a l e (Moos,  i s a 90-item t r u e - f a l s e t e s t designed t o assess t h e s o c i a l c l i m a t e  o f a l l t y p e s o f f a m i l i e s . I t f o c u s e s on t h e m e a s u r e m e n t a n d d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e i n t e r p e r s o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s among f a m i l y members a l o n g t h r e e m a j o r dimensions:  r e l a t i o n s h i p dimension,  system maintenance  dimension.  these three major dimensions. Family Incongruence  personal growth dimension,  and t h e  Ten s u b s c a l e s c o r e s c a n be computed from In a d d i t i o n t o t h e s u b s c a l e s c o r e s , a  s c o r e c a n be m e a s u r e d by summing t h e d i f f e r e n c e s  i n s u b s c a l e s c o r e s f o r e a c h p a i r o f f a m i l y members. I n t e r n a l c o n s i s t e n c y c o e f f i c i e n t s f o r t h e s u b s c a l e s r a n g e f r o m .64 t o .78. T e s t - r e t e s t r e l i a b i l i t y c o e f f i c i e n t s c a l c u l a t e d f o r 47 members o f n i n e f a m i l i e s o v e r an e i g h t week p e r i o d v a r y f r o m .68 t o .86 (Moos, 1974).  V a l i d i t y d a t a o n t h e F E S i s l i m i t e d b u t some v a l i d i t y i n f o r m a t i o n  is a v a i l a b l e that i s relevant t o t h i s study.  A comparison  s t u d y was  made o f 42 c l i n i c f a m i l i e s a n d 42 m a t c h e d n o r m a l f a m i l i e s on t h e F E S (Moos, 1 9 7 4 ) .  C l i n i c f a m i l i e s o b t a i n e d s i g n i f i c a n t l y lower  on t h e C o h e s i o n ,  scores  I n t e l l e c t u a l - C u l t u r a l O r i e n t a t i o n , and A c t i v e -  R e c r e a t i o n a l O r i e n t a t i o n subscales,, and h i g h e r s c o r e s on both  Conflict  and C o n t r o l s u b s c a l e s . C l i n i c f a m i l i e s a l s o o b t a i n e d h i g h e r F a m i l y Incongruence  s c o r e s t h a n t h e n o r m a l f a m i l i e s (Moos,  1974).  The d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e s e two g r o u p s a r e c o n s i s t e n t w i t h e x p e c t a t i o n s a n d t h e r e f o r e p r o v i d e some s u p p o r t f o r t h e s c a l e ' s c o n s t r u c t  63 v a l i d i t y . The FES i s being used i n t h i s study as a g l o b a l measure o f f a m i l y c l i m a t e . I t was n o t u s e d a s a d i a g n o s t i c t o o l , b u t a s a d e s c r i p t i v e t o o l t o a i d i n d e s c r i b i n g t h e f a m i l i e s under study.  The FES i s a l s o  a p p r o p r i a t e f o r u s e with a d o l e s c e n t s and a d u l t s and i s e a s i l y a d m i n i s t e r e d in about  15 m i n u t e s .  Procedure When t h e p a r t i c i p a n t f a m i l i e s r e t u r n e d t h e f a m i l y c o n s e n t another package c o n t a i n i n g t h e Parents' Questionnaire the FES (Appendix  (Appendix  forms, E) a n d  F) were m a i l e d t o each p a r e n t i n d i v i d u a l l y . The  a d o p t e e p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n t h e s t u d y was m a i l e d a s e p a r a t e c o n f i d e n t i a l package c o n t a i n i n g t h e FES and t h e a p p r o p r i a t e i n s t r u c t i o n s . A f t e r t h e f a m i l i e s had r e c e i v e d t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e q u e s t i o n n a i r e packages, t h e researcher arranged a mutually convenient time f o r t h e interviews. When t h e f a m i l y members met f o r t h e i n t e r v i e w t h e r e s e a r c h e r c o l l e c t e d the q u e s t i o n n a i r e packages from them. The i n t e r v i e w s .  The i n t e r v i e w s conducted  were o f a s e m i - s t r u c t u r e d  o r f o c u s e d f o r m a t . A s e m i - s t r u c t u r e d f o r m a t was f o l l o w e d b e c a u s e i t has t h e a d v a n t a g e o f b e i n g r e a s o n a b l y o b j e c t i v e w h i l e s t i l l a more t h o r o u g h  understanding  f o r them (Borg & G a l l , 1979). appropriate combination  permitting  o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t ' s views and reasons The f o c u s e d i n t e r v i e w p r o v i d e d t h e  o f o b j e c t i v i t y a n d d e p t h t h a t was r e q u i r e d i n  t h i s r e s e a r c h . E a c h i n t e r v i e w was 1-2 h o u r s i n l e n g t h a n d was  audiotaped  with t h e consent o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s . The a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s a n d t h e a d o p t e e w e r e i n t e r v i e w e d s e p a r a t e l y , b u t a t t h e same t i m e . T h i s n e c e s s i t a t e d t h e n e e d f o r t w o i n t e r v i e w e r s , b u t  64  a l l e v i a t e d t h e problem  of families discussing specific interview  and t h u s b i a s i n g t h e r e s u l t s . T h e i n t e r v i e w s w e r e c o n d u c t e d researcher and.another  female graduate  by t h e p r i m a r y  s t u d e n t with i n t e r v i e w i n g and  c o u n s e l l i n g s k i l l s , and a b a c k g r o u n d knowledge o f t h e a d o p t i o n The two i n t e r v i e w e r s c o u n t e r b a l a n c e d  content  process.  t h e number o f a d o p t e e a n d p a r e n t  i n t e r v i e w s they d i d so t h a t approximately  50% o f t h e parent  interviews  were conducted  by e a c h i n t e r v i e w e r , a n d 5 0 % o f t h e a d o p t e e i n t e r v i e w s  were conducted  by e a c h i n t e r v i e w e r . In two o f t h e f a m i l i e s t h e r e was  more t h a n one a d o p t e e t a k i n g p a r t i n t h e s t u d y . interviewed t h e adopted  The p r i m a r y  s i b l i n g s s e p a r a t e l y , while t h e second  i n t e r v i e w e d t h e p a r e n t s . The i n t e r v i e w s were e i t h e r conducted  researcher interviewer in the  f a m i l y homes o r on t h e u n i v e r s i t y c a m p u s . C o n f i d e n t i a l i t y a n d p a r e n t a d o p t e e s e p a r a t i o n d u r i n g a l l t h e i n t e r v i e w s was s t r i n g e n t l y m a i n t a i n e d . At t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f each i n t e r v i e w t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s were i n v i t e d to contact the researcher i f they should r e c a l l anything s i g n i f i c a n t , or i f they j u s t wanted t o d i s c u s s t h e content o f t h e i n t e r v i e w s  again.  T h r e e weeks a f t e r t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f t h e i n t e r v i e w , e a c h p a r t i c i p a n t was mailed a l e t t e r o f a p p r e c i a t i o n (Appendix  G), which a l s o o f f e r e d them  t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o meet f o r f u r t h e r d i s c u s s i o n o r c o u n s e l l i n g i f t h e y so d e s i r e d . No f o l l o w - u p s e s s i o n s w e r e r e q u e s t e d b y a n y o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s . Method o f Data A n a l y s i s The f o c u s o f t h e d a t a a n a l y s i s was on i d e n t i f y i n g t h e t h e m e s and p a t t e r n s i n a d o p t i v e f a m i l y l i f e . The o r g a n i z a t i o n and  subsequent  a n a l y s e s o f t h e d a t a w e r e p a t t e r n e d a f t e r a m e t h o d o u t l i n e d by P a t t o n ( 1 9 8 0 ) , b u t w i t h some v a r i a t i o n s  dictated  by  the  demands  65  of t h e study and t h e judgement o f t h e r e s e a r c h e r .  There were t h r e e major  phases t o t h e interview data a n a l y s i s - a separate a n a l y s i s o f t h e adoptee i n t e r v i e w s , a s e p a r a t e a n a l y s i s o f t h e p a r e n t i n t e r v i e w s , a n d an a n a l y s i s of t h e parent-adoptee of the adoption  s i m i l a r i t i e s and d i f f e r e n c e s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r  perceptions  experience.  The p a r e n t a n d a d o p t e e i n t e r v i e w s w e r e a n a l y s e d i n t h e same m a n n e r with one e x c e p t i o n .  In two-parent  f a m i l i e s t h e parent i n t e r v i e w s were  s c r u t i n i z e d f o r p a r e n t a l agreement and disagreement.  When b o t h  a g r e e d o n a r e s p o n s e t h i s was c l a s s i f i e d a s o n e c o n t e n t u n i t .  parents When p a r e n t s  d i s a g r e e d , t h e s e responses were c l a s s i f i e d as s e p a r a t e c o n t e n t u n i t s and i n c l u d e d i n t h e data pool as such. In o r d e r t o e l u c i d a t e t h e m e t h o d o f a n a l y s i s f o l l o w e d f o r t h e s e p a r a t e interviews, t h e procedure  i s o u t l i n e d below:  1. E a c h i n t e r v i e w was t r a n s c r i b e d v e r b a t i m . T w e n t y - e i g h t  transcripts  w e r e t y p e d a n d t h e y v a r i e d i n l e n g t h f r o m 12-18 p a g e s . 2. E a c h t r a n s c r i p t was p h o t o c o p i e d and a w o r k i n g  s o t h a t t h e r e was a m a s t e r c o p y  copy.  3. T h e t r a n s c r i p t s w e r e t h e n e d i t e d . O n l y t h a t i n f o r m a t i o n w h i c h h a d a b s o l u t e l y no r e l a t i o n t o t h e r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s w e r e e d i t e d . T h i s i n c l u d e d s o c i a l c h a t t i n g a t t h e beginning o f t h e i n t e r v i e w , and some a d o l e s c e n t d i v e r s i o n s i n t o u n r e l a t e d t o p i c s d u r i n g t h e i n t e r v i e w . 4. E a c h t r a n s c r i p t was r e a d a n d r e r e a d t o g e t a s e n s e o f t h e i n t e r v i e w . While reading, t h e researcher u n d e r l i n e d phrases r e l e v a n t t o t h e b a s i c r e s e a r c h q u e s t i o n s a n d made n o t e s i n t h e m a r g i n s r e g a r d i n g any s a l i e n t t h o u g h t s , f e e l i n g s , o r s u b j e c t s t h a t w e r e b e i n g  described.  66 Any r e c u r r i n g r e g u l a r i t i e s i n t h e d a t a w e r e a l s o n o t e d i n t h e margins.  T h i s was t h e f i r s t s t e p i n c l a s s i f y i n g t h e d a t a , t h e  purpose being t o f a c i l i t a t e the search f o r themes. 5. M a j o r c a t e g o r i e s o r t o p i c s w e r e f o r m u l a t e d b a s e d on t h e a r e a s c o v e r e d i n t h e i n t e r v i e w g u i d e , r e s p o n s e s t o t h e i n t e r v i e w q u e s t i o n s , and on t h e n o t e s i n t h e m a r g i n s .  The m a j o r c a t e g o r i e s d e t e r m i n e d f o r  the a d o l e s c e n t i n t e r v i e w s were; F a m i l y Communication,  Family Relationships,  B i o l o g i c a l P a r e n t s , S e l f P e r c e p t i o n s and S o c i a l R e l a t i o n s .  The  major  c a t e g o r i e s determined f o r the p a r e n t s ' i n t e r v i e w s were; F a m i l y Communication,  F a m i l y R e l a t i o n s h i p s , B i o l o g i c a l P a r e n t s , and  Adoption  Experience. 6. Once t h e m a j o r t o p i c s w e r e e l u c i d a t e d , t h e i n t e r v i e w d a t a was  sliced  into content u n i t s - statements or passages r e f l e c t i n g the content of the interviews. 7. The r e s u l t i n g c o n t e n t u n i t s w e r e w r i t t e n on 4"x6" c o d e d w i t h an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n number.  i n d e x c a r d s and  For the adolescent interviews  487 c a r d s w e r e d o n e , and f o r t h e p a r e n t s ' i n t e r v i e w s , 362 • were done.  cards  The c a r d s o r c o n t e n t u n i t s w e r e t h e n s o r t e d i n t o t h e  m a j o r c a t e g o r i e s . P a t t o n ( 1 9 8 0 ) recommends u s i n g a c u t and p a s t e methodology  h e r e , b u t i t was t o o t i m e c o n s u m i n g .  I t was more  e f f i c i e n t to w r i t e the content u n i t s onto cards, r a t h e r than c u t t i n g and p a s t i n g b e c a u s e o f t h e v o l u m e o f d a t a c o l l e c t e d i n t h i s  study.  8. The n e x t s t e p i n v o l v e d d i s c o v e r i n g t h e s u b - c a t e g o r i e s o r t o p i c s . C a r d s w i t h i n e a c h m a j o r c a t e g o r y w e r e s o r t e d and r e s o r t e d u n t i l c l e a r c u t s u b - t o p i c s b e g a n t o e m e r g e . T a b l e s 2 and 3 o u t l i n e t h e n a t u r e o f t h e d a t a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s y s t e m and t h e r e l a t i v e f r e q u e n c i e s  TABLE 2 Adoptee's I n t e r v i e w C l a s s i f i c a t i o n System  (1)  Family  /  (2)  Communication  Revelation Experience  \  Communication re B i o l o g i c a l Parents  | (17)  (19)  Rel. with Mother  (29)  Family R e l a t i o n s h i p s  Rel. with Father  (3)  Rel. with siblings  (26)  /  Sense o f Belonging  (23)  References  View o f Adoptive Status  (19)  1(88)  Communication re Adoption  Personal views r e Adoption  (61)  (16)  (4)  References to B i o l o g i c a l  /  Fantasies , . {  )  F e e l i n g s re Biological Parents  (31)  I  Knowledge of Background  Parents  \  Search M o t i v a t i o n  |(7) Curiosity Origins  U  )  re  (62)  R e l a t i v e F r e q u e n c y (#) = t h e number o f c o n t e n t u n i t s w i t h i n e a c h  sub-category  to Self  \  View of S e l f  (43)  Peer R e l a t i o n s  (16)  TABLE 3 P a r e n t s ' I n t e r v i e w C l a s s i f i c a t i o n System  (1)  Family Communication  /  (2)  \  Revelation Experience  CommunRation re Adoption  Mother's R e l a t i o n to Adoptee  (28)  (17)  Family R e l a t i o n s h i p s  Father's R e l a t i o n to Adoptee  (16)  (17)  Siblings' R e l a t i o n to Adoptee  Extended Family attitude  (15)  (6)  00  (3)  References  Knowledge o f Biological Parents  (14 Fantasies re Biological Parents  (18)  to B i o l o g i c a l  P e r c e p t i o n of Adoptee's curiosity  (26)  Parents  \  F e e l i n g s re Searching  (21)  (4)  Adoption  E a r l y Adoption E x p e r i e n c e  (47) Adoption M o t i v a t i o n  Experience  View of Adoptive status  (18)  |(27) Developmental I s s u e s  (20)  R e l a t i v e F r e q u e n c y ( # ) = t h e number o f c o n t e n t u n i t s w i t h i n e a c h s u b - c a t e g o r y  Recognition of A d o p t i v e Parent  (42) P e r s o n a l view r e Adoption  (30)  Role  69 o f t h e c o n t e n t u n i t s i n e a c h c a t e g o r y f o r t h e a d o p t e e and p a r e n t i n t e r v i e w s . C a t e g o r i e s c a n be j u d g e d by two c r i t e r i a ; homogeneity,  internal  which i s the e x t e n t t o which the data t h a t belong  i n a c e r t a i n c a t e g o r y h o l d t o g e t h e r , and e x t e r n a l  homogeneity,  w h i c h i s t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h d i f f e r e n c e s among c a t e g o r i e s a r e b o l d and c l e a r ( P a t t o n , 1 9 8 0 ) .  T h e s e two c r i t e r i a w e r e k e p t i n m i n d  d u r i n g t h i s p a r t o f t h e a n a l y s i s . When t h e r e i s a l a r g e number of m i s c e l l a n e o u s or o v e r l a p p i n g data items t h i s u s u a l l y i n d i c a t e s problems w i t h the c a t e g o r y system. Both of t h e s e p o t e n t i a l problems w e r e k e p t t o a minimum i n d e v e l o p i n g t h e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n  system.  9. O n c e t h e c l a s s i f i c a t i o n s y s t e m was f i n a l i z e d , an i n d e x o f i n t e r r a t e r a g r e e m e n t was c a l c u l a t e d t o m e a s u r e r e l i a b i l i t y . T h i s was a c c o m p l i s h e d by m e a s u r i n g p e r c e n t a g r e e m e n t - t h e e x t e n t t o w h i c h a s e c o n d s o r t e r p u t c o n t e n t u n i t s i n t o t h e same c a t e g o r i e s as t h e primary researcher. 10. The c o n t e n t u n i t s w e r e t h e n a n a l y s e d w i t h i n e a c h s u b - c a t e g o r y t o a r r i v e a t t h e t h e m e s and p a t t e r n s i n t h e d a t a .  The  thematic  s t r u c t u r e was d e r i v e d f r o m t h e c o n t e n t u n i t s . T h i s p r o c e d u r e i n v o l v e d r e a d i n g and r e - r e a d i n g t h e i n d i v i d u a l c o n t e n t u n i t s , and m o v i n g b a c k and f o r t h f r o m t h e o r y t o d a t a . 1.1. I t i s e a s i e r t o d e f i n e a t h e m e by g i v i n g i l l u s t r a t i o n s t h a n by d e f i n i n g i t i n g e n e r a l i z e d , a b s t r a c t t e r m s . The f i n a l s t e p i n a n a l y z i n g t h e i n t e r v i e w d a t a was t o s e l e c t p a s s a g e s f r o m t h e c a r d s t h a t d e s c r i b e d o r r e f l e c t e d each theme. These examples were then t r a n s c r i b e d f r o m t h e c o n t e n t u n i t c a r d s t o d a t a s h e e t s and  coded  70 and l a b e l e d w i t h a w o r d o r p h r a s e t o d e n o t e t h e t h e m e . T h i s was d o n e so t h a t t h e r e s e a r c h e r had a s y s t e m a t i c l i s t o f t h e i d e n t i f i e d t h e m e s w i t h t h e a t t e n d i n g e x a m p l e s , and t h u s i t was n o t n e c e s s a r y t o go t h r o u g h t h e c a r d s e a c h t i m e t h e r e s e a r c h e r w a n t e d an e x a m p l e o f a p a r t i c u l a r t h e m e .  T h i s was o f i m m e a s u r a b l e  h e l p when w r i t i n g t h e r e s u l t s s e c t i o n o f t h i s  paper.  A l t h o u g h an a t t e m p t h a s b e e n made t o o u t l i n e t h e b a s i c s t e p s t a k e n i n t h i s c o n t e n t a n a l y s i s , some o f t h e s t e p s do o v e r l a p s l i g h t l y , o r o c c u r s i m u l t a n e o u s l y as t h e a n a l y s i s p r o g r e s s e s .  While c o n s t r u c t i n g  t h e c a t e g o r i e s some t h e m e s w e r e v e r y c l e a r , and i t was o n l y  necessary  t o v a l i d a t e t h e m w i t h t h e a n a l y s i s . The s e c o n d p h a s e o f t h e a n a l y s i s involved a comparative  a n a l y s i s o f p a r e n t and a d o p t e e c o n t e n t u n i t s t o  d e t e r m i n e t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s and d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s o f adoptive family l i f e .  Again, the basic steps followed in t h i s a n a l y s i s  are o u t l i n e d below: 1. The r e s e a r c h e r s e p a r a t e d t h o s e t o p i c s w h e r e p a r e n t - c h i l d  comparisons  c o u l d be made, i . e . F a m i l y C o m m u n i c a t i o n , F a m i l y R e l a t i o n s h i p s , Biological Parents, etc. 2. The c a r d s f o r e a c h p a r e n t - c h i l d d y a d w e r e p u l l e d f r o m t h e d a t a p o o l and t h e n r e - s o r t e d by d y a d i n t o t h e m a j o r c a t e g o r i e s . 3. T h e n s t e p s 10 and 11 o f t h e p r e v i o u s a n a l y s i s w e r e r e p e a t e d t o a r r i v e a t a d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e t h e m e s and p a t t e r n s r e f l e c t i n g p a r e n t - c h i l d consensus  regarding t h e i r perceptions of the adoption  experience.  In a d d i t i o n t o t h e q u a l i t a t i v e a n a l y s e s , t h e FES s c o r e s w e r e a n a l y z e d in a p u r e l y d e s c r i p t i v e manner.  Means and s t a n d a r d d e v i a t i o n s w e r e c a l c u l a t e d  71 on t h e s u b s c a l e s , a n d a F a m i l y I n c o n g r u e n c e  s c o r e which measures t h e  s i m i l a r i t i e s a n d d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e p e r c e p t i o n s o f d i f f e r e n t members w i t h i n t h e f a m i l y , was c o m p u t e d f o r e a c h p a r t i c i p a t i n g f a m i l y member p a i r .  Data  f r o m t h e P a r e n t s ' Q u e s t i o n n a i r e was a n a l y z e d t o o b t a i n d e m o g r a p h i c i n f o r m a t i o n from t h e p a r t i c i p a n t f a m i l i e s . The r e s u l t s o f these analyses a r e d i s c u s s e d in t h e next  chapter.  CHAPTER IV Results The r e s u l t s o f t h e q u a n t i t a t i v e and q u a l i t a t i v e d a t a a n a l y s e s a r e summarized i n t h i s c h a p t e r .  The r e s u l t s o f t h e r e l i a b i l i t y c h e c k  on  the i n t e r v i e w data c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system are a l s o presented i n t h i s chapter. Percent Agreement R e s u l t s A g r a d u a t e s t u d e n t f a m i l i a r w i t h a d o p t i o n i s s u e s was g i v e n t h e c o n t e n t u n i t s f r o m e a c h m a j o r c a t e g o r y and t o l d t o s o r t t h e m i n t o t h e s u b - c a t e g o r i e s c o n s t r u c t e d by t h e p r i m a r y r e s e a r c h e r .  The number  o f m a t c h e s o r " h i t s " was r e c o r d e d and t h e n c o n v e r t e d i n t o  percentage  o f a g r e e m e n t f o r e a c h m a j o r c a t e g o r y o f t h e p a r e n t and interviews.  These r e s u l t s are summarized i n Table  adolescent  4.  Demographic Data Thirteen middle c l a s s f a m i l i e s p a r t i c i p a t e d in the research. Nine of t h e f a m i l i e s were two-parent  f a m i l i e s and f o u r w e r e s i n g l e  p a r e n t f a m i l i e s . E i g h t o f the f a m i l i e s were c o n s i d e r e d "mixed" f a m i l i e s , t h a t i s , t h e y had b o t h b i o l o g i c a l and a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n , w h i l e f i v e o f t h e f a m i l i e s had o n l y a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n . The a d o p t i v e f a t h e r s r a n g e d i n age f r o m 4 0 - 6 0 y e a r s (X« 52.5 and t h e a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s r a n g e d F i f t e e n adoptees  i n age f r o m 36-57 y e a r s (X= 47.5  yrs.), yrs.).  p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h e r e s e a r c h , 11 f e m a l e and 4 m a l e .  A g e . r a n g e , f o r i t h e f e m a l e s was m a l e s t h e age r a n g e was  14-17. y e a r s ( X - 1 5 . 3 y r s . ) , and f o r t h e  15-18 y e a r s (X= 16.5  yrs.).  A l l t h e p a r e n t s i n t h e s t u d y had r e c e i v e d some e d u c a t i o n , and had i n c o m e s o v e r $ 2 0 , 0 0 0 . 0 0 a y e a r . 72  post-secondary A l l the c h i l d r e n  TABLE 4  Interview C l a s s i f i c a t i o n System I n t e r - R a t e r Agreement  Major Categories  Adoptee Interviews  Parent  Interviews  Family Communication  95%  95%  Family Relationships  97%  94%  References to Biological Parents  93%  91%  References to Self  89%  —  Adoption  —  89%  Experience  73  74 w e r e a d o p t e d b e f o r e t h e a g e o f two m o n t h s , w i t h t h e e x c e p t i o n o f o n e b a b y who was a d o p t e d a t e i g h t m o n t h s o f a g e . a d o p t i o n s and 2 p r i v a t e a d o p t i o n s .  T h e r e w e r e 13 g o v e r n m e n t  A l l of the parents  interviewed  i n d i c a t e d t h a t they were h i g h l y m o t i v a t e d t o adopt a t t h e time t h a t they r e c e i v e d t h e i r adopted c h i l d .  F i v e f a m i l i e s adopted due t o  s u s p e c t e d i n f e r t i l i t y , f o u r f a m i l i e s had a t l e a s t one r i s k y  pregnancy  so d e c i d e d t o a d o p t , a n d f o u r f a m i l i e s a d o p t e d t o a d d t o t h e i r f a m i l y . One c o u p l e had a b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d a f t e r a d o p t i n g two c h i l d r e n . Eight of the adoptees  i n t h e s t u d y were t h e y o u n g e s t c h i l d r e n i n t h e  f a m i l y , f o u r w e r e t h e s e c o n d y o u n g e s t c h i l d r e n , a n d t h e r e w e r e two o n l y c h i l d r e n and one second o l d e s t c h i l d .  Nine o f t h e study f a m i l i e s  (5 m i x e d , 4 o n l y a d o p t e d ) h a d c o n s u l t e d a p h y s i c i a n r e g a r d i n g t h e i r adopted c h i l d ' s school r e l a t e d problems Family Environment  or behavior  problems.  S c a l e Data A n a l y s i s  The d a t a f r o m t h e F E S was a n a l y s e d i n a p u r e l y d e s c r i p t i v e manner.  O n l y 11 f a m i l i e s ' s c a l e s w e r e u s e d i n t h e a n a l y s i s b e c a u s e  two f a m i l i e s r e t u r n e d i n c o m p l e t e q u e s t i o n n a i r e s . the adoptees i n F i g u r e 1.  Mean s c o r e s f o r  a n d f o r t h e p a r e n t s on t h e FES s u b s c a l e s a r e p l o t t e d T h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s p e r c e i v e s l i g h t l y more  cohesiveness  and e x p r e s s i v e n e s s i n t h e f a m i l i e s t h a n do t h e c h i l d r e n , and a l s o v i e w more m o r a l - r e l i g i o u s e m p h a s i s i n t h e i r f a m i l i e s t h a n do t h e a d o l e s c e n t s . O v e r a l l , the adoptees  p e r c e i v e t h e f a m i l y environment  only s l i g h t l y  more n e g a t i v e l y t h a n do t h e i r p a r e n t s . In a d d i t i o n t o t h e mean s c o r e p r o f i l e s , a F a m i l y  Incongruence  s c o r e - t h e e x t e n t t o which t h e f a m i l y d i s a g r e e s about t h e i r f a m i l y  FIGURE 1  FES Mean P r o f i l e s f o r A d o l e s c e n t s & P a r e n t s  > U  J  < o  O  Z z  :  Q <  1-1  O c  _  O  O  ) M  L on <  U  cn  2:  CD on  o  _l vC_>  SUBSCALES  Key C= C o h e s i v e n e s s r ™ ^ =! cs soni y ellct ness E  r  T?,1\  T  J  IND= I n d e p e n d e n c e A0= A c h i e v e m e n t O r i e n t a t i o n  75  ICO=Intellectual-Cultural Orientation ARO=Active-Rec.-eational O r i e n t a t i o n MRE=Moral-Religious Emphasis ORG=Organization CTL=Control  76 c l i m a t e , was c o m p u t e d . S c o r e s on t h i s m e a s u r e c a n r a n g e f r o m 0-90, w i t h a mean norm o f 16.74 ( S . D . 5 . 3 8 ) . T h e s t u d y f a m i l i e s h a d a mean o f 14.3 ( S . D . 3.45) on t h e F a m i l y suggest  Incongruence measure.  These r e s u l t s  t h a t t h e study f a m i l i e s have f a i r l y c l o s e agreement  regarding  the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h e f a m i l y ' s s o c i a l m i l i e u , and t h a t t h e f a m i l i e s in t h i s r e s e a r c h have f a m i l y p r o f i l e s c o n s i s t e n t with t h a t o f t h e n o r m a t i v e f a m i l y s a m p l e s a s m e a s u r e d by M o o s ( 1 9 7 4 ) . Q u a l i t a t i v e Data A n a l y s i s  Results  Preface Verbatim  quotes from t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s i n t h i s study a r e f r e q u e n t l y  used t o i l l u s t r a t e t h e themes and e x p l i c a t e t h e d e s c r i p t i o n s . u s e d a r e f i c t i t i o u s a n d some i d e n t i f y i n g i n f o r m a t i o n  T h e names  has been changed  t o p r o t e c t t h e anonymity o f t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s . The r e s u l t s from t h e interview data analyses the a d o p t e e and p a r e n t are  interviews.  When p a r e n t - a d o p t e e c o m p a r i s o n s  made t h e y a r e s u m m a r i z e d s e q u e n t i a l l y , t h a t i s t h e p a r e n t s '  perceptions are  a r e summarized w i t h i n each major category f o r  w i l l t y p i c a l l y f o l l o w t h e a d o p t e e s ' when c o m p a r i s o n s  indicated.  Family  Communication  Adoptees' perception of the r e v e l a t i o n experience. adoptees interviewed  A l l of the  c o u l d n o t remember a s p e c i f i c t i m e when t h e y w e r e  t o l d of t h e i r adoptive  status.  T h e m o s t f r e q u e n t r e s p o n s e was, " I ' v e  j u s t a l w a y s known t h a t I was a d o p t e d " .  On f u r t h e r p r o b i n g t w o c l e a r  p a t t e r n s e m e r g e d t h a t seemed t o be r e l a t e d t o c h i l d r e n s ' d e v e l o p m e n t a l  77 s t a g e s . A t a g e s 3 t o 4, a d o p t e e s h a v e t h e f i r s t c l e a r memory o f being exposed t o adoption: N a n c y , a g e 15: I remember t h a t I w o n d e r e d w h a t i s a d o p t e d y o u know, I g u e s s I was a b o u t 3 o r 4, a n d a b o y s a i d s o m e t h i n g a b o u t me b e i n g a d o p t e d a n d he s a i d t h a t we c o u l d be b r o t h e r and s i s t e r a n d t h a t c o n f u s e d me. I ' v e a l w a y s known i t f r o m t h e b e g i n n i n g a n d when he s a i d t h a t I w o n d e r e d w h e t h e r h e was m a k i n g i t up s o I w e n t home a n d a s k e d my mom a n d s h e t o l d me a g a i n , a n d t h i s t i m e i t s u n k i n d e e p e r , i t was l i k e l e a r n i n g t o speak almost, i t j u s t s o r t o f f i l t e r e d i n . L a u r a , a g e 16: I remember b e i n g t o l d a n d b e i n g k i n d o f c o n f u s e d b e c a u s e I remember b e i n g t o l d a s t o r y a t b e d t i m e , a n d t h e y t o l d me a n d I d i d n ' t u n d e r s t a n d , I was o n l y a b o u t 3. L i n d a , a g e 15: I g u e s s I was a b o u t 3 o r 4 a n d I was w a l k i n g w i t h my mom a n d I saw a p r e g n a n t l a d y a n d I w o n d e r e d i f I came f r o m a tummy, s o I a s k e d my mom a n d s h e e x p l a i n e d i t t o me. B a r b a r a , a g e 15: When my mom t o l d me s h e s a i d t h e r e was no n e e d t o w o r r y a b o u t i t , t h e y r e a l l y l o v e d me a s t h e i r own d a u g h t e r , a n d t h a t i n f a c t I was s p e c i a l b e c a u s e t h e y c h o s e me. T h e way s h e p u t i t was w i t h my b r o t h e r s h e s a i d we a r e s t u c k w i t h h i m , b u t t h e y c h o s e me s o t h a t was s p e c i a l i n i t s e l f , a n d I ' v e a l w a y s f e l t s p e c i a l . I was 4 y e a r s o l d then. Tom, a g e 18: I remember b e i n g i n t h e l i v i n g room a n d my mom a n d d a d s i t t i n g me down a n d s a y i n g t h i s i s n ' t i m p o r t a n t a t a l l b u t we s h o u l d l e t y o u know t h a t y o u w e r e a d o p t e d , I g u e s s I was a b o u t 4. I t h o u g h t i t was n e a t t h a t I was a d o p t e d , I j u s t t h o u g h t I was s p e c i a l a n d my o t h e r b r o t h e r a n d s i s t e r w e r e n ' t . My p a r e n t s d i d n ' t t e l l me t h a t b u t I t h o u g h t I was s p e c i a l . Q u e s t i o n s r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n and t h e adoptee's p a r t i c u l a r s t a t u s s u r f a c e a g a i n a r o u n d a g e 7 o r 8: C h e r y l , a g e 16: I t h i n k I was a b o u t 7 o r 8 b e f o r e I r e a l i z e d I c o u l d have n a t u r a l p a r e n t s , i t wasn't l i k e r e a l i z i n g , i t was l i k e w o n d e r i n g a l l o f a s u d d e n . R i c h a r d , a g e 17: I t h i n k I f i r s t remember i t h i t t i n g home when I was a b o u t 7, t h a t i s when I r e a l l y r e a l i z e d w h e r e I was f r o m , i t was when I was a b o u t t h a t a g e t h a t I r e a l i z e d t h a t I was d i f f e r e n t , n o b o d y knew t h a t I was d i f f e r e n t , my mom s a i d s o m e t h i n g a b o u t me b e i n g d i f f e r e n t o r s p e c i a l .  78 Don, age 15: T h e r e was was when I was a b o u t 8 b r o t h e r and he b r o u g h t w o u l d n ' t b o t h e r me now  a c l e a r t i m e when I knew, and t h a t y e a r s o l d I had a f i g h t w i t h my i t up, i t was a w f u l I c r i e d , b u t i t i f he d i d t h a t .  S h e l l e y , age 17: I j u s t remember a l l o f a s u d d e n t h i n k i n g a b o u t i t when I was 8 y e a r s o l d . I g o t r e a l l y c u r i o u s a b o u t why my p a r e n t s w o u l d g i v e me up, and what i s a d o p t i o n , s o i t s n o t t h a t I n e v e r knew a b o u t i t u n t i l t h e n , i t was j u s t t h a t I s t a r t e d t h i n k i n g a b o u t i t t h e n . U n t i l I was 8 I t h o u g h t e v e r y b o d y was a d o p t e d and t h e n I r e a l i z e d n o t e v e r y b o d y i s a d o p t e d b e c a u s e my b r o t h e r s and s i s t e r w e r e n ' t . L i n d a , age 15: I f o r g o t a b o u t i t u n t i l I was 9 and I f o u n d t h e a d o p t i o n p a p e r s , and I a l m o s t s t a r t e d c r y i n g b e c a u s e I t h o u g h t why d i d n ' t y o u e v e r t e l l me, and s h e s a i d s h e had t o n s o f t i m e s b e f o r e . But t h e n I u n d e r s t o o d what a d o p t i o n was. I f e l t as i f my mom had b e e n t r y i n g t o h i d e i t f r o m me a l l t h o s e y e a r s . I was so u p s e t , I f e l t l i k e I was n o t w a n t e d o r s o m e t h i n g , I f e l t r e a l l y m i x e d up. I was s o mad a f t e r a l l t h o s e y e a r s o f t h i n k i n g t h i s i s my mom and f i n d i n g o u t t h a t i t i s n ' t . I k e p t on t h i n k i n g w h e r e i s my r e a l mom? I t seems t o be a r o u n d a g e s 8 o r 9 i n t h e a d o p t e e s ' l i v e s t h a t t h e ;  r e a l i z a t i o n they are adopted suddenly emerges.  T h e r e i s an  element  o f s u r p r i s e i n t h e i r r e v e l a t i o n s , and f o r some, t h e f e e l i n g s o f s h o c k and c o n f u s i o n as t h e y r e a l i z e w h a t a d o p t i o n means f o r t h e m . B r o d z i n s k y e t a l (1981) d i s c o v e r e d t h a t between the ages o f  8-11,  c h i l d r e n s ' c o n c e p t i o n of adoption broadens. T h i s c o g n i t i v e change p r o b a b l y e x p l a i n s t h e a d o p t e e s ' r e n e w e d i n t e r e s t and w o n d e r i n t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s . These r e s u l t s f u r t h e r suggest t h a t adoption knowledge r e s u l t s f r o m a g e n e r a l p r o c e s s o f c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t h e c o n c e p t , and n o t s i m p l y f r o m a g r a d u a l a c c u m u l a t i o n o f f a c t s p r e s e n t e d by t h e p a r e n t s ( B r o d z i n s k y e t a l , 1981).  79 Parents' perception of the r e v e l a t i o n experience.  A l l the parents  i n t e r v i e w e d i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y t o l d t h e i r c h i l d r e n as soon as p o s s i b l e about t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s .  The adoptees'  p e r c e p t i o n s were c o n f i r m e d  by t h e p a r e n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s a s a l l t h e p a r e n t s a l s o i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e i r c h i l d r e n h a d a l w a y s known a b o u t t h e i r a d o p t i o n .  However, none o f t h e  p a r e n t s w e r e a b l e t o t e l l when t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n h a d r e a l l y b e e n by t h e i r c h i l d .  T h e i n i t i a l r e v e l a t i o n e x p e r i e n c e was n o t  understood  accompanied  by p a r e n t a l a n x i e t y , t h e p a r e n t s r e p o r t e d t h a t i t o c c u r r e d i n a r e l a x e d m a n n e r a n d t h a t t h e i r c h i l d seemed u n c o n c e r n e d  about i t :  M o t h e r : A d o p t i o n was p a r t o f t h e f a m i l y c u l t u r e r i g h t f r o m t h e b e g i n n i n g . We made a c a r e f u l d e c i s i o n n o t t o o v e r o r u n d e r e m p h a s i z e i t . T h e k i d s n e v e r seemed c o n c e r n e d a b o u t i t then. M o t h e r : W e l l we n e v e r made a s e c r e t o u t o f i t , we j u s t s t a t e d t h e c a s e a s i t was, i t j u s t o c c u r r e d n a t u r a l l y , a n d s h e w a s n ' t b o t h e r e d by i t . Some o f t h e p a r e n t s , o n t h e a d v i c e o f t h e s o c i a l w o r k e r h a d r e a d t h e C h o s e n Baby s t o r y t o t h e i r c h i l d a t b e d t i m e ,  b u t 54% o f t h e p a r e n t s  r e c o u n t e d a "tummy s t o r y " t h a t seemed t o t r i g g e r t h e i r c h i l d ' s interest i n babies: M o t h e r : Some k i d s up t h e s t r e e t s a i d s o m e t h i n g t o D. a b o u t c o m i n g o u t o f my tummy, s o a t n a p t i m e I t o l d h i m how i t w o r k s , t h a t he came o u t o f someone e l s e ' s tummy, a n d t h a t seemed t o s a t i s f y h i m , he w a s n ' t b o t h e r e d b y i t . M o t h e r : My s i s t e r was p r e g n a n t a n d S. w a n t e d t o know how i t g o t t h e r e a n d s h e a s k e d was I e v e r i n y o u r tummy? So i t s an i d e a l way o f b r i n g i n g up a d o p t i o n , s o I t o l d h e r a b o u t i t t h e n . S h e u s e d t o b r i n g i t up q u i t e f r e q u e n t l y when s h e was 3. M o t h e r : When L . f i r s t f o u n d o u t t h a t s h e came f r o m a n o t h e r l a d y ' s tummy s h e d i d n ' t s a y much a b o u t i t f o r y e a r s , b u t t h e n s h e s t a r t e d a s k i n g q u e s t i o n s l i k e , d i d I come f r o m y o u r tummy? L i k e I h a d l i e d t o h e r o r s o m e t h i n g , i t b o t h e r e d me a l o t t h a t s h e k e p t a s k i n g me.  80 M o t h e r : I t o l d h e r a b o u t t h e tummy s t u f f when s h e was l i t t l e , , like--.I t o l d h e r how we went s e a r c h i n g f o r h e r a n d how we f o u n d h e r a n d s h e u s e d t o g e t me t o t e l l h e r t h e s t o r y o v e r a n d o v e r a g a i n . B u t when s h e was 3 s h e a s k e d a n e i g h b o r i f s h e came o u t o f h e r tummy b e c a u s e s h e knew s h e d i d n ' t come o u t o f m i n e . T h a t r e a l l y b o t h e r e d me b e c a u s e I d i d n ' t r e a l i z e t h a t s h e was t h i n k i n g a b o u t i t t h a t much a t s u c h a y o u n g a g e . I t was a s u r p r i s e . The a n x i e t y r e g a r d i n g t e l l i n g t h e c h i l d r e n o f t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s o c c u r r e d w e l l a f t e r t h e i n i t i a l r e v e l a t i o n had taken  place,  when t h e c h i l d r e n w e r e o l d e n o u g h t o s t a r t a s k i n g p e r t i n e n t q u e s t i o n s . F o r some f a m i l i e s t h e c h i l d s t a r t e d a s k i n g q u e s t i o n s a r o u n d  3 years of  age, b u t f o r t h e m a j o r i t y ( 6 9 % ) o f f a m i l i e s , t h e c h i l d r e n w e r e o l d e r when t h e y b e g a n t h e r e a l q u e s t i o n i n g , a n d t h e q u e s t i o n i n g p e r i o d r e a c h e d a p e a k a r o u n d t h e a g e s o f 8 t o 9. T h e same t i m e a s t h e a d o l e s c e n t s remember b e c o m i n g c u r i o u s a b o u t a d o p t i o n . u n c e r t a i n t y , inadequacy  The themes o f a n x i e t y ,  a n d f e e l i n g t h r e a t e n e d , r e f l e c t how 5 4 % o f  the a d o p t i v e mothers f e l t about t h e i r c h i l d ' s c u r i o s i t y and q u e s t i o n s : - I t h i n k I f e l t t h r e a t e n e d b y a l l t h e q u e s t i o n s . She w o u l d r e p e a t e d l y ask them, i t would s a t i s f y h e r f o r a l i t t l e w h i l e and then she'd ask a g a i n and I'd have t o r e a s s u r e h e r a g a i n . I t was a l i t t l e u n s e t t l i n g , I w a s n ' t s u r e i f I was g o i n g t o g i v e h e r t h e r i g h t a n s w e r a n d I d i d n ' t want t o make h e r f e e l r e j e c t e d . - I p e r s o n a l l y f o u n d i t f a i r l y t e n s e i n t h a t I was r e a l l y w a n t i n g t o s a y t h e r i g h t t h i n g s . When he was 4 o r 5 he a s k e d , why d i d s h e t h r o w me away? And I d i d n ' t know how t o answer t h a t , I c o u l d n ' t b e l i e v e a small c h i l d would think like that. - S h e was a l w a y s a s k i n g , I d r e a d e d t h e n e x t t i m e s h e w o u l d a s k t h i s h o r r i b l e q u e s t i o n , i t was r e a l l y u p s e t t i n g t o h a v e t o k e e p s a y i n g t h a t s h e came f r o m somebody e l s e . - S h e a s k e d a l o t o f q u e s t i o n s when s h e was 8, s h e w o u l d f r e q u e n t l y a s k how c o u l d my mommy n o t w a n t me. I f e l t u p t i g h t I n e v e r t h o u g h t I w o u l d e i t h e r . I was w o r r i e d t h a t I w a s n ' t h a n d l i n g i t p r o p e r l y . When s h e was a s k i n g a l l those q u e s t i o n s I thought i t might have adverse e f f e c t s o n h e r . I was more u p t i g h t a b o u t what I was g o i n g t o s a y a n d w h e t h e r I m i g h t make i t w o r s e . I f e l t inadequate a t handling t h e questions, I could handle t h e m e a s l e s a n d p r a c t i c a l t h i n g s l i k e t h a t b u t t h i s was d i f f e r e n t .  81 - F r o m t h e n on when s h e was 9 we h a d a r e a l q u e s t i o n p e r i o d w i t h h e r , who i s my m o t h e r , w h a t d i d s h e l o o k l i k e , why d i d s h e g i v e me u p , d i d n ' t s h e l o v e me? And we d e a l t w i t h one q u e s t i o n a t a t i m e . When s h e was a r o u n d 9 t h o u g h s h e was a s k i n g t h e s e q u e s t i o n s a l l t h e t i m e , I f e l t t h r e a t e n e d , we w e n t t h r o u g h a r e a l l y h a r d t i m e t h e n . S h e was r e b e l l i o u s , d i s r e s p e c t f u l , and had nightmares and wet t h e bed, and t h e k i d s a t s c h o o l w e r e mean t o h e r , e v e r y t h i n g s o r t o f t u m b l e d i n on h e r . The r e p e t i t i o u s n a t u r e o f t h e a d o p t e e ' s  q u e s t i o n i n g was q u i t e u n s e t t l i n g  f o r many o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s . I t i s c l e a r t h a t t h e y d i d n o t u n d e r s t a n d why t h e i r c h i l d r e n w e r e r e p e a t e d l y a s k i n g t h e q u e s t i o n s when t h e y were d o i n g t h e i r b e s t t o answer them. Although t h e f a t h e r s were aware of t h e i r c h i l d ' s i n t e r e s t i n being adopted,  i t was u s u a l l y t h e m o t h e r s  who d e a l t w i t h t h e i r c h i l d ' s c u r i o s i t y a n d r e p e t i t i v e q u e s t i o n s .  Family communication regarding adoption. A l l o f t h e adoptees i n t e r v i e w e d b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e s u b j e c t o f a d o p t i o n was an o p e n t o p i c a t home.  A l l o f t h e adoptees  presented a picture of a f a i r l y ,  relaxed  open atmosphere i n r e g a r d t o d i s c u s s i o n o f g e n e r a l a d o p t i o n t o p i c s : B a r b a r a , a g e 15: We t a l k a b o u t i t o c c a s i o n a l l y , i t s u s u a l l y in a general sense, l i k e adopting a c h i l d o r something, l i k e i t s n o t me a s s u c h , i t s j u s t a d o p t i o n i n g e n e r a l . P a u l , a g e 16: We m i g h t e n d up t a l k i n g a b o u t s o m e t h i n g related t o adoption, but i t s not r e a l l y a hot subject t o t a l k about. S h e l l e y , a g e 17: I t w o u l d be an o f f h a n d d i s c u s s i o n m o s t o f t h e t i m e . I f we do t a l k a b o u t i t , i t s when I was a b a b y o r something. Although  a d o p t i o n was n o t d i s c u s s e d v e r y f r e q u e n t l y i n t h e s t u d y  f a m i l i e s , t h e adoptees  p e r c e i v e d t h a t i t was an o p e n s u b j e c t , t h i s  matched t h e p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e p a r e n t s . The m a j o r i t y (86%) o f t h e adoptees  b e l i e v e d t h a t they i n i t i a t e d most d i s c u s s i o n s about  adoption  82  when t h e y o c c u r r e d  i n t h e home:  C h e r y l , a g e 16: I t a l k a b o u t i t w h e n e v e r I t h i n k a b o u t i t . I a s k why I was a d o p t e d , why d i d t h e y w a n t a g i r l i n s t e a d o f a b o y , t h e r e i s no r e a l f a m i l y d i s c u s s i o n I j u s t t a l k a b o u t i t when I w a n t t o . M a r i e , a g e 14: I u s u a l l y b r i n g i t up, I w o n d e r a b o u t t h e p e o p l e who h a d me a l o t a n d I w o n d e r w h e r e , w h a t my r o o t s a r e a n d w h e r e I come f r o m , t h a t ' s w h a t I w o n d e r t h e m o s t so I d o b r i n g i t u p . Fourteen  p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o p t e e s i n d i c a t e d t h a t m o t h e r was t h e o n e t h a t  u s u a l l y b r o u g h t up t h e s u b j e c t o f a d o p t i o n : A l i c e , a g e 14: I d o n ' t t a l k a b o u t i t t h a t much I g u e s s my mom b r i n g s i t up b u t t h e n I w o n ' t t a l k t o h e r a b o u t it, I feel stupid. Don, a g e 15: I d o n ' t t a l k a b o u t i t t h a t much a t home b e c a u s e my b r o t h e r b u g s me, i t s u s u a l l y my mom t h a t b r i n g s i t up, b u t I don't want t o t e l l h e r e v e r y t h i n g I t h i n k because I don't want t o g e t anyone i n t r o u b l e , l i k e my b r o t h e r y o u know. Parents' the parents  perception o f f a m i l y communication about adoption. A l l interviewed  the subject of adoption  agreed with t h e perception o f t h e adoptees that was an o p e n t o p i c a t home. H o w e v e r , t h e c h i l d r e n  and p a r e n t s d i f f e r e d i n t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s  o f who u s u a l l y  the discussions. Eighty-four percent of t h e parents,  initiated  primarily the  mothers b e l i e v e d that they u s u a l l y brought t h e subject o f adoption  up  i n t h e home: M o t h e r : We w e r e j u s t h a v i n g a t a l k o n e d a y a n d when h e g o t up t o go he s a i d I w o n d e r w h a t my m o t h e r was r e a l l y l i k e , so i t made me m o r e a w a r e t h a t i t s o n h i s m i n d a l o t m o r e t h a n we w o u l d e v e r know. I i n i t i a t e t h e d i s c u s s i o n s m o s t o f t h e t i m e , i t s u s u a l l y me t h a t m e n t i o n s i t . M o t h e r : O f t e n I ' l l b r i n g i t up, i f s h e ' s g o t s o m e t h i n g t o s a y I want h e r t o s a y i t . I want h e r t o a c c e p t t h e f a c t t h a t she i s a d o p t e d s o I b r i n g i t u p . I want h e r t o f e e l c o m f o r t a b l e . Sixteen percent of the parents  b e l i e v e d t h a t no o n e i n p a r t i c u l a r b r o u g h t t h e  s u b j e c t up a t home, a n d t h a t i f i t h a p p e n e d t o come up i t w o u l d j u s t be discussed  l i k e anything  else.  83  W h i l e f a m i l y d i s c u s s i o n a b o u t g e n e r a l a d o p t i o n i s s u e s was p e r c e i v e d by b o t h p a r e n t s a n d a d o p t e e s a s an o p e n t o p i c , d i s c u s s i o n on a more p e r s o n a l l e v e l was m o r e d i f f i c u l t f o r t h e a d o l e s c e n t s .  Eighty percent  of t h e a d o l e s c e n t s were w o r r i e d about u p s e t t i n g t h e i r p a r e n t s w i t h t h e i r q u e s t i o n s and c u r i o s i t y about t h e i r  backgrounds:  R i c h a r d , a g e 17:1 w a s n ' t s u r e when I t a l k e d t o my mom a b o u t i t w h e t h e r s h e ' d g e t u p s e t a n d t h i n k w h a t h a v e I d o n e w r o n g , why i s he c u r i o u s a l l o f a s u d d e n ? But from h e r r e a c t i o n I don't t h i n k I upset her. I t w o u l d b e i m p o s s i b l e t o b r i n g up a t h i n g l i k e t h a t w i t h my d a d . S h e l l e y , a g e 17: I t h i n k my mom was w o r r i e d a b o u t how I'd f e e l a b o u t i t , a b o u t b e i n g a d o p t e d , s o t h e r e i s no r e a s o n f o r me t o u p s e t h e r w i t h a l o t o f q u e s t i o n s . A l i c e , a g e 14: We d o n ' t t a l k a b o u t i t a t a l l , my mom b r i n g s i t up s o m e t i m e s b u t I c h a n g e t h e s u b j e c t , i t f e e l s uncomfortable t o t a l k t o h e r about t h e b i r t h parents. C a t h y , a g e 17: I t w o u l d b e v e r y h a r d t o s a y t h a t I was c u r i o u s , s o I w o u l d n ' t w a n t t o do t h a t b e c a u s e my mom gets upset e a s i l y , she would take i t v e r y p e r s o n a l l y . When I was y o u n g e r I u s e d t o a s k q u e s t i o n s b u t I wasn't a v e r y good c h i l d t h e n . When t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s w e r e q u e r i e d a b o u t d i s c u s s i n g t h e s e a d o p t i o n i s s u e s w i t h t h e i r c h i l d , a l l t h e p a r e n t s i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y were o p e n a n d more t h a n w i l l i n g t o d i s c u s s t h e i r c h i l d ' s c u r i o s i t y the b i o l o g i c a l parents with t h e adoptee. p e r c e i v e d communication  about  In one f a m i l y , t h e mother  regarding these adoption issues as being  o p e n , b u t a t t h e same t i m e s h e was s e n d i n g c o n f l i c t i n g m e s s a g e s to h e r son regarding h e r w i l l i n g n e s s t o d i s c u s s adoption: M o t h e r : He showed some a n x i e t y a b o u t b e i n g a d o p t e d a n d s o we t r i e d t o g e t h i m t o t a l k " m o r e " a b o u t t h e B e a n x i e t i e s b u t he w o u l d n ' t s a y a n y t h i n g . So e v e r y o n c e i n a w h i l e I ' l l m e n t i o n s o m e t h i n g i n c a s e he w a n t s t o t a l k , I ' v e t o l d h i m  84  about being s e n s i t i v e about being h i s r e a l mother a n d he knows t h a t I f e e l s l i g h t l y t h r e a t e n e d b u t he a l s o knows t h a t I'm n o t a f r a i d o f h i m l o o k i n g up h i s b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r . If a c h i l d g e t s the message t h a t h i s i n t e r e s t i n the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s i s t h r e a t e n i n g o r u p s e t t i n g t o t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , he w i l l be much l e s s l i k e l y t o d i s c u s s w i t h them h i s f e e l i n g s r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n .  In  t h i s p a r t i c u l a r f a m i l y t h e adoptee had not d i s c u s s e d h i s f e e l i n g s about b e i n g a d o p t e d b e c a u s e he d i d n o t w a n t t o h u r t h i s m o t h e r ' s  feelings.  These r e s u l t s suggest t h a t f o r the m a j o r i t y of f a m i l i e s i n t h i s study, p a r e n t s and a d o p t e e s h a v e d i s c r e p a n t p e r c e p t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e and t h e q u a l i t y o f c o m m u n i c a t i o n  regarding the adoptees'  openness  background.  Adoptees' p e r c e p t i o n of communication with s i b l i n g s about a d o p t i o n . Communication  w i t h s i b l i n g s r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n i s s u e s was v e r y  l i m i t e d among t h e a d o p t e e s i n t e r v i e w e d . None o f t h e a d o p t e e s h a d any r e a l l y p r i v a t e d i s c u s s i o n s with t h e i r s i b l i n g s about a d o p t i o n , whether they were adopted o r non-adopted s i b l i n g s .  T h e r e a p p e a r s t o be a  d e f i n i t e l a c k o f s h a r i n g i n b o t h m i x e d and o n l y a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s when i t comes t o t a l k i n g a b o u t a d o p t i o n : C a t h y , age 17 ( a d o p t e d s i b s . ) : T h e r e i s n o t h i n g t o t a l k a b o u t , I d o n ' t t a l k t o them a b o u t my f e e l i n g s , i t s s o r t o f p r i v a t e I keep i t t o m y s e l f . N a n c y , age 1 5 ( a d o p t e d s i b . ) : I d o n ' t t a l k t o my b r o t h e r , he i s n ' t i n t e r e s t e d i n a n y t h i n g I d o . He t h i n k s I'm c r a z y b e c a u s e I want t o f i n d my p a r e n t s . S h e l l e y , age 1 7 ( n o n - a d o p t e d s i b s . ) : T h e y d o n ' t bug me a b o u t i t , t h e y u s e d t o s a y t h a t I was t h e s p e c i a l o n e , b u t I w o u l d n e v e r a s k them a b o u t i t , t h e y n e v e r u s e d i t a g a i n s t me t h o u g h . Don, age 1 5 ( n o n - a d o p t e d s i b s . ) : My b r o t h e r has b u g g e d me a b o u t i t , he u s e s i t a g a i n s t me, I w o u l d n e v e r t a l k t o him about i t .  85 In o n e f a m i l y t h a t was i n t e r v i e w e d , t h e a d o p t e d s i b l i n g s c o n f i d e d i n each o t h e r b u t they d i d n o t c o n f i d e i n t h e non-adopted  siblings:  L a u r a , a g e 16: No, I w o u l d n ' t t a l k t o them ( n o n - a d o p t e d s i b s . ) because t h e y g e t t o u c h y , because even a c o u p l e o f months ago I g o t t h i s b a c k g r o u n d i n f o r m a t i o n f r o m V i c t o r i a , a n d when t h e y f o u n d o u t t h e y w o n d e r e d why, s o I d o n ' t l i k e t a l k i n g t o t h e m about i t , i t s l i k e t h e y a r e d e f e n s i v e , I t h i n k i t b o t h e r e d them b u t I do t a l k t o my a d o p t e d b r o t h e r , we t a l k a b o u t i t q u i t e o f t e n . In a n o t h e r f a m i l y i t was s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e r e s e a r c h g a v e t h e m an e x c u s e t o t a l k a b o u t a d o p t i o n , a n d i f a n y f a m i l y member was h a v i n g problems t h i s r e s e a r c h might h e l p them.  They would n o t o p e n l y ask  e a c h o t h e r i f a d o p t i o n was a p r o b l e m f o r t h e m . I n b o t h m i x e d a n d o n l y a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s , t h e adoptees had a tendency t o view a d o p t i o n a s a p r i v a t e m a t t e r , n o t t o be d i s c u s s e d w i t h  their  siblings.  Family Relationships A d o p t e e s ' p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h m o t h e r . When the adoptees d e s c r i b e d t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r adoptive  mothers,  m o s t o f t h e m d e s c r i b e d f a i r l y c l o s e , warm r e l a t i o n s h i p s . A s e c o n d a s p e c t t h a t t h e a d o p t e e s w e r e q u e r i e d o n was t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e i r s i m i l a r i t y t o t h e i r mothers.  I t was h y p o t h e s i z e d t h a t t h i s m i g h t  the e x t e n t t o which t h e c h i l d i d e n t i f i e d with t h e parent.  reflect  Seventy-three  p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o p t e e s f e l t t h a t t h e y w e r e s i m i l a r i n some r e s p e c t s to t h e i r mothers,  suggesting that they i d e n t i f i e d with t h e i r  mothers  t o some d e g r e e . T h e a d o p t e e s who f e l t t h e y w e r e s i m i l a r t o t h e i r mothers their  a l s o b e l i e v e d t h a t they had f a i r l y c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s with mothers:  L i n d a , a g e 15: My mom a n d I a r e m o r e l i k e f r i e n d s , we a r e p r e t t y o p e n . I t h i n k we a r e p r e t t y much t h e same, we b o t h have bad tempers.  86 B a r b a r a , a g e 15: We a r e r e a l l y c l o s e , we g e t a l o n g r e a l l y w e l l , I l o o k a t some o f h e r q u a l i t i e s a n d I t h i n k I'm l i k e her q u i t e a b i t . M a r i e , a g e 14: We a r e b e s t f r i e n d s , s h e i s g r e a t , s h e i s so u n d e r s t a n d i n g , I t h i n k I'm s i m i l a r t o my mom, we t h i n k a l i k e and s t u f f . A l i c e , a g e 14: S h e ' s l i k e my b e s t f r i e n d s o r t o f b u t w i t h a h i g h e r l e v e l o f r e s p e c t . We a r e p r e t t y o p e n w i t h e a c h o t h e r . We a r e b o t h s e n s i t i v e a n d q u i e t , we a r e a l i k e . Twenty-seven o f t h e adoptees interviewed  believed that they d i d not h  very c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r mothers, and they had a tendency t o p e r c e i v e themselves as being d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r mothers: L a u r a , a g e 16: O u r r e l a t i o n s h i p i s n ' t t h a t g o o d . I d o n ' t r e a l l y t a l k t o h e r a b o u t my p r o b l e m s o r a n y t h i n g . I'm d i f f e r e n t f r o m e v e r y o n e i n t h e f a m i l y , I'm a t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t p e r s o n f r o m my mom. C a t h y , a g e 17: I d o n ' t s p e a k t o my mom a b o u t i m p o r t a n t t h i n g s , l i k e I wouldn't t e l l h e r about p a i n f u l experiences s h e w o u l d p r o b a b l y l i k e t o be c l o s e r , I g u e s s o u r r e l a t i o n s h i p c o u l d be b e t t e r , we a r e v e r y d i f f e r e n t i n our needs f o r o r d e r and s t u f f l i k e t h a t , o u r temperaments are d i f f e r e n t . An i n t e r e s t i n g f i n d i n g was t h a t e v e n when t h e a d o l e s c e n t s a c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p between mother and c h i l d , 33% o f these also indicated that they don't discuss personal  perceived adoptees  f e e l i n g s with t h e i r  mothers: C h e r y l , a g e 16: I t h i n k we a r e r e a l l y q u i t e c l o s e , I r e s p e c t h e r an a w f u l l o t , I c a n t a l k t o h e r a b o u t a l o t of t h i n g s , but I don't t a l k t o her about personal s t u f f , my f e e l i n g s a n d s t u f f . S h e l l e y , a g e 17: We h a v e a v e r y c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p , we h a v e a c l o s e f a m i l y . I d o n ' t e x p r e s s my p e r s o n a l f e e l i n g s t o my mom t h o u g h .  87 Mothers'  perceptions of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s with the  adoptee.  Ninety-three percent of the adoptive mothers d e s c r i b e d t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r adopted c h i l d r e n as good, c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s . However, 62% o f t h e m o t h e r s who p e r c e i v e d c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n d i d n o t t h i n k t h e i r c h i l d was s i m i l a r t o t h e m a t a l l i n t e m p e r a m e n t or mannerisms: M o t h e r : I t h i n k o u r r e l a t i o n s h i p now i s q u i t e c l o s e t h i s has b e e n w o r k e d o u t o v e r t h e y e a r s , b u t I t h i n k he i s h a p p y w i t h i t now. He i s d i f f e r e n t t o me, I t h i n k he i s v e r y d r a m a t i c w i t h h i s o p i n i o n s and n o t l i k e me a t a l l . M o t h e r : We b o t h e n j o y a c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p , we h a v e an e x c e l l e n t r e l a t i o n s h i p but I t h i n k she i s p r e t t y d i f f e r e n t f r o m me. S h e ' s m o r e o u t g o i n g and h e r t e m p e r a m e n t i s d i f f e r e n t . M o t h e r : We h a v e a c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p , we s p e n d a l o t o f t i m e t o g e t h e r . T h e r e i s a g r e a t d e a l o f t r u s t b e t w e e n u s . She i s q u i t e d i f f e r e n t f r o m me, s h e has a d i f f e r e n t m a n n e r t o me, and s h e ' s a n a t u r a l p e r f o r m e r , I'm n o t . S i x t y - t w o p e r c e n t o f t h e m o t h e r - c h i l d d y a d s i n t h i s s a m p l e had d i s c r e p a n t p e r c e p t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r s i m i l a r i t y t o each Adoptees' the adoptees'  other.  perceptions of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s with f a t h e r . Five of responses t o t h i s area of q u e s t i o n i n g were not a n a l y z e d  b e c a u s e t h e y d i d n o t h a v e v e r y f r e q u e n t c o n t a c t w i t h t h e i r f a t h e r s due to divorce in the family.  S i x t y percent of the adoptees  i n two  parent  f a m i l i e s i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r f a t h e r s were o k a y , b u t n o t v e r y c l o s e , w h i l e 4 0 % i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y had  poor  r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r f a t h e r s : R i c h a r d , age 17: We j u s t s o r t o f s t a y o u t o f e a c h way, we h a v e n o t h i n g i n common. Tom, age 18: We h a v e an o k a y r e l a t i o n s h i p I g u e s s , he g e t s on my n e r v e s , we a r e n ' t t h a t c l o s e .  other's but  M a r i e , age 14: We a r e n ' t t h a t c l o s e , we d o n ' t f i g h t , i t s j u s t not t h a t good.  88  Seventy-seven p e r c e n t of the adoptees a l s o p e r c e i v e d t h a t they were d i f f e r e n t i n t e m p e r a m e n t and m a n n e r i s m s f r o m t h e i r f a t h e r s : C h e r y l , age 16: I'm a l o t d i f f e r e n t f r o m my f a t h e r , t e m p e r a m e n t and e v e r y t h i n g i s d i f f e r e n t . C a t h y , age 17: We t a l k a l o t b u t I d o n ' t t e l l him t h i n g s , we a r e q u i t e d i f f e r e n t I t h i n k .  my personal  S h e l l e y , age 17: I g u e s s o u r r e l a t i o n s h i p i s n ' t bad, b u t he i s v e r y s e t i n h i s w a y s , we a r e n ' t a l i k e a t l e a s t I c a n ' t s e e i t . My t e m p e r a m e n t i s d i f f e r e n t f r o m h i s . Fathers' perceptions  of t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s with the adoptees.  The  a d o p t i v e f a t h e r s were aware t h a t t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n w e r e n o t as c l o s e as t h e m o t h e r - c h i l d  r e l a t i o n s h i p s were:  F a t h e r : We l i k e e a c h o t h e r , we a r e n ' t as c l o s e as h e r and h e r m o t h e r a r e , s h e ' s l e s s l i k e l y t o t a l k t o me a b o u t t h i n g s t h a t a r e s e r i o u s l y on h e r m i n d . F a t h e r : We h a v e a f a i r l y g o o d r e l a t i o n s h i p b u t h e r m o t h e r . w o u l d be t h e one s h e ' d go t o i f she had a p r o b l e m . F a t h e r : She r e s e n t s me b e c a u s e she t h i n k s I p l a y f a v o r i t e s w i t h t h e b o y s , so I r e s e n t t h a t , she w o u l d go t o h e r m o t h e r w i t h p e r s o n a l t h i n g s , she c e r t a i n l y n e v e r comes t o me w i t h that. F a t h e r : My p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p i s t h a t h e ' s n e v e r w a n t e d t o do t h i n g s w i t h me, t h e r e i s some b l o c k b e t w e e n u s . He w o u l d n e v e r go and do t h i n g s w i t h me e a s i l y , he has a b e t t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s m o t h e r . The a d o p t i v e f a t h e r s ' p e r c e p t i o n s  o f t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s and  differences  in t h e i r c h i l d r e n were c o n g r u e n t with the adoptees' p e r c e p t i o n s . a d o p t e e s who f a t h e r s who who  t h o u g h t t h a t they were d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r f a t h e r s , v i e w e d t h e a d o p t e e as d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h e m , and t h o s e  t h o u g h t t h e y w e r e s i m i l a r t o t h e i r f a t h e r s a l s o had f a t h e r s  had c o n g r u e n t  perceptions.  Those had adoptees who  89  P a r e n t s ' and adoptees'  perceptions of sibling relationships.  P a r e n t s who h a d o n l y a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n d e s c r i b e d t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s s i b l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s as normal, t h e y d i d n o t p e r c e i v e t h a t any s i g n i f i c a n t s i b l i n g problems  e x i s t e d . The adopted c h i l d r e n i n t h e s e  f a m i l i e s a l s o d i d n o t p e r c e i v e t h a t any problems s i b l i n g s , thus t h e parent-adoptee  e x i s t e d among t h e i r  p e r c e p t i o n s were congruent  regarding  s i b l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s . S i x t y percent o f t h e parents i n mixed f a m i l i e s a l s o r e p o r t e d t h a t no s i b l i n g p r o b l e m s  e x i s t e d , but 40% o f t h e parents  d i d p e r c e i v e some s i b l i n g r i v a l r y b e t w e e n t h e i r a d o p t e d a n d children.  non-adopted  T h e m a i n c o m p l a i n t , a c c o r d i n g t o t h e p a r e n t s , was t h a t t h e  adoptee f e l t t h a t t h e other s i b l i n g ( s ) r e c e i v e d p r e f e r e n t i a l treatment: M o t h e r : I n t h e l a s t f e w y e a r s N. h a s u s e d h e r b r o t h e r i n a way when s h e ' s mad s h e ' l l s a y he i s y o u r n a t u r a l c h i l d s o he i s y o u r p r e c i o u s o n e a n d t h i n g s l i k e t h a t . I t h i n k s h e i s j e a l o u s o f h i m . S h e s a y s we f a v o r h i m b e c a u s e he i s p o p u l a r o r s o m e t h i n g l i k e t h a t . Mother: She's extremely j e a l o u s o f h e r s i s t e r , h e r s i s t e r i s h e r d a d ' s f a v o r i t e , a n d he makes i t v e r y c l e a r and t h a t r e a l l y b o t h e r s h e r , she g e t s along okay with t h e o t h e r s though. M o t h e r : D.'s b r o t h e r b u g s h i m a l o t . He's r e a l l y q u i t e mean t o h i m . I t h i n k D. i s j e a l o u s o f h i m , s o I t h i n k t h e r e i s some s i b l i n g r i v a l r y t h e r e . The a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n i n t h e s e m i x e d f a m i l i e s a g r e e d w i t h t h e i r parents' p e r c e p t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e s i b l i n g problems  in their  families: A l i c e , a g e 14: My s i s t e r g e t s away w i t h e v e r y t h i n g , s h e i s my d a d ' s f a v o r i t e , i t makes me s i c k . N a n c y , a g e 15: My b r o t h e r g e t s s p e c i a l t r e a t m e n t . I t ' s my o p i n i o n b u t I f e e l t h a t way. I t h i n k b o t h my p a r e n t s g i v e him p r e f e r r e d t r e a t m e n t , t h e y s o r t o f t a k e h i s s i d e . Don, a g e 15: I d o n ' t g e t a l o n g t o o w e l l w i t h my b r o t h e r , I s t a y o u t o f h i s way. My d a d g i v e s s p e c i a l t r e a t m e n t a n d my b r o t h e r a l w a y s r e m i n d s me a b o u t t h a t .  90 S i x t y p e r c e n t o f t h e adopted c h i l d r e n i n t h e mixed f a m i l i e s mentioned t h a t a l t h o u g h t h e y d i d n ' t have any major d i f f i c u l t i e s w i t h t h e i r s i b l i n g s , they d i d n ' t have c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r  non-adopted  s i b l i n g s because they were so d i f f e r e n t from them: L a u r a , a g e 16: I'm d i f f e r e n t f r o m e v e r y o n e i n my f a m i l y . I'm n o t c l o s e t o my b r o t h e r s a n d s i s t e r s b u t I g e t a l o n g w i t h my a d o p t e d b r o t h e r , we a r e c l o s e . T a n y a , a g e 15: I'm d i f f e r e n t f r o m my b r o t h e r s a n d s i s t e r s and t h e y a r e q u i t e a b i t o l d e r t h a n me s o we d o n ' t h a v e much i n common. S h e l l e y , a g e 17: My s i s t e r a n d I n e v e r u s e d t o g e t a l o n g v e r y w e l l , i t s j u s t t h a t we a r e s o d i f f e r e n t . The a d o p t e e s ' sense o f b e l o n g i n g .  A l l o f t h e adoptees from only  adoptive f a m i l i e s f e l t t h a t they belonged i n t h e i r f a m i l i e s : C h e r y l , a g e 16: I f e e l l i k e I b e l o n g i n t h e f a m i l y I d o n ' t f e e l l e f t o u t o f a n y t h i n g , i t s l i k e I was meant t o be h e r e . P a u l , a g e 16: I f e e l t h a t I b e l o n g , I d o n ' t f e e l l e f t o u t , t h i s i s my f a m i l y , I t h i n k i t ' s c r a z y some k i d s b l a m e t h e i r p r o b l e m s on b e i n g a d o p t e d . M a r i e , a g e 14: I b e l o n g i n t h i s f a m i l y , t h e r e i s a l o t of sense o f belonging here. Pam, a g e 14: I b e l o n g , t h e p e o p l e who a d o p t e d me a r e my parents. However, i n t h e mixed f a m i l i e s , 67% o f t h e adoptees had d i f f i c u l t i e s i n d e v e l o p i n g a s t r o n g s e n s e o f b e l o n g i n g i n t h e i r f a m i l i e s . Nonadopted s i b l i n g s can r e i n f o r c e t h e f e e l i n g , o f n o t b e l o n g i n g , as can the p e r c e p t i o n t h a t t h e adoptee's p e r s o n a l i t y i s mismatched with other f a m i l y members: A l i c e , a g e 14: I t h i n k I b e l o n g s o r t o f , l i k e my b r o t h e r a n d s i s t e r t h e y a r e q u i t e c l o s e s o t h e y s o r t o f make me f e e l l e f t o u t . I f e e l l i k e I b e l o n g w i t h my mom b u t n o t my d a d .  91 Don, a g e 15: F o r a w h i l e I s o r t o f f e l t l i k e I was d i f f e r e n t j u s t b e i n g a d o p t e d , l i k e I w a s n ' t a s much a p a r t o f t h e f a m i l y a s t h e y w e r e a n d i t was p r e t t y bad, I don't f e e l as b e l o n g i n g as t h e o t h e r k i d s . L a u r a , a g e 16: I f e l t l i k e a p a r t o f t h e f a m i l y f r o m t h e b e g i n n i n g I g u e s s b u t when I was y o u n g e r my b r o t h e r a n d s i s t e r t e a s e d me a l o t , I d i d n ' t f e e l l i k e I b e l o n g e d a t a l l t h e n , o r when I was d e p r e s s e d o r f i g h t i n g i n t h e f a m i l y . When I t h o u g h t I was a m i s t a k e I r e a l l y d i d n ' t b e l o n g t h e n . T a n y a , a g e 15: S o m e t i m e s I l o o k a r o u n d t h e t a b l e when t h e w h o l e f a m i l y i s t o g e t h e r a n d I t h i n k I'm n o t r e a l l y l i k e t h e m , i t s l i k e I d o n ' t b e l o n g a n d somehow I j u s t g e t a f e e l i n g t h a t my g r a n d p a r e n t s h a v e n ' t a c c e p t e d me y e t . S o m e t i m e s I g e t up a n d l e a v e t h e t a b l e a n d j u s t go t o my r o o m . R i c h a r d , a g e 17: I g u e s s I b e l o n g h e r e b u t n o t t h a t much s o m e t i m e s . I d o n ' t b e l o n g w i t h my d a d we a r e n ' t at a l l a l i k e , o u r p e r s o n a l i t i e s a r e so d i f f e r e n t . N a n c y , a g e 15: I d o n ' t b e l o n g h e r e , t h a t i s t h e f e e l i n g t h a t I g e t . I t s h o u l d h a v e b e e n somebody e l s e , I b e l o n g s o m e w h e r e e l s e a n d I d o n ' t know w h e r e . Sometimes I d o n ' t even f e e l l i k e I b e l o n g on t h i s p l a n e t , I g u e s s t h e r e i s a p a r t o f me w a n t i n g t o b e l o n g somewhere. I t s l i k e y o u r f e e t a r e o f f t h e ground and you a r e j u s t f l o a t i n g , f l o a t i n g around s i n c e I was b o r n . T h e r e was a t e n d e n c y f o r a d o l e s c e n t s who v i e w e d t h e m s e l v e s a s d i f f e r e n t f r o m o n e o r m o r e f a m i l y members t o a l s o h a v e some d i f f i c u l t i e s d e v e l o p i n g a s t r o n g sense o f b e l o n g i n g i n t h e i r f a m i l i e s , however, t h e magnitude o f t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p c a n n o t be d e t e r m i n e d  i n such a d e s c r i p t i v e a n a l y s i s .  The e x t e n d e d f a m i l i e s ' a t t i t u d e s t o w a r d s a d o p t i o n . P r e v i o u s r e s e a r c h had i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e g r a n d p a r e n t s ' v i e w s on a d o p t i o n h a d a f f e c t e d some adoptive parents a b i l i t y t o f e e l comfortable with t h e i r d e c i s i o n t o adopt. So t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s i n t h i s r e s e a r c h w e r e a s k e d t o r e c a l l e a r l y experiences with t h e i r extended f a m i l i e s .  their  Sixty percent of the parents  92  interviewed mentioned  t h a t t h e i r p a r e n t s had e x p r e s s e d some o p p o s i t i o n  o r c o n c e r n about them a d o p t i n g . H a l f o f t h e s e p a r e n t s were p a r e n t s i n m i x e d f a m i l i e s , w i t h b o t h b i o l o g i c a l and a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n . The a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s w e r e u n p r e p a r e d f o r , and s u r p r i s e d by t h e i r p a r e n t s ' r e a c t i o n s : M o t h e r : E v e r y b o d y was s u p p o r t i v e e x c e p t my f a t h e r . He d i d n o t a c c e p t h e r f o r q u i t e a few y e a r s . I t w a s n ' t h i s grandaughter i n h i s eyes because I hadn't given b i r t h t o h e r . My mom n e v e r s a i d a n y t h i n g t h o u g h . M o t h e r : B o t h o u r m o t h e r s made comments t o me l i k e d i d we know what we w e r e d o i n g , and t h e y d i d n ' t know i f t h e y c o u l d a c c e p t t h e m , I was s u r p r i s e d by t h e i r r e a c t i o n . F a t h e r : The g r a n d p a r e n t s g i v e p r e f e r e n t i a l t r e a t m e n t t o o u r n a t u r a l k i d s , and i t i s q u i t e o b v i o u s , t h e y i g n o r e t h e a d o p t e d k i d s . We d i d n ' t e x p e c t i t and t h e n we thought they would g e t used t o the i d e a but they haven't, t h e y are v e r y narrow minded I t h i n k . M o t h e r : I n e v e r t h o u g h t t h e r e w o u l d be a p r o b l e m b u t t o my amazement t h e r e was a l o t o f o p p o s i t i o n . T h e y t h o u g h t i t was u n e c c e s s a r y and f o o l i s h , w h a t a b o u t t h e o t h e r c h i l d r e n , t h e y h a v e a c c e p t e d h e r as a member o f t h e f a m i l y now, b u t i n i t i a l l y t h e y w e r e v e r y o p p o s e d . T h e s e r e s u l t s s u g g e s t t h a t some f a m i l i e s ' p e r c e p t i o n s and f e e l i n g s a b o u t b i o l o g i c a l t i e s a r e s t r o n g , and t h e i d e a o f a d o p t i o n c a u s e s t h e m some d i f f i c u l t y .  In 4 0 % o f t h e f a m i l i e s , t h e e x t e n d e d f a m i l y members  e x p r e s s e d p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s a b o u t t h e c o u p l e ' s i n t e n t t o a d o p t and w e r e d e l i g h t e d t o acknowledge  t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d as a member o f t h e f a m i l y :  Mother: They were a l l d e l i g h t e d , nobody s a i d a n y t h i n g t o u s , he was j u s t a u t o m a t i c a l l y c o n s i d e r e d a p a r t o f t h e family. M o t h e r : Our p a r e n t s w e r e q u i t e e n t h u s i a s t i c , t h e y w e r e a n x i o u s t o have g r a n d c h i l d r e n so t h e y were p l e a s e d , t h e y f o r g o t t h a t t h e y were adopted.  93 The P a r e n t s ' A d o p t i o n  Experience  The e a r l y a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e . A l t h o u g h a l l t h e a d o p t i v e  mothers  i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y f e l t p r e p a r e d t o a d o p t , on f u r t h e r p r o b i n g i t was d i s c o v e r e d t h a t a c t u a l l y r e c e i v i n g t h e c h i l d and t a k i n g t h e b a b y home p r o d u c e d f a i r l y d i f f e r e n t e x p e r i e n c e s f o r m o t h e r s who a l r e a d y had n a t u r a l c h i l d r e n , and m o t h e r s who o n l y had a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n .  Mothers  w i t h o n l y a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n d i d n o t p e r c e i v e any m a j o r p r o b l e m s  during  t h e e a r l y p e r i o d o f a d o p t i v e p a r e n t h o o d , and d i d n o t a p p e a r t o h a v e any d i f f i c u l t i e s i n d e v e l o p i n g m a t e r n a l  feelings:  M o t h e r : Oh I l a t c h e d on t o h e r r i g h t away, s h e was my b a b y . I t was l i k e s h e was m i n e f r o m t h e s t a r t . M o t h e r : As s o o n as we p i c k e d h e r up f r o m t h e h o s p i t a l s h e was o u r s . We had s p e n t a l o t o f t i m e l o o k i n g a t h e r a t t h e h o s p i t a l so s h e r e a l l y f e l t l i k e m i n e . M o t h e r : W e l l t h e i n s t a n t we g o t him he was o u r s , i t was l i k e t h a t w i t h a l l o f t h e m . I t was v e r y e x c i t i n g . Feelings of anxiety, ambivalence  and g u i l t w e r e e x p e r i e n c e d by  63%  o f t h e a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s who a l r e a d y had n a t u r a l c h i l d r e n . Many o f these mothers  commented on how t h e y t h o u g h t t h e y s h o u l d f e e l ,  and  c o m p a r e d t h e e x p e r i e n c e t o when t h e y had t h e i r own c h i l d r e n . T h e i r m a i n p r o b l e m was i n d e v e l o p i n g m a t e r n a l f e e l i n g s and f e e l i n g c o m f o r t a b l e with the attachment  p r o c e s s as i t o c c u r r e d .  T h i s p r o b l e m was  accentuated  i n two f a m i l i e s w h e r e t h e b a b i e s w e r e a c o u p l e o f m o n t h s o l d e r a t t h e time of adoption: M o t h e r : I n i t i a l l y I d i d n ' t r e l a t e to h e r a t a l l , I t h o u g h t w h a t h a v e t h e y g i v e n me. I t was a w h i l e b e f o r e I h o n e s t l y b e g a n t o t h i n k o f h e r as m i n e , b u t I d i d s t a r t t o t h i n k o f h e r as m i n e t h a n k g o o d n e s s .  94 M o t h e r : I remember f e e l i n g s o r t o f h o l l o w i n my s t o m a c h , I f e l t v e r y n e r v o u s w o n d e r i n g i f I ' d made t h e r i g h t d e c i s i o n . I f I ' d b e e n a 100% h o n e s t a n d b r a v e I w o u l d h a v e s a i d n o , i t was h a v i n g a n o t h e r person's baby i n t h e house as mine. I f e l t r e a l l y g u i l t y f e e l i n g l i k e t h a t , b u t once I g o t used t o him I f e l t i l l t h a t I c o u l d a c t u a l l y h a v e t u r n e d h i m down. M o t h e r : I was n e r v o u s , I h a d my own k i d s a n d I d i d n ' t know how a d o p t i o n was g o i n g t o f e e l f o r me. I knew t h a t g i v i n g b i r t h p r o d u c e d s t r o n g m a t e r n a l f e e l i n g s b u t I d i d n ' t know what w o u l d h a p p e n w i t h a d o p t i o n . I t was r e a l l y n e r v e w r a c k i n g for the f i r s t l i t t l e while. I f e l t r e a l l y inadequate b e c a u s e I c o u l d n ' t r e l a t e t o h e r a t f i r s t , maybe b e c a u s e s h e was a c o u p l e o f m o n t h s o l d i t was h a r d e r . M o t h e r : I t was b u i l t up how much I was g o i n g t o l o v e i t by my f r i e n d s t h a t i t was e x a c t l y t h e same a s h a v i n g y o u r own, s o I t h o u g h t w h a t i s w r o n g w i t h me, why d o n ' t I f e e l t h i s way? I j u s t f e l t a w f u l f o r a long t i m e . I c o u l d n ' t r e l a t e t o t h i s baby l i k e I d i d w i t h my own c h i l d r e n , I t h o u g h t i t was l i k e a d m i t t i n g I was a b a d m o t h e r , s o I h a d t o k e e p up t h i s f r o n t t h a t e v e r y t h i n g was g r e a t . I f e l t r e a l l y g u i l t y a n d f e l t l i k e I was b a b y s i t t i n g , where a r e a l l t h e maternal f e e l i n g s t h a t I ' v e h a d w i t h t h e o t h e r k i d s . Nobody i n d i c a t e d t h a t I m i g h t f e e l l i k e t h a t i t was a c o m p l e t e s h o c k , & I g u e s s i t was w o r s e b e c a u s e s h e was a c o u p l e o f m o n t h s o l d when we g o t h e r . None o f t h e f a t h e r s i n t e r v i e w e d i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y h a d a n y a d j u s t m e n t problems  i n becoming  adoptive parents.  F o r t h e f a t h e r s i t was a much  s i m p l e r , l e s s emotional t r a n s i t i o n . The m a j o r i t y (88%) o f t h e f a t h e r s d i d n o t v i e w a d o p t i n g a s much d i f f e r e n t t h a n h a v i n g y o u r own c h i l d r e n , r e f l e c t i n g K i r k ' s (1964) " r e j e c t t h e d i f f e r e n c e " c o p i n g mechanism. theme detachment  The  , seems t o d e s c r i b e t h e f a t h e r s ' r o l e i n t h e b e g i n n i n g  stages of adoptive  parenthood:  F a t h e r : I t was r e a l l y no d i f f e r e n t t h a n p i c k i n g t h e w i f e up f r o m t h e h o s p i t a l w i t h a l l o u r o t h e r c h i l d r e n t h e r e was n o t h i n g d i f f e r e n t , when we t o o k h e r home s h e was j u s t t h e r e , s h e b e l o n g e d t o u s .  95 F a t h e r : I t was j u s t a s t h o u g h we b r o u g h t o u r c h i l d home, i t j u s t seemed n o r m a l , I d i d n ' t f e e l n e r v o u s , I didn't feel anything, I didn't realize the significance o f i t , my w i f e was much more e m o t i o n a l l y c o n c e r n e d t h a n me. F a t h e r : You d o n ' t t h i n k o f t h e c h i l d a s b e i n g a d o p t e d , you j u s t concern y o u r s e l f with t a k i n g care o f i t . I c a n ' t remember r e a l l y f e e l i n g a n y t h i n g o f a n y i m p o r t a n c e , we j u s t h a d a b a b y . R e c o g n i t i o n o f a d o p t i v e parent r o l e . Although 39% o f t h e parents s a i d t h a t t h e y were never r e a l l y aware o f b e i n g a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , t h e m a j o r i t y (62%) o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e y were most k e e n l y a w a r e o f t h e i r r o l e when comments r e g a r d i n g . f a m i l y r e s e m b l a n c e s w e r e made. T h i s was t r u e f o r b o t h m i x e d a n d o n l y a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s .  The  t h e m e "of a s e n s e o f d i f f e r e n c e was r e c o g n i z a b l e i n t h e p a r e n t s ' r e s p o n s e s : M o t h e r : You do t h i n k a b o u t i t when someone s a y s , oh d o e s n ' t she l o o k l i k e y o u , o r gee y o u r d a u g h t e r has d a r k h a i r and b o t h o f y o u a r e b l o n d e , and t h e n y o u w i l l t h i n k about i t . F a t h e r : Yeah, i t s funny, most p e o p l e say she l o o k s l i k e y o u a n d we d o n ' t know w h a t t o s a y , t h o s e a r e t h e t i m e s you a r e aware o f t h e a d o p t i o n . M o t h e r : When somebody s a y s , oh y o u d o n ' t l o o k a n y t h i n g l i k e y o u r mom, t h e n I ' l l t h i n k a b o u t i t , o r someone w i l l s a y y o u l o o k j u s t l i k e y o u r mom and I l o o k a t t h e m l i k e t h e y a r e c r a z y . F a t h e r : When p e o p l e s a y how much o u r n a t u r a l s o n l o o k s l i k e me, a n d o f c o u r s e t h e y c a n ' t s a y t h a t a b o u t o u r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n . I d o n ' t know how common i t i s f o r a p h y s i c a l l i k e n e s s b e t w e e n p a r e n t and c h i l d b u t t h e a b s e n c e o f t h a t i s d a m a g i n g o r h u r t f u l t o t h e a d o p t e d c h i l d . You c a n l o o k a t y o u r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n and n o t s e e a f a m i l y r e s e m b l a n c e . F a t h e r : When p e o p l e s a y , oh y o u l o o k l i k e y o u r f a t h e r t h a t s o r t o f t h i n g . People say t h a t without t h i n k i n g and R. d o e s n ' t l i k e b e i n g p u t i n t h a t s i t u a t i o n , I t h i n k he f e e l s o b l i g e d t o e x p l a i n h e ' s a d o p t e d . M o t h e r : When I s e e s o m e t h i n g t h a t i s s o d i f f e r e n t f r o m us o r o u r f a m i l i e s , i t makes me w o n d e r w h e r e s h e g o t i t f r o m a n d t h e n I am r e m i n d e d t h a t s h e i s adopted.  96 M o t h e r : When someone r e f e r s t o t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n o u r b i o l o g i c a l l o o k s , t h a t ' s when I remember the most. Accentuating  the s i m i l a r i t i e s or the d i f f e r e n c e s in the c h i l d ' s  r e s e m b l a n c e t o t h e f a m i l y , o r when p a r e n t s  notice d i f f e r e n t talents in  t h e i r c h i l d b o t h s e r v e t o r e m i n d t h e p a r e n t s o f t h e i r r o l e as  adoptive  parents. When t h e p a r e n t s w e r e q u e r i e d on t h e i r v i e w s r e g a r d i n g t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s or d i f f e r e n c e s in adoptive  and b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t h o o d , 60% o f t h e p a r e n t s  o n l y a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n had a t e n d e n c y t o r e j e c t t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e two t y p e s o f  parenting:  M o t h e r : We a l l h a v e t h e same p r o b l e m s I t h i n k i s no d i f f e r e n c e i f y o u h a v e y o u r own k i d s .  there  Mother: I d o n ' t see a d i f f e r e n c e , a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s h a v e t h e same s a t i s f a c t i o n s as o t h e r p a r e n t s . Mother: I don't think other parents Forty percent of the "only adoptive"  have anything  over  parents mentioned that  w i t h o n l y a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n do l a c k t h e o p p o r t u n i t y  us. parents  t o see t h e i r genes  in a c h i l d : Mother: Having a natural c h i l d might provide the s a t i s f a c t i o n of seeing y o u r s e l f in your c h i l d , s e e i n g y o u r t a l e n t s i n t h e m . On t h e o t h e r h a n d , i t c a n be v e r y s a t i s f y i n g t o n o t p u t any o f t h a t o n t o y o u r c h i l d . When y o u h a v e an a d o p t e d c h i l d y o u d o n ' t know w h a t i s c o m i n g so t h a t s k i n d o f n e a t , t h e r e a r e no e x p e c t a t i o n s . M o t h e r : The o n l y t h i n g w o u l d be t o s e e y o u r s e l f i n y o u r c h i l d , and t h a t w o u l d d e p e n d on how important t h a t was t o y o u . When y o u h a v e y o u r own c h i l d r e n t h e r e m i g h t be t h a t s e l f - e s t e e m y o u m i g h t f e e l i n s e e i n g . y o u r s e l f o r an i n h e r i t e d q u a l i t y c o m i n g o u t , and w h e r e w i t h n a t u r a l c h i l d r e n s o m e t i m e s y o u can see t h e r e s e m b l a n c e , n a t u r a l l y you would f e e l good a b o u t t h a t and an a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s d o e s n ' t g e t t h a t .  with  97 In t h e m i x e d f a m i l i e s , no d i s c e r n i b l e p a t t e r n s c o u l d be f o u n d .  Some  of t h e s e p a r e n t s had a t e n d e n c y t o view q u e s t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e d i f f e r e n c e s or s i m i l a r i t i e s i n adoptive parenthood  and n a t u r a l parenthood  as r e f e r r i n g  to them l o v i n g o r c a r i n g f o r adopted c h i l d r e n d i f f e r e n t l y than n a t u r a l children.  I n an a t t e m p t t o c l a r i f y t h i s i s s u e t h e s e p a r e n t s ' i n t e r v i e w s  were s c r u t i n i z e d t o t r y t o i d e n t i f y whether any o f t h e p a r e n t s f e l l K i r k ' s (1964) " r e j e c t " o r "acknowledge" t h e d i f f e r e n c e c o p i n g  into  styles.  No d i s c e r n i b l e p a t t e r n s w e r e f o u n d h e r e , a n d i t was n o t e d t h a t t h e p a r e n t s made a number o f c o n t r a d i c t o r y s t a t e m e n t s  regarding their perceptions  o f t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s a n d d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e two t y p e s o f p a r e n t i n g : M o t h e r : I d o n ' t t h i n k t h e r e i s much d i f f e r e n c e i n a d o p t i n g v e r s u s h a v i n g y o u r own c h i l d r e n , I d o n ' t s e e t h e d i f f e r e n c e . T h i s p a r t i c u l a r mother had s a i d e a r l i e r : Mother: I guess I gained a l o t from t h e e x p e r i e n c e because i t was q u i t e d i f f e r e n t t h a n h a v i n g my own c h i l d r e n , i t was h a r d e r s o I l e a r n e d f r o m i t , i t s a c h a l l e n g i n g experience. And a n o t h e r m o t h e r s a i d : M o t h e r : I d o n ' t l o o k o n my r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h A. a s b e i n g a n y d i f f e r e n t t h a n w i t h my n o n - a d o p t e d k i d s . She i s my c h i l d I d o n ' t t h i n k o f h e r a s b e i n g a d o p t e d s o n o , a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s a r e no d i f f e r e n t t h a n o t h e r parents. And t h e same m o t h e r l a t e r s a i d : M o t h e r : H a v i n g an a d o p t e d c h i l d s u r e h a s b e e n an experience, I expected t o get a quiet l i t t l e g i r l and b o y was I s u r p r i s e d . I t h a s b e e n d i f f e r e n t r a i s i n g h e r t h a n a n y o f t h e o t h e r k i d s . B e i n g an a d o p t i v e p a r e n t i s h a r d e r you have more t o d e a l with. The c o n t r a d i c t i o n s i n many o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ' s t a t e m e n t s ,  casts  some d o u b t on t h e p a r e n t s ' u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e q u e s t i o n a n d p e r h a p s o n  98  t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s a n d o p e n n e s s i n d i s c u s s i n g t h i s i s s u e . I t was a l s o c l e a r t h a t t h i s a r e a o f q u e s t i o n i n g was a g r e a t e r p r o b l e m f o r t h e m o t h e r s than f o r t h e f a t h e r s . The f a t h e r s t y p i c a l l y d i d n o t p e r c e i v e any d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n b e i n g an a d o p t i v e p a r e n t o r a b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t . F u r t h e r r e s e a r c h i s w a r r a n t e d t o c l a r i f y a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s on t h i s i s s u e , p a r t i c u l a r l y when t h e p a r e n t s h a v e b o t h b i o l o g i c a l a n d a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n . Something t h a t most a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s i n t h i s r e s e a r c h weren't p r e p a r e d f o r were t h e remarks o f o t h e r people r e g a r d i n g t h e i r r o l e as a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s . S i x t y p e r c e n t o f t h e p a r e n t s i n t h i s s t u d y h a d p e o p l e o u t s i d e t h e f a m i l y make r e m a r k s a b o u t t h e m p a r e n t i n g an a d o p t e d c h i l d . T h e p a r e n t s who w e r e s u b j e c t e d t o t h e s e r e m a r k s i n i t i a l l y  found  t h e m t o be q u i t e u p s e t t i n g a n d f e l t d e f e n s i v e a b o u t t h e i r s t a t u s a s adoptive parents: M o t h e r : When y o u r c h i l d r e n a r e a d o p t e d m o s t p e o p l e m i n d t h e i r own b u s i n e s s , b u t some p e o p l e s a y a l l k i n d s o f t h i n g s t o y o u , l i k e y o u h a v e t o e x p e c t s h e w i l l be a b a d g i r l b e c a u s e h e r m o t h e r was, o r a l o t o f p e o p l e w o u l d s a y , w e l l s i n c e s h e ' s a d o p t e d y o u d o n ' t know a n y t h i n g a b o u t her. They say t h o s e t h i n g s w i t h i n t h e h e a r i n g o f t h e c h i l d t o o , s o y o u h a v e t o be p r e p a r e d f o r t h a t , a t t h e b e g i n n i n g I w a s n ' t s o i t was u p s e t t i n g . Mother: I t has taken y e a r s t o g e t used t o a l l t h e remarks o f o t h e r p e o p l e and t h e q u e s t i o n s . I used t o c r y about i t . E v e r y o n e w a n t s t o h a v e t h e i r own c h i l d , t o g i v e b i r t h , and t h a t i s o u t o f y o u r l i f e a n d y o u h a v e t o a c c e p t t h a t . P e o p l e would s a y I wonder what t h e r e a l mother i s l i k e , l i k e who am I , t h e b a b y s i t t e r ? M o t h e r : P e o p l e s a y s u c h i g n o r a n t t h i n g s , l i k e how do y o u f e e l a b o u t t h e a d o p t e d k i d s , c a n y o u h a v e t h e same a f f e c t i o n f o r t h e m , t h a t k i n d o f t h i n g . One woman s a i d t o me, I l o v e my s i s t e r ' s c h i l d r e n d e a r l y , a n d t h a t must be how y o u f e e l a b o u t y o u r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n , I c o u l d n ' t b e l i e v e i t , what a t h i n g t o s a y .  99 H e r e d i t y v s e n v i r o n m e n t . When t h e p a r e n t s d i s c u s s e d t h e i r c h i l d ' s d e v e l o p m e n t o v e r t h e y e a r s t h e i r v i e w s on h e r e d i t y a n d e v i r o n m e n t eventually entered the conversation.  I n i t i a l l y , many o f t h e p a r e n t s  b e l i e v e d t h a t e n v i r o n m e n t was t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t  element i n shaping  t h e i r adopted c h i l d ' s p e r s o n a l i t y , but t h e i r experiences t h e i r b e l i e f s somewhat.  When p a r e n t s  {80%)  see behavior  had s h i f t e d  or talents that are  not i n sync with t h e r e s t o f t h e f a m i l y , there i s a tendency t o a t t r i b u t e t h i s t o h e r e d i t y . T h i s t h e m e was l a b e l e d h e r e d i t y v s e n v i r o n m e n t : F a t h e r : We h a v e l o o k e d a t S. o v e r t h e y e a r s a n d we h a v e s e e n some i n t e r e s t i n g t h i n g s t a k e p l a c e . S. h a t e s s e w i n g a n d my w i f e i s v e r y f o n d o f i t . S. l o v e s d o g s a n d n o n e o f u s a r e r e a l l y dog i n c l i n e d , even h e r t a s t e buds a r e d i f f e r e n t , h e r t a s t e i n c l o t h e s a n d j e w e l l e r y i s d i f f e r e n t t o o . We t h i n k she was b o r n w i t h t h e s e d i f f e r e n c e s , t h e y a r e d e f i n i t e t r a i t s t h a t s h e was b o r n w i t h . We h a v e n ' t i n f l u e n c e d h e r b e c a u s e t h e s e a r e t h i n g s t h a t a r e n ' t n a t u r a l t o o u r f a m i l y . S h e came w i t h them, h e r t a s t e s a r e a l i e n t o t h e r e s t o f t h e g r o u p . M o t h e r : I was u n d e r t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t t h e e n v i r o n m e n t was more i m p o r t a n t t h a n h e r e d i t y . When we f i r s t a d o p t e d I b e l i e v e d t h a t h e r e d i t a r y t h i n g s were n o t t h a t important b u t t h e n t h e way s h e w o u l d ' r e a c t t o . t h i n g s , h e r t e m p e r t a n t r u m s a n d t h i n g s l i k e t h a t w o u l d be i n f l u e n c e d by e n v i r o n m e n t , b u t now I ' v e c h a n g e d my m i n d . O v e r t h e y e a r s I n o t i c e that there a r e a l o t o f temperamental things that are i n h e r i t e d , t h a t t e n d e n c y i s t h e r e and sometimes e n v i r o n m e n t means n o t h i n g . M o t h e r : I u s e d t o t h i n k t h a t i n h e r i t e d t h i n g s w e r e 5% and t h e r e s t was e n v i r o n m e n t a l , now I t h i n k i t s t h e o t h e r way a r o u n d . I t h i n k y o u c a n m o l d a n d s h a p e t h i n g s but y o u s t i l l have t h a t f i r s t mold t o work w i t h and y o u c a n ' t c h a n g e t h a t , s o t h a t p e r s o n i s g o i n g t o be shy o r a g g r e s s i v e m o s t l y b e c a u s e o f i n h e r i t e d t r a i t s . M o t h e r : When I f i r s t g o t L . I t h o u g h t I was g o i n g t o s h a p e h e r , I f i g u r e d i t was a l l g o i n g t o be up t o me, l i t t l e d i d I know t h a t a l o t o f i t s h e i s b o r n w i t h . T h e r e i s a l o t in h e r t h a t I d i d n ' t g i v e h e r , so a l o t o f t h e t h i n g s t h a t a r e g o o d o r b a d a r e n ' t f r o m me. T h e r e a r e t i m e s when I t h i n k why i s s h e b e h a v i n g l i k e t h i s I d i d n ' t t e a c h h e r t h a t ,  100 and t h e n I t h i n k maybe s h e was b o r n t h a t way. I u s e d t o f e e l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y when s h e was b a d , I u s e d t o t h i n k w h a t am I d o i n g w r o n g , I d o n ' t do t h a t a s much now. T w e n t y p e r c e n t o f t h e p a r e n t s i n t e r v i e w e d who v i e w e d p r o b l e m a t i c b e h a v i o r i n t h e i r c h i l d r e n a l s o had a tendency t o look t o h e r e d i t y f o r t h e answers. I t seemed t o be t h e i r way o f m a k i n g s e n s e o f t h e i r c h i l d ' s b e h a v i o r : F a t h e r : W e l l i n t h e e a r l y y e a r s we t h o u g h t when y o u a d o p t a c h i l d a n d l o v e t h e m j u s t a s much a s y o u r n a t u r a l c h i l d t h a t i t w o u l d f o r m a f a m i l y b o n d , t h a t t h e y w o u l d be an e x t e n s i o n o f y o u r s e l f . We s e e now t h a t t h e r e a r e d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e g e n e s o f some c h i l d r e n , t h a t t h e y a r e s o s t r o n g t h a t t h e e n v i r o n m e n t d o e s n ' t make much d i f f e r e n c e . When t h e r e i s an e x t r e m e s i t u a t i o n n o t o f o u r s t r a i n t h e r e m u s t b e something i n t h e genes t o account f o r i t , t h e i n c r e d i b l e d i f f e r e n c e s . I t h i n k t h a t i s t h e e x p l a n a t i o n you a r e f a c e d w i t h w h e n e v e r y o u h a v e a c h i l d who i s e x t r e m e . I t j u s t m a k e s y o u w o n d e r why i s s h e l i k e t h a t , i s i t b i o l o g i c a l o r w h a t ? I f you have t h e s e problems you t h i n k o f t h a t , i f you don't have problems y o u p r o b a b l y don't r e a l l y t h i n k o f i t . M o t h e r : I f y o u t r y t o f i g u r e o u t w h e r e t h i n g s come f r o m f o r 15 y e a r s we h a v e l o o k e d a t w h e t h e r n a t u r e o r n u r t u r e makes t h e d i f f e r e n c e . I t seems t o me t h a t t h e g e n e s a r e t h e r e a n d y o u ' v e j u s t g o t t o go w i t h i t a n d s h e i s n ' t g o i n g t o c h a n g e t h o s e f u n d a m e n t a l s . When y o u h a v e a c h i l d with problems you can't help but t h i n k t h a t , e s p e c i a l l y when y o u s e e s u c h d i f f e r e n t b e h a v i o r t o y o u r own. P a r e n t s were asked whether t h e y a t t r i b u t e d any problems t o t h e i r c h i l d ' s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s and c l e a r l y t h e m a j o r i t y (69%) o f p a r e n t s d i d n o t p e r c e i v e t h a t t h e i r c h i l d ' s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s h a d been a m a j o r f a c t o r in any problems t h e i r c h i l d had d e v e l o p e d : M o t h e r : I d o n ' t t h i n k s o ; c e r t a i n l y n o n e t h a t he h a s t a l k e d a b o u t , we h a v e n ' t s e e n a n y p r o b l e m s t h a t h e ' s had b e c a u s e he i s a d o p t e d . Mother: I t h i n k t h e been because she i s any o f h e r p r o b l e m s p e r s o n a l i t y , she i s  p r o b l e m s we've h a d w i t h L . h a v e j u s t t h e type o f c h i l d she i s . I don't t h i n k a r e due t o b e i n g adopted, i t s j u s t h e r a very determined c h i l d .  101 F a t h e r : We've had t h e u s u a l ups and downs l i k e w i t h o n e o f o u r own, t h e f a c t t h a t s h e ' s a d o p t e d d i d n ' t make any d i f f e r e n c e a t a l l . T h i r t y - o n e p e r c e n t of the p a r e n t s i n t e r v i e w e d were f a c i n g ongoing d i f f i c u l t i e s with t h e i r adopted c h i l d r e n ( i . e . a l c o h o l abuse,  withdrawal,  i d e n t i t y c o n c e r n s ) , and t h e y had a t e n d e n c y t o s p e c u l a t e t h a t t h e  problems  e x p e r i e n c e d m i g h t be a c c e n t u a t e d due t o t h e i r c h i l d ' s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s . A g a i n , i t seemed t h a t t h e s e p a r e n t s w e r e t r y i n g t o make s e n s e o f t h e i r child's behavior: M o t h e r : He h a s b e e n v e r y a n g r y and f r u s t r a t e d and I p e r s o n a l l y t h i n k a l o t o f i t stemmed f r o m b e i n g a d o p t e d . He's f r u s t r a t e d and a n g r y a b o u t b e i n g a d o p t e d . M o t h e r : The f a c t t h a t s h e i s a d o p t e d has c e r t a i n l y p r e s e n t e d h e r w i t h some p r o b l e m s , I mean s h e w o u l d a l w a y s h a v e b e e n d i f f i c u l t , b u t s h e s a i d t o me, how c a n I do a n y t h i n g u n t i l I f i n d o u t why I l o o k l i k e t h i s ? F a t h e r : I t h i n k i t i s an a g g r a v a t i n g f a c t o r , I t h i n k s h e ' d h a v e had a t e r r i b l e a d o l e s c e n c e anyway and i t s j u s t b e e n made t h a t much w o r s e . S h e ' s o b s e s s e d w i t h b e i n g a d o p t e d . M o t h e r : I t h i n k s h e has had a l o t o f p r o b l e m s c o n n e c t e d w i t h a d o p t i o n because she always w o r r i e d a b i t about w a n t i n g t o know a b o u t h e r n a t u r a l m o t h e r , s h e was t h e o n l y one who was e v e r c o n c e r n e d w i t h i t . F a t h e r : S h e ' s b e e n v e r y t r o u b l e d , we've n e v e r had s u c h s e r i o u s p r o b l e m s as t h i s . We t h i n k a d o p t i o n has g i v e n h e r more p r o b l e m s . M o t h e r : T h e r e w e r e o t h e r k i d s t h a t w e r e n ' t a d o p t e d so t h e r e was s o r t o f a c o m p a r i s o n t h i n g g o i n g on a l l t h e t i m e and i t was o b v i o u s f r o m t h e b e g i n n i n g t h a t he was d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h e o t h e r k i d s . So h e ' s had p r o b l e m s w i t h t h a t , and i t s c a u s e d him a n x i e t y . These r e s u l t s suggest t h a t a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s have a tendency t o look t o h e r e d i t y t o e x p l a i n t h e i r c h i l d ' s u n i q u e b e h a v i o r o r p e r s o n a l i t y , and t h a t when p r o b l e m a t i c b e h a v i o r i s d e m o n s t r a t e d ,  there i s a tendency  l o o k a t h e r e d i t y o r t h e c h i l d ' s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s as p r e c i p i t a t i n g o r aggravating f a c t o r s i n the development  of the  problem.  to  102 The B i o l o g i c a l P a r e n t s This next s e c t i o n summarizes t h e adoptees'  and p a r e n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s  r e g a r d i n g t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , c u r i o s i t y , and s e a r c h i n g . Adoptees'  c u r i o s i t y r e g a r d i n g t h e i r o r i g i n s . Adoptees  become c u r i o u s  about t h e i r o r i g i n s a t d i f f e r e n t times and f o r d i f f e r e n t r e a s o n s . T h i r t y t h r e e p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s remembered t h e ages 8 o r 9 as b e i n g a t i m e o f i n t e n s e c u r i o s i t y , w h i c h c o i n c i d e s w i t h some o f t h e p a r e n t s ' r e c o l l e c t i o n s and t h e adoptee's of t h e adoptees  c o g n i t i v e development,  b u t f o r most  ( 6 7 % ) t h e r e a l c u r i o s i t y b e g a n a f e w y e a r s l a t e r when  t h e y r e a c h e d 12 o r 13 y e a r s o f a g e , s o m e t i m e s s p e c i f i c e v e n t s s e e m e d to t r i g g e r their curiosity: S h e l l e y , a g e 17: When I was 8 y e a r s o l d t h a t was t h e h e i g h t o f my c u r i o s i t y a n d a f t e r t h a t I w a s n ' t c u r i o u s a n y m o r e . I was r e a l l y c u r i o u s when I h e a r d o t h e r p e o p l e t a l k i n g a b o u t i t a n d I w a n t e d t o know m o r e a b o u t my b l o o d p a r e n t s . I asked a l o t o f q u e s t i o n s and I t h i n k t h a t b o t h e r e d my mom m o r e t h a n me. L a u r a , a g e 16: I t h i n k I r e a l l y s t a r t e d t o w o n d e r when I was a b o u t 8 I w o u l d w a l k down t h e s t r e e t a n d t h i n k t h a t c o u l d be my mom r i g h t t h e r e y o u know, s o t h a t i s when i t started. A l i c e , a g e 14: I was a b o u t 12 when I r e a l l y s t a r t e d t h i n k i n g a b o u t i t , I c a n ' t remember t h a t much b e f o r e t h e n . I j u s t s t a r t e d t o w o n d e r a b o u t t h e p e o p l e who h a d me a l o t . Marie, a l l my of the my mom  a g e 14: I was a b o u t 13 a n d I was a t a r e u n i o n w i t h mom's r e l a t i v e s a n d I d i d n ' t f e e l l i k e I was p a r t f a m i l y a n d i t r e a l l y b o t h e r e d me a n d s o I a s k e d a b o u t w h e r e my r o o t s w e r e , t h a t i s when i t s t a r t e d .  Don, a g e 15: When I was a b o u t 12 I f o u n d o u t I h a d a b r o t h e r somewhere so t h e n I.got more c u r i o u s , i t t r i g g e r e d something and I w a n t e d m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n . T a n y a , a g e 15: I was a b o u t 12 I t h i n k a n d I was r e a l l y c l o s e t o t h i s t e a c h e r who was a b o u t t h e same a g e a s my r e a l mom w o u l d be a n d s h e w o u l d t a l k t o me a n d i t j u s t came up s o I t a l k e d t o h e r about b e i n g adopted and t h a t s o r t o f brought i t o u t , s o f r o m t h e n on I w a n t e d m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n .  103 The i n t e n s i t y o f c u r i o s i t y v a r i e d among t h e s a m p l e o f a d o l e s c e n t s , b u t a l l t h e a d o p t e e s a d m i t t e d t h a t some c u r i o s i t y e x i s t e d , e v e n among t h o s e a d o p t e e s who a p p a r e n t l y h a d no d e s i r e f o r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n t h e r e r e m a i n e d an e l e m e n t o f c u r i o s i t y .  While t a l k i n g t o t h e a d o l e s c e n t s about  t h e c u r i o s i t y t h e y e x p e r i e n c e d , i t was c l e a r t h a t m o s t o f t h e m h a d a m b i v a l e n t f e e l i n g s a b o u t i t . T h e r e was a l s o an u n d e r l y i n g f e a r o f r e j e c t i o n e x p r e s s e d by some o f t h e a d o p t e e s a n d c o n c e r n a b o u t n o t w a n t i n g t o h u r t t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s . The theme o f ambivalence  appeared  out t h e a d o p t e e s ' d i s c u s s i o n s on t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s and t h e  throughaccompanying  c u r i o s i t y . A s u b t h e m e o f f e a r o f r e j e c t i o n was a l s o n o t e d i n t h e s e adoptees'  responses:  P a u l , a g e 16: I ' d l i k e t o j u s t b e a b l e t o s e e my m o t h e r w i t h o u t h e r k n o w i n g I'm me. I ' d l i k e t o m e e t h e r some d a y b u t I d o n ' t know w h a t s h e ' s d o i n g , i t c o u l d b e v e r y s a d o r h a p p y , b u t y o u d o n ' t know i f t h a t was a s c a r t h a t s h e w a n t s t o k e e p c o v e r e d s o I d o n ' t know. C h e r y l , a g e 16: I f e e l h e r , I don't e v e r want up u n l e s s s h e w a n t s t o her I j u s t want t o see  l i k e g o i n g o u t and f i n d i n g t o f i n d o u t why s h e g a v e me t e l l me, I d o n ' t w a n t t o h u r t w h a t I'm l i k e .  L a u r a , a g e 16: I o f t e n w o n d e r a b o u t t h e m , i t w o u l d be i n t e r e s t i n g t o s e e what t h e y a r e l i k e , h a l f t h e t i m e I'm s u r e t h e y w o u l d n ' t want t o s e e y o u a n d t h e y k i n d o f f o r g e t y o u , b u t I'd l i k e t o s e e them once. Pam, a g e 14: I d o n ' t w a n t t o m e e t t h e m , s o m e t i m e s I r e s e n t t h e m g i v i n g me up a n d s o m e t i m e s I'm g l a d t h e y d i d b e c a u s e o f t h e f a m i l y I g o t . W e l l i t w o u l d be k i n d o f n i c e t o know b u t I m i g h t f i n d o u t t h a t t h e y a r e mean p e o p l e b u t I w o u l d l i k e t o know, b u t t h e n I f e e l mad b e c a u s e t h e y d i d n ' t k e e p me s o i t s t h e i r f a u l t , then I t h i n k i t wasn't r e a l l y t h e i r f a u l t b e c a u s e t h e y w e r e s o y o u n g . I ' d l i k e t o know who t h e y a r e b u t I w o u l d n ' t want t o m e e t t h e m . R i c h a r d , a g e 17: I o f t e n f e e l v e r y c u r i o u s a b o u t i t , u s u a l l y i t i s n ' t t e m p o r a r y i t s f o r a b o u t a month o r two, I j u s t s o r t o f w o r k i t away, I j u s t s o r t o f s a y t o m y s e l f t h i n k o f t h e n e g a t i v e a s p e c t s a n d why  104 my m o t h e r w o u l d n ' t w a n t t o s e e me b e c a u s e o f the s c a r s i n h e r p a s t , I j u s t keep working at t h a t u n t i l I f o r g e t i t . S h e l l e y , a g e 17: I d o n ' t h a v e a n y w r i t t e n i n f o r m a t i o n on my r e a l p a r e n t s a n d I'm n o t l o o k i n g f o r a n y . T h e o n l y c u r i o s i t y t h e r e i s i s t h e c u r i o s i t y anybody would f e e l , y o u ' l l a l w a y s h a v e i t b u t I h a v e no i n t e n t i o n o f p u r s u i n g i t . I d o n ' t r e a l l y want t o t h i n k about i t b e c a u s e I'm h a p p y w h e r e I am and' t h e m o r e y o u know t h e m o r e c u r i o u s i t makes y o u , I d o n ' t w a n t t o g o l o o k i n g up my p a r e n t s , t h e y p r o b a b l y d o n ' t want t o see y o u so I d o n ' t want t o s e e them. I t was a l s o a p p a r e n t t h a t t h e a d o p t e e s ' c u r i o s i t y r e f l e c t e d a n e e d t o know a b o u t t h e m s e l v e s , i t d i d n o t r e f l e c t a n e e d f o r a  relationship  w i t h a b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t , b u t r a t h e r a need t o s a t i s f y t h e i r c u r i o s i t y a b o u t t h e m s e l v e s . T h i s t h e m e was l a b e l e d g e n e a l o g i c a l b e w i l d e r m e n t : Don, a g e 15: I t i s m o s t l y c u r i o s i t y , n o t t o g o b a c k and s t a r t a r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h them, i t s j u s t o u t of c u r i o s i t y . I don't t h i n k about i t a l l t h e time, I know I ' l l n e v e r go b a c k t o my o l d m o t h e r , I w o u l d n ' t w a n t t o b u t I w o u l d l i k e t o know who s h e i s and see h e r . A l i c e , a g e 14: I ' d r e a l l y l i k e t o m e e t h e r b u t I'm n o t s u r e how I ' d r e a c t , I w a n t t o f i n d o u t my b a c k g r o u n d t h a t i s a l l r e a l l y , I don't need a n o t h e r mother. T a n y a , a g e 15: I ' d j u s t l i k e t o f i n d o u t my r e a l b a c k g r o u n d , j u s t t o know who t h e p e o p l e w e r e , I d o n ' t w a n t t o go b a c k t o t h e m o r a n y t h i n g l i k e t h a t . C a t h y , a g e 17: I g e t c u r i o u s b u t I w o u l d n ' t t a k e d i r e c t a c t i o n o n i t , i t s n o t w o r t h i t , mom a n d dad p r o b a b l y wouldn't u n d e r s t a n d i t and t h e y would be h u r t , l i k e a r e n ' t t h e y g o o d e n o u g h p a r e n t s y o u know? B u t I w o u l d l i k e i n f o r m a t i o n l i k e m e d i c a l s t u f f that i s a l l though. The a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s ' c u r i o s i t y o r g e n e a l o g i c a l b e w i l d e r m e n t a l s o i n c l u d e d a p h y s i c a l i d e n t i t y component  o r theme.  T h e r e was a k e e n  interest  in t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s ' p h y s i c a l a p p e a r a n c e and whether t h e adoptee m i g h t be l i k e t h e m .  This c u r i o s i t y appears t o r e f l e c t the adolescent's  n o r m a l c o n c e r n s a b o u t p h y s i c a l a p p e a r a n c e b u t i n an e x a g g e r a t e d  form:  105 E i g h t y - s i x percent o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s mentioned biological  parents' physical  their interest  in their  appearance:  N a n c y , a g e 15: I w a n t t o f i n d o u t why I l o o k l i k e I d o , why I a c t l i k e I d o , e s p e c i a l l y why I l o o k l i k e I d o , I w i s h I c o u l d l o o k l i k e my mom. L i n d a , a g e 15: I t h i n k w h a t d o e s s h e l o o k l i k e , do I l o o k l i k e h e r ? R i c h a r d , a g e 17: I ' d j u s t l i k e t o be a b l e t o s e e h e r , s e e w h a t s h e l o o k s l i k e t o s e e how s i m i l a r we a r e i n a p p e a r a n c e . M a r i e , a g e 14: I w o n d e r w h a t my n a t u r a l p a r e n t s l o o k l i k e and i f I've e v e r seen them b e f o r e . I want t o f i n d o u t what t h e y look l i k e b u t I'd be a w f u l s c a r e d . C h e r y l , a g e 16: I'm r e a l l y i n t e r e s t e d i n a p p e a r a n c e and w h a t my m o t h e r was l i k e , i f s h e was a s i n g e r l i k e myself o r i f she ever played t h e g u i t a r l i k e I d o , when I t h i n k a b o u t i t I j u s t w a n t t o s e e what s h e l o o k s l i k e , I j u s t w a n t t o s e e i f I'm anything like her. A l i c e , a g e 14: I w a n t t o s e e w h a t s h e i s l i k e , m a i n l y t o s e e what she l o o k s l i k e . T a n y a , a g e 15: I want t o s e e w h a t s h e i s l i k e , l i k e s e e i f we l o o k a l i k e . Tom, a g e 18: I w o u l d l i k e t o h a v e some p i c t u r e s of them t o s e e what t h e y look l i k e . I've thought a b o u t t h a t a l o t y o u know, why I l o o k l i k e t h i s , I r e a l l y w o u l d l i k e t o s e e some p i c t u r e s o f t h e m , I wonder what she i s d o i n g , what she l o o k s l i k e . Adoptees'  knowledge o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l  t h e study had v a r y i n g amounts o f background  parents.  The adoptees i n  i n f o r m a t i o n on t h e b i o l o g i c a l  p a r e n t s , b u t m o s t o f t h e m h a d r e a d t h e b i o g r a p h y s h e e t s p r e p a r e d by t h e a d o p t i o n a g e n c i e s f o r t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y . O n l y two o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s had n o t s e e n t h e i r b i o g r a p h y s h e e t s .  When t h e a d o l e s c e n t s r e c e i v e d t h i s  »  106 information they described f e e l i n g s o f excitement,  awe a n d r e l i e f :  M a r i e , a g e 14: I was f a s c i n a t e d , I j u s t l o v e d i t . I t i s l i k e a p i c t u r e . I'm amazed a t w h a t t h e y a r e l i k e a n d t h a t I'm l i k e somebody I d o n ' t know. T h e r e were t h i n g s t h e r e t h a t I c o u l d i d e n t i f y w i t h . l i k e t h a t s h e was m u s i c a l a n d t h i n g s l i k e t h a t . R i c h a r d . , a g e 17: I t was s t r a n g e , i t was a p i e c e o f my p a s t t h a t I ' d n e v e r known a b o u t a n d i t was e x c i t i n g , h e r e i s s o m e t h i n g o n t h e p e o p l e t h a t made me l i t e r a l l y . I was a l w a y s w o n d e r i n g d i d I h a v e an u n d e r a g e m o t h e r a n d why my f a t h e r l e f t , b u t s h e was 24 s o I was s o r t o f r e l i e v e d t o f i n d t h a t o u t , I d o n ' t know w h a t i t was r e l i e f f r o m , j u s t w o n d e r i n g how I was made. C h e r y l , a g e 16: I t h o u g h t i t was r e a l l y n e a t g e t t i n g t h a t p i e c e o f p a p e r , l i k e wow, I w o n d e r who I'm g o i n g t o l o o k l i k e , i t was r e a l l y a weird f e e l i n g , i t s kind o f another piece being put i n t h e puzzle because i t r e a l l y i s a m y s t e r y t o me. L a u r a , a g e 16: I t s s o r t o f l i k e f i n d i n g o u t about y o u r s e l f again, things you didn't know a b o u t y o u r s e l f y o u f i n a l l y f o u n d a n d i t was r e a l l y i n t e r e s t i n g . When t h e a d o l e s c e n t s  r e c e i v e d t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n t h e r e was a t e n d e n c y  f o r them t o t r y t o f i t t h e m s e l v e s i n t o t h e p i c t u r e they had o f t h e biological parents.  T h e y b u i l t a p i c t u r e on b a r e b o n e s  and i d e n t i f i e d w i t h i t : R i c h a r d , a g e 17: I t was r e a l l y w e i r d when I g o t my b i o s h e e t b e c a u s e I c o n f o r m v e r y much t o my m o t h e r a n d f a t h e r , l i k e my f a t h e r a n d c o u s i n w e r e r e a l l y i n t o m e c h a n i c s a n d t h a t was i n t e r e s t i n g t o me b e c a u s e I s o r t o f l i k e t h a t t o o . L i n d a , a g e 15: I was q u i t e s u r p r i s e d t o r e a d i t . I f o u n d o u t my f a t h e r was a s i n g e r a n d t h a t was i n t e r e s t i n g b e c a u s e I l i k e t o s i n g , a n d my mom p l a y e d t h e g u i t a r a n d I p l a y t h e p i a n o , s o e v e r y t h i n g s o r t o f m a t c h e d up a n d my mom's d e s c r i p t i o n d e s c r i b e d me t o t a l l y .  information  107 N a n c y , a g e 15: I h a v e my m o t h e r ' s e y e s a n d I T h i n k I h a v e my f a t h e r ' s n o s e , h i s e y e b r o w s and h i s c o l o r i n g . I g o t my m o t h e r ' s h a i r a n d s t r u c t u r e , h e r e y e s a r e t h e same c o l o r a s mine and h e r p e r s o n a l i t y i s e x a c t l y l i k e mine. C h e r y l , a g e 16: I l o o k e d a t t h e i r d e s c r i p t i o n s and d e c i d e d I l o o k l i k e my m o t h e r b u t I d e f i n i t e l y h a v e my f a t h e r ' s h e i g h t a n d I t a k e a f t e r my m o t h e r m o r e . E v e n when t h e a d o l e s c e n t s h a d t h i s n o n - i d e n t i f y i n g b a c k g r o u n d  information  on t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , 8 0 % o f t h e a d o p t e e s w e r e n o t s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h e y had and d e s i r e d more. I t appears t h a t t h e b i o g r a p h y s h e e t s a r e n o t enough t o s a t i a t e t h e adoptee's  curiosity:  Don, a g e 15: I ' d a l w a y s l i k e t o know m o r e , l i k e who s h e i s , who i s my s i s t e r b u t y o u know y o u c a n ' t f i n d o u t . N a n c y , a g e 15: T h e b i o s h e e t s a r e n ' t e n o u g h , t h e law seems t o t h i n k s o , b u t i t i s n ' t e n o u g h t o satisfy you. L i n d a , a g e 15: I w o u l d l i k e t o know m o r e , some t h i n g s a r e r e a l l y important l i k e d i s e a s e s and a l s o t h i n g s t h a t happened d u r i n g h e r l i f e . Two a d o p t e e s who h a d no b i o g r a p h y s h e e t s w e r e s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h e y had and were n o t i n t e r e s t e d i n knowing any more: S h e l l e y , a g e 17: I'm n o t a t a l l i n t e r e s t e d i n k n o w i n g who t h e y a r e , I'm s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i n f o r m a t i o n . B a r b a r a , a g e 15: I'm s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i n f o r m a t i o n I h a v e I d o n ' t h a v e much o f a d e s i r e t o g o o u t a n d find her at least at this point. ;  T h e s e two g i r l s h a d b e e n v e r y c u r i o u s a b o u t t h e i r o r i g i n s when t h e y were 8 and t h e i r p a r e n t s had d e a l t w i t h t h e s e i s s u e s a t l e n g t h d u r i n g that time. I t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t f o r t h e time being these adoptees' and c u r i o s i t y i n t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s h a d b e e n s a t i a t e d .  interest  108 The p a r e n t s ' s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h i n f o r m a t i o n r e b i o l o g i c a l When t h e p a r e n t s w e r e a s k e d w h a t t h e y knew a b o u t t h e i r a d o p t e d  parents. child's  b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , 92% o f t h e parents i n d i c a t e d t h a t they weren't -  s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h e y h a d , a n d many r e m a r k e d t h a t a t the time you a r e g i v e n t h e background i n f o r m a t i o n you don't pay t o o much a t t e n t i o n t o i t : Mother: There were q u e s t i o n s I would never have thought t o a s k a t t h e t i m e , a l l y o u t h i n k a b o u t i s g i v e me my b a b y . I'm n o t s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i n f o r m a t i o n now, t h e r e i s a l o t m o r e I w a n t t o know, t h i n g s c o n c e r n i n g t h e a c t u a l b i r t h , i t makes y o u a n g r y b e c a u s e y o u w a n t t h e i n f o r m a t i o n a n d n o b o d y seems t o h a v e i t . F a t h e r : A t t h e t i m e we w e r e n ' t c o n c e r n e d w i t h h i s b a c k g r o u n d . When he was 10 he w a s n ' t a c h i e v i n g v e r y w e l l a n d we w o n d e r e d a b o u t h i m a n d t r y i n g t o f i g u r e h i m o u t s o t h a t i s when we w e n t b a c k t o t h e a g e n c y a n d g o t h i s b i o s h e e t . We w o n d e r e d is there anything i n h i s background t h a t would h e l p u s . We h a d no w r i t t e n i n f o r m a t i o n o n h i m at a l l . M o t h e r : T h e y h a d q u i t e a b i t o f i n f o r m a t i o n on h e r b u t a t t h e t i m e we w e r e n ' t i n t e r e s t e d i n i t . We w a n t e d h e r no m a t t e r w h a t i n f o r m a t i o n came w i t h h e r , now I w i s h we h a d a s k e d m o r e q u e s t i o n s . Mother: him a n d are too me t h e n be.  I t was a v e r b a l d i s c u s s i o n when we g o t a t t h e time you don't pay a t t e n t i o n you e x c i t e d . I t didn't sink i n at a l l with I d i d n ' t know o f w h a t i n t e r e s t i t w o u l d  O n l y o n e p a r e n t was n o t i n t e r e s t e d i n a n y b a c k g r o u n d  information  and was q u i t e s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h e f a m i l y h a d r e c e i v e d : F a t h e r : T h e y d i d n ' t t e l l us much a n d we d i d n ' t p u r s u e i t . We d i d n ' t s e e a n y p o i n t . As f a r a s I'm c o n c e r n e d t h e l e s s y o u know t h e b e t t e r b e c a u s e ohen I ' d h a v e t o t e l l h e r a n d i f we g e t pumped b y h e r t h e n we o n l y know so much, a n d s o i f s h e was t h e t y p e o f p e r s o n who r e a l l y pursued t h i s t h i n g then she might have d e c i d e d t o look for her. T h i s f a m i l y viewed t h e knowledge o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s as a dangerous t h i n g , h o w e v e r t h i s a t t i t u d e was n o t t y p i c a l o f t h e f a m i l i e s i n t h e s t u d y .  109 The p a r e n t s w e r e a l s o a s k e d w h e t h e r t h e y t h o u g h t t h e i r c h i l d r e n w e r e s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h e y had g i v e n t h e m .  The p a r e n t s '  r e s p o n s e s i n d i c a t e d t h a t 80% o f them agreed t h a t t h e i r c h i l d  would  p r o b a b l y l i k e m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n . H o w e v e r , 2 0 % o f t h e p a r e n t s who  had  c h i l d r e n who e x p r e s s e d a d e s i r e f o r more i n f o r m a t i o n d i d n o t b e l i e v e t h e i r c h i l d was i n t e r e s t e d i n m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n . The p a r e n t - c h i l d d i s c r e p a n c i e s in these f a m i l i e s i n d i c a t e s t h a t e i t h e r the adoptee  had  not communicated t h i s message t o t h e p a r e n t s , o r , t h e p a r e n t s were not c o g n i z a n t of the adoptee's expressed d e s i r e s .  In t h e m a j o r i t y o f  f a m i l i e s , t h o s e p a r e n t s who e x p r e s s e d a d e s i r e f o r m o r e  background  i n f o r m a t i o n on t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s a l s o had c h i l d r e n who  were  i n t e r e s t e d i n o b t a i n i n g more i n f o r m a t i o n . T h e a d o p t e e s ' v i e w s on s e a r c h i n g . E i g h t y - s e v e n p e r c e n t o f t h e adoptees i n t e r v i e w e d i n d i c a t e d t h a t they would their biological parents.  like to search f o r  H o w e v e r , a l o n g w i t h t h i s d e s i r e t o know  of t h e i r o r i g i n s were a l s o f e e l i n g s of ambivalence,  apprehension,  r e j e c t i o n as t h e a d o p t e e s d i s c u s s e d t h i s a s p e c t o f a d o p t i o n . The  and need  f o r t h e s e c h i l d r e n t o know m o r e a b o u t t h e i r p a s t s was s t r o n g , b u t t h e i r r e s p o n s e s a l s o i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y w o u l d n ' t be l o o k i n g f o r r e l a t i o n s h i p s with these people, but f o r i n f o r m a t i o n to f i l l i n the blank spots: M a r i e , age 14: I w a n t t o f i n d o u t w h a t t h e y l o o k l i k e b u t I'd be a w f u l s c a r e d . I t h i n k i n t i m e I ' l l know more a b o u t my r e a l f e e l i n g s and I ' l l be a b l e t o make t h e r i g h t d e c i s i o n a b o u t l o o k i n g f o r my b i r t h m o t h e r , I w o u l d n ' t w a n t i t t o h a p p e n r i g h t now. ..  . R i c h a r d , -age 17: I want t o go b a c k t o t h e h o s p i t a l and c h e c k a d m i s s i o n s when I was b o r n and t r y t o t r a c k h e r down t h a t way. I d o n ' t r e a l l y want t o m e e t h e r , I want i t t o be o n e s i d e d , I want t o s e e w h a t s h e ' s l i k e , i f s h e w a n t e d t o s e e me t h e n I w o u l d b u t n o t u n l e s s s h e w a n t e d t h e i n t e r a c t i o n .  Tom, a g e 18: I f I d o f i n d t h e m I c o u l d be r e a l l y m e n t a l l y damaged o r d o t h e same t h i n g t o t h e m . I would r e a l l y l i k e t o meet h e r though, i t s been b u i l d i n g up f o r a l o n g t i m e . C h e r y l , a g e 16: I t s g o i n g t o t a k e a l o t o f g u t s t o do i t b u t i t s v e r y i m p o r t a n t t o me. I d o n ' t know i f i t w o u l d h u r t t h e m o r me, i t w o u l d p r o b a b l y h u r t my mom a n d a l s o i f I s a i d I w a n t e d t o meet h e r a n d t h e n s e e i n g i f s h e was w i l l i n g t o s e e me. I don't l i k e being r e j e c t e d and t h e s e people c o u l d s a y t h a t t h e y d o n ' t w a n t t o s e e me a n d t h e n I ' d f e e l bad because I don't want t o walk around feeling t o t a l l y rejected thinking that these p e o p l e t h a t g a v e me up d o n ' t w a n t t o s e e me. L a u r a , a g e 16: I m i g h t l o s e s o m e t h i n g by s e a r c h i n g but I j u s t have t o f i n d o u t , i t doesn't matter i f i t s n e g a t i v e . You know y o u w a n t t o a n d y o u know t h a t t h e y won't l e t y o u i t s v e r y f r u s t r a t i n g , even i f i t m i g h t be n e g a t i v e I w o u l d s t i l l l i k e t o know who they a r e . Don, a g e 15: I t w o u l d f u l f i l l my c u r i o s i t y , t h e r e i s a p a r t o f my l i f e t h a t i s m i s s i n g a n d I want t o p u t i t i n p l a c e . I d o n ' t t h i n k t h e r e w o u l d be anything a f t e r t h e meeting, I don't t h i n k I'd e v e r s e e h e r a g a i n , y o u know y o u h a v e n o t h i n g to s t a r t a r e l a t i o n s h i p on. A l i c e , a g e 14: I d o w a n t t o f i n d o u t b u t i t d e p e n d s o n what t h e y a r e l i k e , I am n o t s u r e t h a t I want t o a c t u a l l y meet them, b u t I t h i n k i t w o u l d be a n e a t e x p e r i e n c e , when I g e t o l d e r I t h i n k I w i l l do i t . N a n c y , a g e 15: I t s a c t u a l l y s t o p p i n g me f r o m g r o w i n g any m o r e . I c a n ' t g e t o n w i t h l i f e u n t i l I f i n d t h e m . When I know who I am t h e n I c a n c o n t i n u e . I w o u l d be e x t r e m e l y s c a r e d t h o u g h , i t s a f u n n y t h i n g t o be s c a r e d o f m e e t i n g y o u r own m o t h e r . I may d i e t o m o r r o w a n d my n a t u r a l m o t h e r may a l r e a d y be d e a d s o I h a v e t o do i t now. T a n y a , a g e 15: I t h i n k y o u s h o u l d be g i v e n t h e i n f o r m a t i o n when y o u a r e 18 t h e n y o u c a n go f i n d t h e m i f y o u w a n t , b u t maybe t h e p a r e n t s d o n ' t w a n t t o s e e y o u a n d maybe t h a t w o u l d be h a r d t o d e a l w i t h , b u t I w o u l d s t i l l l i k e t o know, I'm g o i n g t o l o o k when I'm o l d e r .  Ill And f r o m t h e t w o a d o p t e e s who h a d no d e s i r e t o s e a r c h came t h e s e responses: C a t h y , a g e 17: I ' v e r e a d a b o u t i t i n b o o k s a n d newspapers, i t s l i k e i t s a b i g reunion but t h a t ' s s u c h a f a r c e , i t was h e r d e c i s i o n s h e g a v e t h e c h i l d up s o t h e r e i s no a t t a c h m e n t a f t e r t h a t . B a r b , a g e 15: I t h i n k p e o p l e who w a n t t o s e a r c h f o r t h e i r natural parents are not secure i n themselves l i k e they f i g u r e t h a t they have t o have something l i k e they a r e n o t complete, I f e e l complete I have t h a t s e c u r i t y , b e s i d e s , t h e n a t u r a l mother wouldn't want t o s e e y o u , s o why w a s t e y o u r t i m e . A l t h o u g h t h e s e a d o l e s c e n t s were n o t i n t e r e s t e d i n s e a r c h i n g , t h e r e was a s u b - t h e m e o f f e e l i n g s o f r e j e c t i o n i m p l i c i t i n t h e i r  statements.  P a r e n t s ' v i e w s o n s e a r c h i n g . When t h e p a r e n t s w e r e a s k e d t o d i s c u s s t h e i r v i e w s on a d o p t e e s s e a r c h i n g f o r b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s t h e r e was a l o t o f d i s c u s s i o n . T h i s was a s u b j e c t t h a t e v e r y p a r e n t h a d a s t r o n g o p i n i o n on.  S u r p r i s i n g l y , a l l t h e p a r e n t s s a i d they would s u p p o r t t h e i r c h i l d r e n  i f t h e y d e c i d e d t o s e a r c h , p r o v i d i n g t h e c h i l d was a t l e a s t 18 y e a r s o f age.  Most o f t h e p a r e n t s d i d n o t t h i n k c h i l d r e n under t h a t age were  mature enough t o handle t h e t a s k .  A n o t h e r p a t t e r n t h a t was d i s c e r n i b l e  i n t h e p a r e n t s ' r e s p o n s e s was t h e i r c o n c e r n t h a t t h e c h i l d m i g h t further rejection: M o t h e r : I d o n ' t t h i n k y o u n e e d t o do t h a t a t 14 o r 16. I d o n ' t t h i n k t h e y c o u l d h a n d l e i t , t h e y m i g h t b e r e j e c t e d w h i c h I t h i n k w o u l d be h o r r i b l e and i t m i g h t p r o v i d e an o u t f o r h e r , y o u know, w e l l I ' l l go a n d l i v e w i t h my n a t u r a l m o t h e r i f I d o n ' t g e t w h a t I w a n t h e r e . S h e know t h a t s h e h a s o u r s u p p o r t when t h e t i m e c o m e s , i f s h e w a n t s t o l o o k we w i l l h e l p h e r .  experience  112 Mother: For a w h i l e t h e r e I would have been u p t i g h t a b o u t i t I t h o u g h t how w o u l d I h a n d l e i t , how w o u l d I r e a c t , b u t now I t h i n k s h e c a n h a n d l e i t and by t h e t i m e s h e i s 19 s h e c o u l d c e r t a i n l y h a n d l e i t s o I w o u l d s u p p o r t h e r b e c a u s e I'm s u r e e v e n i f s h e became g o o d f r i e n d s w i t h h e r m o t h e r we w o u l d s t i l l be h e r p a r e n t s , so we'd s u p p o r t h e r . F a t h e r : I w o u l d s a y t o h e r be c a r e f u l t h a t y o u d o n ' t b e t b u r n e d y o u r s e l f and d o n ' t go m a r c h i n g i n t o a f a m i l y where i t might have been k e p t a s e c r e t , I'd s a y do i t b u t w i t h c a u t i o n and through the proper channels. -  F a t h e r : She m i g h t f i n d t h e r e s u l t s d i s a p p o i n t i n g b u t I w o u l d n ' t w a n t t o do a n y t h i n g t o s t o p h e r , b u t I'd be a b i t n e r v o u s a b o u t t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s , b u t we w o u l d h a v e t o s u p p o r t h e r . M o t h e r : I w o u l d l i k e R. t o l o o k up h i s m o t h e r f o r h i s own p e a c e o f m i n d . R i g h t now he i s t o o y o u n g t o h a n d l e t h e f e e l i n g s he i s g o i n g t o e x p e r i e n c e b u t when he i s 19 i f he d e c i d e d t o s e a r c h I'd do e v e r y t h i n g I c o u l d t o h e l p h i m . I t s n o t g o i n g t o c h a n g e o u r r e l a t i o n s h i p , I'm a f r a i d t h a t maybe t h e m o t h e r won't w a n t t o a c k n o w l e d g e him and t h a t w o u l d h u r t him d e e p l y , s o I'm a f r a i d f o r him i n a way. M o t h e r : I ' l l h e l p him i f he w a n t s t o f i n d them.I'm n o t p a r t i c u l a r l y a n x i o u s f o r him t o do i t b u t h e ' s a l l o w e d i f he w a n t s t o do i t . I t w o u l d n ' t b o t h e r me i f he w a n t e d t o s e a r c h , I w o u l d n ' t f e e l t h r e a t e n e d , I'm h i s mom and I d o n ' t t h i n k h e ' l l r u n o f f and l e a v e me. I f he was g o i n g t o s e a r c h I'd t r y t o p r e p a r e him f o r maybe b e i n g r e j e c t e d b e c a u s e I ' v e h e a r d o f t h a t happening. Two f a m i l i e s w e r e a c t i v e l y i n v o l v e d i n a s e a r c h and t h e s e p a r e n t s f e l t c o m p e l l e d t o a s s i s t t h e i r c h i l d r e n b a s e d on t h e c h i l d ' s e m o t i o n a l p r o b l e m s and t h e c h i l d ' s i n t e n s e i n t e r e s t i n f i n d i n g t h e b i o l o g i c a l parents: M o t h e r : I s e e n o t h i n g w r o n g w i t h s e a r c h i n g , I'm n o t l o s i n g p o s i t i o n , I'm n o t w o r r i e d a t a l l . I t u s e d t o u p s e t me when "someone w o u l d s a y w h a t a b o u t  113 t h e r e a l m o t h e r b u t I f e e l c o m f o r t a b l e now. I d o n ' t t h i n k L. s h o u l d do t h i s on h e r own, t h e y n e e d a l o t o f e m o t i o n a l s u p p o r t . L. i s v e r y h a p p y t h a t I'm s e a r c h i n g f o r h e r , I c a n u n d e r s t a n d h e r n e e d so I am h e l p i n g h e r . M o t h e r : She s a y s I ' l l a l w a y s be h e r m o t h e r b u t s h e ' s g o i n g t o f i n d her n a t u r a l mother. She's been wanting t o s e a r c h f o r q u i t e a w h i l e . She s a y s t o me I know y o u a r e a f r a i d , y o u a r e s u p p o r t i n g me b u t y o u a r e a f r a i d , and s h e i s r i g h t . I know t h a t s h e n e e d s t o do t h i s , I u n d e r s t a n d t h i s n e e d t o s e a r c h b u t I g u e s s i t s n a t u r a l t o want t o b e l i e v e t h a t y o u ' v e been such a good p a r e n t t h a t t h i s c h i l d won't miss h e r unknown p a s t , so f r o m t h a t a n g l e y o u f e e l bad and r e s e n t i t . You h a v e t o do t h i s t h i n g b u t I wish I d i d n ' t have t o . I hope i t doesn't happen t o o soon because of t h e emotions i n v o l v e d , I don't know w h e t h e r s h e w i l l h a n d l e i t i f i t i s a disappointment. F a t h e r : I'm v e r y s u p p o r t i v e o f i t , i t i s a s i m p l e r i s s u e f o r me I t h i n k . The o n l y a m b i v a l e n t f e e l i n g I h a v e i s t h a t i t c o u l d be h u r t f u l f o r h e r . Maybe s h e w o u l d be d i f f e r e n t i f s h e knew more a b o u t h e r s e l f . Maybe s h e w o u l d s e t t l e down and be t r u e t o h e r s e l f b e c a u s e r i g h t now I t h i n k s h e b e l i e v e s s h e m u s t a c t i n a c e r t a i n way b e c a u s e t h a t i s how s h e i m a g i n e s s h e s h o u l d be. Parent-adoptee  d i s c r e p a n c i e s i n views of s e a r c h i n g .  Although  80%  o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s a c k n o w l e d g e d t h a t t h e i r p a r e n t s had v e r b a l l y communicated t h e i r support r e g a r d i n g the s e a r c h i n g i s s u e , who w e r e n o t a c t i v e l y s e a r c h i n g ( 6 6 % ) , v i e w e d issue t h a t d i d not warrant  s e a r c h i n g as a p e r s o n a l  parental involvement.  that these adolescents f e l t uncomfortable  the.adoptees  I t was a l s o c l e a r  about d i s c u s s i n g such  f e e l i n g s w i t h t h e i r p a r e n t s , and i n some c a s e s , had d i f f i c u l t y t h e i r p a r e n t ' s p l e d g e o f s u p p o r t as b e i n g a s i n c e r e Don, age 15: I t h i n k my mom w o u l d h e l p me i f I w a n t e d t o l o o k b u t I d o n ' t know w h e t h e r I'd go t o h e r f o r h e l p , I ' l l j u s t do i t on my own.  one:  accepting  114 R i c h a r d , a g e 17: My mom seems t o be s u p p o r t i v e b u t I t h i n k I ' l l d o i t on my own, I w o u l d l i k e t o do i t w i t h o u t my p a r e n t s k n o w i n g . C h e r y l , a g e 16: S h e i s v e r y s u p p o r t i v e , I d o n ' t know i f s h e f e e l s t h r e a t e n e d o r j e a l o u s , I ' d be j e a l o u s i f my d a u g h t e r w a n t e d t o f i n d o u t who h e r r e a l m o t h e r w a s . I ' l l p r o b a b l y d o i t o n my own. L a u r a , a g e 16: I u s e d t o t h i n k t h a t s h e s u p p o r t e d me b u t t h e n o n c e when we w e r e t a l k i n g a b o u t i t she s a i d o u t o f t h e b l u e I don't mind i f y o u want t o f i n d them, s o r t o f don't worry I don't mind, b u t e v e n t h o u g h s h e s a i d t h a t t o me I'm n o t s u r e , I d o n ' t know i f s h e i s b e i n g h o n e s t , b u t I t h i n k I ' l l do i t on my own s o m e d a y . M a r i e , , a g e 14: A w h i l e a g o I b r o u g h t i t up a n d i t d i d n ' t w o r k o u t t o o w e l l . S h e a s k e d me some q u e s t i o n s I d i d n ' t l i k e a n d I g o t mad a t h e r b e c a u s e s h e a s k e d me w h e r e w o u l d I r a t h e r l i v e w i t h my n a t u r a l m o t h e r o r h e r e a n d I d i d n ' t w a n t t o a n s w e r t h a t b e c a u s e I d i d n ' t r e a l l y know s o I t h i n k I should keep t h o s e t h i n g s t o m y s e l f . Twenty p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s were unaware t h a t t h e i r p a r e n t s would be s u p p o r t i v e o f a s e a r c h : C a t h y , a g e 17: I w o u l d n ' t w a n t t o a s k my p a r e n t s a b o u t s e a r c h i n g , my mom i s e x t r e m e l y s e n s i t i v e , and e v e n i f i t d o e s n ' t p e r t a i n t o h e r a t a l l s h e g e t s u p s e t e a s i l y a n d v e r y h u r t . She w o u l d t a k e i t v e r y p e r s o n a l l y . I t would be v e r y hard t o s a y I was c u r i o u s s o I w o u l d n ' t want t o d o t h a t . A l i c e , a g e 14: I'm g o i n g t o do i t , I d o n ' t c a r e i f t h e y h e l p me o r n o t . I w o u l d n ' t want t o t a l k t o my mom a b o u t i t b e c a u s e I t h i n k s h e ' d f e e l l i k e s h e wasn't d o i n g a good enough j o b as a mother o r something and t h a t c o u l d change o u r r e l a t i o n s h i p . These gaps i n t h e p a r e n t - c h i l d communication  on t h i s i s s u e s u g g e s t  t h a t t h e a d o l e s c e n t s a r e v e r y s e n s i t i v e a b o u t t h i s s u b j e c t a n d do n o t want t o u p s e t t h e i r p a r e n t s by m e n t i o n i n g t h e i r i n t e r e s t i n searching f o r biological relatives.  A parent's verbal pledge of support  115 i s . n o t e n o u g h t o make t h e a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e f e e l c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h t h e i r t h o u g h t s a n d f e e l i n g s on t h i s  issue.  A d o p t e e s ' f e e l i n g s a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s . None o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s were v e r y i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l f a t h e r s .  Some a n i m o s i t y was  e x p r e s s e d toward him, b u t 93% o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s , male and f e m a l e , n e v e r r e a l l y t h o u g h t much a b o u t h i m .  The b i o l o g i c a l f a t h e r ' s r o l e i n  t h e p r e g n a n c y a n d s u b s e q u e n t a d o p t i o n was v i e w e d somewhat n e g a t i v e l y : B a r b , a g e 15: I h a v e n ' t h e a r d t h a t much a b o u t h i m . In a way I t h i n k he i s k i n d o f a j e r k b e c a u s e he l e f t h e r , b u t I d o n ' t have any r e a l l y bad f e e l i n g s toward him I guess. L i n d a , a g e 15: I d o n ' t r e a l l y t h i n k o f h i m t h a t much. I don't r e a l l y want t o t a l k t o him. I c a l l him a g i g o l o , he r e a l l y h u r t h e r f e e l i n g s b e c a u s e how c o u l d y o u g e t a woman p r e g n a n t a n d t h e n j u s t t a k e o f f . I'm m o r e i n t e r e s t e d i n my mom. R i c h a r d , a g e 17: S o m e t i m e s I t h i n k h e ' s a r a t b u t I d o n ' t r e a l l y know, i t c o u l d h a v e b e e n h e r f a u l t . I don't r e a l l y t h i n k about him, I t h i n k about h e r . S h e l l e y , a g e 17: I d o n ' t know why b u t f o r some reason I've never even thought o f him. I never r e a l l y t h o u g h t t h a t t h e r e e v e r was o n e y o u know? 1 know t h e r e was b u t I ' v e n e v e r t h o u g h t o f h i m . P r o b a b l y b e c a u s e t h e m o t h e r g a v e me u p , I t h i n k in terms o f a mother being o u t t h e r e n o t a f a t h e r . O n l y o n e a d o p t e e was i n t e r e s t e d i n h i s b i o l o g i c a l f a t h e r a n d he was c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e p h y s i c a l a p p e a r a n c e o f t h e man: Tom, a g e 18: T h e o n l y r e a s o n I ' d l i k e t o s e e h i m i s t o s e e w h a t he l o o k s l i k e , o t h e r w i s e I w o u l d n ' t care. The a d o p t e e s ' f e e l i n g s a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r w e r e r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t than t h e i r f e e l i n g s about t h e f a t h e r . Three themes  emerged  t h a t s e r v e d t o d e s c r i b e how t h e a d o l e s c e n t s f e l t a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l mother.  116 F o r t y - s e v e n p e r c e n t o f t h e adoptees had v e r y p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s towards t h i s woman a n d t h i s t h e m e was s u b s e q u e n t l y l a b e l e d p r i d e , a s t h e s e a d o l e s c e n t s spoke o f f e e l i n g r e s p e c t and g r a t i t u d e toward h e r . The s e c o n d t h e m e was l a b e l e d r e j e c t i o n , a s 3 3 % o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s e i t h e r f e l t r e j e c t e d by h e r o r b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e y w e r e j u s t an u n p l e a s a n t memory. T h e t h i r d t h e m e was l a b e l e d i n d i f f e r e n c e , a s 2 0 % o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s were n o t aware o f any p a r t i c u l a r f e e l i n g s toward t h e b i o l o g i c a l mother: Pride C h e r y l , a g e 16: I t h i n k I'm v e r y p r o u d o f h e r f o r h a v i n g t h e g u t s a n d f o r c a r i n g e n o u g h a b o u t what my f u t u r e w o u l d b e , s h e g a v e me up k n o w i n g t h a t I w o u l d be r a i s e d p r o p e r l y i n a g o o d home, s o I'm r e a l l y i m p r e s s e d w i t h h e r , t h a t w o u l d be a h a r d d e c i s i o n t o make. M a r i e , a g e 14: I t h i n k s h e m u s t h a v e b e e n v e r y b r a v e , a nd s h e m u s t h a v e h a d a l o t o f g u t s a n d l o v e i n s i d e h e r t o h a v e t h e b a b y a n d t h e n g i v e i t up a f t e r g o i n g t h r o u g h e v e r y t h i n g . I t must have been v e r y h a r d f o r h e r b e c a u s e s h e was s o y o u n g , I t h i n k t h a t i s s p e c i a l . Rejection N a n c y , a g e 15: I t h i n k my m o t h e r s h o u l d h a v e b e e n m o r e c a r e f u l , I j u s t g e t mad t h a t I c o u l d n ' t l i v e w i t h a n o r m a l f a m i l y w i t h my p a r e n t s b e i n g my own. I f e e l s h e g a v e me up b e c a u s e s h e w a n t e d t o g e t r i d o f me, b u t I g u e s s i f y o u r own p a r e n t s g a v e y o u up t h a t i s what y o u ' d t h i n k t o o . I t h i n k i t w o u l d h a v e b e e n b r a v e r o f h e r t o h a v e k e p t me e v e n i f s h e was l i v i n g i n a two room a p a r t m e n t . A l o t o f g i r l s p u t t h e i r b a b i e s up f o r a d o p t i o n j u s t t o g e t r i d o f t h e m , t h e y d o n ' t want t o h a v e t h e b u r d e n . Indifference S h e l l e y , a g e 17: I d o n ' t f e e l a n y t h i n g r e a l l y , I d o n ' t f e e l b a d o r mad o r h a t e h e r , s h e was j u s t o n e o f t h o u s a n d s o f p e o p l e who g e t p r e g n a n t a n d g i v e i t u p . S h e was j u s t someone i n t h e p a s t t h a t g a v e b i r t h t o me.  117 The a d o l e s c e n t s who f e l t i n d i f f e r e n t t o w a r d s t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r w e r e u n i n t e r e s t e d i n s e a r c h i n g f o r h e r . T h e a d o l e s c e n t s who h e l d p o s i t i v e views o r f e e l i n g s towards  t h e b i o l o g i c a l mother, a l s o had  p a r e n t s who e x p r e s s e d e m p a t h y t o w a r d t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r a n d h e r s i t u a t i o n and f e l t p o s i t i v e towards h e r . Parents' f e e l i n g s about t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s . Mothers  and f a t h e r s  had v e r y d i f f e r e n t e x p e r i e n c e s i n r e g a r d t o t h e i r p e r s o n a l f e e l i n g s about t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s . Fathers very r a r e l y , i f ever,  thought  about t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , and a l l o f them i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y r e a l l y h a d no s i g n i f i c a n t f e e l i n g s t o w a r d t h e m a t a l l : F a t h e r : I h a v e no f e e l i n g s f o r t h e m , I d o n ' t know t h e m . F a t h e r : I must c o n f e s s I don't t h i n k about t h e b i o l o g i c a l parents very o f t e n , i n f a c t , probably not a t a l l , he's h e r e , I'm n o t l o o k i n g b a c k . F a t h e r : I haven't t h o u g h t o f them f o r y e a r s , I r e a l l y h a v e no f e e l i n g s a b o u t t h e m , I d o n ' t t h i n k a b o u t t h e m . Mothers,  on t h e o t h e r h a n d , t e n d e d t o t h i n k a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l  m o t h e r on t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s b i r t h d a y s a n d on s p e c i a l f a m i l y o c c a s i o n s , w h i l e o t h e r m o t h e r s f e l t some s a d n e s s f o r t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r ' s l o s s . Mothers  c l e a r l y had a more e m o t i o n a l t i e t o t h e i r c h i l d ' s  b i o l o g i c a l parents, p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e b i o l o g i c a l mother. E i g h t y - f i v e percent o f t h e mothers expressed these  views:  M o t h e r : I t h i n k a b o u t S . ' s m o t h e r a l o t . F o r many y e a r s I had t h i s f e e l i n g o f b e i n g s o r t o f l i n k e d t o h e r , I f e l t a l o t o f c o n c e r n f o r h e r f o r many y e a r s . I f e e l a very close t i e . M o t h e r : I t h i n k o f h e r m o t h e r on h e r b i r t h d a y a n d I w o n d e r how s h e i s m a n a g i n g , I w o n d e r a b o u t how s h e i s now.  118 M o t h e r : I u s u a l l y t h i n k a b o u t t h e m a t C h r i s t m a s and on b i r t h d a y s . She w o u l d come t o m i n d s o m e t i m e s and I w o u l d t h i n k w e l l she m u s t t h i n k a b o u t h e r c h i l d sometimes. Mother: I t h i n k I d i d more t h i n k i n g about t h e b i o l o g i c a l mother because I f e l t always a l i n k , I always f e l t sad t h a t t h i s m o t h e r had m i s s e d so much. I f e l t e x t r e m e l y f o r t u n a t e t h a t we had h e r c h i l d and t h a t i t was somebody e l s e ' s l o s s and t h e r e w e r e many t i m e s when I ' v e t h o u g h t about her. Mother: I t h i n k about the b i r t h mother a l o t , at every b i r t h d a y . E s p e c i a l l y when he was y o u n g e r b e c a u s e I'm s u r e i t must have been a t r a u m a t i c e x p e r i e n c e f o r her t o g i v e up t h a t b a b y and I w o u l d l o v e t o m e e t h e r s o m e d a y and show h e r t h e b a b y b o o k . I d o n ' t t h i n k about the f a t h e r but I t h i n k a l o t of the mother's f e e l i n g s b e c a u s e t h o s e f e e l i n g s f o r a c h i l d a r e so strong. F i f t e e n p e r c e n t of. t h e m o t h e r s w e r e a l s o r e m i n d e d o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s when t h e y n o t i c e d a p a r t i c u l a r t r a i t i n t h e i r c h i l d : M o t h e r : t h e t i m e s when I s e e a t r a i t t h a t s h e comes up w i t h I ' l l s o m e t i m e s t h i n k o r w o n d e r i f h e r m o t h e r was l i k e t h a t . M o t h e r : I t h i n k o f h i s m o t h e r b e c a u s e I t h i n k he l o o k s l i k e h e r . I've a l m o s t s a i d t h a t t o him b e f o r e . I w o n d e r what t h e k i d ' s p a r e n t s w e r e l i k e b e c a u s e of the t r a i t s that I see. The p a r e n t s ,  l i k e the adolescents, t y p i c a l l y d i d not t h i n k about, or  h a v e any s i g n i f i c a n t f e e l i n g s f o r t h e b i o l o g i c a l f a t h e r s . The A d o l e s c e n t s '  Adoption  Experience  In t h i s s e c t i o n t h e a d o l e s c e n t s ' t h e i r f e e l i n g s about themselves, Adolescents'  - References  to Self  v i e w s on t h e i r a d o p t i v e  and some d e v e l o p m e n t a l  adoptive status.  status,  issues are summarized.  In d i s c u s s i n g a d o p t i v e s t a t u s w i t h  t h e a d o l e s c e n t s , two p a t t e r n s e m e r g e d t h a t seemed t o d e s c r i b e how dealt  with  i t . Sixty-seven  percent of the adolescents  they  viewed t h e i r  119 a d o p t i v e s t a t u s as a f a c t o f l i f e : M a r i e , a g e 14: I t i s a f a c t o f l i f e , I h a v e t o l i v e with i t whether I l i k e i t o r not, i t s not a f f e c t i n g my l i f e r i g h t now. S h e l l e y , a g e 17: I d o n ' t t h i n k a b o u t i t , i t s s o m e t h i n g t h a t h a p p e n e d when I was b o r n , i t was a l r e a d y d e c i d e d a n d t h a t d o e s n ' t a f f e c t my l i f e r i g h t now. Don, a g e 15: I t s n o t a b i g d e a l , I d o n ' t t h i n k a b o u t i t much. The o t h e r p a t t e r n t h a t e m e r g e d was t h e t e n d e n c y o f 3 3 % o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s t o s p e c u l a t e o n how a d i f f e r e n t o u t c o m e m i g h t h a v e a l t e r e d t h e i r  lives.  T h i s s p e c u l a t i o n seemed t o b e t y p i c a l l y r e s e r v e d f o r when t h e a d o p t e e s had d i f f i c u l t i e s a t home: L a u r a , a g e 16: S p m e t i m e s when I g e t i n t o b i g f i g h t s i n t h e f a m i l y I wonder i f I c o u l d have been i n a b e t t e r f a m i l y . When t h i n g s a r e b a d a t home I i m a g i n e m y s e l f in a d i f f e r e n t f a m i l y . R i c h a r d , a g e 17: I ' v e a l w a y s w a n t e d t o know how w e l l c o u l d my m o t h e r u n d e r s t a n d me. I seem t o h a v e a p a r t i c u l a r p r o b l e m g e t t i n g my i d e a s a c r o s s t o my l e g a l p a r e n t s , a n d I'm w o n d e r i n g a b o u t my b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s how w o u l d t h e y u n d e r s t a n d me. T h a t g o e s t h r o u g h my m i n d a l o t e s p e c i a l l y when I'm h a v i n g d i f f i c u l t i e s a t home. N a n c y , a g e 15: I o f t e n w o n d e r i f b e i n g a d o p t e d a n d i f I ' d s t a y e d w i t h my n a t u r a l m o t h e r i f e v e r y t h i n g w o u l d be d i f f e r e n t i n my l i f e . T h a t makes me r e g r e t i t b e c a u s e I t h i n k i t w o u l d be b e t t e r . T a n y a , a g e 15: I j u s t w o n d e r w h a t t h e o u t c o m e w o u l d be i f I was a d o p t e d by somebody e l s e . B e i n g a d o p t e d I s o r t o f f e e l t h a t i t c h a n g e s my l i f e , y o u s p e n d a l o t o f t i m e t h i n k i n g a b o u t y o u r p a r e n t s when y o u c o u l d s p e n d i t o n o t h e r t h i n g s . I t s t a k e n up a l o t o f my t i m e , e s p e c i a l l y when t h i n g s a r e b a d a t home. When t h e a d o l e s c e n t s w e r e a s k e d t o d e s c r i b e when t h e y w e r e m o s t k e e n l y a w a r e o f t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s , two c l e a r c u t t h e m e s e m e r g e d . F a m i l y g e t togethers  reminded  53% o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s t h e y were adopted, as d i d  120 comments f r o m o t h e r s r e g a r d i n g t h e a d o p t e e ' s  resemblance  or  non-resemblance  t o o t h e r f a m i l y members. F o r t y - s e v e n p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s  mentioned  t h i s theme o f f a m i l y s i m i l a r i t y : Family Resemblance Pam, age 14: When p e o p l e s a y I l o o k l i k e my b r o t h e r , o r s o m e t h i n g l i k e t h a t , b e c a u s e we d o n ' t g e t o u r g e n e s f r o m t h e same p e o p l e s o how c a n we l o o k a l i k e ? T h a t r e m i n d s me a l l t h e t i m e . S h e l l e y , age 17: I'm t h e o n l y one w i t h d a r k h a i r and p e o p l e n o t i c e t h a t and i t r e m i n d s me I'm a d o p t e d . C h e r y l , age 16: A l o t o f p e o p l e s a y I l o o k l i k e my mom and we d o n ' t l o o k a l i k e a t a l l , t h a t r e m i n d s me. A l i c e , age 14: I t s r e a l l y f u n n y when someone s a y s , I c a n s e e t h e r e s e m b l a n c e , and s h e ' s n o t e v e n my r e a l m o t h e r , so t h e n I t h i n k a b o u t i t . T h i s t h e m e was a l s o m e n t i o n e d  by 6 2 % o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s as  reminding  t h e m o f t h e i r r o l e as a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s . T h i s s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e r e m a r k s of others p e r t a i n i n g to the adoptive f a m i l i e s ' s i m i l a r i t i e s or d i f f e r e n c e s in p h y s i c a l appearance  serves to accentuate the adoptive f a m i l i e s ' sense  of d i f f e r e n c e . F a m i l y Get  Togethers  Tom, age 18: L i k e a t C h r i s t m a s when t h e w h o l e f a m i l y i s t o g e t h e r I t h i n k a b o u t w h a t my o t h e r f a m i l y i s d o i n g , and t h e n I s o r t o f g e t d e p r e s s e d a b o u t i t . I f e e l s a d t h e n and I j u s t go up t o my r o o m . I t l a s t s a d a y t h a t i s a l l , I never would t e l l anyone though, I j u s t keep i t t o m y s e l f , t h a t s when I remember t h a t I'm a d o p t e d . . T a n y a , age 15: A t C h r i s t m a s , e s p e c i a l l y C h r i s t m a s , b u t a t m o s t f a m i l y g e t t o g e t h e r s , b i r t h d a y s and s t u f f I am r e m i n d e d t h a t I'm a d o p t e d . age .16: A t C h r i s t m a s , and l o o k i n g a t o t h e r f a m i l i e s , a l o t o f p e o p l e s a y , y o u d o n ' t l o o k l i k e y o u r f a t h e r , and t h a t s when I remember i t t o o , t h a t h a p p e n s a l o t . Paul-y  121 C a t h y , a g e 17: When we a r e a l l s i t t i n g a r o u n d t h e t a b l e t o g e t h e r t h a t s when I t h i n k a b o u t i t . L i n d a , a g e 15: On my b i r t h d a y s m o s t l y , family things too.  but at other  While discussing t h e i r adoptive status, t h e recognition that adoptees t h e o r e t i c a l l y h a v e two s e t s o f p a r e n t s f o s t e r e d a v a g u e s e n s e o f d i f f e r e n c e in 66% o f t h e adolescents.  Some o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s  t h i s f a c t b e t t e r than others.  appear t o have r e c o n c i l e d  T h i s theme' was l a b e l e d s e n s e o f d i f f e r e n c e :  A l i c e , a g e 14: E v e r y t h i n g i s n o r m a l b u t y o u h a v e t h i s t h i n g hanging over you, you a r e adopted and t h e s e a r e n ' t y o u r r e a l p a r e n t s t h a t g a v e b i r t h t o y o u . B u t o t h e r w i s e e v e r y t h i n g i s t h e same. L i k e y o u s t i l l h a v e p a r e n t s t h a t l o v e y o u , b u t y o u know they a r e n ' t your blood s o r t o f , and you c o u l d have o t h e r o n e s t h a t c o u l d be b e t t e r o r w o r s e y o u r e a l l y d o n ' t know. Pam, a g e 14: You know y o u h a v e two d i f f e r e n t f a m i l i e s . I d o n ' t t h i n k t h e r e a r e t o o many g o o d t h i n g s a b o u t t h a t , e x c e p t y o u know y o u h a v e a n o t h e r m o t h e r o u t there, i t i s different isn'ti t ? N a n c y , a g e 15: I s a y t o my p a r e n t s y o u a r e my r e a l parents but they aren't. I w i l l always f e e l l i k e a s t r a n g e r , i t s l i k e I'm l i v i n g i n a f o s t e r home, I have o t h e r p a r e n t s somewhere so i t s d i f f e r e n t . C h e r y l , a g e 16: W e l l a d o p t e d k i d s know t h a t t h e y a r e a d o p t e d a n d t h e y know t h e y a r e n ' t l i v i n g w i t h t h e i r p a r e n t s , s o t h a t makes t h e m s o r t o f d i f f e r e n t i t s d i f f e r e n t when y o u h a v e two s e t s o f p a r e n t s . C a t h y , a g e 17: You d o n ' t h a v e a n y r e a l , r e a l f a m i l y so y o u c o u l d g o o f f t o a n o t h e r p l a c e a n d s a y y o u a r e somebody e l s e b e c a u s e y o u r name i s n ' t y o u r r e a l name y o u know, i t s d i f f e r e n t when y o u know y o u h a v e o t h e r parents somewhere. Another s t r o n g p a t t e r n t h a t emerged i n t h e adoptees' adoptive status  d i s c u s s i o n on t h e i r  was a b e l i e f t h a t an unknown p a r e n t c o u l d be on t h e s t r e e t  s o m e w h e r e . T h i s t h e m e was l a b e l e d i s t h e r e a p a r e n t i n t h e c r o w d ? a n d 8 0 %  122 of the adolescents  had e x p e r i e n c e d  i t . T h i s a p p e a r s t o be a s i t u a t i o n u n i q u e  t o i n d i v i d u a l s who  h a v e one o r more unknown p a r e n t s . Some o f t h e a d o p t e e s  m e n t i o n e d how t h e y w o u l d s c a n t h e c r o w d i n a p u b l i c p l a c e l o o k i n g f o r a face s i m i l a r to t h e i r s : M a r i e , age 14: I s o m e t i m e s w o n d e r i f I'm w a l k i n g down t h e s t r e e t i f a l l o f a s u d d e n I'd s e e my b i r t h m o t h e r . Pam, age 14: I c o u l d w a l k down t h e s t r e e t and t h i n k t h a t c o u l d be my mom. C h e r y l , age 16: I t s k i n d o f w e i r d t h i n k i n g y o u c o u l d w a l k p a s t y o u r m o t h e r on t h e s t r e e t and n o t know i t . N a n c y , age 15: I c o u l d w a l k by a n y b o d y and t h a t c o u l d by my m o t h e r . C a t h y , age 17: I mean one o f y o u r t e a c h e r s c o u l d your parent.  be  R i c h a r d , age 17: When I go o u t I l o o k a r o u n d a t a l l t h e p e o p l e and t h i n k w h i c h one c o u l d be my m o t h e r , l i k e I c o u l d w a l k p a s t h e r and n o t know i t . T a n y a , age 15: L i k e when I go t o h o c k e y games o r things l i k e that I always look at the people b e c a u s e one o f t h e m c o u l d be my m o t h e r , l i k e I s t a n d w h e r e t h e s t a n d s a r e and w a t c h f o r p e o p l e t h a t c o u l d l o o k l i k e me. B a r b , age 15: I t s w e i r d t o t h i n k t h a t e v e n a t e a c h e r a t s c h o o l c o u l d be y o u r p a r e n t . Some o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s who  d i s c u s s e d t h i s theme viewed t h e i r s t r e e t s e a r c h  as a k i n d o f game, b u t f o r m o s t o f t h e m t h i s t e n d e n c y t o p e r u s e c r o w d s and w o n d e r a b o u t a p o s s i b l e r e l a t i v e b e i n g o u t on t h e s t r e e t had a r e a l i t y b a s e t o i t . The p o s s i b i l i t y o f t h i s h a p p e n i n g was When t h e a d o l e s c e n t s w e r e a s k e d  a l l t o r e a l t o them.  i f they thought  being adopted  c a u s e d t h e m any s p e c i a l p r o b l e m s , 60% o f t h e a d o p t e e s d i d n o t t h a t a d o p t i o n had b e e n a t t h e r o o t o f t h e i r p r o b l e m s , and t h e y  had  perceive accepted  r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e i r p r o b l e m s w i t h o u t u s i n g a d o p t i o n as an e x c u s e .  123 T h i r t e e n p e r c e n t of the a d o l e s c e n t s d i d c o n f e s s however t o having a d o p t i o n as an e x c u s e t o t e s t t h e i r  used  parents:  T a n y a , age 15: L a s t y e a r I f e l t l i k e I w a s n ' t one o f t h e f a m i l y . I was r e a l l y c u t o f f f r o m t h e m . I'm k i n d o f e m b a r r a s s e d t o s a y t h i s , I g u e s s i t was p a r t l y c a u s e d by a d o p t i o n , I u s e d i t as an e x c u s e , I f e l t l i k e I was a l l by m y s e l f and I couldn't. t a l k t o anybody about i t , I r e a l l y found i t hard. C h e r y l , age 16: A c o u p l e o f y e a r s ago I was r e a l l y a w f u l . I remember s a y i n g , I h a t e y o u b e c a u s e y o u a r e n ' t my r e a l m o t h e r and s t u f f l i k e t h a t . I d e c i d e d t h a t I d i d n ' t have t o l i s t e n t o them b e c a u s e t h e y w e r e n ' t my . r e a l p a r e n t s . I t was a g o o d e x c u s e t o g e t away w i t h t h i n g s . Twenty-six  percent of the a d o l e s c e n t s d i d however, b e l i e v e t h a t being  a d o p t e d had made l i f e more d i f f i c u l t f o r t h e m : Don, age 15: I t was h a r d e r f o r me t o f i t i n t o t h e f a m i l y b e c a u s e I was a d o p t e d , I d i d n ' t b e l o n g l i k e t h e o t h e r s , a t t i m e s i t was a p r o b l e m f o r me. N a n c y , age 15: I t i s h a r d t o be a d o p t e d , I c a n ' t g e t on w i t h l i f e u n t i l I f i n d my n a t u r a l p a r e n t s , I want t o f i n d t h e m now. R i c h a r d , age 17: I t seems t h a t I c a n ' t g e t a l o n g w i t h my p a r e n t s t o o w e l l . I t h i n k b e c a u s e I'm a d o p t e d t h a t I h a v e some p r o b l e m s g e t t i n g a l o n g w i t h t h e m , we a r e n ' t s u i t e d p e r s o n a l i t y w i s e , I t h i n k i f I was i n a n o t h e r p l a c e i t w o u l d be different. A d o l e s c e n t s who p e r c e i v e d t h a t t h e y had p r o b l e m s a d o p t e d , a l s o had p a r e n t s who  s p e c u l a t e d t h a t t h e i r problems  due t o , o r a c c e n t u a t e d by t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s . and c h i l d had c o n g r u e n t  because they were  perceptions.  were a l s o  On t h i s i s s u e p a r e n t  124 A d o l e s c e n t s ' p e r s o n a l v i e w s on a d o p t i o n . The a d o l e s c e n t s w e r e a s k e d t o o f f e r a d v i c e t o o t h e r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n as i t was h y p o t h e s i z e d t h a t t h e i r a d v i c e m i g h t r e f l e c t t h e i r own e x p e r i e n c e s . T h i s was  l a r g e l y confirmed  by t h e i n d i v i d u a l r e s p o n s e s , i n t h a t t h e a d v i c e d i d a p p e a r t o r e f l e c t the adoptee's  own e x p e r i e n c e .  Four themes, f e e l i n g d i f f e r e n t (40% r e s p o n s e ) ,  s e n s e o f b e l o n g i n g ( 2 7 % ) , g r a t i t u d e ( 2 0 % ) , and s e a r c h i n g ( 1 3 % ) , w e r e discovered in the adolescents'  responses:  Feeling Different P a u l , age 16: T h e r e i s no r e a s o n t o b l a m e t h i n g s on a d o p t i o n , i t d o e s n ' t make y o u any d i f f e r e n t from anyone e l s e . Don, age 15: D o n ' t f e e l d i f f e r e n t b e c a u s e y o u a r e n ' t . Well, people h o l d i t a g a i n s t you t h a t t h e y had no r i g h t t o . You a r e d i f f e r e n t b u t n o t i n t h e ways t h a t t h e y a r e s a y i n g y o u a r e d i f f e r e n t . You j u s t d o n ' t h a v e t h e same mother, i t s not good f o r k i d s t o f e e l d i f f e r e n t , j u s t not b e l o n g i n g , I guess t h a t i s the p a r t of f e e l i n g d i f f e r e n t . C h e r y l , age 16: D o n ' t f e e l d i f f e r e n t , and d o n ' t l e t p e o p l e make y o u f e e l d i f f e r e n t y o u a r e t h e same as e v e r y o n e e l s e . Sense of Belonging M a r i e , age 14: You b e l o n g , d o n ' t t h i n k y o u d o n ' t b e l o n g t o y o u r p a r e n t s , y o u h a v e known t h e m a l l y o u r l i f e . The o n l y d i f f e r e n c e i s t h a t t h e y j u s t d i d n ' t have you. Pam, age 14: I t s i m p o r t a n t t o f e e l l o v e d and t h a t you f e e l t h a t you are p a r t o f t h e f a m i l y , t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s a r e t h e ones t h a t brought you up so I g u e s s t h e y a r e y o u r r e a l p a r e n t s , b u t you should f e e l t h a t you belong t h e r e . Gratitude B a r b a r a , age 15: I f a n y o n e has g r e a t p a r e n t s l i k e m i n e and t h e y w a n t t o go s e a r c h i n g f o r t h e i r o t h e r p a r e n t s I'd say t h e y were c r a z y  125 b e c a u s e t h a t s t i r s up a l o t o f r e s e n t m e n t . A l w a y s b e g r a t e f u l a n d t r y t o make y o u r parents proud o f you. Consider y o u r s e l f very lucky. S h e l l e y , a g e 17: Be g l a d f o r w h a t y o u h a v e , i f someone c a r e s e n o u g h t o a d o p t y o u a n d g i v e y o u a home y o u a r e l u c k y , y o u a r e no d i f f e r e n t from any o t h e r c h i l d r e n . Don't t h i n k you have to pursue your r e a l parents because i t s n o t t h a t i m p o r t a n t , be g r a t e f u l y o u h a v e a home and d o n ' t e v e r t h i n k y o u a r e h a t e d by someone because you don't have blood p a r e n t s , don't f e e l t h a t they j u s t d i s c a r d e d you because they d i d n ' t , they j u s t c o u l d n ' t keep y o u . And f r o m two a d o p t e e s who w e r e s e a r c h i n g f o r t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l  parents  came t h i s a d v i c e : Searching L i n d a , a g e 15: I ' v e t r i e d t o c o n v i n c e my a d o p t e d f r i e n d s t o m e e t t h e i r p a r e n t s , a l o t o f t h e m seem angry and they s h o u l d n ' t keep a l l t h e i r f e e l i n g s t o themselves.. B u t I t h i n k i t would h e l p them i f t h e y f o u n d o u t w h e r e t h e y came f r o m . N a n c y , a g e 15: S t a r t l o o k i n g f o r t h e m now b e c a u s e you might n o t always g e t t h e chance. T a l k t o your p a r e n t s a b o u t i t , t e l l them t h a t y o u a r e n o t g o i n g t o h u r t t h e i r f e e l i n g s by d o i n g t h i s b u t t h a t i t w i l l a c t u a l l y make y o u c l o s e r t o y o u r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , t h a t i s what I t h i n k a n y w a y .  „  The a d o l e s c e n t s w e r e a l s o a s k e d t o g i v e a d v i c e t o o t h e r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , and a g a i n , t h e i r statements S i m i l a r themes were a l s o uncovered  l a r g e l y r e f l e c t t h e i r own e x p e r i e n c e s . here suggesting t h a t these a r e important  i s s u e s t o t h e adopted a d o l e s c e n t . The themes were f e e l i n g d i f f e r e n t (40%), s e a r c h i n g ( 4 0 % ) , and e a r l y r e v e l a t i o n ( 2 0 % ) : Feeling Different P a u l , a g e 16: T h i n k o f t h e m a s y o u r own c h i l d r e n b e c a u s e t h a t i s w h a t t h e y a r e , t h e r e ' s no r e a s o n t o t r e a t them d i f f e r e n t l y t h a n y o u would t r e a t your natural k i d s .  L i n d a , a g e 15: T r e a t t h e m l i k e one o f t h e f a m i l y . T e l l y o u r k i d s e a r l y and keep t e l l i n g them so t h a t t h e y g e t t h e f e e l o f i t . L e t t h e k i d come t o y o u w i t h q u e s t i o n s , d o n ' t make t h e m f e e l different. Don, a g e 15: To p o i n t o u t t h a t y o u a r e n ' t d i f f e r e n t and i f t h e r e a r e o t h e r k i d s i n t h e f a m i l y e x p r e s s t o them t h a t y o u a r e n ' t d i f f e r e n t , then i f t h e k i d s say something the parents should say that i t isn't true b e c a u s e i t i s n ' t n i c e when i t h a p p e n s t o y o u a n d t h e y make y o u f e e l d i f f e r e n t . Searching M a r i e , a g e 14: I f a c h i l d w a n t s t o g o a n d f i n d the birth parents I think the parents should s u p p o r t them 100%. A l l c h i l d r e n a r e g o i n g t o l e a v e t h e i r p a r e n t s someday a n d when t h e y do i t i s s a d , b u t t h e y w i l l a l w a y s come b a c k a n d say h e l l o . I f p a r e n t s have t h a t f e a r i t s t o o bad b e c a u s e t h e n t h e y w i l l be k e e p i n g a l o t o f things t o themselves. N a n c y , a g e 15: u n d e r s t a n d t h e i r k i d s , t h a t t h e y a r e g o i n g t o f i n d them a n d t h e y a r e n ' t g o i n g t o l e a v e y o u , and t h a t t o l o v e y o u r k i d s f o r what t h e y a r e . L e t them s e a r c h and s u p p o r t them, d o n ' t be s e l f i s h a b o u t i t , y o u s h o u l d t h i n k o f your c h i l d f i r s t not y o u r s e l f . C a t h y , a g e 17: D o n ' t be s e n s i t i v e i f y o u r c h i l d e x p r e s s e s an i n t e r e s t i n h e r b a c k g r o u n d o r p a s t d o n ' t t h i n k t h a t i t r e f l e c t s on y o u as a c o u p l e , be o p e n a n d h o n e s t a b o u t a d o p t i o n , d o n ' t h i d e i t . T r e a t y o u r a d o p t e d c h i l d t h e same a s y o u w o u l d y o u r natural child. Early Revelation A l i c e , a g e 14: T e l l t h e i r k i d s r i g h t away, t h a t i s r e a l l y i m p o r t a n t , t e l l t h e m when t h e y a r e s o l i t t l e s o t h e y g r o w up w i t h i t . T a n y a , a g e 15: T e l l t h e k i d ' , v e r y e a r l y t h a t t h e y a r e a d o p t e d a n d make t h e m f e e l l i k e t h e y a r e p a r t of t h e f a m i l y , t h e s o o n e r y o u t e l l them t h e b e t t e r .  127 The a d o p t e e s ' v i e w o f s e l f . In d e s c r i b i n g t h e m s e l v e s , t h e a d o l e s c e n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s v a r i e d f r o m t h o s e who f e l t p o s i t i v e a b o u t t h e m s e l v e s , t o t h o s e who w e r e c o n f u s e d and a l i e n a t e d . T h e t h e m e s t h a t e m e r g e d h e r e w e r e ; p o s i t i v e s e l f - i m a g e ( 3 8 % ) , i n s e c u r i t y ( 1 6 % ) , and s e n s e o f a l i e n a t i o n ( 4 6 % ) . I t s h o u l d be n o t e d h e r e , t h a t f o r t h e m a j o r i t y o f a d o l e s c e n t s , t h e i r o f s e l f were i n t i m a t e l y r e l a t e d t o t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s : Positive Self-image L i n d a , age 15: I f e e l p r e t t y l u c k y , I ' v e g o t a n i c e f a m i l y . I mean I c o u l d be s t u c k i n some bum's h o u s e . T h i n g s c o u l d be b e t t e r a t s c h o o l , b u t I f e e l p r e t t y g o o d a b o u t m y s e l f , I'm d o i n g o k a y b u t I s t i l l w a n t t o f i n d my b i r t h mom. C a t h y , age 17: I'm g e t t i n g b e t t e r I know w h a t I w a n t t o do now. I'm h a p p i e r t h a n I ' v e e v e r b e e n i n my l i f e . I'm a l o t m o r e a c t i v e i n t h e f a m i l y i n p o s i t i v e ways now. I h a v e r e s o l v e d a l o t of t h i n g s about being adopted. S h e l l e y , age 17: I f e e l q u i t e g o o d , I t h i n k I'm w o r t h w h i l e . I am h a p p y , b e i n g a d o p t e d h a s n ' t been a p r o b l e m f o r me a t a l l . Insecurity T a n y a , age 15: I f e e l i n s e c u r e , v e r y i n s e c u r e . I g e t d i s c o u r a g e d s o m e t i m e s a b o u t t h e way I f e e l about m y s e l f . I have a bad a t t i t u d e s o m e t i m e s . I f e e l i f my mom knew e v e r y t h i n g a b o u t me s h e ' d h a t e me t o o . I f e e l u n s u r e a b o u t b e i n g a d o p t e d , l i k e w h a t am I d o i n g h e r e s o m e t i m e s y o u know? I t c o n f u s e s me s o m e t i m e s . M a r i e , age 14: I d i d n ' t r e a l l y l i k e m y s e l f b e f o r e , i t s j u s t a f e e l i n g I ' v e had f o r a w h i l e , l i k e i f somebody s a y s I'm p r e t t y I go how c a n y o u s a y t h a t I p u t m y s e l f down a l o t , b u t I'm g e t t i n g b e t t e r , I c a n a c c e p t m y s e l f now, I t h i n k r e a d i n g my b i o sheet helped. Self-Alienation N a n c y , age 15: I f i n d m y s e l f s o r t o f i n b e t w e e n now, t r y i n g t o f i n d m y s e l f , b u t i t s k i n d o f h a r d when y o u d o n ' t know who y o u r n a t u r a l p a r e n t s a r e .  views  128 I'm t r y i n g t o f i n d someone who i s l i k e me, t r y i n g t o f i n d someone who m i g h t l i k e me, I'm j u s t a l i e n f r o m e v e r y b o d y e l s e . L a u r a , age 16: T h i s g i r l t o l d me o n c e how do y o u f e e l k n o w i n g t h a t y o u a r e a m i s t a k e , so I w e n t t h r o u g h a b o u t t h r e e y e a r s t h i n k i n g I was a m i s t a k e , and r e a l l y d e p r e s s e d f o r a l o n g t i m e b e c a u s e I t h o u g h t I was a m i s t a k e . I t was a r o u n d g r a d e 7 t h a t i t s t a r t e d t o b o t h e r me, i t was a w f u l . I c o n t e m p l a t e d s u i c i d e and t h i n g s l i k e t h a t , and now I n e e d t o know a b o u t my background so I can s t r a i g h t e n t h a t o u t , I don't know what o r who I am. R i c h a r d , age 17: I t s l i k e y o u h a v e n e v e r b e e n b o r n , you j u s t popped out o f t h i n a i r from n o w h e r e . Y o u ' v e g o t no b a c k g r o u n d and no h i s t o r y y o u r s e l f , you can have y o u r p a r e n t s ' h i s t o r y b u t y o u c a n ' t h a v e y o u r own, who g a v e l i f e t o me? A l i c e , age 14: S o m e t h i n g i n s i d e me i s m i s s i n g , I j u s t f e e l l i k e I'm m i s s i n g s o m e t h i n g , i t g o t me t h i n k i n g a b o u t my b a c k g r o u n d . I l o o k i n t h e m i r r o r and w o n d e r who I am, i t s w e i r d . C h e r y l , age 16: O f t e n when I go t o bed a t n i g h t I l o o k i n t h e m i r r o r a n d s a y who a r e y o u , l i k e I d o n ' t r e a l l y know, I g u e s s t h a t makes me f e e l i n s e c u r e sometimes. Developmental issues - peer r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  While the adolescents  w e r e d i s c u s s i n g t h e i r s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s and s c h o o l i s s u e s i t became c l e a r t h a t many o f t h e m h a d , a t d i f f e r e n t t i m e s , e x p e r i e n c e d some d i f f i c u l t i e s w i t h t h e i r peer r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Most o f t h e s e problems were d e s c r i b e d as t y p i c a l c h i l d h o o d p r o b l e m s w i t h f r i e n d s , b u t 4 0 % o f t h e adoptees d e s c r i b e d problems of not f i t t i n g i n with t h e i r peer group: T a n y a , age 15: A t my o t h e r s c h o o l I had l o t s o f f r i e n d s , t h e n when I came t o t h i s s c h o o l i t t u r n e d o u t I d i d n ' t r e a l l y f i t i n , I d o n ' t h a v e any f r i e n d s t h a t I can t a l k t o about r e a l l y p e r s o n a l t h i n g s .  129 M a r i e , age 14: Some f r i e n d s t u r n e d on me and s p r e a d r u m o u r s a b o u t me a t s c h o o l , and t h a t was a w f u l , I w e n t t h r o u g h a l o t t h e n b u t i t i s g e t t i n g b e t t e r now, b u t s o m e t i m e s I d o n ' t seem t o f i t i n . B a r b , age 15: I t h i n k p e o p l e e i t h e r r e a l l y l i k e me o r h a t e me, I d o n ' t know why. I d o n ' t f i t i n somet i m e s I g u e s s , one g r o u p o f g i r l s c o u l d n ' t s t a n d me a t s c h o o l and I f o u n d o u t t h e y w e r e j e a l o u s o f me, t h e y u s e d t o c a l l me names i n t h e h a l l . L i n d a , age 15: I d o n ' t g e t a l o n g w i t h my f r i e n d s , n o t v e r y w e l l anyway, I g e t i n t o t r o u b l e a t s c h o o l b e c a u s e I h a v e a b i g mouth and I g u e s s my f r i e n d s don't l i k e t h a t . S h e l l e y , age IT: M o s t o f t h e r e a s o n I q u i t s c h o o l was b e c a u s e o f t h e o t h e r s t u d e n t s , t h e y a c t i m m a t u r e a n d b u g g e d me a l l t h e t i m e , I d i d n ' t seem t o f i t i n w i t h them. T h e a d o l e s c e n t s , w i t h one e x c e p t i o n d i d n o t a t t r i b u t e any o f t h e i r p e e r p r o b l e m s t o a d o p t i o n i s s u e s . The one a d o p t e e who d i d was e n g a g e d i n a s e a r c h f o r h e r b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r and was e x t r e m e l y  unhappy:  F e m a l e , age 15: I t r e a l l y b o t h e r s me c a u s e I'm n o t l i k e my f r i e n d s i n b e i n g w i t h t h e c r o w d . A l l my f r i e n d s d r i n k and smoke and I d o n ' t do t h o s e t h i n g s and t h a t makes me f e e l more a l o n e b e c a u s e i f my f r i e n d s w e r e m o r e l i k e me maybe I w o u l d n ' t h a v e s u c h a f e e l i n g , maybe I'm t r y i n g t o f i n d s o m e b o d y t h a t i s l i k e me. I l i k e t o be a l o n e m o s t o f t h e t i m e b e c a u s e when I'm w i t h p e o p l e I f e e l alone a n y w a y . I j u s t d o n ' t f e e l l i k e anybody e l s e . I j u s t f e e l t h a t i s p r o b a b l y h a l f t h e r e a s o n I w a n t t o f i n d my m o t h e r b e c a u s e I w a n t t o f i n d someone who i s l i k e me, i f n o t i n p e r s o n a l i t y , i n t h e way we l o o k . It i s c l e a r from t h i s g i r l ' s statements t h a t her i n t e r e s t i n f i n d i n g a b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t was l i n k e d t o h e r u n h a p p i n e s s i n h e r s o c i a l  sphere  and h e r f e e l i n g s o f a l i e n a t i o n and c o n f u s i o n . H o w e v e r i t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o d e t e r m i n e c a u s e and e f f e c t , more r e s e a r c h i s w a r r a n t e d h e r e t o d e t e r m i n e i f a f e e l i n g o f a l o n e n e s s and a l i e n a t i o n t r i g g e r s t h e i n t e r e s t i n s e a r c h i n g , or the concern over adoption t r i g g e r s the peer r e l a t i o n s h i p  problems.  130 Parents' perceptions of c h i l d r e n s ' peer r e l a t i o n s h i p s .  When t h e  p a r e n t s w e r e a s k e d t o d e s c r i b e any p r o b l e m s t h e i r c h i l d r e n had e x p e r i e n c e d through the y e a r s , they reported minor school behavior problems, behavior problems, developmental  some i n s e c u r i t y , a n x i e t y , a l l r e l a t i v e l y  general  normal  problems. But almost h a l f t h e p a r e n t s (46%) a l s o p e r c e i v e d  t h a t t h e i r c h i l d r e n had e x p e r i e n c e d f a i r t o s e r i o u s p e e r p r o b l e m s .  However,  these parents d i d not r e l a t e t h e i r c h i l d ' s peer problems t o the a d o p t i v e status: M o t h e r : She has a s o c i a l p r o b l e m , s h e l i k e s t o be t h e c e n t r e o f a t t e n t i o n and s h e s a y s t h i n g s to her f r i e n d s t h a t g e t s her i n t o t r o u b l e with t h e m . She i s n ' t v e r y p o p u l a r w i t h t h e m . M o t h e r : S h e ' s had some p e e r p r o b l e m s , i n g r a d e 7 s h e d i d n ' t f e e l l i k e s h e f i t i n and s h e d i d n ' t w a n t t o go b a c k t o s c h o o l . P a r t o f h e r p r o b l e m i s b e c a u s e s h e ' s n o t n i c e and i f y o u a r e n ' t n i c e t o t h e k i d s t h e y won't l i k e you. M o t h e r : She i s n o t a b l e t o h a n d l e p e e r s v e r y w e l l . Very e a r l y i n l i f e she s t a r t e d t o c o m p l a i n about p e o p l e b u g g i n g h e r and s h e ' d come home f r o m s c h o o l u p s e t . She u s e d t o t e l l me a b o u t t h e f i g h t s w i t h k i d s a t s c h o o l and w h a t t h e y w o u l d do t o h e r . She u s e d t o t r e a t t h e a d o p t i o n w i t h h e r f r i e n d s as s o m e t h i n g s p e c i a l , t h a t s h e was a l i t t l e b i t b e t t e r t h a n t h e y w e r e , b u t as s h e h a s g o t t e n o l d e r t h e a d o p t i o n h a s g o t t e n i n c r e a s i n g l y more d i f f i c u l t f o r h e r . I t h i n k t h o u g h s h e w o u l d h a v e had a l l t h e s e peer problems anyway. M o t h e r : She s a y s t h a t t h e k i d s a t s c h o o l a l w a y s .gave h e r a h a r d t i m e , s h e s a y s t h e y w e r e c r u e l t o h e r . I ' m s u r e h e r p e e r p r o b l e m made h e r h a t e s c h o o l , i t wasn't u n t i l her l a t t e r y e a r s a t s c h o o l t h a t s h e seemed t o g e t any r e s p e c t f r o m t h e k i d s . The p a r e n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r c h i l d ' s p e e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s m a t c h e d t h e p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e i r c h i l d r e n . T h o s e a d o p t e e s who f e l t t h a t t h e y had some p e e r r e l a t i o n s h i p d i f f i c u l t i e s a l s o had p a r e n t s t h a t c o n f i r m e d their perceptions.  Q u a l i t a t i v e D a t a A n a l y s i s Summary  131  Family Communication A.  Two c l e a r p a t t e r n s w e r e d i s c o v e r e d i n t h e a d o p t e e s ' r e c o l l e c t i o n s  o f t h e r e v e l a t i o n e x p e r i e n c e . A t a g e s 3 t o 4 t h e f i r s t c l e a r memory o f b e i n g e x p o s e d t o a d o p t i o n was d e s c r i b e d , a n d a g a i n a t a g e s 7 t o 9 t h e r e i s a p e r i o d o f i n t e n s e q u e s t i o n i n g and c u r i o s i t y . B.  B o t h p a r e n t s a n d a d o l e s c e n t s a g r e e d t h a t t h e r e was no s p e c i f i c t i m e  when t h e r e v e l a t i o n o f a d o p t i o n was r e m e m b e r e d . T h e r e v e l a t i o n o c c u r r e d i n a n a t u r a l m a n n e r i n a l l t h e f a m i l i e s a n d t h e p a r e n t s h a d no r e c o l l e c t i o n that i t upset t h e i r c h i l d r e n . C. 9.  P a r e n t a l a n x i e t y o c c u r r e d d u r i n g t h e q u e s t i o n i n g p e r i o d o f a g e s 7F i f t y - f o u r percent o f t h e adoptive mothers mentioned f e e l i n g  anxious,  u n c e r t a i n , i n a d e q u a t e a n d t h r e a t e n e d by t h e i r c h i l d ' s q u e s t i o n s . D.  One h u n d r e d p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s p r e s e n t e d a f a i r l y r e l a x e d  family communication pattern regarding general adoption t o p i c s . Eightysix percent of the adolescents indicated that they i n i t i a t e d discussions a b o u t a d o p t i o n i n t h e home. E.  One h u n d r e d p e r c e n t o f t h e p a r e n t s a g r e e d w i t h t h e a d o l e s c e n t s t h a t  a d o p t i o n was an o p e n t o p i c a t home, b u t 8 4 % o f t h e p a r e n t s t h o u g h t t h a t t h e y were t h e ones t h a t i n i t i a t e d t h e d i s c u s s i o n s about a d o p t i o n i n t h e home. P a r e n t - c h i l d d i s c r e p a n c i e s w e r e n o t e d r e g a r d i n g t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s o f who g e n e r a l l y i n i t i a t e d t h e f a m i l y d i s c u s s i o n s r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n . F.  A d o l e s c e n t s had more d i f f i c u l t y d i s c u s s i n g p e r s o n a l i s s u e s r e g a r d i n g  a d o p t i o n w i t h t h e p a r e n t s . E i g h t y p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s were w o r r i e d about u p s e t t i n g t h e i r parents with questions about t h e i r backgrounds.  132 However, t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s p e r c e i v e d t h a t t h e y were open t o d i s c u s s i n g t h e s e i s s u e s , so d i s c r e p a n t p e r c e p t i o n s were noted between p a r e n t and c h i l d r e g a r d i n g t h e communication G.  Very l i m i t e d s i b l i n g communication  and b e t w e e n n o n - a d o p t e d  about t h e adoptee's  background.  was n o t e d b e t w e e n a d o p t e d s i b l i n g s ,  and adopted s i b l i n g s .  Family Relationships A.  T h e a d o l e s c e n t s g e n e r a l l y d e s c r i b e d f a i r l y , c l o s e , warm  with t h e i r mothers. t h e i r mothers,  Seventy-three percent o f t h e adoptees f e l t c l o s e t o  a n d a l s o b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e y w e r e s i m i l a r i n some r e s p e c t s  to t h e i r mothers.  Twenty-seven percent o f t h e adoptees d i d not p e r c e i v e  t h a t they had c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r mothers, b e l i e v e t h a t t h e y were s i m i l a r t o t h e i r B.  relationships  and a l s o d i d n o t  mothers.  Ninety-three percent o f t h e adoptive mothers perceived that  they  had f a i r l y c l o s e , warm r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n , h o w e v e r , o n l y 31% o f t h e s e mothers p e r c e i v e d any s i m i l a r i t i e s w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n . S i x t y - t w o p e r c e n t o f t h e m o t h e r s who s a i d t h e y h a d g o o d r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r c h i l d r e n d i d n o t p e r c e i v e any s i m i l a r i t i e s between mother and c h i l d . T h e s e r e s u l t s s u g g e s t t h a t a d o p t e e s who h a d g o o d r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r m o t h e r s a l s o h a d a t e n d e n c y t o i d e n t i f y w i t h t h e m t o some d e g r e e , w h i l e m o t h e r s who p e r c e i v e d g o o d m o t h e r - c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p s d i d not have a tendency t o i d e n t i f y with t h e i r c h i l d r e n . C.  S i x t y percent o f t h e adoptees  p e r c e i v e d t h a t t h e y had "okay"  r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r a d o p t i v e f a t h e r s , w h i l e 4 0 % o f them t h a t they p e r c e i v e d poor r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r f a t h e r s . percent o f t h e adoptees  indicated Seventy-seven  p e r c e i v e d t h a t they were d i f f e r e n t i n temperament  133 and m a n n e r i s m t o t h e i r f a t h e r s , s u g g e s t i n g l i m i t e d i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . T h e f a t h e r s had congruent p e r c e p t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s with t h e i r c h i l d r e n . Seventy-seven  p e r c e n t o f t h e f a t h e r s p e r c e i v e d no s i m i l a r i t i e s  b e t w e e n p a r e n t a n d c h i l d , a n d t h o s e f a t h e r s who p e r c e i v e d p o o r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n a l s o h a d c h i l d r e n who p e r c e i v e d p o o r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h them. D.  One h u n d r e d  percent of the parents i n only adoptive f a m i l i e s d i d not  p e r c e i v e t h a t any s i b l i n g problems  existed. Sixty percent of the parents  of mixed f a m i l i e s d i d n o t p e r c e i v e t h a t any s i b l i n g problems  existed.  Forty percent o f t h e parents o f mixed f a m i l i e s d i d p e r c e i v e s i b l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p problems,  and most f r e q u e n t l y c i t e d t h e problem o f p e r c e i v e d  s i b l i n g f a v o r i t i s m on t h e p a r t o f t h e a d o p t e e . f a m i l i e s d i d p e r c e i v e t h a t t h e non-adopted  The adoptees  i n these  siblings received preferential  t r e a t m e n t , so t h e p a r e n t s and c h i l d r e n i n t h e s e f a m i l i e s d i d have congruent E.  perceptions.  S i x t y percent o f t h e adopted c h i l d r e n i n t h e mixed f a m i l i e s d i d  not p e r c e i v e any major s i b l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p problems, t h a t they f e l t d i f f e r e n t from t h e i r non-adopted F.  but they d i d mention  siblings.  A l l o f t h e adoptees from o n l y adoptive f a m i l i e s f e l t t h a t they  belonged  i n t h e i r f a m i l i e s . Sixty-seven percent o f t h e adoptees  from  the mixed f a m i l i e s had d i f f i c u l t i e s i n d e v e l o p i n g a s t r o n g sense o f b e l o n g i n g i n t h e home. G.  S i x t y p e r c e n t o f t h e p a r e n t s i n t h e s a m p l e h a d f a m i l y members  who e x p r e s s e d o p p o s i t i o n t o w a r d a d o p t i o n . H a l f o f t h e s e p a r e n t s a l r e a d y had b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n a n d t h e o t h e r h a l f w e r e a d o p t i n g f o r t h e f i r s t  134 t i m e . F o r t y p e r c e n t o f t h e p a r e n t s i n t h e s t u d y had e x t e n d e d members who h e l d p o s i t i v e v i e w s t o w a r d t h e i r d e c i s i o n t o Parents' Adoption A.  family  adopt.  Experience  A l l o f t h e m o t h e r s o f o n l y a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n d i d n o t p e r c e i v e any  major problems  during the e a r l y period of adoptive parenthood.  t h r e e p e r c e n t o f t h e m o t h e r s who  a l r e a d y had b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n  e x p e r i e n c e d f e e l i n g s o f g u i l t , a n x i e t y and a m b i v a l e n c e period of adoptive  Sixty-  during the e a r l y  parenthood.  B. None o f t h e f a t h e r s i n t h e s t u d y p e r c e i v e d any p r o b l e m s  during this  p e r i o d . E i g h t y - e i g h t p e r c e n t o f them d i d not p e r c e i v e t h a t t h e r e were any d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n a d o p t i n g and h a v i n g c h i l d r e n b i o l o g i c a l l y .  The  t h e m e o f d e t a c h m e n t was u s e d t o d e s c r i b e t h e a d o p t i v e f a t h e r ' s r o l e during the e a r l y period of adoption. C.  T h i r t y - n i n e p e r c e n t of the a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s i n d i c a t e d t h a t they were  never r e a l l y aware o f t h e f a c t t h a t t h e y were a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , w h i l e 62% o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s were. These p a r e n t s were most k e e n l y aware o f t h e i r r o l e s as a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s when somebody m e n t i o n e d resemblance  or non-resemblance  was u s e d t o d e s c r i b e t h i s D.  the c h i l d ' s  t o t h e m . The theme o f a s e n s e o f d i f f e r e n c e  experience.  S i x t y percent of the only adoptive parents r e j e c t e d the d i f f e r e n c e s  b e t w e e n n a t u r a l and a d o p t i v e p a r e n t h o o d .  Forty percent of the only  a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s a c k n o w l e d g e d t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e two t y p e s o f p a r e n t i n g e x p e r i e n c e s by c i t i n g t h e f a c t t h a t o n l y a d o p t i v e  parents  l a c k t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o see t h e i r genes i n t h e i r c h i l d . E.  No d i s c e r n i b l e p a t t e r n c o u l d be d e t e r m i n e d  f o r parents of mixed  135 f a m i l i e s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n s on t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s o r d i f f e r e n c e s i n a d o p t i n g v s h a v i n g y o u r own c h i l d r e n . T h e s e p a r e n t s made a number o f c o n t r a d i c t o r y statements  regarding  t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e two t y p e s o f  p a r e n t i n g and i t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t t h e y m i s u n d e r s t o o d F.  The theme H e r e d i t y vs Environment  the question.  was- u s e d t o d e s c r i b e t h e t e n d e n c y  of 80% of t h e adoptive parents t o look t o h e r e d i t y t o e x p l a i n behavior o r t a l e n t s i n t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n t h a t a p p e a r t o be o u t o f s y n c w i t h the r e s t o f t h e f a m i l y . Twenty p e r c e n t o f t h e p a r e n t s with  problem  c h i l d r e n a l s o l o o k e d a t h e r e d i t y t o t r y t o make s e n s e o f t h e i r c h i l d ' s behavior. G.  Sixty-nine percent of the adoptive parents d i d not perceive that  any o f t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s p r o b l e m s  were due t o b e i n g adopted.  Thirty-one  p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s d i d p e r c e i v e t h a t they had f a c e d , o r were f a c i n g problems  w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n t h a t were due t o t h e i r  adoptive  status. The B i o l o g i c a l P a r e n t s A. T h i r t y - t h r e e p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o p t e e s  remembered ages 8 t o S as b e i n g  p e r i o d s o f i n t e n s e c u r i o s i t y about t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , w h i l e 67% remembered t h e a g e s 12 t o 13 a s b e i n g t h e p e r i o d when t h e r e a l q u e s t i o n i n g began. B.  The themes o f ambivalence  and f e a r o f r e j e c t i o n a p p e a r  in the adoptees' d i s c u s s i o n s of the b i o l o g i c a l C.  The theme o f g e n e a l o g i c a l b e w i l d e r m e n t  adoptees'  repeatedly  parents.  was u s e d t o d e s c r i b e t h e  i n t e r e s t and c u r i o s i t y i n t h e i r backgrounds.  T h i s theme  i n c l u d e d a p h y s i c a l i d e n t i t y component i n t h a t 86% o f t h e adoptees mentioned  t h a t t h e y h a d an i n t e r e s t i n t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s ' p h y s i c a l  136 appearance. D.  E i g h t y p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s were not s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e  i n f o r m a t i o n t h e y had on t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , h o w e v e r , 8 0 % o f t h e s e p a r e n t s d i d p e r c e i v e t h a t t h e i r c h i l d r e n would l i k e more i n f o r m a t i o n , b u t 2 0 % o f t h e p a r e n t s who had c h i l d r e n t h a t w a n t e d m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n d i d not b e l i e v e t h e i r c h i l d r e n were i n t e r e s t e d i n r e c e i v i n g more i n f o r m a t i o n . P a r e n t - c h i l d d i s c r e p a n c i e s were apparent here i n t h e f a m i l y  communication  on t h i s t o p i c . E.  Eighty-seven p e r c e n t of the adoptees i n d i c a t e d t h a t they would  like  t o s e a r c h f o r b i o l o g i c a l r e l a t i v e s a t some t i m e i n t h e i r l i v e s . The t h e m e s of ambivalence,  a p p r e h e n s i o n and r e j e c t i o n w e r e n o t e d i n t h e i r  responses.  F. A l l o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y w o u l d s u p p o r t t h e i r c h i l d ' s s e a r c h , p r o v i d i n g t h e c h i l d was a t l e a s t 18 y e a r s o f a g e .  Parent-  c h i l d d i s c r e p a n c i e s were noted between t h e p a r e n t s e x p r e s s e d w i l l i n g n e s s t o s u p p o r t t h e a d o p t e e , and t h e a d o p t e e s ' w i l l i n g n e s s t o e n l i s t t h e parents s u p p o r t . S i x t y - s i x p e r c e n t of the adoptees viewed s e a r c h i n g as a p e r s o n a l i s s u e t h a t d i d not w a r r a n t p a r e n t a l i n v o l v e m e n t , d e s p i t e t h e v e r b a l s u p p o r t o f t h e p a r e n t s . Twenty p e r c e n t o f t h e adoptees were not aware t h a t t h e i r p a r e n t s were w i l l i n g t o h e l p them i n such a t a s k , i n d i c a t i n g t h a t f a m i l y communication  on t h i s i s s u e had n o t t a k e n p l a c e  in these f a m i l i e s . G.  N i n e t y - t h r e e p e r c e n t o f t h e m a l e and f e m a l e a d o p t e e s i n d i c a t e d t h a t  they never thought about the b i r t h f a t h e r . Forty-seven percent of the a d o p t e e s d e s c r i b e d f e e l i n g s o f p r i d e when t a l k i n g a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r , 3 3 % d e s c r i b e d f e e l i n g s o f r e j e c t i o n , and 2 0 % d e s c r i b e d f e e l i n g s  137 o f i n d i f f e r e n c e when t a l k i n g a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r . T h o s e a d o p t e e s who f e l t i n d i f f e r e n t t o w a r d s t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r w e r e a l s o d i s i n t e r e s t e d i n s e a r c h i n g f o r h e r , a n d a d o l e s c e n t s who h a d p o s i t i v e v i e w s o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r a l s o h a d p a r e n t s who h e l d p o s i t i v e v i e w s t o w a r d s t h e biological H.  mother.  A l l o f t h e a d o p t i v e f a t h e r s e x p r e s s e d no s i g n i f i c a n t f e e l i n g s t o w a r d s  the b i o l o g i c a l f a t h e r . E i g h t y - f i v e percent o f t h e adoptive mothers thought about t h e b i o l o g i c a l mother on t h e i r c h i l d ' s b i r t h d a y and s p e c i a l o c c a s i o n s , w h i l e 15% o f t h e a d o p t i v e mothers t h o u g h t o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r when t h e y v i e w e d a p a r t i c u l a r t r a i t i n t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d t h a t seemed d i f f e r e n t t o t h e m . None o f t h e a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s h a d a n y s i g n i f i c a n t f e e l i n g s toward t h e b i o l o g i c a l f a t h e r s . The A d o l e s c e n t s ' A d o p t i o n A.  Experience  S i x t y - s e v e n percent o f t h e adolescents viewed t h e i r adoptive s t a t u s  as a f a c t o f l i f e , w h i l e 3 3 % o f them s p e c u l a t e d o n how a d i f f e r e n t outcome would have changed t h e i r B.  lives.  F o r 5 3 % o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s , , f a m i l y g e t t o g e t h e r s r e m i n d e d them t h a t  t h e y w e r e a d o p t e d , w h i l e f o r 4 7 % o f them r e m a r k s a b o u t t h e i r  similarity  o r d i f f e r e n c e i n a p p e a r a n c e t o t h e i r f a m i l i e s reminded them o f t h e i r adoptive status.  Sixty-two percent of the adoptive parents also reported  t h a t t h i s f a c t o r r e m i n d e d them o f t h e i r a d o p t i v e r o l e . C.  Eighty percent o f t h e adolescents mentioned t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t  a p e r s o n o n t h e s t r e e t m i g h t be t h e i r m o t h e r o r f a t h e r , t h i s t h e m e was l a b e l e d i s t h e r e a p a r e n t i n t h e crowd? D.  Sixty percent of the adolescents d i d not perceive that t h e i r  a d o p t i v e s t a t u s h a d c a u s e d them a n y p r o b l e m s . T h i r t e e n p e r c e n t b e l i e v e d  138 t h a t t h e y had u s e d a d o p t i o n a g a i n s t t h e i r p a r e n t s , and 2 6 % o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s d i d b e l i e v e t h a t b e i n g a d o p t e d had b e e n a p r o b l e m f o r t h e m . Congruent  p a r e n t - c h i l d p e r c e p t i o n s w e r e o b t a i n e d on t h i s i s s u e . T h o s e  a d o p t e e s who t h o u g h t t h a t a d o p t i o n had b e e n a p r o b l e m f o r t h e m a l s o had p a r e n t s who t h o u g h t t h a t t h e i r c h i l d ' s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s had b e e n a s o u r c e of d i f f i c u l t y f o r them. E.  The a d o l e s c e n t s ' a d v i c e t o o t h e r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n was  described  w i t h f o u r t h e m e s , f e e l i n g d i f f e r e n t , s e n s e o f b e l o n g i n g , g r a t i t u d e , and s e a r c h i n g . The a d o p t e e s '  a d v i c e t o o t h e r a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s was  described  u s i n g t h r e e t h e m e s f e e l i n g d i f f e r e n t , s e a r c h i n g , and e a r l y r e v e l a t i o n . F. F o r t y p e r c e n t o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s m e n t i o n e d  t h a t t h e y had had  problems  of not f i t t i n g i n w i t h t h e i r p e e r s , however 83% o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s d i d not a t t r i b u t e t h i s problem t o t h e i r adoptive s t a t u s . F o r t y - s i x percent of t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s p e r c e i v e d peer problems  in their children's  s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . P a r e n t - c h i l d p e r c e p t i o n s w e r e c o n g r u e n t on t h i s i s s u e as w e l l , as t h o s e p a r e n t s who p e r c e i v e d p e e r p r o b l e m s c h i l d r e n , a l s o had c h i l d r e n who p e r c e i v e d t h a t t h e y had p e e r  in their problems.  CHAPTER V C o n c l u s i o n s and Recommendations In t h i s c h a p t e r c o n c l u s i o n s t h a t c a n be d r a w n o n t h e b a s i s o f t h e d a t a a r e d i s c u s s e d , a r e a s t h a t c o u l d be f o l l o w e d up w i t h f u r t h e r r e s e a r c h a r e o u t l i n e d , and .suggestions and recommendations a r e o f f e r e d t o c o u n s e l l o r s who m i g h t work w i t h a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s . Conclusions In c o n d u c t i n g t h i s t y p e o f d e s c r i p t i v e r e s e a r c h , t h e r e s e a r c h e r m u s t e x t r a c t t h e r e l e v a n t c o n t e n t u n i t s f o r e x a m i n a t i o n . H o w e v e r , when r e v i e w i n g t h e study's o v e r a l l f i n d i n g s i t i s important t o bear i n mind t h a t t h e r e a r e i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s amongst a l l t h e f a c t o r s s t u d i e d , and t h a t t h e i r i n f l u e n c e o n o n e a n o t h e r c a n n o t be w h o l l y i s o l a t e d  due t o t h e complex  r e l a t i o n s h i p s t h a t e x i s t and t h e p a r t i c u l a r methodology  o f s t u d y . The  g e n e r a l t r e n d s and t e n d e n c i e s t h a t emerged i n t h i s d e s c r i p t i v e r e s e a r c h are d i s c u s s e d i n t h e hopes t h a t a f u r t h e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e w i l l be g a i n e d . Family communication.  A long-standing assumption  in the field of  a d o p t i o n has been t h a t t h e r e v e l a t i o n , o r t e l l i n g t h e c h i l d about  adoption  i s one o f t h e c e n t r a l and c r i t i c a l t a s k s f a c i n g a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s ( J a f f e e & F a n s h e l , 1970).  The t e l l i n g o f t h e f a c t s o f a d o p t i o n has been l i n k e d  to t h e l a t e r l i f e adjustment o f t h e adoptee ( J a f f e e & Fanshel,  1970).  H o w e v e r , i n t h e p r e s e n t s t u d y t h e i n i t i a l r e v e l a t i o n e x p e r i e n c e was u n c o m p l i c a t e d and u n t r a u m a t i c f o r a l l t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s i n t e r v i e w e d . The e a s e w i t h w h i c h t h e i n i t i a l r e v e l a t i o n t o o k p l a c e d o e s n o t t r u l y r e f l e c t t h e adoptees' lack o f concern o r i n t e r e s t with t h e i s s u e because  139  140 most o f the a d o l e s c e n t s d i d n ' t c o g n i t i v e l y grasp t h e concept of a d o p t i o n u n t i l a r o u n d t h e a g e s o f 7-9.  Most adoption workers  recommend t e l l i n g  c h i l d r e n t h a t t h e y a r e a d o p t e d b e f o r e t h e age o f f i v e ( B r o d z i n s k y e t a l , 1981).  But i t a p p e a r s from t h e r e s u l t s o f B r o d z i n s k y e t a l ' s (1981)  r e s e a r c h and t h e p r e s e n t r e s e a r c h , t h a t p r e - s c h o o l age c h i l d r e n a r e not r e a l l y capable of comprehending the meaning of t h e i r adoptive s t a t u s . I f p a r e n t s f a l s e l y assume t h a t t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n u n d e r s t a n d  adoption  a f t e r t h e i n i t i a l r e v e l a t i o n , t h e y may p r e m a t u r e l y t e r m i n a t e t h e d i s c l o s u r e process (Brodzinsky e t a l , 1981).  In f a c t , t h e t e r m s " t e l l i n g "  " r e v e l a t i o n " i m p l y a o n e - s h o t i n c i d e n t , r a t h e r t h a n an o n g o i n g  and process  t h a t s h o u l d become i n c r e a s i n g l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d as t h e c h i l d m a t u r e s . When t h e c h i l d r e n i n t h i s s t u d y d i d s t a r t a s k i n g p e r t i n e n t q u e s t i o n s , many o f t h e a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s e x p e r i e n c e d f e e l i n g s o f a n x i e t y and c o n f u s i o n . They were unprepared  f o r t h e i r c h i l d ' s repetitive, probing questions.  T h e i r a n x i e t y was c o m p o u n d e d when t h e y b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e y h a d a l r e a d y explained the f a c t s of adoption to the c h i l d .  Given the c h i l d r e n s '  c o g n i t i v e a b i l i t y , t h e r e p e t i t i v e n a t u r e o f t h e q u e s t i o n i n g seems t o be t h e i r way o f s o r t i n g o u t t h e i n f o r m a t i o n r e c e i v e d and a s s i m i l a t i n g i t i n t o t h e i r c o g n i t i v e schema. (The c h i l d r e n a r e not t r y i n g t o c h a l l e n g e t h e i r p a r e n t s as some o f t h e m o t h e r s i n t h e s t u d y t h o u g h t ) .  This is  an a r e a w h e r e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e m o t h e r s , c o u l d b e n e f i t from p a r e n t a l e d u c a t i o n t o h e l p p r e p a r e them f o r t h i s s t a g e i n t h e i r adopted c h i l d ' s l i f e . J a f f e e & Fanshel (1970) r e p o r t s t h a t t h e f r e q u e n c y of d i s c u s s i o n i n t h e a d o p t i v e home r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n has i m p o r t a n t i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r t h e adoptees'  image o f t h e m s e l v e s , t h e i r s e n s e o f b e l o n g i n g , and t h e i r f e e l i n g s  about the adoptive parents. Continual r e f e r e n c e to the c h i l d ' s adoptive  141 s t a t u s or t o t a l avoidance o f t h i s f a c t can s i g n a l t h e presence of unresolved c o n f l i c t s in the family regarding adoption.  In t h e p r e s e n t  s t u d y i t was n o t t h e f r e q u e n c y o f d i s c u s s i o n t h a t e m e r g e d as b u t r a t h e r t h e c o n t e n t and q u a l i t y o f t h e c o m m u n i c a t i o n . f a m i l i e s p r e s e n t e d a view t h a t communication  The  important, adoptive  took p l a c e in a r e l a x e d ,  o p e n m a n n e r , and t h a t w h e n e v e r a n y o n e w a n t e d t o t a l k a b o u t i t , i t was a c c e p t e d . H o w e v e r , t h e d e g r e e o f c o m f o r t and o p e n n e s s  t e n d e d t o r e l y on  t h e c o n t e n t o f t h e d i s c u s s i o n s . Many o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s , a l t h o u g h t h e y may h a v e f e l t c o m p e l l e d t o a s k q u e s t i o n s , d i d n o t f e e l c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h d i s c u s s i o n r e g a r d i n g t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s o r t h e i r c u r i o s i t y . Many o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y d i d not want t o h u r t o r u p s e t t h e i r p a r e n t s , w h i l e many o f t h e p a r e n t s w e r e c a u t i o u s a b o u t w h a t t h e y s a i d f o r f e a r o f m a k i n g t h e c h i l d f e e l r e j e c t e d , o r s t i r r i n g up s o m e t h i n g couldn't handle.  they  The f i n d i n g t h a t p a r e n t and a d o p t e e had d i s c r e p a n t  p e r c e p t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r b e l i e f s a b o u t who u s u a l l y i n i t i a t e d t h e d i s c u s s i o n s i n d i c a t e s t h a t the i n d i v i d u a l messages are not being g i v e n o r r e c e i v e d i n a v e r y c l e a r manner, a t l e a s t r e g a r d i n g t h e more i m p o r t a n t adoption issues. A p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n f o r some o f t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s '  communication  d i f f i c u l t i e s l i e s i n what V i r g i n i a S a t i r ( 1 9 7 2 ) r e f e r s t o as d o u b l e l e v e l communication.  D o u b l e - l e v e l responses appear i n v a r i o u s forms,  b u t f r e q u e n t l y t h e w o r d s do n o t m a t c h t h e i n n e r f e e l i n g s , o r a c o m b i n a t i o n of words a r e i n c o n g r u e n t w i t h t h e c o n t e x t . v u l n e r a b l e t o t h i s type of communication of adoptive f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s .  A d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s may be m o r e  p a t t e n , because of the circumstances  The p a r e n t s a r e t o l d t o c o m m u n i c a t e t h e  f a c t s of adoption t o t h e i r c h i l d r e g a r d l e s s of t h e i r personal f e e l i n g s ,  142 w h i l e adoptees f e e l c u r i o u s about t h e i r backgrounds but f r e q u e n t l y f e e l g u i l t y  and ask q u e s t i o n s ,  and a p p r e h e n s i v e about d o i n g i t . These k i n d s  of s i t u a t i o n s would e a s i l y lend themselves  t o incongruent  communications.  E x a m p l e s o f i n c o n g r u e n t o r a m b i v a l e n t m e s s a g e s w e r e n o t e d i n some o f t h e p a r e n t - c h i l d r e s p o n s e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y when t h e b i o l o g i c a l  parents  were d i s c u s s e d . While both t h e p a r e n t s and t h e c h i l d r e n t y p i c a l l y r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e y would l i k e more i n f o r m a t i o n on t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , 20% o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s who h a d c u r i o u s c h i l d r e n d i d n o t p e r c e i v e t h a t t h e i r c h i l d r e n w e r e c u r i o u s . T h i s p a r e n t - c h i l d d i s c r e p a n c y s u g g e s t s t h a t i n some a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s a r e e i t h e r unaware, o r r e l u c t a n t t o acknowledge t h e a d o l e s c e n t s ' need f o r i n f o r m a t i o n c o n c e r n i n g  their  o r i g i n s , o r t h e adolescents are unable o r u n w i l l i n g t o express  their  f e e l i n g s t o t h e i r p a r e n t s . A l t h o u g h many o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s p e r c e i v e d t h a t they c o u l d t a l k t o t h e i r parents about t h e i r i d e n t i t y t h e y w e r e h e s i t a n t t o do s o . Much o f t h e a d o p t e e s '  concerns,  reluctance t o openly  c o m m u n i c a t e t h e i r f e e l i n g s t o t h e i r p a r e n t s may be d u e t o t h e i r p e r c e p t i o n of t h e parents' r e a c t i o n s t o t h e i r questions.  The r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g t h a t  a l l t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s s a i d t h e y would be s u p p o r t i v e i f t h e i r c h i l d wanted t o s e a r c h f o r t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , y e t 66% o f t h e adoptees they would not e n l i s t t h e i r help, tends t o support t h i s view. cases, t h e adoptees  said  I n some  had d i f f i c u l t y b e l i e v i n g t h a t t h e i r p a r e n t s '  pledge  o f s u p p o r t i n t h i s m a t t e r was a s i n c e r e o n e , s u g g e s t i n g t h a t some ambivalence  was c o m m u n i c a t e d i n t h e p a r e n t s ' m e s s a g e s .  These r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s l e n d f u r t h e r s u p p o r t t o t h e view t h a t  .  143 adoptive f a m i l i e s are v u l n e r a b l e t o d o u b l e - l e v e l communication.  However,  i n s p i t e o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t ' s b e s t i n t e n t i o n s i n r e m a i n i n g o p e n and w i l l i n g t o d i s c u s s t h e s e i s s u e s w i t h t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d , t h e y may as some o f t h e p a r e n t s d i d i n t h i s s t u d y , t h a t t h e a d o p t e e w i l l  find,  just  f e e l too uncomfortable t a l k i n g about the b i o l o g i c a l parents with the adoptive parents.  A d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s c a n make i t d i f f i c u l t f o r t h e i r  p a r e n t s t o s h a r e i n f o r m a t i o n w i t h t h e m as t h e y h a v e a t e n d e n c y t o become p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h t h e m s e l v e s and s e e k p r i v a c y i n t h e i r t h o u g h t s  (Burgess,  1976). Given the adolescent adoptees' c u r i o s i t y i n t h e i r backgrounds  and  t h e i r s e n s i t i v i t y in d i s c u s s i n g i t within the family, the adoptive parents have t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o ensure t h a t t h e i r a d o l e s c e n t understands i t s o k a y t o b r i n g up t h e s e i s s u e s i n t h e home.  P a r e n t s who d o n ' t  that feel  c o m f o r t a b l e with the adoptee's c u r i o s i t y o r d i s c u s s i o n s about the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s w i l l i n a d v e r t e n t l y be c o m m u n i c a t i n g  this to their  a d o p t e d c h i l d . S i b l i n g s ' a t t i t u d e s on t h e s e i s s u e s c a n a l s o a f f e c t t h e f a m i l y communication  w h e r e a d o p t i o n i s c o n c e r n e d , and t h e r e s e a r c h  f i n d i n g s t h a t b o t h a d o p t e d and n o n - a d o p t e d  s i b l i n g s d i d not t a l k  adoption with each o t h e r f u r t h e r i n d i c a t e s t h a t a d o p t i v e f a m i l y i s somewhat l i m i t e d , a t l e a s t d u r i n g t h e a d o p t e e s '  about communication  adolescence.  To s u m m a r i z e , i n a g e n e r a l s e n s e , t h e s t u d y f a m i l i e s d e m o n s t r a t e d good communication  r e g a r d i n g g l o b a l a d o p t i o n i s s u e s , b u t t h e somewhat  p r o t e c t i v e atmosphere  i n t h e f a m i l i e s r e g a r d i n g t h e more v o l a t i l e i s s u e s  o f b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , c u r i o s i t y , and s e a r c h i n g , t e n d e d t o i n h i b i t t h e o p e n e x p r e s s i o n o f f e e l i n g s , and f u r t h e r , t e n d e d t o p r o m o t e d o u b l e - l e v e l communication  in the families.  144 Family r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Although i n d i v i d u a l family r e l a t i o n s h i p s were o n l y examined i n a very g l o b a l s e n s e , i n v i r t u a l l y every of p a r e n t i n g , the f a t h e r s took a back seat to the mothers.  aspect Comparative  r e s e a r c h w o u l d be i n d i c a t e d t o d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r t h i s m i g h t be a t y p i c a l pattern in f a m i l i e s during the adolescent cycle.  An a l t e r n a t e e x p l a n a t i o n  a d e p t as t h e m o t h e r s i n e x p r e s s i n g  stage of the family  life  i s t h a t the f a t h e r s were j u s t not  as  t h e i r t h o u g h t s and f e e l i n g s and  so  t h e r e f o r e d i d not c o n t r i b u t e e q u a l l y to the study.  I t was  not s u r p r i s i n g  g i v e n t h i s p a t t e r n , t h a t t h e f a t h e r s had much p o o r e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r c h i l d r e n than d i d the mothers. In t h e p r e s e n t  study a r e l a t i o n s h i p emerged between the t e n d e n c y  o f a d o p t e e s t o p e r c e i v e s i m i l a r i t i e s b e t w e e n p a r e n t and c h i l d and q u a l i t y o f t h e p a r e n t - c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p . A d o p t e e s who t h e i r parents  f e l t close to  also perceived s i m i l a r i t i e s , while those adoptees  f e l t t h a t t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s w e r e n o t c l o s e t o t h e p a r e n t s had t e n d e n c y t o p e r c e i v e d i f f e r e n c e s i n a p p e a r a n c e and R a y n o r ( 1 9 8 0 ) r e p o r t e d t h a t a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s who  r e l a t i o n s h i p , w h i l e t h o s e who  who a  personality.  viewed t h e i r adopted  c h i l d r e n as s i m i l a r t o them t e n d e d t o f e e l more s a t i s f i e d w i t h adoptive  the  the  v i e w e d t h e c h i l d r e n as d i f f e r e n t  t e n d e d t o be l e s s s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e a d o p t i v e  relationship.  f i n d i n g s were not borne out i n the p r e s e n t r e s e a r c h .  These  The m a j o r i t y  of  a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y had warm, c l o s e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n , b u t 6 2 % o f them s t i l l had a t e n d e n c y t o t h i i r . x h i l d r e n as d i f f e r e n t f r o m t h e m i n a p p e a r a n c e and  perceive  personality.  The p a r e n t - c h i l d d i s c r e p a n c i e s n o t e d h e r e a r e d i f f i c u l t t o  assess.  145 Non-adopted i n d i v i d u a l s normally take the presence of o t h e r s with s i m i l a r p h y s i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s f o r g r a n t e d b e c a u s e t h e y h a v e grown up s u r r o u n d e d by r e l a t i v e s . S a n t s ( 1 9 6 4 ) b e l i e v e s t h a t d i f f e r e n c e s i n p h y s i c a l a p p e a r a n c e c a n s e v e r e l y hamper a c h i l d ' s c a p a c i t y t o i d e n t i f y with the parents.  A possible explanation f o r this parent-  c h i l d discrepancy i n perceived s i m i l a r i t i e s i s t h a t the adopted  adolescent  may h a v e a g r e a t e r n e e d t o i d e n t i f y w i t h a f a m i l y member a t t h i s s t a g e of development  and so l o o k s f o r s i m i l a r i t i e s i n t h e p a r e n t he o r s h e  i s c l o s e s t t o o ( i n the Raynor  (1980) study l i k e n e s s e s were p e r c e i v e d  on v e r y s l e n d e r e v i d e n c e ) , w h i l e t h e p a r e n t s c a n be m o r e o b j e c t i v e i n t h e i r assessments  of the degree of s i m i l a r i t y to t h e i r adopted  child.  H o w e v e r , i t i s c l e a r t h a t more r e s e a r c h i s n e e d e d t o e l u c i d a t e t h e c a u s a l b a s i s o f t h e r e p o r t e d r e l a t i o n s h i p s i n o t h e r r e s e a r c h , and t h e contradictory results obtained in the present study. W h i l e t h e p a r e n t s and a d o p t e e s  in "only adoptive" f a m i l i e s  p e r c e i v e d no s i g n i f i c a n t s i b l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p p r o b l e m s , some o f t h e "mixed" f a m i l i e s d i d .  O t h e r r e s e a r c h e r s ( L a w d e r e t a l , 1969;  1980), have c o n c l u d e d t h a t t h e p r e s e n c e o r absence o f  non-adopted  s i b l i n g s i s not r e l a t e d t o outcome i n a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s .  However,  the r e s u l t s of the present study c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e t h a t the of non-adopted  presence  s i b l i n g s i n t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y may be a f a c t o r a f f e c t i n g  the adoptee's adjustment. of non-adopted  Raynor,  In some o f t h e m i x e d f a m i l i e s t h e  presence  s i b l i n g s tended to accentuate the adoptee's sense of  d i f f e r e n c e , and a l s o a f f e c t e d t h e i r s e n s e o f b e l o n g i n g i n t h e f a m i l y ; two f a c t o r s t h a t h a v e p r e v i o u s l y b e e n l i n k e d t o a d o p t e e s '  adjustment  146 (Jaffee & Fanshel,  1970; Raynor, 1980).  I n o n e m i x e d f a m i l y i t was  q u i t e apparent t h a t a s i b l i n g ' s c r u e l remarks had s e r i o u s l y a f f e c t e d the adolescent  adoptee's sense of belonging  i n t h e home.  The r o l e o f e x t e n d e d f a m i l y members, p r i m a r i l y t h e  grandparents,  i n a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s s h o u l d a l s o n o t be i g n o r e d a s 6 0 % o f t h e s t u d y f a m i l i e s r e p o r t e d t h a t they had r e c e i v e d o p p o s i t i o n toward from t h e grandparents. had any c u m u l a t i v e one a d o l e s c e n t accepted  adoption  I t i s n o t c l e a r whether t h e expressed  opposition  e f f e c t s on t h e a d o p t e e s a s t h e y w e r e g r o w i n g up, b u t  d i d mention t h a t she f e l t that her grandparents hadn't  h e r , and t h i s had subsequently  a f f e c t e d her sense o f belonging  in t h e family. The f i n d i n g t h a t 1 0 0 % o f t h e a d o p t e e s i n o n l y a d o p t i v e  families  and o n l y 3 3 % o f t h e a d o p t e e s i n m i x e d f a m i l i e s h a d d e v e l o p e d a s t r o n g sense o f belonging  in the family indicates that the factors that  d i f f e r e n t i a t e t h e two t y p e s o f a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s may be c o n t r i b u t i n g t o t h i s gross d i f f e r e n c e i n t h e development and maintenance o f a sense of belonging  in the family.  A f a c t o r t h a t c l e a r l y emerged i n t h e  p r e s e n t r e s e a r c h was t h e a d o p t e e ' s p e r c e p t i o n o f b e i n g d i f f e r e n t f r o m o n e o r m o r e f a m i l y members, w h i c h was a g g r a v a t e d  by t h e p r e s e n c e  of non-adopted s i b l i n g s and t h e i r a t t i t u d e s towards t h e adoptee, and the attitudes o f the  grandparents.  These research f i n d i n g s suggest  that the influence of siblings,  p a r t i c u l a r l y n o n - a d o p t e d s i b l i n g s , a n d e x t e n d e d f a m i l y members n o t be u n d e r e s t i m a t e d  when p l a c i n g a c h i l d f o r a d o p t i o n ,  f o r t h e c a u s e o f some a d o l e s c e n t  should  a n d when  adoptees' family d i f f i c u l t i e s .  looking Further  147 i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f s i b l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s and e x t e n d e d f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s , p a r t i c u l a r l y in mixed f a m i l i e s i s warranted c o n s t e l l a t i o n on t h e a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e ' s The b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s .  t o study the impact of f a m i l y adjustment.  The m a n n e r i n w h i c h t h e a d o p t i v e  deal with the subject of the adoptee's  parents  biological parents i s conceivably  one o f t h e m o s t c r u c i a l a s p e c t s o f t h e i r g e n e r a l a p p r o a c h t o t h e e n t i r e a d o p t i o n i s s u e ( J a f f e e & F a n s h e l , 1970).  Whether t h e parents s t a t e the  f a c t s of adoption c l e a r l y , or whether they p r o j e c t negative a t t i t u d e s towards the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , or tend t o deny the e x i s t e n c e of the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , a l l can have i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r t h e adoptee's  sense  o f i d e n t i t y , and f o r t h e n a t u r e o f t h e p a r e n t - c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p .  How  t h e a d o p t e e c o p e s w i t h , and a c c e p t s t h e f a c t t h a t a n o t h e r s e t o f " p a r e n t s " e x i s t s , a l s o has i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r t h e p a r e n t - c h i l d r e l a t i o n s h i p and the adoptee's  sense of i d e n t i t y .  Although a l l the adolescents in t h i s study admitted that they some c u r i o s i t y a b o u t t h e i r b a c k g r o u n d s , varied considerably.  felt  the i n t e n s i t y of the c u r i o s i t y  H o w e v e r , t h e s i m i l a r i t y and t h e c o n s i s t e n c y o f  t h e i r r e s p o n s e s when d i s c u s s i n g t h e s e i s s u e s s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e a d o l e s c e n t adoptee's g e n e a l o g i c a l bewilderment  i s n o t b a s e d on a n e u r o t i c , d i s t u r b e d  n e e d , b u t r a t h e r i s an e f f o r t t o c o m p l e t e t h e d e v e l o p m e n t a l i n t e g r a t i n g two s e t s o f p a r e n t s i n t o h i s o r h e r i d e n t i t y . regarding the b i o l o g i c a l parents' p h y s i c a l appearance  task of Their curiosity  reflects their  p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h e x t e r n a l f a c t o r s , and a l s o s u p p o r t s T o n k i n ' s  (1984)  v i e w t h a t a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s may e x p e r i e n c e a n x i e t i e s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r p h y s i c a l n o r m a l i t y and may w a n t t o e x p l o r e t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l r o o t s .  148 F u r t h e r e v i d e n c e t h a t a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s may b e t r y i n g t o i n t e g r a t e two g e n e a l o g i e s i n t o t h e i r d e v e l o p i n g i d e n t i t i e s c a n b e s e e n i n t h e adoptees'  interview statements  regarding t h e i r biography sheets.  There  was an a t t e m p t t o a c c o m o d a t e a s much o f t h i s b a r e b o n e s i n f o r m a t i o n a s p o s s i b l e i n t o t h e i r own i d e n t i t i e s . developmental  I d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s a normal, i n t e r n a l  p r o c e s s w h i c h f a c i l i t a t e s t h e f o r m a t i o n o f an i d e n t i t y  ( E r i k s o n , 1968).  Mackie (1982) b e l i e v e s t h a t t h e t a s k o f i n t e g r a t i n g  two g e n e a l o g i e s i s c o m p l i c a t e d b y t h e a d o l e s c e n t ' s d i s t a n c e f r o m t h e a n c e s t r a l h i s t o r y o f t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y , and from t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s whom t h e a d o p t e e h a s n e v e r e x p e r i e n c e d a s r e a l p e o p l e , a n d a b o u t whom i n f o r m a t i o n may b e u n a v a i l a b l e , w i t h h e l d , o r d i s t o r t e d . Adoptive parents can help t h e i r adopted c h i l d r e n accomplish t h i s task by p r o v i d i n g a s much b a c k g r o u n d i n f o r m a t i o n a s i s a v a i l a b l e t o t h e adoptee. The r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s t h a t many o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s f e e l i n g s o f ambivalence  expressed  and r e j e c t i o n ( e i t h e r i m p l i c i t l y o r e x p l i c i t l y ) ,  when d i s c u s s i n g t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , seems t o r e f l e c t t h e i r c o n f u s i o n and u n c e r t a i n t y i n s o r t i n g o u t t h e d u a l n a t u r e o f t h e i r h e r i t a g e . I t was c l e a r t h r o u g h o u t t h e i n t e r v i e w s t h a t m o s t o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s e x p e r i e n c e d c o n f l i c t e d e m o t i o n s when t r y i n g t o e x p r e s s t h e i r f e e l i n g s about t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , t h e i r c u r i o s i t y , and s e a r c h i n g m o t i v a t i o n . Much o f t h e a d o p t e e s ' e x p r e s s e d a m b i v a l e n c e  seemed t o c e n t r e a r o u n d  d e s i r e t o h a v e m o r e b a c k g r o u n d i n f o r m a t i o n , w h i l e a t t h e same t i m e  their they  f e l t anxious about u p s e t t i n g t h e i r adoptive p a r e n t s . T h e i r sense o f r e j e c t i o n seemed t o b e l i n k e d t o t h e i r v i e w s on r e l i n q u i s h m e n t a n d why t h e y w e r e  149 g i v e n up f o r a d o p t i o n , and t h e i r i m a g i n e d r e u n i o n s w i t h b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s t h a t may n o t w a n t t o s e e t h e m . B o t h J a f f e e & F a n s h e l ( 1 9 7 0 ) and R a y n o r ( 1 9 8 0 ) , h a v e r e p o r t e d t h a t a d o p t e e s who had a d e s i r e t o c o n t a c t b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s w e r e l e s s h a p p y i n t h e a d o p t i v e home and l e s s w e l l a d j u s t e d . supported in the present study.  T h i s , was n o t w h o l l y  O n l y one a d o p t e e was i n t e r e s t e d i n  s e a r c h i n g b e c a u s e s h e was e x t r e m e l y u n h a p p y w i t h h e r s e l f and h e r home life.  For the majority of adolescents in the study t h e i r i n t e r e s t in  s e a r c h i n g a p p e a r e d t o be u n r e l a t e d t o t h e i r s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h t h e i r adoptive families.  T h e a d o p t e e ' s c o n c e r n w i t h s e a r c h i n g was p r i m a r i l y  t o g a t h e r m o r e i n f o r m a t i o n and t o s e e w h a t t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s l o o k e d like.  T h e s e r e s u l t s t e n d t o c o n f i r m t h o s e f o u n d by S o r o s k y e t a l ( 1 9 7 8 ) ,  t h a t t h e s e a r c h i n g m o t i v a t i o n seems m o r e r e l a t e d t o i n n a t e p e r s o n a l i t y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s than to adoptive f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s . T h e r e was a l s o no e v i d e n c e t h a t t h e m a j o r i t y o f a d o l e s c e n t s w e r e hoping to e s t a b l i s h r e l a t i o n s h i p s with the b i o l o g i c a l parents a f t e r r e u n i o n . In f a c t , many o f t h e m d e s i r e d o n e - s i d e d r e u n i o n s - t h e y w a n t e d t o see t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s ' b u t d i d n ' t want t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s t o see them.  McWhinnie (1967)  f o u n d t h i s same r e s u l t when s h e i n t e r v i e w e d  a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s 18 y e a r s a g o .  The a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e ' s f e e l i n g s o r  d e s i r e t o s e a r c h may c h a n g e as t h e a d o l e s c e n t m a t u r e s , h o w e v e r t h i s f a c e t c o u l d o n l y be s y s t e m a t i c a l l y m e a s u r e d by c o m p l e t i n g , a f o l l o w - u p s t u d y on a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s a t - d i f f e r e n t s t a g e s i n t h e i r a d u l t l i v e s . I t i s a l s o p o s s i b l e t h a t t h e a d o l e s c e n t s ' f e a r o f r e j e c t i o n may be t h e i m p e t u s b e h i n d t h e d e s i r e f o r a o n e - s i d e d r e u n i o n b u t t h i s c o u l d n o t be  150 substantiated  in the present  study.  It appears that adoptive parents  a r e now b e i n g c o m p e l l e d  to at  l e a s t a c k n o w l e d g e t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d may s e a r c h someday.  The p a r e n t s  want t o  i n t h i s study were c e r t a i n l y aware o f t h i s  p o s s i b i l i t y , and w h i l e i n d i c a t i n g t h e i r s u p p o r t o f s u c h a v e n t u r e ,  they  were a l s o p r o t e c t i v e of t h e i r c h i l d ' s p o s s i b l e e n c o u n t e r with a b i o l o g i c a l relative.  T h e i r a c k n o w l e d g e d s u p p o r t was t e m p e r e d by e x p r e s s i o n s  ambivalence.  T h i s was  u n d o u b t e d l y n o t i c e d by t h e i r c h i l d r e n and  t o a c c o u n t f o r t h e p a r e n t - c h i l d d i s c r e p a n c i e s on t h e s e a r c h i n g t h a t have a l r e a d y been  of tends  issue  discussed.  In t h e p r e s e n t s t u d y a s u r p r i s i n g f i n d i n g was t h a t a d o p t e e s parents  a l i k e , had l i t t l e , i f any i n t e r e s t i n t h e b i o l o g i c a l  and  father.  The a d o p t e e s ' and a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s ' e n e r g i e s w e r e a l m o s t e n t i r e l y on t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r .  In f a c t , some o f t h e a d o p t e e s w e r e s u r p r i s e d  when t h e r e s e a r c h e r q u e r i e d t h e m a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l f a t h e r as h a d n ' t r e a l l y t h o u g h t o f him b e f o r e .  Possible explanations  the d e c i s i o n to r e l i n q u i s h the c h i l d , or  they  for this  d i s i n t e r e s t a r e ; t h a t u l t i m a t e l y i t i s t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r who  adolescents  focused  makes  t h e f a c t t h a t some o f t h e  b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e f a t h e r s had j u s t a b a n d o n e d t h e m o t h e r s ,  or perhaps t h i s lack of i n t e r e s t j u s t r e f l e c t s our c u l t u r a l values t h e e m p h a s i s on t h e m o t h e r - c h i l d  and  b o n d . The a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s seemed m o r e  i n c l i n e d to acknowledge the mother-child  b o n d when t h e y t a l k e d a b o u t t h e  b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r and some v i e w e d i t as a k i n d o f l i n k b e t w e e n t h e m . A l t h o u g h t h e s e r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s n^ay be i n t r i n s i c a l l y i n t e r e s t i n g , t e n d e n c y f o r a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s and a d o p t e e s t o i d e n t i f y more w i t h  the the  b i o l o g i c a l mother than the b i o l o g i c a l f a t h e r d i d not appear t o a f f e c t  151 a d o p t i v e f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s . What d i d e m e r g e a s a s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r was t h e f i n d i n g t h a t when t h e a d o p t i v e m o t h e r s r e p o r t e d p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s a n d t h o u g h t s a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r , t h e r e was a l s o a tendency f o r t h e i r c h i l d r e n t o have p o s i t i v e f e e l i n g s toward t h e b i o l o g i c a l mother.  These f i n d i n g s r e f l e c t t h e importance o f t h e adoptrve  p a r e n t s ' f e e l i n g s a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , b e c a u s e how t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s d e a l w i t h i t may b e s i m i l a r i l y r e f l e c t e d i n how t h e a d o p t e e come t o v i e w t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s . l e v e l , m o s t a d o p t e e s do  p r e v i o u s l y , a t some  e x p e r i e n c e some s e n s e o f r e j e c t i o n a n d t h i s was  n o t e d i n some o f t h e a d o p t e e s ' parents.  As m e n t i o n e d  will  responses regarding t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l  A d o p t i v e p a r e n t s may be a b l e t o h e l p t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n  r e d u c e t h e i m p a c t o f t h i s e x p e r i e n c e by p r o j e c t i n g a p o s i t i v e i m a g e of t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s and t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s s u r r o u n d i n g t h e a d o p t i o n process. How w e l l t h e a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e r e c o n c i l e s t h e f a c t s o f h i s d u a l h e r i t a g e seems t o be r e l a t e d t o how w e l l t h e p a r e n t a n d c h i l d c o m m u n i c a t e , p a r t i c u l a r l y on i s s u e s p e r t a i n i n g t o t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , on w h a t t h e a d o l e s c e n t h a s b e e n t o l d a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s a s he was  growing  up, a n d how t h e a d o l e s c e n t f e e l s a b o u t h i m s e l f a n d h i s a d o p t i v e s t a t u s . A d o p t i v e p a r e n t s may n e e d t o be r e a s s u r e d t h a t t h e i r a d o l e s c e n t ' s p r e o c c u p a t i o n with h i s h e r i t a g e and background  does n o t r e f l e c t on them,  and t h a t how w e l l t h e y a r e a b l e t o r e c o n c i l e t h e i r f e e l i n g s a b o u t t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s may w e l l d e t e r m i n e  how t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y w i l l  survive the adolescent stage of the family l i f e c y c l e .  152 The p a r e n t s ' experience  adoption  experience.  While the early  adoption  was r e l a t i v e l y p r o b l e m f r e e f o r m o t h e r s o f a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n  o n l y , i t was m o r e p r o b l e m a t i c biological children.  f o r adopting  m o t h e r s who a l r e a d y h a d  T h e i r d i f f i c u l t i e s seemed t o be p a r t i a l l y r e l a t e d  to f a u l t y expectations.  T h e s e m o t h e r s seemed t o b e l i e v e t h a t  adoption  w o u l d b e t h e same a s g i v i n g b i r t h a n d t h e y w e r e u n p r e p a r e d when t h e adoption  experience  d i f f e r e d from t h a t .  many o f t h e s e m o t h e r s e x p e r i e n c e d  The r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s t h a t  a n x i e t y , g u i l t , and a m b i v a l e n c e  during  t h e e a r l y s t a g e s o f a d o p t i v e p a r e n t h o o d i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e y may n e e d help t o understand t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s , but a l s o t h e d i f f e r e n c e s between r a i s i n g an a d o p t e d c h i l d a n d a b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d , a n d f u r t h e r , t o r e c o g n i z e a n d a c k n o w l e d g e t h a t t h e b o n d i n g p r o c e s s may be d i f f e r e n t f o r adopted and b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n .  An i n t e r e s t i n g f i n d i n g i n r e g a r d  t o t h e s e p a r t i c u l a r m o t h e r s was t h a t i n s p i t e o f t h e i r a d m i s s i o n s  that  t h e y h a d h a d e a r l y a d j u s t m e n t d i f f i c u l t i e s , when t h e y w e r e a s k e d t o describe the s i m i l a r i t i e s o r differences i n adoptive  and b i o l o g i c a l  p a r e n t h o o d , some o f t h e m d e n i e d t h a t t h e r e was a d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n t h e two t y p e s o f p a r e n t i n g .  I t i s p o s s i b l e that these mothers didn't  f u l l y u n d e r s t a n d t h e n a t u r e o f t h e q u e s t i o n , b u t an e q u a l l y p l a u s i b l e hypothesis  i s t h a t parents o f both adopted and b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n  a r e h e s i t a n t t o a c k n o w l e d g e t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n t h e two t y p e s o f p a r e n t i n g , o r tend t o block o u t , o r deny t h e d i f f e r e n c e s i n o r d e r t o f e e l that they are parenting the c h i l d r e n equally, without treatment. exploration.  C l e a r l y , t h i s aspect of adoptive  any p r e f e r e n t i a l  parenting merits  While K i r k ' s (1964) t h e o r y o f a d o p t i v e  additional  relations applies  153 p r i n c i p a l l y t o a d o p t e r s who w e r e c h i l d l e s s p r i o r t o a d o p t i o n , an a t t e m p t was made t o i d e n t i f y t h e s t u d y f a m i l i e s ' c o p i n g s t r a t e g i e s . No c o n c l u s i o n s c a n be d r a w n as t o t h e r e a l s i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h e " r e j e c t the d i f f e r e n c e " or "acknowledge the d i f f e r e n c e " coping s t y l e s in the families studied.  S i x t y p e r c e n t o f t h e o n l y a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s had a  t e n d e n c y t o r e j e c t t h e d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n t h e two t y p e s o f p a r e n t i n g , b u t t h e i r r e s p o n s e s w e r e n o t c o n s i s t e n t f r o m q u e s t i o n t o q u e s t i o n , and t h e r e was no e v i d e n c e t h a t t h e s e f a m i l i e s w e r e more p r o b l e m a t i c t h a n  any  o f t h e o t h e r s t u d y f a m i l i e s . ; In t h e m i x e d f a m i l i e s t h e c o n t r a d i c t o r y r e s p o n s e s made i t i m p o s s i b l e t o d e t e r m i n e  any s i g n i f i c a n t p a t t e r n s .  S y s t e m a t i c r e p l i c a t i o n o f K i r k ' s (1964) work i s needed t o f u r t h e r v a l i d a t e t h e s e c o p i n g s t y l e s , and t o a s s e s s w h e t h e r t h e t h e o r y and t h e c o p i n g s t y l e s he p r o p o s e s a r e r e l e v a n t when a p p l i e d t o f a m i l i e s t h a t h a v e b o t h a d o p t e d and b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n . The f i n d i n g t h a t b o t h p a r e n t s and a d o l e s c e n t s r e p o r t e d t h a t t h e y were reminded  o f t h e i r a d o p t i v e r o l e s when f a m i l y a q u a i n t a n c e s  remarks about t h e i r p h y s i c a l resemblance  made  t o one a n o t h e r , seems t o  r e f l e c t o u r s o c i e t y ' s e m p h a s i s on b i o l o g i c a l t i e s . In many f a m i l i e s new a d d i t i o n s t o t h e f a m i l y a r e s c r u t i n i z e d by v i s i t i n g r e l a t i v e s and f r i e n d s t o d e t e r m i n e who t h e b a b y l o o k s l i k e . T h i s i s an  accepted  p r a c t i c e , as i s t h e t e n d e n c y f o r r e l a t i v e s and f r i e n d s t o comment as a c h i l d g r o w s up on h i s o r h e r a p p e a r a n c e  t o o t h e r f a m i l y members.  In a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s , t h e s e k i n d s o f comments s e r v e t o r e m i n d t h e m o f t h e l a c k o f a b i o l o g i c a l t i e . When a q u a i n t a n c e s  r e m a r k e d on e i t h e r  t h e d i f f e r e n c e s o r t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s b e t w e e n p a r e n t and c h i l d , c i r c u m s t a n c e s s e r v e d t o r e m i n d t h e p a r e n t and c h i l d o f t h e i r  both adoptive  154 roles.  Comments s u c h a s t h e s e a p p e a r t o f o s t e r a s e n s e o f d i f f e r e n c e  in both a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s and adopted c h i l d r e n . F o r adopted t h i s c a n be p a r t i c u l a r l y p r o b l e m a t i c because o f t h e i r normal c o n c e r n s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r own p h y s i c a l a p p e a r a n c e  adolescents developmental  and body image.  The t e n d e n c y o f a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s t o l o o k t o h e r e d i t y t o e x p l a i n t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n s ' b e h a v i o r was s u p p o r t e d i n t h i s s t u d y . H o w e v e r , t h i s t e n d e n c y was n o t o n l y i d e n t i f i e d when t h e p a r e n t s h a d p r o b l e m s w i t h t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n , b u t a l s o when t h e p a r e n t s v i e w e d  special  t a l e n t s o r b e h a v i o r s t h a t were d i f f e r e n t from t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y . The h e r e d i t y i s s u e c a n be u s e d by a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s t o a l l e v i a t e g u i l t and b l a m e when t h i n g s go a w r y i n a f a m i l y .  F o r any p a r e n t t o f e e l t h a t  t h e y h a d f a i l e d w i t h t h e i r c h i l d w o u l d be u n p l e a s a n t , a n d i n a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s t h e ' p a r e n t s have t h e o p t i o n o f u s i n g t h e h e r e d i t y e x p l a n a t i o n when t h i n g s go w r o n g .  Raynor (1980) r e p o r t e d t h a t a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s  who h a d a t e n d e n c y t o r e l y o n h e r e d i t y , m o r e o f t e n h a d a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n with behavior problems.  The c a u s a l b a s i s o f t h i s a s s o c i a t i o n i s  d i f f i c u l t t o d e t e r m i n e , b u t o n e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t ' s v i e w was t h a t h e r e d i t y i s t h e e x p l a n a t i o n an a d o p t i v e p a r e n t t u r n s t o when a c h i l d serious o r extreme behavior.  demonstrates  In t h e s e s i t u a t i o n s t h e h e r e d i t y  e x p l a n a t i o n c a n be a r a t i o n a l i s i n g e x p e r i e n c e f o r p a r e n t s who a r e d e a l i n g with abnormal b e h a v i o r .  I t appears from t h e r e s u l t s o f t h i s  s t u d y t h a t a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s u s e t h e h e r e d i t y e x p l a n a t i o n t o make s e n s e o f t h e i r c h i l d ' s b e h a v i o r when i t s d i f f e r e n t , be i t p o s i t i v e o r negative.  Where a b i o l o g i c a l f a m i l y m i g h t l o o k t o e x t e n d e d f a m i l y  members t o e x p l a i n a c h i l d ' s b e h a v i o r ( i . e . h e ' s j u s t l i k e h i s u n c l e , o r she i n h e r i t e d h e r g r a n d m o t h e r ' s t a l e n t ) , t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y l o o k s  155 to the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s ' genes f o r the answers t o t h e i r dilemmas. Further e x p l o r a t i o n of t h i s unique f e a t u r e of adoptive parenting i s w a r r a n t e d t o a s s e s s what e f f e c t s , i f any, t h i s a t t i t u d e may the adopted  h a v e on  child.  Most of the a d o p t i v e parents i n t h i s r e s e a r c h d i d not p e r c e i v e t h a t any o f t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n s ' p r o b l e m s  were a t t r i b u t a b l e t o  adoption.  T h e y saw no d i r e c t r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t h e i r c h i l d ' s  adjustment  d i f f i c u l t i e s and the' f a c t t h a t t h e y w e r e a d o p t e d .  These  r e s u l t s a r e c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h o s e r e s u l t s r e p o r t e d by J a f f e e & F a n s h e l (1970), t h a t adoptive parents p e r c e i v e d t h a t adoptive s t a t u s played a modest r o l e i n the e t i o l o g y of t h e i r c h i l d ' s problems.  However,  i n a s m a l l number o f f a m i l i e s w h e r e f a i r l y s e r i o u s a d o l e s c e n t e x i s t e d , b o t h p a r e n t and c h i l d p e r c e i v e d t h a t a d o p t i o n had t h e i r problems. problems  problems  accentuated  T h i s s u g g e s t s t h a t i n f a m i l i e s where s e r i o u s a d o l e s c e n t  e x i s t , t h e r e i s a t e n d e n c y t o l o o k a t a d o p t i o n as an  a g g r a v a t i n g f a c t o r . A g a i n , i t a p p e a r s t h a t t h i s i s one way o f m a k i n g s e n s e o f a bad s i t u a t i o n . An i m p o r t a n t i m p l i c a t i o n o f t h i s p e r c e p t i o n i s t h a t i n some a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s t h e f a c t o f a d o p t i o n may become a panacea  for a l l family difficulties.  The a d o l e s c e n t s ' a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e .  The r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g t h a t  t h e m a j o r i t y o f a d o l e s c e n t s v i e w e d t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s as a f a c t o f l i f e , and t h a t m o s t o f t h e m d i d n o t p e r c e i v e t h a t t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s had c a u s e d t h e m any s i g n i f i c a n t p r o b l e m s  suggests that, in general,  a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s do n o t v i e w a d o p c i o n p e r s e as a s e r i o u s i m p e d i m e n t to t h e i r l i f e f u n c t i o n i n g or adjustment.  H o w e v e r , an a s s o c i a t i o n  between t h e a d o l e s c e n t s ' p e r c e p t i o n s o f themselves  and t h e i r  concern  156 o v e r t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s was a p p a r e n t i n t h e d a t a .  The a d o l e s c e n t s '  s e n s e o f s e l f was r e l a t e d t o t h e i r f o r m a t i o n o f an i d e n t i t y , was i n t u r n l i n k e d to' t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s .  which  The whole p r o c e s s o f  i n t e g r a t i n g t h e i r t w o g e n e a l o g i e s i n t o o n e s o l i d i d e n t i t y was a t a s k t h a t some a d o p t e e s  i n t h i s study had accomplished  b e t t e r than others.  Why some a d o p t e e s become u p s e t a b o u t b e i n g a d o p t e d , w h i l e o t h e r s  don't  i s d i f f i c u l t t o a s s e s s , b u t some r e s e a r c h e r s h a v e s p e c u l a t e d t h a t s u c h a p e r c e p t i o n i s d e p e n d e n t on t h e a d o p t e e ' s g e n e r a l image o f h i m s e l f o r h e r s e l f ( J a f f e e & F a n s h e l , 1970).  I f , as E r i k s o n (1968) s u g g e s t s , t h e  e s s e n t i a l task o f adolescence i s t o develop a sense o f i d e n t i t y , t h e a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s ' t a s k w i l l be t h a t much h a r d e r d u e t o t h e d u a l heritage or.genealogy  t h a t must be i n t e g r a t e d .  The a d o l e s c e n t s t h a t d e s c r i b e d t h e m s e l v e s  as a l i e n a t e d seemed  t o convey t h e f e e l i n g t h a t t h e i r i n a b i l i t y t o g e t t h e background h i s t o r i e s t h e y w a n t e d was p r e v e n t i n g t h e d e v e l o p m e n t a n d i n t e g r a t i o n of a t r u e sense o f i d e n t i t y .  E r i k s o n (1968) wrote t h a t one needs  t o know t h e p a s t i n o r d e r t o p l a n f o r t h e f u t u r e .  This  statement  was e x e m p l i f i e d by o n e a d o p t e e who b e l i e v e d t h a t s h e c o u l d n ' t g e t on w i t h h e r l i f e u n t i l s h e f o u n d h e r p a r e n t s a n d h a d h e r q u e s t i o n s answered.  W h i l e some a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s  appear able t o r e c o n c i l e  these identity issues quite w e l l , others f i n d the task of forming t h e i r i d e n t i t i e s a g g r a v a t e d by, o r hampered by, t h e b l a n k s p o t s i n their pasts. The way t h e a d o p t e e s d e s c r i b e d t h e m s e l v e s t o t h e number o f p r o b l e m s  seemed t o be u n r e l a t e d  t h e y h a d e x p e r i e n c e d , o r t h e way i n w h i c h  157 t h e i r p a r e n t s had d e s c r i b e d t h e m .  The way t h a t t h e a d o p t e e s  described  themselves  seemed t o be t h e i r own p i c t u r e o f t h e i r p e r s o n a l s e n s e of.  identity.  M o r e c o n t r o l l e d r e s e a r c h t o m e a s u r e t h e c o r r e l a t i o n s among  the v a r i a b l e s a f f e c t i n g the adoptees'  perceptions of themselves  should  be c o n s i d e r e d t o f u r t h e r e v a l u a t e t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t h e a d o l e s c e n t adoptees'  i d e n t i t y f o r m a t i o n and t h e i r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s .  The a b i l i t y t o e n t e r i n t o r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h o t h e r s i s l a r g e l y d e p e n d e n t on t h e s t r e n g t h and q u a l i t y o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l ' s i d e n t i t y ( T r i s e l i o t i s , 1973).  Almost h a l f the adolescents i n t h i s  study  i n d i c a t e d t h a t t h e y had e x p e r i e n c e d s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p p r o b l e m s . i s p o s s i b l e t h a t the peer r e l a t i o n s h i p problems are normal teenage r e l a t i o n a l problems,  the adoptees  It  described  but the f a c t t h a t the  adoptive  parents held congruent p e r c e p t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h i s problem i n d i c a t e s t h a t the problems  w e r e s e r i o u s e n o u g h t h a t t h e p a r e n t s had n o t i c e d  them and v i e w e d  i t as a p r o b l e m .  These r e s u l t s suggest t h a t  a d o l e s c e n t s may  be m o r e v u l n e r a b l e t o p e e r r e l a t i o n s h i p p r o b l e m s .  The n e e d t o b e l o n g and be a c c e p t e d by p e e r s i s v e r y during adolescence. and b e l o n g i n g w h i c h  important  The p e e r g r o u p p r o v i d e s a f e e l i n g o f i n t u r n i n c r e a s e s s e l f - w o r t h and  the i n d i v i d u a t i o n p r o c e s s (Mackie, 1982).  adopted  acceptance  facilitates  Therefore, the p o s s i b i l i t y  e x i s t s t h a t adopted a d o l e s c e n t s ' d i f f i c u l t i e s in developing  solid  i d e n t i t i e s hampers t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f t h e i r s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Or, t h e a l t e r n a t e h y p o t h e s i s e x i s t s , t h a t t h e a d o p t e e s '  peer  aggravate the successful completion of i d e n t i t y formation.  problems The c a u s a l  b a s i s o f t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p s h o u l d be e x p l o r e d f u r t h e r t o d e t e r m i n e  what  —  158 e f f e c t s , i f any, adoption in adolescence.  h a s on t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s  With one a d o p t e e i n t h i s study h e r i n a b i l i t y t o e s t a b l i s h  any r e a l f r i e n d s h i p s h a d l e d h e r t o t r y t o f i n d h e r b i o l o g i c a l m o t h e r . Her h o p e was t h a t s h e ' d f i n a l l y f i n d someone who was l i k e h e r . In t h i s instance, her f e e l i n g s of not belonging triggered her i d e n t i t y  and b e i n g a c c e p t e d  had s e e m i n g l y  concerns.  The r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g t h a t t h e t h e m e o f f e e l i n g d i f f e r e n t t u r n e d up r e p e a t e d l y  in the adolescent  interviews suggests  f e e l somewhat s e n s i t i v e a b o u t t h e i r a d o p t i v e  that the adoptees  status during  adolescence.  T h i s i s a t i m e i n t h e i r l i v e s when t h e y d o n ' t w a n t t o be d i f f e r e n t , t h e y want t o f i t i n , s o p e r h a p s t h e y become somewhat about t h e i r d i f f e r e n c e s .  I t was c l e a r t h a t f a m i l y r e l a t e d  c o u l d remind t h e adoptees t h a t they were d i f f e r e n t . aquaintances  hypersensitive issues  When f a m i l y  made r e m a r k s a b o u t p h y s i c a l r e s e m b l a n c e s , o r when n o n -  a d o p t e d s i b l i n g s made r e m a r k s a b o u t t h e a d o p t e e s ' s t a t u s , t h e a d o p t e e s f e l t t h i s sense of d i f f e r e n c e .  B u t a s u r p r i s i n g f i n d i n g was t h a t  many a d o p t e e s a l s o p e r c e i v e d t h i s s e n s e o f d i f f e r e n c e d u r i n g family get togethers.  T h i s i s a t i m e when t h e f a m i l i e s s h o u l d  special be  e n j o y i n g e a c h o t h e r s ' company, b u t f o r many o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t  adoptees  t h i s o n l y s e r v e d t o remind them t h a t they had a n o t h e r f a m i l y  somewhere.  D u r i n g e a r l y and m i d d l e a d o l e s c e n c e development reaches  the adopted c h i l d ' s c o g n i t i v e  t h e l e v e l where a r e l a t i v e l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d and  abstract appreciation of adoption  emerges (Brodzinsky  It i s ..possible, t h a t adopted a d o l e s c e n t s ,  e t a l , 1981).  while d e a l i n g with t h e normal  d e v e l o p m e n t a l c o n c e r n s and i d e n t i t y i s s u e s , a r e a l s o t r y i n g t o a s s i m i l a t e  159 t h e i r new a w a r e n e s s o f a d o p t i o n .  T h i s new a w a r e n e s s m i g h t f u r t h e r  a c c e n t u a t e a s e n s e o f b e i n g d i f f e r e n t as t h e y become more k n o w l e d g e a b l e a b o u t a d o p t i o n and t h e i r " o t h e r s e t " o f p a r e n t s . Other adoption r e s e a r c h e r s have d i s c u s s e d the extent o f , i n t e n s i t y of the adopted  and  a d o l e s c e n t s ' f a n t a s i e s about t h e i r o r i g i n s  (Burgess, 1976).  The a d o l e s c e n t s i n t h i s r e s e a r c h t a l k e d v e r y  about f a n t a s i e s .  W h i l e f a n t a s i e s c a n be f u e l e d by l i m i t e d i n f o r m a t i o n  i t i s p o s s i b l e the f a c t t h a t most of the adoptees reduced t h e i r f a n t a s i e s .  had b i o g r a p h y  adolescents  T h e r e was m o r e o f a f l a v o u r o f  w o n d e r and s p e c u l a t i o n t h a n t r u e f a n t a s y .  The f i n d i n g t h a t m o s t o f  h a d s p e c u l a t e d a b o u t s t r a n g e r s on t h e s t r e e t b e i n g t h e i r  parents t y p i f i e s the type of r e a l i t y based f a n t a s i e s the discussed.  sheets  What f a n t a s i e s w e r e e x p r e s s e d by t h e  seemed t o h a v e a r e a l i t y b a s e t o t h e m .  the adoptees  little  adoptees  T h i s f a n t a s y a p p e a r s t o be r e l a t e d i n a g e n e r a l  to t h e i r i d e n t i t y concerns, p h y s i c a l appearance concerns, t h e i r s e a r c h , as t e n u o u s as i t may  and  sense with  be, f o r k n o w l e d g e o f t h e i r o r i g i n s .  Summary It i s hoped, a s i d e from d e s c r i b i n g the adoption f r o m t h e p e r s p e c t i v e o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e and t h e  experience adoptive  p a r e n t s , t h a t t h e s e r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s h a v e h e l p e d t o c l a r i f y what f a c t o r s m i g h t have a b e a r i n g upon t h e c o u r s e o f t h e a d o p t i o n and w h a t f a c t o r s seem t o be r e l a t i v e l y u n r e l a t e d .  experience,  The m o s t s a l i e n t  c o n c l u s i o n s t h a t c a n be d r a w n f r o m t h i s r e s e a r c h a r e s u m m a r i z e d below: 1. A d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s a p p e a r t o be v u l n e r a b l e t o p r o b l e m s d u r i n g t h e adolescent stage because of the adoptees'  e m e r g i n g c u r i o s i t y , and  160 the problems  o f openly communicating  these concerns i n the f a m i l y .  2. A l t h o u g h g e n e r a l l y s p e a k i n g , t h e p a r e n t s a n d c h i l d r e n h a d f a i r l y congruent p e r c e p t i o n s r e g a r d i n g t h e i r f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s and developmental  issues, the discrepant perceptions regarding the  b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , c u r i o s i t y , a n d s e a r c h i n g may h a v e e l e v a t e d f a m i l y s t r e s s l e v e l s and added t o t h e s t r a i n o f a d o p t i v e f a m i l y life. 3. T h e a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s ' c u r i o s i t y seems t o be a n o r m a l of t h e i r developmental  expression  s t a g e a n d s h o u l d b e s a t i s f i e d a s much a s  p o s s i b l e so t h a t t h e a d o l e s c e n t can complete t h e t a s k o f i n t e g r a t i n g his o r her dual h e r i t a g e . 4. A d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e s , w h i l e a d m i t t i n g t h e y ' d l i k e t o s e a r c h f o r t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , do n o t seem t o be s e a r c h i n g f o r r e l a t i o n s h i p s , but f o r i n f o r m a t i o n t o s a t i s f y t h e i r c u r i o s i t y . 5. T h e s e a r c h m o t i v a t i o n i s n o t n e c e s s a r i l y r e l a t e d t o t h e q u a l i t y of the adoptive family r e l a t i o n s h i p s . 6.It may be common f o r a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n t o g r a p p l e w i t h f e e l i n g s o f b e i n g d i f f e r e n t a n d r e j e c t e d by t h e i r b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , a n d t h a t t h e s e f e e l i n g s c a n be a c c e n t u a t e d by t h e f a m i l y  dynamics.  7. T h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n m i x e d a n d o n l y a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s s h o u l d be t a k e n i n t o a c c o u n t when e x a m i n i n g  adoptive family functioning.  8. T h e r e v e l a t i o n p r o c e s s s h o u l d be v i e w e d a s a t a s k t h a t u n f o l d s i n an i n c r e a s i n g l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d m a n n e r as t h e c h i l d m a t u r e s . long term process r a t h e r than a one-shot  It is a  parental obligation.  161 Suggestions f o r Future  Research  Descriptive research, while h e u r i s t i c in nature, often more q u e s t i o n s than i t answers.  generates  Further e x p l o r a t i o n of the f i n d i n g s  f r o m t h i s r e s e a r c h a r e i n d i c a t e d t o more f u l l y v a l i d a t e t h e t h e m e s and trends t h a t appeared  in the data.  suggest that f u r t h e r examination  The r e s u l t s f r o m t h e p r e s e n t  o f t h e d i f f e r e n c e s b e t w e e n m i x e d and  only adoptive f a m i l i e s i s warranted. undertaken  study  In a d d i t i o n , a s t u d y s h o u l d  be  t o study the e f f e c t s of adoption i n mixed f a m i l i e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y  i n t h e a r e a s o f f a m i l y c o n s t e l l a t i o n and s i b l i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p s . does the f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e a f f e c t the adoptee at d i f f e r e n t s t a g e s , how do t h e p a r e n t s c o p e w i t h t h e r o l e s o f b e i n g b o t h a d o p t i v e biological parents?  How and  and  F u r t h e r s y s t e m a t i c e x p l o r a t i o n of K i r k ' s (1964;  1981) t h e o r y o f a d o p t i v e r e l a t i o n s i s a l s o i n d i c a t e d , as t h e o r e t i c a l l y i t appears sound, but e m p i r i c a l l y the s u p p o r t i n g evidence i s l i m i t e d . Due t o t h e e x p l o r a t o r y n a t u r e o f t h e p r e s e n t r e s e a r c h i t was n o t p o s s i b l e t o f u l l y e x a m i n e t h e i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s o c c u r r i n g among the v a r i a b l e s . While the present study o u t l i n e d the trends  and  t e n d e n c i e s i n t h e d a t a , a f u r t h e r s t u d y s h o u l d b u i l d on t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n by i n c o r p o r a t i n g m e a s u r e s o f a d j u s t m e n t  to identify the c o r r e l a t e s  o f g o o d and p o o r a d o p t i v e f a m i l y f u n c t i o n i n g d u r i n g t h e a d o l e s c e n t stage.  An a t t e m p t t o a s s e s s t h e c a u s a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s b e t w e e n t h e  i d e n t i f i e d t h e m e s and i s s u e s s h o u l d be u n d e r t a k e n  as w e l l .  A f a i r l y s m a l l s a m p l e was u s e d i n t h i s s t u d y . . G r e a t e r g e n e r a l i z a b i l i t . y c o u l d be o b t a i n e d t h r o u g h t h e p r o c u r e m e n t  of a l a r g e r sample of a d o p t i v e  162 f a m i l i e s and more r i g o r o u s s a m p l i n g t e c h n i q u e s ,  i f possible.  It  is c l e a r t h a t questions r e g a r d i n g t h e development o f t h e adopted c h i l d r e q u i r e more r e s e a r c h , i d e a l l y u s i n g l o n g i t u d i n a l d e s i g n s .  Future  research in t h i s vein could incorporate a longitudinal design strategy to determine  i f t h e . t r e n d s and t e n d e n c i e s t h e a d o l e s c e n t  in t h i s research a r e unique t o t h e i r developmental t o t y p i f y what adoptees adoptee's  i n general experience.  discussed  stage, o r tend How m i g h t t h e a d o l e s c e n t  v i e w s c h a n g e a s he o r s h e m a t u r e s ?  W h i l e a g r e a t e r number o f f e m a l e s t h a n m a l e s p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h i s r e s e a r c h , no j u d g e m e n t s c o u l d b e made r e g a r d i n g t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s o f t h i s . It has been suggested  t h a t more f e m a l e s a r e s e n s i t i v e t o g e n e t i c h e r i t a g e  i s s u e s and so f e m a l e adoptees adoptees  (Kadushin,  1970).  d i f f e r e n c e s i n adopted  may h a v e more i d e n t i t y c o n c e r n s t h a n m a l e Future research should look a t t h e sex  adolescents' experiences t o assess the s i g n i f i c a n c e  of t h i s v a r i a b l e i n adoptive f a m i l y f u n c t i o n i n g . Comparative  r e s e a r c h between adopted  and non-adopted f a m i l i e s  may b e i n d i c a t e d a t some p o i n t , b u t t h e b e n e f i t s o f t h i s p u r s u i t may be n e g l i g i b l e d u e t o t h e i n h e r e n t d i f f i c u l t i e s o f m a t c h i n g  sample f a m i l i e s ,  and f i n d i n g an e q u a l number o f w i l l i n g p a r t i c i p a n t s . The l a s t s e c t i o n o f t h i s p a p e r w i l l o f f e r r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s t o i n d i v i d u a l s w o r k i n g w i t h f a m i l i e s who h a v e a d o p t e d  adolescents.  163  Recommendations S e v e r a l o f t h e f i n d i n g s from t h i s study p o i n t t o t h e need f o r adopting couples to receive education regarding the r o l e of adoptive parenthood.  David K i r k (1981) has a l s o s t r e s s e d t h a t a d o p t i v e  need e d u c a t i o n f o r t h e i r s p e c i a l t a s k s .  parents  He b e l i e v e s t h a t t h e r e i s a  g e n u i n e p r o b l e m i n b e i n g t h e r e a l p a r e n t , a n d a t t h e same t i m e a c c e p t i n g the b i o l o g i c a l  parents.  Although t h e adoption agencies screen prospective adopting couples f o r t h e i r s u i t a b i l i t y as parents, l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n i s p a i d t o e d u c a t i n g t h e c o u p l e r e g a r d i n g w h a t t o e x p e c t a s an a d o p t i v e p a r e n t o r how t o d e a l w i t h d e v e l o p m e n t a l parenthood  i s s u e s as they a r i s e .  Adoptive  p r e s e n t s unique c h a l l e n g e s t o p a r e n t s , a n d t h e need f o r a l l  p a r e n t s t o be w e l l i n f o r m e d r e g a r d i n g c h i l d r e a r i n g i s b e c o m i n g w e l l recognized. Pre-adoption c o u n s e l l i n g , o r adoptive parent  education  programs would allow t h e adopting couple t o express t h e i r a n x i e t i e s and a p p r e h e n s i o n s  i n a s u p p o r t i v e e n v i r o n m e n t , and a l s o h e l p them  to adjust t o t h e changing c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the f a m i l y u n i t .  Adoptive  parent e d u c a t i o n programs while f u n c t i o n i n g l i k e o t h e r p a r e n t i n g  groups,  would i n c l u d e t r a i n i n g i n communication s k i l l s , t e a c h i n g problem s o l v i n g s k i l l s , b u i l d i n g p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s , e t c . , but would a l s o f o c u s on t h e i s s u e s p e r t i n e n t t o a d o p t i v e p a r e n t i n g . T h e r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g s from t h e present study i n d i c a t e t h a t adoptive parent  education  p r o g r a m s w o u l d be a p o s i t i v e s t e p i n a l l e v i a t i n g some o f t h e s t r e s s i n h e r e n t i n becoming a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s , and i n p a r e n t i n g t h e c h i l d r e n through adolescence.  The f o l l o w i n g recommendations a r e based on t h e  164 results'from the present research: 1.  A d o p t i v e p a r e n t s s h o u l d be o r i e n t e d t o t h e v i e w t h a t a d o p t i o n  i s a l i f e l o n g p r o c e s s , i t d o e s n ' t end when t h e l e g a l p a p e r s a r e s i g n e d . I t w i l l come up a g a i n and a g a i n d u r i n g t h e c h i l d ' s 2.  life.  A d o p t i v e p a r e n t s s h o u l d be o r i e n t e d t o t h e f a c t t h a t t e l l i n g  a c h i l d a b o u t h i s / h e r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s i s a p r o c e s s t h a t s h o u l d become i n c r e a s i n g l y s o p h i s t i c a t e d as t h e c h i l d m a t u r e s .  If couples are  e d u c a t e d a s t o t h e c h i l d ' s c o g n i t i v e d e v e l o p m e n t and t h e s t a g e s o f t h e c h i l d ' s i n t e r e s t i n a d o p t i o n , t h e y w i l l be m o r e p r e p a r e d f o r t h e i r c h i l d ' s r e p e t i t i v e q u e s t i o n s and be l e s s l i k e l y t o o v e r r e a c t o r f e e l t h r e a t e n e d by t h e s i t u a t i o n . 3.  The r e s e a r c h f i n d i n g t h a t m o s t o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s i n d i c a t e d  t h a t t h e y w e r e d i s s a t i s f i e d w i t h t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h e y had r e c e i v e d on t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , and, a t t h e time t h e y were t o o e x c i t e d t o assimilate i t , suggests that parents should get written information f r o m t h e a g e n c i e s as s o o n as t h e y a d o p t . T h i s w o u l d p r e v e n t memory f a i l u r e s and m i s p e r c e p t i o n s o f v e r b a l i n f o r m a t i o n f r o m o c c u r r i n g . Most i m p o r t a n t l y though,  i s t h a t t h e p a r e n t s would have t h e i n f o r m a t i o n  when t h e c h i l d a s k e d f o r i t and t h i s m i g h t p r e v e n t any parent-child 4.  unnecessary  conflicts.  A d o p t i n g c o u p l e s who  a l r e a d y h a v e b i o l o g i c a l c h i l d r e n s h o u l d be  e d u c a t e d r e g a r d i n g t h e i m p a c t o f f a m i l y c o n s t e l l a t i o n and t h e i s s u e s t h a t may a r i s e f o r an a d o p t e d c h i l d w i t h n o n - a d j p t e d s i b l i n g s . with mixed f a m i l i e s should, a l s o l e a r n t h a t t h e attachment  Parents  process  may  165 f e e l d i f f e r e n t w i t h an adopted c h i l d , and t h a t t h i s i s a normal experience that requires a period o f adjustment.  T h i s might  alleviate  some o f t h e g u i l t a n d a n x i e t y t h a t was d e s c r i b e d by some o f t h e a d o p t i n g mothers i n t h i s 5.  study.  A d o p t i n g c o u p l e s s h o u l d r e a l i z e t h a t i n t h e f u t u r e t h e r e may no  l o n g e r be a g u a r a n t e e t h a t t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s remain c o n f i d e n t i a l .  will  They should e x p l o r e t h e i r f e e l i n g s r e g a r d i n g t h e  searching i s s u e because,  a s a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s t h e y w i l l be f a c e d w i t h  i t sooner o r l a t e r . 6. Some o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s i n t h i s s t u d y w e r e v e r y u p s e t b y t h e remarks o f o t h e r s , and f e l t d e f e n s i v e about t h e i r s t a t u s as a d o p t i v e parents.  Because t h i s s o c i e t y ' s c u l t u r a l values emphasize t h e b i o l o g i c a l  t i e , a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s s h o u l d be p r e p a r e d f o r o t h e r p e o p l e ' s  remarks  r e g a r d i n g t h e i r r o l e as p a r e n t s . They should r e a l i z e t h a t i t r e f l e c t s a c u l t u r a l b i a s and n o t an i n d i v i d u a l s l u r . 7. Some o f t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s i n t h i s s t u d y f e l t t h a t t h e r e was a l a c k o f s u p p o r t a f t e r t h e i r a d o p t i o n had been f i n a l i z e d . The need o f a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s t o r e c e i v e c o n t i n u o u s s u p p o r t i f r e q u i r e d s h o u l d be recognized.  I t i s p l a u s i b l e t h a t many a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s w o u l d b e  h e s i t a n t t o s o l i c i t help i n a c r i s i s from t h e adoption worker t h a t p l a c e d t h e i r c h i l d . A f t e r a l l , t h e p a r e n t s were s e l e c t e d by t h e agency t o be p a r e n t s a n d t h e a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s m i g h t f e e l h u m i l i a t e d , o r e v e n t h r e a t e n e d t o r e t u r n t o t h e agency f o r h e l p .  It i s this researcher's  v i e w t h a t o n g o i n g c o u n s e l l i n g s e r v i c e s s h o u l d be made a v a i l a b l e t o  166 adoptive f a m i l i e s , but these s e r v i c e s should remain separate adoption  from the  agency.  If adoptive parents  a r e e d u c a t e d as t o t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s and  d i f f e r e n c e s i n a d o p t i v e p a r e n t h o o d , a n d t h e number o f u n i q u e s i t u a t i o n s t h e y may be f a c e d w i t h , t h e y w i l l be i n a b e t t e r p o s i t i o n t o d e a l problems before they e s c a l a t e .  An i n f o r m e d  with  p a r e n t who c a n f o r s e e  p o t e n t i a l p r o b l e m s w i l l be more e f f e c t i v e a t d e a l i n g w i t h an i s s u e before i t reaches  a c r i s i s p o i n t and r e q u i r e s p r o f e s s i o n a l  A p r e v e n t a t i v e a p p r o a c h i s u s u a l l y more e x p e d i e n t crisis intervention.  intervention.  and p r e f e r a b l e t o  However, d u r i n g t h e f a m i l y l i f e c y c l e , t h e  a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s may f e e l t h e n e e d t o c o n s u l t a t r a i n e d c o u n s e l l o r t o d i s c u s s t h e i r adopted c h i l d ' s needs. Recommendations f o r c o u n s e l l o r s t r e a t i n g adopting Counselling  families are outlined  next.  i m p l i c a t i o n s . W h i l e b i o l o g i c a l and a d o p t i v e  families  i n g e n e r a l , f a c e t h e same d e v e l o p m e n t a l t a s k s , t h e f i n d i n g s a n d conclusions of t h i s study  indicate that the f a c t o r of adoption  can  i n c r e a s e t h e s t r e s s i n an a d o p t i v e f a m i l y , p a r t i c u l a r l y d u r i n g t h e adolescent  stage of the family l i f e c y c l e .  Many a d o p t i v e  families  would b e n e f i t from f a m i l y c o u n s e l l i n g during t h i s time.  In o r d e r  t o be h e l p f u l t o t h e s e f a m i l i e s , i t i s t h i s r e s e a r c h e r ' s  opinion  t h a t c o u n s e l l o r s must u n d e r s t a n d t h e v a r i o u s f a c t o r s u n i q u e l y in adoption,  inherent  and r e c o g n i z e t h e s i m i l a r i t i e s , b u t a l s o t h e d i f f e r e n c e s  i n a d o p t i v e a n d b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t h o o d . C o u n s e l l o r s who work w i t h a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s must be a w a r e o f t h e p o s s i b l e e f f e c t s o f b u t a l s o m u s t be a b l e t o e v a l u a t e t h e i n d i v i d u a l p e r s o n a l i t y  adoption, patterns  167 o f t h e f a m i l y members t o d e t e r m i n e what a d o p t i o n means t o t h e m 1976).  (Blum,  C o u n s e l l o r s who a r e p r e s e n t e d w i t h a t r o u b l e d a d o p t i v e f a m i l y  n e e d n ' t v i e w t h e symptoms o f t h e f a m i l y as a l w a y s r e f l e c t i n g a d o p t i o n i s s u e s , b u t t h e y s h o u l d be a b l e t o d e t e r m i n e how t h e f a c t o r s o f t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e a r e i n f l u e n c i n g t h e p r e s e n t i n g p r o b l e m and t h e f a m i l y dynamics.  T h i s a b i l i t y c a n be l e a r n e d t h r o u g h k n o w l e d g e o f  how t h e a d o p t i o n e x p e r i e n c e c a n a f f e c t f a m i l i e s . C o u n s e l l i n g parents during t h e i r adopted c h i l d ' s  adolescence  s h o u l d f o c u s on t h e n e e d s o f a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s and w h a t t h e i r emerging c u r i o s i t y means.  A d o p t i v e p a r e n t s s h o u l d be r e a s s u r e d  t h a t t h e y w i l l c o n t i n u e t o be t h e r e a l p a r e n t s and t h a t t h e c u r i o s i t y r e f l e c t s a developmental  need f o r background  adoptee's  information.  Helping the adoptive parents detach themselves e m o t i o n a l l y from  their  c h i l d r e n ' s i n t e r e s t i n t h e i r o r i g i n s s h o u l d be a p r i m a r y g o a l f o r t h e c o u n s e l l o r ( S o k o l o f f , 1979).  A d o p t i v e p a r e n t s m u s t come t o r e a l i z e  t h a t the adoptee's p r e o c c u p a t i o n with the b i o l o g i c a l parents does not u s u a l l y r e f l e c t a n e e d t o f i n d new p a r e n t s , b u t r e f l e c t s a n e e d f o r information to s a t i s f y the c u r i o s i t y .  Detaching themselves from t h i s  p r o c e s s w i l l a l l o w t h e p a r e n t s t o be more a c c e p t i n g o f t h e and e n a b l e t h e m t o be m o r e s u p p o r t i v e .  adoptee,  A d o p t i v e p a r e n t s have o f t e n  been c o u n s e l l e d t h a t adoptees need a p o s i t i v e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h t h e i r o r i g i n s , b u t t h e y a r e r a r e l y h e l p e d t o work t h r o u g h t h e i r n e g a t i v e a t t i t u d e s or f e e l i n g s towards the b i o l o g i c a l parents e t a l , 1978).  own (Sorosky  C o u n s e l l o r s may n e e d t o s p e n d some t i m e w i t h t h e  p a r e n t s t o e d u c a t e t h e m a b o u t t h e a d o l e s c e n t ' s n e e d t o know, and t o  168 h e l p t h e m d e a l w i t h some o f t h e i s s u e s t h a t t h e a d o l e s c e n t ' s have s t i r r e d  questions  up.  W h i l e f a m i l y c o u n s e l l i n g s h o u l d be t h e u l t i m a t e g o a l f o r t h e r a p i s t s t r e a t i n g a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s and t h e i r f a m i l i e s , t h e t h e r a p i s t m u s t a l s o r e c o g n i z e t h e need o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t t o meet w i t h o u t t h e p r e s e n c e the parents.  As n o t e d i n t h i s r e s e a r c h , many o f t h e a d o p t e e s  uncomfortable  t a l k i n g t o t h e i r p a r e n t s about t h e i r i d e n t i t y  of  felt concerns.  B e c a u s e o f t h e i r r e l u c t a n c e t o d i s c u s s some o f t h e s e i s s u e s , i n i t i a l l y t h e a d o p t e e s h o u l d be a l l o w e d t o e x p r e s s h i s / h e r c u r i o s i t y and privately.  concerns  Many o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s i n t h i s s t u d y had n e v e r t a l k e d  to anyone about t h e i r f e e l i n g s r e g a r d i n g a d o p t i o n .  A f t e r the interview  t h e y t y p i c a l l y r e m a r k e d on how n i c e i t had b e e n t o h a v e s o m e b o d y j u s t l i s t e n t o them.  They were however, e q u a l l y c o n c e r n e d t h a t what t h e y  had d i s c u s s e d w o u l d n o t be r e p e a t e d t o t h e i r p a r e n t s .  I t was  the  r e s e a r c h e r ' s o p i n i o n t h a t m o s t o f t h e a d o l e s c e n t s had b e n e f i t e d t h e i n t e r v i e w s b e c a u s e t h e y c o u l d t a l k t o an o u t s i d e r o p e n l y  from  about  t h e i r f e e l i n g s and c o u l d u s e t h e m e e t i n g as a f o r u m i n w h i c h t o e x p l o r e t h e i r ideas. Adopted  a d o l e s c e n t s n e e d t o be r e a s s u r e d t h a t t h e i r c u r i o s i t y  and t h e i r f e e l i n g s a r e n o r m a l . M o s t o f t h e a d o p t e e s  i n the study were  s u r p r i s e d t o f i n d o u t t h a t someone e l s e f e l t l i k e t h e y d i d . C o u n s e l l o r s who work w i t h a d o p t e d a d o l e s c e n t s m u s t n o t v i e w  their  c o n c e r n s o v e r t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s as b e i n g an a t t e m p t t o s a t i s f y n e u r o t i c needs. judgemental  The a d o l e s c e n t a d o p t e e n e e d s a v e r y s u p p o r t i v e ,  environment  i n w h i c h he o r she c a n e x p l o r e t h e s e v e r y  i n t e n s e f e e l i n g s . C o u n s e l l o r s s h o u l d be a b l e t o h e l p t h e  adopted  non-  169 a d o l e s c e n t a c h i e v e i d e n t i t y i n t e g r a t i o n by e x p l o r i n g t h e f a c e t s o f the b i o l o g i c a l parents and t h e s e a r c h i n g m o t i v a t i o n with t h e adoptee (Blum,  1976).  The f i n d i n g s o f t h e p r e s e n t s t u d y a l s o i n d i c a t e t h a t a d o l e s c e n t adoptees  appear t o be v u l n e r a b l e t o f e e l i n g s o f r e j e c t i o n and f e e l i n g  different.  Meeting with other adolescent adoptees  i n a group  experience  might help t o m i t i g a t e t h e a d o l e s c e n t s ' f e e l i n g s o f being d i f f e r e n t . ; The g r o u p a t m o s p h e r e m i g h t h e l p t o a l l e v i a t e t h e a d o p t e e s ' about being adopted, and o f f e r a s u p p o r t i v e environment  anxiety  i n which t o  discuss personal issues related t o t h e i r adoptive status.  During  a d o l e s c e n c e , t h e a d o p t e e may n e e d t o r e a f f i r m h i s / h e r s e n s e o f belonging i n the family.  When f a m i l i e s c h o o s e t o d e n y t h e f a c t s o f  adoption, t h i s i n h i b i t s t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f t h e adoptee becoming a r e a l member o f t h e f a m i l y (Gurman, 1 9 8 2 ) . T h e c o u n s e l l o r c a n f a c i l i t a t e the adoptee's  need t o b e l o n g by c o n d u c t i n g f a m i l y s e s s i o n s where t h e  d e t a i l s o f t h e adoption a r e e x p l o r e d . Reducing t h e t e n s i o n and c o n f l i c t in t h e f a m i l y w i l l a l s o help t h e adoptee r e a f f i r m a sense o f belonging. When t h e c o u n s e l l o r j u d g e s t h a t t h e a d o p t i v e f a m i l y i s r e a d y f o r e x p l o r a t i o n o f t h e adoption i s s u e , t h e problems s h o u l d be d e a l t w i t h d i r e c t l y .  o f poor  communication  Both p a r e n t s and adoptee must l e a r n  t o communicate openly and c o n g r u e n t l y r e g a r d i n g t h e b i o l o g i c a l  parents  and t h e a c c o m p a n y i n g f e e l i n g s . F a m i l y t h e r a p i s t s r e c o g n i z e t h a t f a m i l y s e c r e t s , myths, and p h y s i c a l and emotional c u t - o f f s , can c o n t r i b u t e t o i n d i v i d u a l d y s f u n c t i o n , " s o " t h e f a c t s o f a d o p t i o n must be o p e n l y c o m m u n i c a t e d i n a d o p t i v e f a m i l i e s ( B l u m ,  1976).  The  170 t h e r a p i s t m u s t be a b l e t o f a c i l i t a t e t h i s p r o c e s s .  The c o u n s e l l o r  s h o u l d a l s o be a w a r e o f when f a m i l y s t r u c t u r e c a n be a c o n t r i b u t i n g v a r i a b l e t o t h e adoptee's f u n c t i o n i n g .  W h e t h e r an a d o p t e e i s f r o m  a m i x e d f a m i l y o r o n l y a d o p t i v e f a m i l y may b e a r some r e l a t i o n s h i p to t h e nature of his/her  difficulty.  C o u n s e l l i n g an a d o p t i v e f a m i l y s h o u l d be no m o r e d i f f i c u l t f o r t h e c o u n s e l l o r i f t h e c o u n s e l l o r h a s an u n d e r s t a n d i n g family functioning.  of adoptive  L o i s Blum ( 1 9 7 6 ) h a s s u c c i n c t l y summed up t h e  r o l e o f t h e c o u n s e l l o r i n working with adoptive f a m i l i e s , she w r i t e s : helping f a m i l i e s f e e l c o m f o r t a b l e with t h e c u r i o s i t y , the d i f f e r e n c e , t h e sameness, and t h e need f o r t h e i r a d o p t e d c h i l d t o come t o t e r m s w i t h h i s own d u a l i d e n t i t y s h o u l d be t h e a i m o f a l l c o u n s e l l o r s dealing with adoptive f a m i l i e s (p. 248). How e f f i c i e n t l y a c o u n s e l l o r w i l l a c c o m p l i s h  these tasks o r goals  w i l l depend on t h e e x t e n t o f h i s / h e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g experience  within the family.  of the adoption  Reference Notes  P r o v i n c e o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , M i n i s t r y o f Human R e s o u r c e s Annual Report, 1970. P r o v i n c e o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , M i n i s t r y o f Human R e s o u r c e s (1984). F a m i l y and C h i l d r e n ' s S e r v i c e s Procedure Manual, S e c t i o n 10, 2.10.1 - 2 . 1 0 . 2 7 .  171  References Adams, G. R., & M o n t e m a y o r , R. ( 1 9 8 3 ) . I d e n t i t y f o r m a t i o n d u r i n g e a r l y a d o l e s c e n c e . J o u r n a l o f E a r l y .Adolescence, 3 ( 3 ) , 193-202. A n d r e w s , R. ( 1 9 7 9 ) . A c l i n i c a l a p p r a i s a l o f s e a r c h i n g . P u b l i c W e l f a r e , Summer, 1 5 - 2 1 . A n d r e w s , R. ( 1 9 8 0 ) . 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B r o d z i n s k y , D., S c h e c t e r , D., B r a f f , A.', & S i n g e r , L . ( 1 9 8 3 ) . P s y c h o l o g i c a l and academic adjustment i n adopted c h i l d r e n . Unpublished m a n u s c r i p t , R u t g e r s u n i v e r s i t y , D e p a r t m e n t o f P s y c h o l o g y , New J e r s e y . B u r g e s s , L . ( 1 9 7 6 ) . T h e a r t o f a d o p t i o n . W a s h i n g t o n , D. C : A c r o p o l i s Books. C l o t h i e r , F. (1943). The p s y c h o l o g y o f t h e adopted c h i l d .  Mental  Hygiene, 27, 222-230. Derdeyn, A. ( 1 9 7 9 ) . A d o p t i o n and t h e o w n e r s h i p o f c h i l d r e n . C h i l d P s y c h i a t r y a n d Human D e v e l o p m e n t , 9_ ( 4 ) , 2 1 4 - 2 2 6 . D e r d e y n , A., & W a d l i n g t o n , W. ( 1 9 7 7 ) . A d o p t i o n t h e r i g h t s o f parents versus the best interests of t h e i r children. Journal o f A m e r i c a n Academy o f C h i l d P s y c h i a t r y , ]_6 ( 2 ) , 2 3 8 - 2 5 5 . 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J o u r n a l o f t h e  American  P s y c h o a n a l y t i c A s s o c i a t i o n , 4, 5 6 - 1 2 1 . E r i k s o n , E. ( 1 9 6 8 ) . I d e n t i t y , y o u t h and c r i s i s . New  York:  Norton.  F a r b e r , S. ( 1 9 7 7 ) . Sex d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e e x p r e s s i o n o f a d o p t i o n i d e a s . American  J o u r n a l o f O r t h o p s y c h i a t r y , 47 ( 4 ) , 6 3 9 - 6 5 0 .  F r e u d , S. ( 1 9 5 0 ) . F a m i l y r o m a n c e s . In J . S t r a c h e y ( E d . ) , C o l l e c t e d P a p e r s ( V o l . 5, pp. 7 4 - 7 8 ) . L o n d o n : H o g a r t h P r e s s . ( O r i g i n a l work published  1909)  F r i s k , M. ( 1 9 6 4 ) . I d e n t i t y p r o b l e m s and c o n f u s e d c o n c e p t i o n o f t h e g e n e t i c ego i n a d o p t e d c h i l d r e n d u r i n g a d o l e s c e n c e . A c t a P a e d o p s y c h i a t r i c a , 31,  6-12.  G i o r g i , A. ( 1 9 7 5 ) . C o n v e r g e n c e  and d i v e r g e n c e o f q u a l i t a t i v e  and  q u a n t i t a t i v e m e t h o d s i n p s y c h o l o g y . In A. G i o r g i , C. F i s h e r & E. M u r r a y  ( E d s . ) , Duquesne s t u d i e s i n phenomenological  psychology  V o l . 2. ( p p . 7 2 - 7 9 ) . P i t t s b u r g h : D u q u e s n e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s . Gurman, A. ( 1 9 8 2 ) . The a d o p t e d c h i l d i n f a m i l y t h e r a p y . The Journal of Family Therapy,  American  10 ( 3 ) , 7 0 - 7 3 .  H e r s o v , L. ( 1 9 7 9 ) . The p s y c h i a t r i s t and m o d e r n a d o p t i o n p r a c t i c e . In C h i l d a d o p t i o n ( p p . 1 7 2 - 1 8 9 ) .  L o n d o n : The A s s o c i a t i o n o f B r i t i s h  Adoption & Fostering Agencies. Humphrey, M.,  & Ounsted, C.(1964). Adoptive f a m i l i e s r e f e r r e d f o r  p s y c h i a t r i c a d v i c e I I . The p a r e n t s . B r i t i s h J o u r n a l o f P s y c h i a t r y , 110,  549-555.  175  J a c k s o n , L. ( 1 9 6 8 ) . u n s u c c e s s f u l a d o p t i o n s : A s t u d y o f 40 c a s e s who a t t e n d e d a c h i l d g u i d a n c e c l i n i c . B r i t i s h J o u r n a l o f Med. P s y c h o l o g y , 41_, 3 8 9 - 3 9 8 . J a f f e , B. ( 1 9 7 4 ) . A d o p t i v e o u t c o m e : A t w o - g e n e r a t i o n v i e w . C h i I d W e l f a r e , 53 ( 4 ) , 2 1 1 - 2 2 4 . J a f f e , B., & F a n s h e l , D. (.1.970). • How " t h e y f a r e d i n a d o p t i o n : A f o l l o w - u p s t u d y . New Y o r k : C o l u m b i a  University Press.  K a d u s h i n , A. ( 1 9 7 0 ) . A d o p t i n g o l d e r c h i l d r e n . New Y o r k :  Columbia  University Press. K i r k , H. D. ( 1 9 6 4 ) . S h a r e d F a t e . New Y o r k : F r e e P r e s s . K i r k , H. D. ( 1 9 8 1 ) . A d o p t i v e k i n s h i p a m o d e r n i n s t i t u t i o n i n n e e d of reform.  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A d o p t e d c h i l d r e n i n a d o l e s c e n c e . In R. Tod ( E d . ) , S o c i a l work i n a d o p t i o n : C o l l e c t e d p a p e r s (pp. 135-143).  London:  Longman G r o u p L t d . W i t m e r , H., H e r z o g , E . , W e i n s t e i n , E . , & S u l l i v a n , M . ( 1 9 6 3 ) .  Independent  a d o p t i o n s . New Y o r k : R u s s e l l S a g e F o u n d a t i o n . Work, H. H., & A n d e r s o n ,  H. ( 1 9 7 1 ) . S t u d i e s i n a d o p t i o n :  f o r p s y c h i a t r i c treatment. American  Requests  J o u r n a l o f P s y c h i a t r y , 127, 9 4 8 - 9 5 0 .  Y a r r o w , L., & G o o d w i n , M. ( 1 9 6 5 ) . Some c o n c e p t u a l i s s u e s i n t h e s t u d y of m o t h e r - i n f a n t i n t e r a c t i o n . American 35, 4 7 3 - 4 8 1 .  Journal of Orthopsychiatry,  APPENDIX A  Letter of  Introduction  180  APPENDIX B  F a m i l y C o n s e n t Form  182  183 APPENDIX B Family Consent Department  Form  of Counselling Psychology  Faculty of Education University of British  We, t h e  Columbia  f a m i l y members, a g r e e t o v o l u n t e e r  to p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h e r e s e a r c h as o u t l i n e d i n t h e accompanying l e t t e r as u n d e r t a k e n b y S a n d r a Garni i n , a s t u d e n t i n t h e M a s t e r o f A r t s p r o g r a m i n t h e a b o v e named d e p a r t m e n t . We u n d e r s t a n d t h a t a n y i n f o r m a t i o n we p r o v i d e w i l l be k e p t s t r i c t l y c o n f i d e n t i a l , a n d t h a t a n y o f u s may r e f u s e t o a n s w e r a n y q u e s t i o n , o r may w i t h d r a w f r o m t h i s s t u d y a t a n y t i m e w i t h o u t prejudice. As a p a r t i c i p a t i n g f a m i l y member i n t h i s s t u d y , I am w i l l i n g t o c o m p l e t e t h e r e q u i r e d q u e s t i o n n a i r e s , t h e F a m i l y Environment S c a l e and t h e P a r e n t s ' Q u e s t i o n n a i r e , a n d p a r t i c i p a t e i n an i n t e r v i e w w i t h t h e r e s e a r c h e r . I a g r e e t o a l l o w t h e i n t e r v i e w t o be a u d i o t a p e d u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y o f t h e s e t a p e s and t h e measures b e i n g t a k e n t o e n s u r e same.  Signed, Date  (adoptee) P a r e n t a l C o n s e n t f o r c h i l d r e n u n d e r t h e a g e o f 16: I c o n s e n t t o my c h i l d ' s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s s t u d y I do n o t c o n s e n t t o my c h i l d ' s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h i s s t u d y  APPENDIX C  Adoptees' Interview Guide  184  185  APPENDIX C Adoptee's I n t e r v i e w Guide  Introduction;  As you know I am doing a study to f u r t h e r understand the  e x p e r i e n c e o f a d o p t i o n and what i t means to both adoptee.  I would l i k e you t o t e l l  the p a r e n t s and the  me about your e x p e r i e n c e s as an  adoptee i n as much d e t a i l as you c a n , as though you were t e l l i n g a story with a beginning, a middle, you  and an end.  I'd l i k e  me  to remind  t h a t t h i s i n t e r v i e w i s p r i v a t e and your p a r e n t s won't hear  anything  t h a t i s s a i d between u s . I'd l i k e and  to s t a r t  t h i s i n t e r v i e w by l e a r n i n g a l i t t l e  about you  t h e o t h e r members o f your f a m i l y , what your i n t e r e s t s a r e , what  you do i n your spare time and t h i n g s l i k e t h a t . (Interviewer should lead c l i e n t  i n t o a g e n e r a l d i s c u s s i o n on s c h o o l ,  f a m i l y c o n s t e l l a t i o n , peer and s i b l i n g is  e s t a b l i s h e d and the c l i e n t  relationships, until  rapport  i s f e e l i n g c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h the i n t e r v i e w e r ) .  Area 1 - R e v e l a t i o n E x p e r i e n c e s  ... Can you remember the f i r s t time t h a t you found out t h a t you were adopted? T e l l me about t h i s e x p e r i e n c e . ... How o l d were you? ... I f o t h e r c h i l d r e n i n t h e f a m i l y ...... do you ever t a l k t o them about adoption? ( E x p l o r e w i t h the c l i e n t ) ... How o f t e n i s a d o p t i o n d i s c u s s e d i n y o u r f a m i l y ? these d i s c u s s i o n s ? When?  Area 2 - The B i o l o g i c a l  Who  initiates  Parents  ... Have your p a r e n t s g i v e n you any i n f o r m a t i o n about the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s , how do you f e e l about t h i s ? Are you s a t i s f i e d w i t h i t ? ... I t seems t h a t many adopted k i d s have a n a t u r a l c u r i o s i t y about t h e i r o r i g i n s - how do you f e e l about t h i s ? Have you had t h i s experience? ... Do you f i n d curious?  t h a t as you get o l d e r you get more c u r i o u s o r l e s s  '  A r e a 2 - The B i o l o g i c a l P a r e n t s C o n t ' d .  186  ... Have you e v e r t a l k e d t o your p a r e n t s about t h i s When? What happened?  curiosity?  ... . How do you f e e l about the woman t h a t gave b i r t h t o you? Do you have any f e e l i n g s about t h e b i o l o g i c a l f a t h e r ? ... Sometimes c o u n s e l l o r s t a l k about a f e e l i n g o f b e l o n g i n g somewhere, u s u a l l y i t ' s t o one's f a m i l y . I was wondering how you might e x p e r i e n c e t h i s , can you d e s c r i b e your f e e l i n g of b e l o n g i n g t o your f a m i l y ?  Area 3 - R e l a t i o n s h i p  Dimensions  ... Sometimes adopted k i d s have a s p e c i a l p l a c e i n the f a m i l y , I was wondering what i t ' s l i k e i n y o u r f a m i l y , do you sometimes f e e l s p e c i a l , when, .... o r I wonder i f you f e e l as i f you get away w i t h more because you a r e adopted? ... Have you e v e r had any problems t h a t you t h i n k were caused because you were adopted? (Describe) ... What a r e some o f t h e f e e l i n g s y o u e x p e r i e n c e when you t h i n k about adoption? ... What a r e the. good t h i n g s about b e i n g adopted? ... D e s c r i b e your r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h your Mom? Dad? S i b l i n g s ? ; ... What i s your c u r r e n t view o f your Mom? Dad? S i b l i n g s ? ... A r e you s i m i l a r or . d i f f e r e n t t o y o u r mom and dad i n your temperment? How a r e you s i m i l a r o r d i f f e r e n t ? ... I f you had t h e chance what a d v i c e might you g i v e t o o t h e r adopted c h i l d r e n ? What a d v i c e might you g i v e t o o t h e r adoptive parents? ... A t what times and i n what c i r c u m s t a n c e s a r e you most k e e n l y aware o f the f a c t t h a t you a r e adopted? ... How do you view y o u r s e l f  at this  time i n y o u r  life?  ... How do you view your a d o p t i v e s t a t u s a t t h i s time i n your  life?  ... What m o t i v a t e d you t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h i s r e s e a r c h ? ... What do you t h i n k about a l l t h e t h i n g s we've d i s c u s s e d  tonight?  ... Do you t h i n k any o f the d i s c u s s i o n we've had t o n i g h t has h e l p e d you? How?  APPENDIX D  Parents' Interview Guide  187  188  APPENDIX U P a r e n t s ' I n t e r v i e w Guide  Introduction: of  I am doing a study to f u r t h e r understand  the e x p e r i e n c e  a d o p t i o n , and what i t means to the p a r e n t s and the c h i l d .  I would  l i k e b o t h o f you t o t e l l me about your e x p e r i e n c e s as an a d o p t i v e parent  i n as much d e t a i l as you can.  may have e x p e r i e n c e d in  some events  your p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e s  one a n o t h e r .  I r e c o g n i z e t h a t each o f you  d i f f e r e n t l y and as I am i n t e r e s t e d  i t ' s okay i f you don't  with  I have some p a r t i c u l a r areas I would l i k e t o e x p l o r e  w i t h you, but f o r the most p a r t I would l i k e your  always agree  story, i s this  to j u s t be l i s t e n i n g to  clear?  To s t a r t t h i n g s o f f I would l i k e f o r each o f you to t e l l me about your e a r l y e x p e r i e n c e - how and why you become a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s .  Area 1 - E a r l y Adoption  ... What c i r c u m s t a n c e s  Experience  l e d to your d e c i s i o n to adopt?  ... D i d you have a p r e f e r e n c e f o r a boy, g i r l ,  o r age o f r a c e o f c h i l d ?  ... How w e l l prepared d i d you f e e l ( e m o t i o n a l l y , p h y s i c a l l y , when n o t i f i e d t h a t a c h i l d was a v a i l a b l e ? ... What was your e x p e r i e n c e l i k e when you f i r s t i s t h a t what you expected?  socially)  r e c e i v e d your c h i l d -  ... A f t e r your c h i l d came home w i t h you can you remember how l o n g i t was b e f o r e you began to f e e l t h a t t h i s c h i l d was yours - d e s c r i b e t h i s experience. ... D i d you e x p e r i e n c e any problems d u r i n g t h i s p e r i o d - d e s c r i b e . ... O v e r a l l , how s a t i s f i e d were you w i t h the e a r l y a d o p t i o n were your e x p e c t a t i o n s met - how, d e s c r i b e .  experience,  A r e a 2 - The R e v e l a t i o n E x p e r i e n c e  One aspect o f a d o p t i v e parenthood parents i s t e l l i n g experienced  their child  i n your f a m i l y .  ... Was i t planned,  t h a t seems to be d i f f i c u l t  t h a t he/she i s adopted.  T e l l me how i t happened.  o r d i d some c r i s i s p r e c i p i t a t e i t ?  ... How o l d was your c h i l d , what d i d you say to him/her?  f o r some  How was  this  A r e a 2 - The R e v e l a t i o n E x p e r i e n c e  189  Cont'd  .How d i d you e x p e r i e n c e t h i s moment w i t h your c h i l d , how d i d you f e e l about t h i s ? ... How d i d you t e l l o t h e r c h i l d r e n  i n the f a m i l y , what d i d they do?  ... T h i n k back now, what was your c h i l d ' s  response  to t h i s  ... T r y t o r e c a l l what happened i n the f a m i l y a f t e r t h i s d i d you n o t i c e any change i n your c h i l d ' s b e h a v i o r ?  revelation? revelation,  ... How o f t e n has a d o p t i o n been d i s c u s s e d i n your f a m i l y s i n c e t h i s time? What k i n d s o f events p r e c i p i t a t e these d i s c u s s i o n s - d e s c r i b e .  Area 3 - The B i o l o g i c a l  Parents  When you adopted your c h i l d I suppose the agency made a v a i l a b l e some i n f o r m a t i o n on t h e b i o l o g i c a l  parents.  to you  Was t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n  s u f f i c i e n t , how d i d you f e e l upon r e c e i v i n g i t ? ... How o f t e n would you say y o u . t h i n k about t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s ? What a r e your f e e l i n g s and f a n t a s i e s about t h e b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s ? ... I n your o p i n i o n does your c h i l d seem c u r i o u s o r i n t e r e s t e d i n h i s / h e r b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s . I f s o , when d i d you b e g i n to n o t i c e t h i s c u r i o s i t y , how do you respond t o i t , how do you f e e l when he q u e s t i o n s y o u . How do you p e r c e i v e him? ... Some adopted y o u n g s t e r s r e a c h a s t a g e i n t h e i r l i v e s when they become p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h t h e i r o r i g i n s and c u r i o u s about b i o l o g i c a l parents. I f a t some time your c h i l d wanted to have more i n f o r m a t i o n re b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s and maybe d e c i d e d to s e a r c h f o r them, how would you h a n d l e t h i s , how would you f e e l - d e s c r i b e . ... How s a t i s f i e d do you t h i n k your c h i l d i s w i t h the i n f o r m a t i o n he/she has r e c e i v e d from you r e the b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s ?  A r e a 4 - Developmental In  & Relationship  looking retrospectively  Issues  a t your c h i l d ' s  development thus f a r , have  t h e r e been any stages t h a t you have found p a r t i c u l a r l y special,  o r f o r some reason stands out i n your mind?  d i f f i c u l t or Describe.  ... D e s c r i b e your r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h i s c h i l d , how do you t h i n k your c h i l d views t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p , i s t h i s c h i l d s i m i l a r t o , o r d i f f e r e n t from you i n temperment and mannerisms?  Area 4 - Developmental & R e l a t i o n s h i p I s s u e s  Cont'd  190  ... Some a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s e x p e r i e n c e g r e a t e r d i f f i c u l t i e s than o t h e r s , have you as a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s been f a c e d w i t h any problems you a t t r i b u t e to the a d o p t i o n s i t u a t i o n ? Describe. ... Do you t h i n k o t h e r p a r e n t s have s a t i s f a c t i o n s t h a t you don't and v i c e v e r s a , do you t h i n k a d o p t i v e p a r e n t s have s a t i s f a c t i o n s t h a t o t h e r p a r e n t s don't. Describe. ... In your o p i n i o n , do you t h i n k t h a t your c h i l d may s p e c i a l problems due to h i s / h e r a d o p t i v e s t a t u s ? ... At what times and aware of the f a c t  have f a c e d Describe.  i n what c i r c u m s t a n c e s are you most k e e n l y t h a t you are an a d o p t i v e parent?  ... How has b e i n g an a d o p t i v e p a r e n t a f f e c t e d you, what have you e x p e r i e n c e d t h a t you c o u l d share w i t h o t h e r s , what a d v i c e might you o f f e r t o p r o s p e c t i v e a d o p t i v e parents? ... What m o t i v a t e d  you  to p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h i s  research?  APPENDIX E  Parents Questionnaire  191  192 APPENDIX E Parents  Questionnaire  1.  Age  Sex  2.  Number o f years you have been m a r r i e d  3.  Number o f y e a r s o f marriage  4.  Age o f c h i l d when adopted  5.  Type o f a d o p t i o n  6.  General Educational L e v e l :  b e f o r e c h i l d was adopted  ( i . e . p r i v a t e , government, e t c . )  some h i g h s c h o o l  [  |  graduated  |  [  some c o l l e g e o f t e c h n i c a l s c h o o l  |  |  B a c h e l o r ' s degree  |  |  Graduate s c h o o l  |  |  under 10,000  |  [  10,000 to 20,000  1  1  from h i g h s c h o o l  Graduate degree  7.  Combined Family Income:  20,000 to 30,000 30,000 to 40,000 over 40,000  8.  I f any o t h e r c h i l d r e n i n the f a m i l y p l e a s e l i s t birthdate  sex  birthdate  sex  birthdate  sex  birthdate  sex  their birthdate  & sex:  P a r e n t s Q u e s t i o n n a i r e Cont'd  9.  (2)  How would you c u r r e n t l y r a t e your r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h your child:  (adopted)  very close somewhat c l o s e  [  |  neither close nor distant  |  |  somewhat d i s t a n t  I  very d i s t a n t  [  |  9A. I f you have o t h e r c h i l d r e n as w e l l , p l e a s e r a t e your w i t h them i n the b l a n k space below.  relationship  10. T h i s i s a c h e c k l i s t o f c h i l d r e n ' s b e h a v i o r problems. P l e a s e check any o f t h e items t h a t your f a m i l y has had any p a r t i c u l a r d i f f i c u l t y w i t h i n the p a s t c o n c e r n i n g your adopted c h i l d : academic fearful  reactions  sleeping temper  aggressive behavior  problems  j ealousy  difficulties  disobedient behavior  tantrums  dependency  mood swings f.  11.  peer r e l a t i o n s h i p  problems  withdrawn b e h a v i o r problems  Have you o r any member of your f a m i l y sought h e l p through c o u n s e l l i n g services o r physicians regarding family d i f f i c u l t i e s ? YES  NO  I f yes BRIEFLY o u t l i n e the n a t u r e o f the problem:  (3)  194 12.  O v e r a l l , how would you r a t e your  Poor  13.  Fair  Very Infrequently  Good  Excellent  Relatively Infrequently  Somewhat Frequently  Very Frequently  How m o t i v a t e d d i d you f e e l to adopt a c h i l d :  Not M o t i v a t e d At A l l  15.  adjustment:  How o f t e n would you say t h e s u b j e c t o f a d o p t i o n i s d i s c u s s e d i n your home:  Never  14.  (adopted) c h i l d ' s  Slightly Motivated  Quite Motivated  Highly Motivated  P l e a s e r a t e the e x t e n t t o which you f e e l your c h i l d ' s mannerisms and, temperament a r e s i m i l a r t o your own:  Not A t A l l Similar  That's a l l ,  Somewhat Similar  Very Similar  thank you f o r t a k i n g t h e time t o answer these q u e s t i o n s .  APPENDIX F .  The F a m i l y E n v i r o n m e n t and  Instructions  195  Scale  196 APPENDIX F The F a m i l y E n v i r o n m e n t S c a l e & I n s t r u c t i o n s  As p a r t o f t h i s p r o j e c t on the A d o p t i o n E x p e r i e n c e , we would l i k e you t o complete t h e f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n n a i r e . Some o f t h e q u e s t i o n s are designed to o b t a i n demographic i n f o r m a t i o n from you ( o n l y p a r e n t s w i l l complete t h i s form) and t h e F a m i l y Environment S c a l e i s a quest i o n n a i r e designed to a s s e s s each i n d i v i d u a l ' s p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e i r family l i f e s t y l e . Completion o f these q u e s t i o n n a i r e s w i l l take about 15-20 minutes t o complete. Your name i s n o t t o be e n t e r e d on any q u e s t i o n n a i r e , and a f t e r you have completed t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e p l e a s e s e a l i t i n t h e accompanying c o n f i d e n t i a l e n v e l o p e .  PLEASE NOTE: As a v o l u n t a r y p a r t i c i p a n t i n t h i s s t u d y , you have t h e r i g h t to d i s c o n t i n u e responding and to withdraw a t any time, and f o r any reason. Your responses t o these q u e s t i o n s w i l l not be r e v e a l e d to any o t h e r member o f your f a m i l y , and i n order to p r o t e c t t h e i n t e g r i t y o f t h e s t u d y , p l e a s e do n o t compare answers or d i s c u s s your responses to t h e q u e s t i o n s w i t h o t h e r members o f your f a m i l y u n t i l you have completed the m a t e r i a l and s e a l e d i t i n t h e e n v e l o p e . A l l r e s e a r c h m a t e r i a l c o l l e c t e d w i l l be c o m p l e t e l y c o n f i d e n t i a l . I f these q u e s t i o n n a i r e s a r e completed, i t w i l l be assumed t h a t consent has been g i v e n .  FAMILY ENVIRONMENT SCALE 1.  T  2..  T  3.  T  r r r  Family members r e a l l y h e l p and  support one  Family members o f t e n keep (.heir We  fight olot  i n our  jgy  f e e l i n g s to themselves.  family.  4.  T  F  Ue  don't do  5.  T  F  We  feci  i t i s important to be t a l k about p o l i t i c a l  t h i n g s on our own  6.  T  F  We  often  7.  T  F  We  spend most weekends and  8.  T  F  Family members a t t e n d  very o f t e n the best and  i n our  social  problems.  c h u r c h , synagogue, or Sunday School f a i r l y  T  F  Activities  T  F  F a m i l y members are r a r e l y o r d e r e d around.  11.  T  F  We  o f t e n seem to be k i l l i n g  12.  T  F  We  say  family arc pretty c a r e f u l l y  we  often.  planned.  time a t home. "  _  want to around, home.  13.  T  F.  14.  T  F  15.  T  F  16.  T  F  We  17.  T  F  Friends  18.  T '  F  We  don't say p r a y e r s  19.  T  F  We  are g e n e r a l l y very  20.  T  F  There are very  21.  T  F  We  22.  T  F  It's  23.  T-  F  Family members sometimes get  24.  T  F  We  F a m i l y members' r a r e l y become openly angry. In our  ;  do.  evenings at home.  9.  anything  family.  at whatever you  10.  i n our  another.  family,'we are s t r o n g l y encouraged to be  Getting  ahead In l i f e  r a r e l y go  put  Is very  Important In our  to l e c t u r e s , p l a y s or  concerts.  o f t e n come over f o r d i n n e r  few  i n our  Independent. family.  o r to  visit.  family.  neat and  orderly.  r u l e s to f o l l o w i n our  a l o t of energy Into what we  family.  do a t home.  hard to "blow o f f steam" at home without u p s e t t i n g  think  t h i n g s out  for ourselves  25.  T  F  How  26.  T  F  Learning  27.  T  r  Nobody In our  28.  t  F  We o f t e n t a l k about holidays.  29.  T  F  It's  30.  T  F  There i s one  31.  T  F  There i s a f e e l i n g o f  i n our  much money a person makes Is not about new  and  family  o f t e n hard  different  very  to f i n d  t h i n g s when you  F  We  F  F a m i l y members h a r d l y ever l o s e t h e i r  34.  T  F  We  come and  35.  T  F  We  b e l i e v e In c o m p e t i t i o n  36.  T  F  We  are not  37.  T  F  We  o f t e n go  38.  T  F  We  don't b e l i e v e  F  Being on  T  F  There a r e  i n our  family.  league, bowling, e t c .  about our  go as we  need them i n our  t o g e t h e r n e s s In our  T  T  us.  important  makes most of the  T  39.  important to  i s very  Is a c t i v e ' i n s p o r t s , l i t t l e  32.  40.  ....  the r e l i g i o u s meaning of C h r i s t m a s , Passover, o r  f a m i l y member who  each o t h e r  -  family.  things  33.  tell  somebody.  so angry they throw t h i n g s .  personal  want to In our and  "may  other  household.  decisions.  family.  problems. tempers.  family. the best man  that I n t e r e s t e d • i n c u l t u r a l  win".  activities.  to movies, s p o r t s e v e n t s , camping, e t c . i n heaven o r  time Is very  hell  Important  i n our  family.  s e t ways o f d o i n g t h i n g s a t home.  41.  T  F  We  42.  T  F  If we f e r l l i k e d o i n g something on p i c k up and go.  43.  T  F  F a m i l y members o f t e n c r i t i c i z e eacli  other.  44.  T  F  There i s very  family.  r a r e l y volunteer  little  when something has  privacy  45.  T  F  We  always s t r i v e  46.  T  F  We  r a r e l y have I n t e l l e c t u a l  47.  T  F  Everyone  i n our  to do  i n our  things  f a m i l y has  to be done at-home.  the spur o f  just a l i t t l e  discussions. a hobby o r  two.  the moment, wc  better  the next  often  time.  Just  Faintly members have  strict  ideas about what Is r i g h t and wrong.  People change t h e i r minds o f t e n  198  In our f a m i l y .  There Is a s t r o n g emphasis on f o l l o w i n g r u l e s i n our f a m i l y . Family members r e a l l y back each o t h e r up. Someone u s u a l l y gets upset I f you complain In our f a m i l y . F a m i l y members sometimes h i t each  other.  Family members almost always r e l y on themselves when a problem comes up. Family members r a r e l y worry about Job promotions, s c h o o l Someone i n our f a m i l y p l a y s a m u s i c a l F a m i l y members a r e not very work o r s c h o o l .  involved  grades, e t c .  Instrument. i n recreational a c t i v i t i e s  outside  Wc b e l i e v e there a r c some t i l i n g s you j u s t have t o take on f a i t h . F a m i l y members make sure t h e i r rooms arc' n e a t . Everyone has an equal say In f a m i l y d e c i s i o n s . ' There Is very  little  group s p i r i t  Honey and paying b i l l s  In o u r f a m i l y .  .  Is o p e n l y t a l k e d about i n o u r f a m i l y .  If t h e r e ' s a disagreement i n our f a m i l y , we t r y hard t o smooth t h i n g s and keep the peace. Family members s t r o n g l y encourage each other  t o stand  up f o r t h e i r  over  rights.  In our f a m i l y , we don't t r y t h a t h a r d t o succeed. F a m i l y members o f t e n go t o the l i b r a r y . Family members jometimes a t t e n d i n t e r e s t (outside of school).  c o u r s e s o r take l e s s o n s  In o u r f a m i l y each person has d i f f e r e n t  f o r some hobby, o r  Ideas about what Is r i g h t and wronj  Each person's d u t i e s a r e c l e a r l y d e f i n e d  In our f a m i l y .  "  We can do whatever we want t o In o u r .family. We r e a l l y g e t a l o n g w e l l w i t h each  other.  We a r e u s u a l l y c a r e f u l about what we say to each F a m i l y members o f t e n I t ' s hard  other.  t r y t o one-up o r out-do each  other.  to be by y o u r s e l f w i t h o u t h u r t i n g someone's f e e l i n g s i n o u r hous  "Work b e f o r e  p l a y " i s the r u l e  In o u r f a m i l y .  Watching T.V. i s more important than r e a d i n g  In o u r f a m i l y .  •.  F a m i l y members go o u t a l o t . The  B i b l e Is a very  important book In o u r home.  Money i s n o t handled very c a r e f u l l y Rules a r e p r e t t y I n f l e x i b l e  ' -  i n o u r f a m i l y . .•  i n o u r household.  There I s p l e n t y o f time and a t t e n t i o n f o r everyone i n o u r f a m i l y . There a r e a l o t o f spontaneous d i s c u s s i o n s  In o u r f a m i l y .  In o u r f a m i l y , we b e l i e v e you don't e v e r g e t anywhere by r a i s i n g your We a r e n o t r e a l l y encouraged  to speak up f o r ours'elves  Family members a r e o f t e n compared w i t h o t h e r s a t s c h o o l o r work.  vole  i n pur family.  as t o how w e l l they a r e d o i n  F a m i l y members r e a l l y l i k e music, a r t , and l i t e r a t u r e . Our  main form o f e n t e r t a i n m e n t i s watching T.V. o r l i s t e n i n g t o the r a d i o .  F a m i l y members b e l i e v e t h a t i f you s i n you w i l l be p u n i s h e d . D i s h e s a r e u s u a l l y done immediately You  can't  after  g e t away w i t h much In o u r f a m i l y .  eating.  APPENDIX G  L e t t e r of Appreciation  199  

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