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The psychosocial factors which may intensify the adolescent foster child's concern about his unknown… Lugtig, Donald Joseph 1956

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THE PSYCHOSOCIAL FACTORS WulCH MAY INTENSIFY THB ADOLESCENT FOSTER CHILD'S CONCERN ABOUT HIS UNKNOWN NATURAL PARENTS Art E x p l o r a t o r y Study o f Seven Adolescent Wards o f The Vancouver C h i l d r e n ' s A i d S o c i e t y .  by DONALD JOSEPH LUGTIG  Thesis submitted i n P a r t i a l F u l f i l m e n t of the Requirements f o r the Degree o f WASTER OF SOCIAL WORK i n the School o f S o c i a l Work  Accepted as conforming t o the standard required f o r the degree o f Master o f S o c i a l Work  School o f S o c i a l Work  1956 The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia.  - i iTABtE OF CONTESTS  Copter 1.  the Parnaramtffi Separated boater Child and Hie denleeyn about"MB Pari Watural Pare'ntB.' " A Social and Psychological Perspective. Introduction. Definitions. 7he Changing Philosophy of Foster Care. The Problea of Pensanent Parent-Child Separation. The Child's Social Concern a Social Sterapeetive. Psychosocial problems of adolescence i n relation to the Child's Concern. Assumptions, Objectives and tetuoda of Study....  Chapter 2,  Factors which may intensify the Adolescent foster Child*a Concern - A Btevlew of the Literature. Introduction. Basic Causative factors, immediate precipitating faefcore. an Analysis of the factors..•  Chapter 3,  A gesoription and Identification of the Factors in Seven Caso focbrffl. Kathod of Soloeting Case Records. Baflnitien of ©actors. ¥he Incidence of Ifaetcrs. Description of the Sactdrs.Soggeetad in Bach Caee Record. Susaaary of Eludings  Chapter lu  28  U9  ConcXuaions and Implications for Research and Social Upvk help. HestateEBQt of the Ebcua. A Critique of the Kasearch. Issplicationo of the Findings for Eese&reh. Tho Social tforker' 8 Sole in X&agnosis and Treatoant.  82  Bibliography.  97  Appendices:  CHARTS IH THB TEXT  figure 1  Eslationahips and Desirable Psychosocial Be stilts for Child XtevslopEssnt when the JJau&ly i s considered as a Psychological Unit.  §1gore 11  The Incidanca of Contributing and Precipitating Factors which seats to Intensify the Adolescent Foster Child's Concern about his Unknown Natural Parents..  - lis: AfiggB&OT the purpose of this thesis i s to maka an exploratory study of the basic and immediate psychosocial factors which may intensify the concern which some adolescent foster children show about the natural parents from which they were permanently separated at an early age* The study includess 1.  A brief description ©f bow the child's concern taay be Intensified (a) by broad sooial factors which vary according to the cultural definition of the importance to the child of being reared by "biological" parents (b) by the problems of adolescence i n t M s culture's family l i f e *  2*  A description of the intensifying factors derived from a review of relevant literature i n the fields of social work, social psychology and psychiatry*  3.  &n identification and description of the factors i n the cases of seven adolescent foster children who, according to two experienced sooial workers, showed Intense concern about their unknown natural parents*  The review of the literature provided a tentative fraao of reference f o r use i n exploring the case records* Some factors which were described seemed related to the foster child's early developmental years, others seemed more related to the particular psychosocial problems of adolescence* Suggestions for further research and social work diagnosis were drawn from the study* The concern of the adolescent foster child about his unknown natural parents seems related to M s own particular l i f e experiences. Careful study of the individual child should be made before the matter of t e l l i n g the child about the parents i s approached by the social worker* Further orientation of foster parents with regard to this problem seems indicated. Special treatment for certain children with pathological l i f e experiences of which their concern about parents seesas to be symptomatic i s also suggested*  - Iv -  I x&sh t o express nsy sincere appreciation to Hrs. Helen Exner and Kr. Adrian Carriage, isembere of the School o f S o o i a l Mork, The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, f o r t h e i r Invaluable guidance and encouragement i n the development o f t h i s t h e s i s . To tiles Haael Miles and Mr. John Sanders of the Vancouver Children's A i d Society goes w& gratitude for t h e i r s e l e c t i o n of the cases studied and for valuable supplemental information.  1 a l s o a i s h to thank  Hiss Dorothy Coombe, Director o f the Children' a A i d Society for the p r i v i l e g e o f using case material and s t a f f help.  It ie  hope that t h i s  thesis w i l l be a small contribution to the very valuable service which the Children's A i d Society i s giving to f o s t e r c h i l d r e n , f o s t e r parents, natural parents.  and  me  PSYCHOSOCIAL  EACTOBS  mm.  MM  xtmaaim  TH£ ADOLESCENT FOSTER. CHILD'S G0H03R} HIS  OTmriQItl  mm  HAT0RAL S>ARl3fc3  An Exploratory Study of Seven Adolescent Bards of the Vancouver Children's Aid Scciety.  Chapter 1 The Permanently Separated Foster Child and ,Rle Concern about Hie Unknown Natural Parents * A Social and Psychological Perspective.  Introduction Social itorkars i n the f i e l d of child placement have long been aware of the problems of the foster child who i n adolescence becomes concerned about toe natural parents from whoia he was separated at an early age.  Some  children seem only mildly curious about the factB of their origin and background} others arc deeply interested and become eo concerned about the subject that thay start an intense search for their parents.  Others appear  eo preoccupied about fantasies of their parents that they suffer from inability to function adequately In their social environment.  To date  l i t t l e study has been done i n this area of social work with foster children. This atucfcr proposes to explore the question?  &iy are some foster children  store concerned about their unknown natural parents than others? Bafinitions In order to gain a broad perspective for the study Certain basic, definitions easa required. with his biological parents.  The "foster" child i s a person t£u> i e not l i v i n g In most cases he i s l i v i n g with adults who  are acting i i i a parental role although they are not related to him by kinship ties.  Generally speaking, tha foster child may be l i v i n g ndth "inatitu-  t i o n a l parents, "boarding" parents, or "adoptive" parents. n  Institutional  parents are generally those adults working i n on institution who are i n a position of authority i n relation to the child.  "Boarding" parents are  generally those a&tltfi who care for a child (usually unrelated to them) i n a family setting which i s supervised by a public or private child placement  2 agency.  In aost cases the care of the child i s subsidised by the agency,  although i n some the child works for his care or obtains his care free frora the "boarding parents. 0  Agency supervision to ensure that the family  setting meets the physical, emotional, and social needs of the growing child Is the distinguishing feature of "boarding" home care,  these parents are  selected by the agency upon the basis of careful study predicated upon certain c r i t e r i a of what good boarding parents should be like*  "Adoption i s  the legal process by which the child of one pair of parents becomes the child of other parents.**^  "Adoptive" parents are those parents who act i n  a parental role to a child not theirs by birth "tahen the responsibility for the child by bis natural parents has bees terminated psnaanently by court action end the adoptive parents and adopted child acquire a l l the responsibil i t i e s and privileges of the natural parent-child relationship through legal adoption".**  $hd adoptive parents are responsible for maintenance of  the child u n t i l he reaches legal maturity. adoptive parents* surname,  fh© child usually takes the  fhose adults are selected on the basis of their  mutual desire for a child, and their physical, emotional, and economic readiness to give him love and opportunities for growth and development.3 The child placement agency usually supervises the adoption ham,  to protect  the welfare of the c h i l d and to ensure the f e a s i b i l i t y ef the adoption, during the "adoption probation" period.  ©lis i s before the adoption lias  been f i n a l l y legalized by the court, and usually amounts to a year.  Super*  vision i s terminated after the legal adoption takes place.  Clyde Gets, "Adoption", Social Woric Yearbook, 19$k» American Association of Sooial Workers, Hew York, p. 26. 1  Helen R. Hagan, "Poster Care for Children", 'Social Work Yearbook^ 195k* American Association of Social Workers, New York, p. 227 3 Loc. ©it.  3 jbr the purposes of this study, the "foster* child w i l l be can* 1  sidered as a person #10 has spent most of his childhood l i f e tilth "boarding" parents under the supervision of a child placement agency. resided for a tiaie i n an institution* adoption probation.  He may have  He may also have been placed upon  However, h i s main -experience with parental persons  has been with those who from day to day were i n a parental position i n a fatally setting but Who were not h i s own i n a biological or legal sense. The Changing Philosophy of Foster Care "Poster care denotes the type of care that l a given to children who oust be separated froa their natural families*  Social agencies provide i t  by placing children i n institutions and i n family homes at the request of parents or other responsible adults."* the reasons for separation of natural parents and child are many. They includes death of one or both parents, temporary or permanent incapab i l i t y of the parents to rear the child by reasons of physical, Intellectual, emotional, or social problems* unwillingness of the parents to rear the child, and a number of otters.  Sometimes the natural parents voluntarily decide  that separation i s necessary; sometimes the community through Court action forces the parent-child separation i n the interests of the child's welfare. Many separations take place privately without agency help.  However, the  trend i s toward use of the social agency i n these circumstances.  "Agency-  sponsored fester care i s now Considered essential for any Child regardless of social and economic status, whose parenta cannot provide an adequate home."  2  This statement seems to have acceptance not only i n the profession of social  1  Kagan, "Boater Care for Children", Social Work Yearbook, 195U,  2  Ibid. p.,226  p. 2 2 5  k work i t s e l f , but i n many other areas i n the corranunity. Within the profession of social work the philosophy for using foster care as a means of social treatment has changed over the years. Social workers i n the foster care fields are continuously arethittt&ng i t e sooial usefulness In terns of the needs of children who cannot l i v e /with their own parents.  Much of this thinking has centered around the specific useful-  ness of various types of foster care,  i t has been influenced by the accumu-  lation and analysis of experience In the f i e l d of child placement i n particular, and the broader f i e l d of professional social work as well.  She con-  tributions of students and tferkere i n other disciplines i n the human relatione f i e l d (sociology, anthropology, psychology, law and psychiatry) has also had much influence, not only upon the bfroad f i e l d of social, uork, but tho specific field of child placement, fflie Problem of Permanent Parent-Child Separation Ho problem faced by child welfare social workers seems to be fraught with so many complications as that of permanent parent child separation.  When i s permanent parent-child separation indicated?  What i s the  best approach to providing care for the permanently separated child? Many permanent separations are already accomplished facts through the parent's , desertion or abandonment of the child.  In those cases i t i s usually the  second question which assumes major importance for the child welfare worker. However, i n some instances the social worker must "appraise the capacity for parenthood i n order to decide t&ether i t i e In the best interests of the. 11  child to be permanently separated from his natural parents. When i s permanent parent-child separation indicated? easy question to ansxrer.  This i e no  today i t i s answered by careful psychosocial  diagnosis of the family situation.  Thie was not always the case.  In the  5 early days of social work i n the child, placement and protection f i e l d , many social -workers answered the question on "ncra!" grounds*  Sorae parents were  not considered f i t to rear their oMldren on th© sole basis that their behavior toward their ch3.1dr©n, or their behavior In general, was not considered suitable f o r tha proper developaant of the child.  Poor standards of  physical and personal hygiene were cftan other factors i n tho ligjht of which tho social workers made such judgments.  Economic factors looi^d Ifirga.  If  the family was not thought able to support i t s children, c r the parents did not think m  themselves, separation was often effected.  ' Often after separa-  tion was effected parents were' discouraged from maintaining contact with their children i n foster care and permanent s e r r a t i o n resulted.^ The whole question of parent child separation has been continuously evaluated by social workers over the years.  . One of the f i r s t principles  whieh social workers formulated i n regard to this problem, wasi "fhat a child sliall be not separated from his parents for reasons of poverty alona. 2 tt  In spite of this declaration pf principle by the f i r s t gathering of social workers i n the child welfare f i e l d in,1909, a l i t t l e over two decades later i n & similar conference, I t was observed "large numbers of children s t i l l suffer, unrelieved i n their own homes, or arc separated froa their hemes because of poverty*^  She question.of. parental fitness, or a b i l i t y has  likewise come i n for revision i n thinking on the part of social workers i n this f i e l d .  the natter of parental neglect of children has lost BOMB of  i t s "moral" judgment implications as social workers have refined their Henrietta L. Gordon "Limitations of Poster Heme Care", Child Ifelfara, Child Welfare League of America, Hew ¥ork, July 19$3. P*7 1  2 Proceedings, White House Conference on the Care of Dependent Children, 1909, Ctovernmsnt Printing Office, Washington, 1909. Proceedings, White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, 1930 The Century Company, Hew York, 1931* •  6 philosophy and methods.  Neglect i s now considered to be caused by a. matrix  of s o c i a l and psychological factors t&ich Impinge upon the particular parentchildren relationship.  Sometimes causes of neglect H e within the Immediate  social pressures of the environment*  Other times these causes H e within  the personalities o f the p&rente themselves*  More often than riot, neglect  i s caused by an interaction of these factors. Broad social welfare programs such as lather's AHowaace and Family AHowance i n Canada and Aid to dependent Children and Survivors Insurance i n tii© United States, along with a network o f other public a s s i s tance and insurance mhm&n, have tended t o strengthen families eeonotaically and have tjorked to prevent parent-child separation f o r economic reasons alone. Likewise foster day care and children & nurseries have made I t possible f o r 1  many wmen who have lost t h e i r husbands to. support t h e i r fasaiiHes by worklngj and t h i s has made i t possible f o r them to rear the children i d thin the family c i r c l e * ftibXic Health programs, along with the advance of medical science, have increased human longevity and have made i t possible for more children to grow up without losing t h e i r parents by reason of death.  At the same  time, the accelerated study of family H v i n g on the part o f s o c i a l workers with the new frame,of reference provided by psychoanalytic theory has made i t possible for s o c i a l writers to understand better the dynamics o f personality development and thereby to develop new techniques f o r diagnosing and treating family problems, and thus help prevent family breakdown, neglect Bituations, and parent-child separation*  Although the problems  of family breakdown are complex, social workers, practicing on the p r i n c i p l e that the family i d the primary etacletal i n s t i t u t i o n and that i t must be preserved, are using the s k i l l s of case wark, groupwork and community  7 organisation to buttress and strengthen family l i v i n g .  Xn recent years  the social work principle o f supporting family strengths and preventing family breakdowns i s having greater application i n the child protection and placement f i e l d .  John Bala has stated this application clearly* "Wo  recognise that the beet place f o r meeting a child*3 individual and emotional needs i s i n the child's own home.  A child's own homo and family are the  natural medium i n union normal social and personality development can be beat assured.  Tfe believe that a c h i l d G family should be assisted i n every 1  B&y possible tc meet his individual emotional and mental needs i n his own home,"^ Permanent Separation of the "Older Ohild  11  Separation of the natural parent and the child has come to be seen as a necessity «hen other methods of assistance to the child and parent i n their home have not proved f r u i t f u l .  But must such separation be permanent  for the child who has lived for some years with one or both of his parents? Social workers have observed: "the foster child old enough to have developed strongly etched images of his own parents takes these with him to the foster home where they continue to plague him, his foster parents and the worker. "^ In other words as Henrietta Gordon has observed, physical separation does not necessarily mean psychological separation, t-fliera possible, a foster home i s now seen as a temporary form of care within a social treatment plan which has as i t s goal the reunion of such children with their pa rente In their own home.  In such cases "the only way for euch a child to turn to them (foster  John Oula, "She Child Away from Home", Journal of Social Casework, family litelfare Association of America, Hew York, April l$>iiB, p. 3^0. 0 Dorothy Hutchinson "The Placement Worker and the Child's Own Barents", Social Casework, July %9$h p. 295. 1  9  8 parents and worker), i s for him to see that they l i k e his parents, that they think well of his parents, and that they act kindly about his parent's mistakes,"  Visits of the natural parents to the child i n the boarding home  1  are encouraged as part of the social treatment plan. In other cases, however, permanent separation i s indicated after a s k i l l f u l psychosocial diagnostic appraisal of the "capacity for parenthood" has been made.  Social workers have corns to realise, according to Henrietta  Gordon, that the child can retain idealisations of "bad" parents which prevent hla from becoming attached to the foster parents emotionally.  Such children  need casework help to separate themselves psychologically from their past parent images so that they can form new ones.  Often this involves allowing  the c h i l d to express the hidden hostility toward the parents which l i e s underneath the idealisation of them and the acceptance of this hostility by the worker.  Furthermore the child needs to express his guilt over the  2  separation and have i t receive acceptance.,  Recent studies of the effects  of separation upon the child have supplemented the worker's knowledge i n this area by establishing tha fact that separation i s often viewed by the child as having baen caused by him, regardless of the actual "facts  11  of the case.  In addition the child needs the acceptance of his regression, his temporary "testing" of the nsw parents' leva and acceptance of his guilt which he often expresses by "bad behavior". The philosophy of the uee of various forms of fbster care has also been refined for the "permanently" separated child.  Again the principle of  the child l i v i n g with his "own parents and family group" i s central.  As  Dorothy Hutchinson "The Placement Worker and the Child's Own Parents", Social Casework, July \9$k p. 2 9 5 t  2  Ibid;, * p. 296 t  5  9 Dorothy Hutchinson sayss "Adoption and foster care (boarding) supplement each other l i k e twin hand maidens i n a single program. They are l i k e ' twin hand maidens designed to meet more completely- the needs of a l l children to remain at home. Both assume that for a child to have parents of hie own is- his f i r s t right, i f this i s possible and wise.*, the more social workers can appraise the capacity for parenthood, the more they w i l l know when there Is no parenthood possible or desired, and the more fester ear© w i l l assume a temporary nature with the expectation of speedier return of the c h i l d to his own* home cn the one hand, or adoption on the other; In either case, the child i s taken off the psychological book of insecurity; He can then grow up with parents of his or those made his own by adoption; Permanent Separation for the Child too Young to have Parental Images The aforementioned refinement of philosophy and practice i n regard to permanent separation of the older child has relevancy i n assessing the capacity for parenthood of those parents who come to the agency's attention before the'child's birth or when the child i s very young.  I t becomes of  paramount Importance i n terras of the child's future l i f e to assist those parents who do not have the capacity for parenthood to separate themselves physically and psychologically from the child i n order to free him to form relationships with permanent parental figures.  This philosophy has developed  as i t has been established that these basic ingredients are essential for the child's development i n terms of his emotional health, parental love and acceptance of the child, continuity of parental figures i n the child's l i f e , and consistency i n the parent-child relationship.  Bowlby has observed that  the lack of these ingredients for emotional health In the child's l i f e often leads to the development of the delinquent and affectionless c h i l d .  x  2  2  When  Borothy Hutchinson, op. c i t . p. 296. '  %  -  John Bowlby, Maternal Care and Mental Health, World Health Organisation, Seneva, 1952.  10 a child moves frequently from one foster home to another he f a i l s to receive these basic ingredients* . Often the frequency of these moves i s occasioned by unhealthy parental influence i n a direct or indirect manner*  Sometimes  the neurotic parent moves the child from one home to another as ah expression of his own Insecurity*  Sometimes the parent gives up the child "permanently"  but retains hopes of reconciliation, thereby making the child's adoption Into a permanent family impossible* This new philosophy and knowledge has had special import In work vith unmarried mothers*  In the past efforts were made when,possible to  help the mother and ohlld retain their ties* help the unmarried mother rear her child*  Often efforts were made to Refinement of psychological under-  standing on the part of social workers has illuminated this problem*  It  Is now held that many unmarried mothers do not have the capacity for parenthood.  I t has further been observed that the social problem involved i n the  mother's rearing her child are often so great that i t i s d i f f i c u l t for the mother to exercise the capacity for patenthood which exists*  Thus efforts  i n many cases are made on the part of social workers to help the unmarried mother release her ohlld so that i t may grow up under mere "normal" family conditions*  This factor i s of particular relevance since oyer half of a l l  adopted children are illegitimate, as are many foster children. In the past children permanently separated from their parents during infancy were placed often i n foster boarding care on a permanent basis* I t i s now recognised that legal adoption provides a more secure,family l i f e for the child*  Fart of the increase i n adoptions over the past ten years  can be attributed to this changing philosophy.  Refinement i n social work  s k i l l s of assessing the potentiality of prospective adoptive parents, l i b e r a l i sation of adoption laws, and increased public aid to adoption services have  11 gone together to give the child the security of adoption. I t i s a matter directly related to the problem of this study that i t has been assumed by many workers i n the f i e l d that sound adoption practice makes i t unnecessary for the child to be seriously concerned about the natural parents from whom he has been permanently separated.* An application of this study to children who were adopted would hopefully tend to validate or i n v a l i date this assumption. This study concerns i t s e l f , however, with the very real problem of the child who i s i n permanent boarding foster care.  In spite of the fact  that adoption i s considered the best way to meet the particular needs of the child permanently separated from infancy, many children f o r a variety of reasons cannot be given this service under existing conditions,  among the  many reasons for this are scarcity of adoption homes for children of mixed racial background, scarcity of homes for children with serious physical handicaps and others.  Permanent boarding care i s usually considered the best  form of foster care for these children*  However, the fact'that the agency  supervises and pays for the child's care and the fact that the child usually has a different name from his foster parents tend, i t would seera, to remind the child that the foster parents are not his "own" parents*  These factors  may tend to make him wonder about his natural parents* Telling the adopted child about his natural parents and his adoption throughout his developmental years i n terms that he can understand, has been formulated as the best means for helping the adopted child with arty Curiosity he may have about his natural pa rent 8.  x  The philosophy regarding helping the  permanent foster child with problems i n this area has been spelled out to a far Sarah Stone, "Children Without Boots", Social Service Review, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, June 1°53, p.. litiU  12 less degree.  Many children come to the workers i n adolescence with intense  concern about their natural parents*  Some spend a great deal of time  engaged i n fantasy about their parents.  Some children apparently are not  concerned at a l l about their natural parents*, except for mild curiosity about their background*  <  literature en this subject i s scarce.  Apparently practice i n .  helping the child and the foster parents with this concern varies a great deal. Questions of what to t e l l title child, when to t e l l him, and how to t e l l him about his natural parents are probably often not carefully thought out. Shis study focuses on the psychosocial needs of the individual foster child as he faces this problem.  I t attempts to explore a way of  formulating principles for psychosocial understanding and explanation which can be related to the Individual foster child who Is concerned about hie natural parent from whom he has been separated at an age which precluded the . possibilities of his forming etched images of them i n his mind. •Why are some adolescent fester children intensely concerned about their natural parents? In a broad sense, studies i n cultural anthropology seem to Indicate that the child's concern about his natural parents may vary i n intensity according to the particular culture In which the c h i l d l i v e s . The Importance to the Child of being Beared by his Biological Parents may be a "Socially Defined HeecFT The basic principle of c h i l d protection and placement work i s that the family Is the most beneficial environment for the growing child*  Other  factors being equal, the child's natural family i s considered the most desirable  "Repression" must be taken into account here, as many children may be concerned but afraid to express i t .  13 form of family l i f e for him.  I f this i s not possible, the next best  substitute i s family l i f e by legal adoption.  Foster boarding home ears and  institutional home care are not considered as completely desirable as the adoptive family because they do not give the child, as a general rule, the sense of "belonging" that the adoptive family does.  In spite of the value  of these forms of substitute family l i f e for a particular child, i n theory they would not be considered as beneficial as the child*s biological family, * i f this were available for him. Being reared by parents of, one's own by birth may be what Margaret Head calls a "socially defined need?;  "By a socially defined need, I mean  the presence i n the society of a special.pattern of human relationships which the child can learn about and which he can feel i s wanting (lacking) i n his own case."* "These (needs) may be of different sorts, the society ^ may teach the child that everyone should have a father and mother, or a nurse, or a governess, or a school teacher, or a sweetheart or a God. The dictated needs may be of the most diverse nature,, but whatever they are, some children w i l l respond to their presence by the building of imaginative structures. The Invisible playmate, the fabulous parent, the imagined love experience are a l l familiar enough to us. But what i s not always clearly recognised i s that none of these are basic human needs." I f Mead's hypotheses of "socially defined needs" i s followed out logically, the child's concern about his unknown natural parents i s Influenced by the following variables! (1) the cultural definition of the Importance of biological parenthood, (2) the specific psychosocial factors In the child's environment which make.him feel the lack of having lived with  Hargaret Mead, growing Up i n Hew Guinea, Mentor Books, The Hew American library of World Literature, Inc., Hew York, July 1953, p, ll»S.  biological parents. Variations i n Cultural definition of the Importance of Being Beared by Biological Parents. How important i s i t to the child to l i v e with his natural parents? Does the importance vary from one culture to another?  There i s strong  evidence that the significance of biological parenthood both to adults and children i s a variable according to the cultural climate one lives i n . This perhaps can be seen best by examining cultural attitudes toward adoption. t In his study of adoption practices among the Eskimos on Southampton Island, Morton Teioher has noted that the practice of adoption has yielded least to the white man's influence.  Adopted children have the same rights  and responsibilities as natural children. incest taboos.  They are subject to the same  They obtain f u l l inheritance and i n fact an older adopted  child has precedence i n inheritance over a younger natural c h i l d . child knows from the beginning that he i s adopted. added to his name to signify this. the family.  The  A special suffix i s  Yet he i s considered a f u l l member of  "As the child grows up his status as an adopted child has l i t t l e  effect upon his personality development. the natural child's.  His treatment i s the same as i s  He may or may not know his natural parents.  or may not have anything to do with them.  He may  He certainly bears no resentment  to his natural parents for giving him up for adoption. ' 4  1  Teicher states  that over half the families on the island have adopted children i n them. In fact nearly twenty-five per cent of the people on the island are adopted. In her study of the ffenue, Margaret Mead notes that adoption i s accepted as rather commonplace.  "The adopted child i s considered to be far*  Morton I. Teicher, "Adoption Practices among the Eskimos on Southampton Island", Canadian Welfare, July 1953, pp» 32*37.  15 store his foster father's than his true father's* his foster father's spirits?  Does he not belong to  Many cany pregnant women who are widowed  or separated from their husbands and when the children ere born, welcome them as their own*  The real fattier makes no claim upon his c h i l d bom to a  runaway wife*  Although the whole village may know the true father of a  child, they w i l l never mention i t unless pressed, and never to the child unless the child remembers his adoption. * 11  In the Ifenua, Mead points out,  the child's relationship with i t s father i s the strongest*  The loneliest  boys i n one village were the ones whose fathers had died, and It was too late for their reabsorption into some other household. emphasis was plaoed upon the "biological  11  2  The fact that l i t t l e  parent i s most interesting.  As  long as a child had a fattier I t did not seem to matter whether i t was his own by birth* "In some cases i t was possible to see a ehild's personality change under adoption* Yesa, Kapamalae's older brother was a quiet, abashed child of twelve when I came to the village* l i k e his younger brother he took his colour (personality) from his mild, unremarkable father* Shortly afterwards he was adopted by his father's younger brother, Paleao, one of the most interprislng men i n the village* Paleao had a small foster son Popoli, whom he had adopted as a baby from another tribe, and who showed a great resemblance now to him i n every gesture. Yesa, the quiet, immediately took colour from the decisiveness of his new fathers his real father became grandfather, relegated to unimportance, and his shoulders squared beneath his new prestige. But the correspondence was less marked always than i f he had been adopted i n babyhood."? In Oceania (The Andaman Islands) the exchange of children i s considered fashionable. " I t i s said to be of rare occurrence to find any ohild above six or seven years of age residing.with i t s Margaret Mead, Growing Up i n Mew Guinea, p. 53 \ 3  Ibid. p. 72 Ibid. p. 86.  16 parents, and this i s because I t i s considered a compliment and also a mark of friendship for a married man, after paying a v i s i t , to ask his hosts to allow him to adopt one of their children. The request i s usually complied with, and thenceforth the child's home i s with his (or ber) foster father. Though tine parents i n their turn adopt the children of other friends, they nevertheless pay continual v i s i t s to their own child, and occasionally ask permission to take him (or her) away with them for a few days. A man i s at liberty to please himself i n the number of children he adopts, but he must treat them with kindness and consideration, and i n every respect as his own sons and daughters, and they on their part render him f i l i a l affection and obedience. I t not infrequently happens that i n due course permission i s asked to adopt a foster child by a friend of the foster father, and i t i s at once granted, without even the formality.of a reference to the actual parents, who are merely informed of the change, i n order that they may be enabled to pay their periodical v i s i t s . " ! Sooiety defines adoption i n the Banks Islands not so much as an obligatory courtesy but more i n the nature of a compulsion. "On the island of Mota, the child becomes the child of the man who pays the chief helper or nidwife at birth. The father has protection i n the fact that his sister ehooees the midwife and that he i s on the spot, but i f be i s absent or has not the necessary money, another may step i n before him, and become the father of the child. The real father has the right to redeem the child but the adoptive family and i t s relatives make this d i f f i c u l t by assigning property to i t , making gifts to i t , and giving feasts for i t , and the value of these must be paid also... Another payment i s paid.called 'name concealment' which obliges the father never to reveal the state of affairs to his son. This payment should properly be made when the c h i l d i s grown up, but i s sometimes made when the child i s quite young to prevent the father from revealing the facts. Sometimes tha parentage i s revealed by some third party, usually i n a quarrel, and i t i s said that no Rota man i s ever wholly free from doubt as to his real parentage."? from the child's point of view, a major factor contributing to this concern about natural parenthood i n a given culture may be whether i t i s William I. Thomas, Primitive Behavior, McGraw-Hill Book Company Inc., New York and London, 1937, p^ loO 2  Ibid,, p. U4I  17 "the central, tendency" (to nee Mead's term) for the biological parents to rear their children*  Mead estimates that twenty-five per cent of the children  are adopted i n the Hanus society,  Teicher indicates that the same i s true  for the Eskimos on Southampton Island.  The ratio of foster and adopted  children i n this culture to those l i v i n g with their own parents i f considerably less than that*  A l l sociologists .studying the modern Northern American  middle class family point to the central tendency of the mother-father^child type of family which has i t s base i n the procreation function*  tfaile  parenthood i s not a mere biological fact, as Malinowskl saye "social and cultural influences always endorse and emphasise the original individuality of the biological fact... (and) s t a t i s t i c a l l y speaking, the biological ties are almost invariably reinforced, redetermined, and remolded by the cultural ones, and thus the essence Of human parenthood i s that through building of strong emotional attitudes on biological foundations, i t endures and i t leads to the establishment of lifelong social relationships of mutual obligation and service.?*  The biological ties do seem to be more emphasized where the  central tendency i s that natural parents i n most circumstances rear their own children, as i n this culture. Evidence of this exists i n the social worker's experience with prospective adoptive parents.  Ruth Michaels has observed:  "The i n a b i l i t y to  child produce a normal/for whatever reasons i s a tremendous blow to anyone, however stable and mature.  I n f e r t i l i t y i n the male threatens his sense of potency,  and In the female disturbs her sense of adequacy as a woman."  2  Other social  * Bronislaw Malinowskl, "Parenthood - The Basis of Social Structure", Sourcebook i n Marriage and the gamjly, H. Sussman (ed.), Houghton M i f f l i n Company, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, M a B S . , p. 25.  2  Rath Michaels, "Special Problems i n Casework with Adoptive ParentsV Adoption Principles and Services, family Service Association of Ameriea, York, P^SV.  Hew  18 workers i n the f i e l d of adoption also have observed this concern about biological parenthood i n prospective adoptive applicants. The Bamlly i n Korth American Culture • In i t s broadest outline the family may be defined as "some set of permanent arrangements by which males assist females i n caring for children while they are young."  1  Helationshlps within the family vary widely from  culture to culture with varying effects on the personalities of both parents and children.  The functions of the family are also variables according to  the particular cultural milieu.  "In traditional China the role and scope  of the individual was defined almost exclusively by the family, while i n some t r i b a l groups the influence of the immediate blood kin appears scarcely  'I  9  greater than that of other individuals i n the community."  z  Basic Definitions of Structure, Sanction, and Relationships i n the Modern Morth American Family. fiedfield defines the modern American family thust  "The American  family - parents and children « appears on the surface as a simple conjugal type (father, mother, children - structure) with no important or formal connections with remoter kin... end no intricate economic ties.'  It is a  small compact group of two generations, bound together by ties of affection and functioning to care for the young u n t i l they reach the years of maturity and can repeat for themselves the process of family rearing."3 Burgess finds the modern type of family which permits freedom to the individual i s Margaret $3sad, Male and Female, The Hew American Library of World l i t e r a ture, Inc., Hew York, 1955, p. 188.  1  Margaret Redfield, "The American Family« Consensus and Freedom"* Sourcebook i n Marriage and the Family, H. Sussman (ed.), 1955, p. 13. 2  3 Ernest W. Burgess, "The family", i n American Society In Wartime,ty.F. Ogfeurn (ed.), University of Chieago Press, Chicago, 19«3, p. 39*  19  "dynamic, adaptable, and creative - characteristics suited for survival and growth i n a society In process of rapid social change* The Psychological Significance of Individual Family Members to the Particular Child. According to Josselyn the significance of the members of the family i n the child's maturation process can be described as follows; The newborn baby through his physio-emotional symbiosis with the mother, experiences a sense of well being and/or frustration which determines how sage he feels i n starting on the long road to adaptation to tho external world. In the framework of this early security, firm or as precarious as i t may be, ho gradually learns to master his external world as well as his own internal impulses. He learns to deal with his ambivalent feelings toward the primary members of the family, and i n so doing experiences a l l the gratifications and dangers inherent i n his ambivalent responses. He experiences the conflicts of the Oedipal period and finds a solution that does not completely destroy the significance of his primary relationships. He gradually finds gratification f o r his emotional needs i n his relationship with persons outside the family; but hopefully he preserves a feeling of basic security i n the interpersonal relationships of the broader family group. He struggles with his adolescent conflicts and he attempts to establish himself as'an independent adult. He rebels against the bonds that hold him to his primary infantile love objects (parents), hope. , f u l l y with the knowledge that while those bonds are weakened, they cannot be broken. He reaches adulthood to find that those bonds are no longer something to struggle against, but are part of his cultural heritage and w i l l determine to some extent his own a b i l i t y to become the nucleus of a new faoily. l 1  .  tt  Specific requirements and their desirable outcomes have been l i s t e d from Josselyn's exposition.  1  "\  •  •-  Irene M. Josselyn, "The Family as a Psychological Knit", Sooial Casework) Family Service Association of Ameriea, Hew Xork, October 1953, p.. 339*- .  Figure 1  Age* Period  Family Person^)  acquired Relationship  Ssychooicjal Outcome.  Infancy  Hother  Meeting physical needs @M love  Training period  Mother (others)  Child learns independence Saras as above but. comes by accepting basic giving some approval of Independence of sGif parental patterns of witliin family framework behavior. of patterns of behavior  Oedipal  IktUiw?  0&&Xd*s acceptance of Love and aooeptaiios underpinning reality of sexual role of parent of ea&o gex. socially bat resexual rol&s i n feaiOy pression of sexual rivalry with that person for parent of opposite sex.  (father)  Siblings  Sofepa H v a l i y but basic lovs  laaiily Asexual faaily love Salt as a whole  Safety for relinquishments of dependence on mother to more mature dependence on family  Child learns that he has liiidig as well as possibil i t i e s for relationship with peears. Later iraao* ferred to peer group. Sesexualization of primary relationship with,' parents by giving the child a sense that he w i l l becoiae the nucleus of a future family.. 1  Adaptation to (social group  relationsiiipe  patterns  outside family unit.  ifoaily unit  fatal family security  Haven i n .tfoae of stress or d i f f i c u l t y - recharges his a b i l i t y to get along i n outside world.  3- Josselyn, Ibid. p. 3li0-lil Relationships and Besirable Psychosocial Results for Child Development when the Family i s considered as a Psychological Unit,  20 The Psychological Role of the gather In the Family According to Dr. Spurgeon 0. English th© variants of the father's role i n the development of the child are as follows: 1, 2, 3, h. $• 6. 7. 8.  Companion and inspiration for mother. Awakener of the emotional potentialities for the child. Beloved friend and teacher of the child. Ego ideal for masculine love, ethics, and morality. Model for social and vocational behavior. Stabilizing influence f o r solution of the Oedipus complex Protector, mentor and hero of the grade school child. Counsellor and friend f o r the adolescent. 1  The psychological Role of the Mother i n the Family Much has been written about the importance of the mother's role i n the physical and emotional development of the child —  her role i n the g r a t i f i -  cation of the child's need for love and affection, and of good physical care during the f i r s t year of l i f e ; of patience and guidance and continued loving care, especially throughout the f i r s t five years of l i f e .  The mother i s  actually the center of American family l i f e inasmuch as she spends the greatest amount of time i n the home and carried on the greatest number o f Immediate family functions.  Her personality forms a pattern for the ego ideal  of feminine love with which the daughter can identify and with which the s o n can choose as a basis for his future choice of a feminine mate. broader sense the mother forms the symbolic basis f o r family l i f e .  In a "The  family thus retains throughout l i f e the symbolic meanings of the motherj i t becomes a token of security but free of the limiting bonds of the intimate Hother-child relationship."  2  0. Spurgeon English, "The Psychological Hole of the lather i n the Family", Social Casework!, October l$$h, p* 32°., 2 • Josselyn, op. c i t . , p. 339  21 Roles of Family Members i n a Changing Society Benedek* has described the change that i s occurring i n relationship to the mania economic and authoritative role i n family l i f e i n this culture.  . In the past the father was the acknowledged head of the houser  hold as well as Its economic center. during most of i t s waking hours.  Today he i s absent from the home  Increasing importance i s being plaoed i n  the motherrchild relationship i n the child's ideal development, particularly i n the early years of l i f e .  These factors seem to place the father i n a  position of secondary importance. becoming the "forgotten man".  As Josselyn says, he i s i n danger of  Furthermore, the father's economic role Is  becoming less well-defined as many jobs take on an abstract character.  This  must be particularly d i f f i c u l t for the sons i n ihe family who i n the past derived from the father a pattern of economic functioning. The mother's role i n the family activity has been changed by a world of gadgets, by increased day nursery f a c i l i t i e s , by the removal of her educational role to that of the public school, and by increased emphasis on her capability of functioning economically, and politically as readily as a man.  $£tile these factors seem to work toward removing many of the traditional  family activities from the mother, increased emphasis has been l a i d i n popularised versions of scientific studies on the importance of the motherchild relationship to child development..  Mead, among other students, has  pointed out these factors make f o r confusion to the growing ohild who i s trying to obtain patterns for adult l i v i n g from his mother and father. The Importance of Family Membership. Josisslyn emphasises the importance of family membership to the Therese Senedek, '"The Emotional Structure of the Family", The Usually, Its Function and Eeatiny. Bath Honda. Anshen (ed.). Harper and Brothers, Hew  1  22  child.  She sayo: "the c h i l d appears not only to want the love of the per-  son toward whom his ambivalent feelings are directed, but also acceptance i n the family unit, * 1  This seems to correspond to the need f o r "belonging"  1  which i s something most persons understand but f i n d hard to define. Redfield points out that family l i f e "derives i t s strength from a sense of standing together as a group struggling against d i f f i c u l t i e s , of standing for something.  More fundamental than mutual participation i s the need f o r  sharing a common g o a l . "  2  i t would appear that the feeling of Membership i n  the family as f a r as the c h i l d i s concerned not only pertains to acceptance within the family group but an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with toe family group as a unit of importance i n relation to other families i n the community, and to the community as a Whole. The participation of family members i n jmitaally 'important projects such as economic maintenance I s disappearing from the family scene, with the gradual change of centers of economic a c t i v i t y from the family i t s e l f to the broader community - brought about by i n d u s t r i a l development. mutual goals of family l i f e also seem less defined than formerly.  The  :  I t has  always boon the function of the older generation to transmit basic principles of conduct to the younger generation. tant goals of family l i f e .  This used to be one of the impor-  Today, however, many students Have noted that '  parents are often unsure of just what they do stand f o r and Just what they do want from l i f e .  Rapid social Change i n a democracy, and i n d u s t r i a l and  technological changes, seem to be the mainsprings i n t h i s confusion. • Values and goals seem to be i n f l u x as i s l i v i n g i t s e l f . Irene M. Josselyn, "The Family as a Psychological Unit", Social Casework, October, 1903, p. 339 1  Bedfield, "The American Family: Consensus and Freedom", Sourcebook of Marriage and the Family, p. 1£  23 The Problems of the Adolescent and hia Parents In this Culture Adolescence In this culture Is a confusing period of l i f e In which, along with a resurgence of sexual urges, largely dormant during the latency period, and changes i n physical appearance, the adolescent faces the confusion of finding his place i n the world outside the family and defining future social roles. are not so complex.  In primitive societies the problems of adolescence Tho relatively well defined functions of male and  female adult roles help the adolescent face adult l i f e with certainty, furthermore the period of adolescence i s not so long i n primitive society as i n this culture.  Puberty rites mark the beginning of adulthood f o r the  child with considerable c l a r i t y .  In this culture, however, as has already  been indicated, the problem of defining present and future roles i s somewhat more complex. The adolescent does not know what to expect i n planning for adulthood because the adult female and male roles are less well defined. However, the adolescent i s pushed to adulthood by the resurgence of his sexual drives and the strong cultural pressure which makes marriage and parenthood incumbent upon him. The result of this confusion i s that the adolescent i s torn between wanting to be a child and wanting to be a grown-up.  Adulthood ie .  pressed upon him and yet I t i s too frightening because of i t s confusion. He regresses to more childish forms of dependent behavior. to be almost totally dependent upon his parents.  At times he seeks  At other times parents  are afraid of his emancipation, and he wants to be almost totally Independent from them.  This conflict produces Insecurity which often leads to the  expression of the conflict i n hostility toward the parents on the one hand, or withdrawal into fantasy worlds on the other.  At times the adolescent  may wish that he had a different set of parents, a more "giving' set as i n 1  2U infancy j or ones who s i l l "give" only admiration and complete freedom. Students i n the f i e l d s of psychiatry and psychology, since the time of Freud, have observed that a- c h i l d l i v i n g with h i s natural parents often has at various stages of development two pairs of parents i n h i s snind.  In a short a r t i c l e "Fas&ly Romances" (1909) Freud describes a  special type of fantasy occurring with most children of preadoleseent age. In these daydreams they t r y to get r i d of t h e i r own parents, whom they have learned to c r i t i c i s e , and substitute tot them, as a rule* other parents on a much higher social l e v e l , dukes, kings and querns, heroes or millionaires depending upon what the children have read or heard.  Freud espialno how  aggressive c r i t i c i s m and feelings of revenge develop i n children toward parents who have punished them f o r mistakes and sexual behavior but who turn out to be f a r from perfect, and who indulge i n sexual pleasure themselves. The fantasy figures Show more or less d i s t i n c t l y t r a i t s of the r e a l parentsand i t  became  clear that the children do not eliminate t h e i r own parents i n  t h e i r fantasies but rather esstalt then.  These daydreams, Freud concludes,  are tha expression of the children's longing f o r the l o s t happy period of t h e i r l i v e s when father appeared as the most powerful af a l l men and mother . as the most beautiful and lovable of a l l women. The overestimation of parents at a very early age i s reproduced i n the children's fantasies. Harry Stack Sullivan has also observed t h i s and from Ills remarks i t seems that the dichotomy may go back to infancy i n the child's persona l i t y development.  He sayss  ^"Thanks i n no small part to the incredible power which verbal behavior seems to exercise i n interpersonal situations, and to the great energy devoted by mature people around the very young c h i l d to equip him with the most important of a l l human tools, language, i t becomes quite impossible f o r the c h i l d to carry forward any s t r i k i n g surviving evidence of his e a r l i e s t impressions of two mothers - one which gives tenderness and co-operation  25 In th© satisfaction of needs and one who carries anxiety and interferes with the satisfaction of needs,. Although ttiis dichotomy pertaining to one real person can go on at the lower strata, you might say, cf personality, i t can scarcely survive very long the high-pressure acculturation which makes one person '•mama" and the other person, sister... Thus no matter how thoroughly organised the two separate personifications of the good mother arid the bad mother were, their Individuality i s lost or fused i n a later personification, i n the process of learning language. But this fusion i s not to be taken as ccsprehexjaive., In other words, a l l attributes organised i n infancy i n their personification i n the bad mother ara not necessarily or probably present i n the personification of mother as i t begins to be conspicuous In childhood. . And i t can scarcely be possible under any circumstances that a l l the attributes of the good mother can be fused into the childhood personifications of mother. Under certain circumstances we see evidence which makes this statement practically beyond doubt; that i s , i n later l i f e the person seeks, and can quite clearly be proved to be seeking, someone who w i l l f i t f a i r l y closely to the personification of good mother, i n aspects which are not shown In the personification of the real siother*"! Dr. Florence Clothier has observed that this i s a special problem for the separated child.  She says that a l l children tend to fantasy about  5  having other; parents who would treat them better than the ones with whom they l i v e .  - For tha natural child this can be a game, but for the adopted  child, the fact that he has had other parents i s a reality. forsaken, by his real parents about whom he knows nothing.  Be has been He finds an  easy escape from the frustrations inherent i n his home education by assuming the attitude that these, his foster parents are bad and wicked. • Bis own parents (or possibly previous foster parents) from whom he was "stolen" are represented i n fantasy as good parents to whom he owes love and allegiance,  2  ftohlsaat and Johnson make the same point.^ * Harry S. Sullivan, The Interpersonal 'fheory of Psychiatry, W. 1?. Horton and Company, Inc., Hew York, l#xJ, p.' 2db." Florence Clothier, "The Psychology of the Adopted Child", Mental Hygiene. Hational Association for Mental Hygiene, Albany, Hew York, April l^'to*, p.azz 3 B. Sohlsaat and A. Johnson, "Some Suggestions for Practice i n Infant Adoptions", Social Casework. March l$5b, p. 92 2  26  Assumptions, Objectlyee, and Methods o£ the Study . I t has been postulated i n t h i s etsdy that the concern about the natural parents i s not something tfhich can be explained i n b i o l o g i c a l terms.  There probably l a no r^steiions b i o l o g i c a l connection between  natural parents and t h e i r children.  Rather, as Head points out, concern  about the natural parents may be seen from the child's point of viet* I n a broad sense as resulting from" a need defined by the culture i n which the child lives,  Studies of adoption practises among primitive peoples  support this view by indicating that children are separated from their parents movsd from one set of adoptive parents to another with no apparent f e e l i n g of l e s s .  In North American Family l i f e where the goal i n l i f e i e  parenthood within the confines of marriage and where the predominant pract i c e I s for biological parents to roar t h e i r ohildren, i t would seem that the need from the child's point of view for being reared by the natural parents may be greater than I n other  cultures.  Conversely, the c h i l d  who does cot have the esgperlence of being reared by natural parents may have, under certain circumstances, a feeling of great personal loss on account of t h i s circumstance, feJhat factors seem to define a child's feeling of loss or concern f o r not having been reared by h i s natural parents? An attempt to answer this question i s the central focus of the study. In order to answer this question i t i s necessary t o formulate a conceptual framework f o r studying those factors i n the permanently separated foster child's immediate environment whioh Seem to define h i s cont  cam about his natural parents.  I t i s assumed that the adolescent foster -  c h i l d looks out at the world generally i n much the same way as Other adolescents i n a general sense.  He i s torn between the need t o be depen-  dent upon adult figures and the need to establish h i s own independence of  27  psychosocial functioning.  Occasionally, l i k e a l l children, he may fantasy  about i d e a l parents i n his anger and disappointment a t ths people who function i n the real parental role.  Certain adolescent foster children  seem intensely preoccupied with a set of parents whom they do not know.. What particular combination of factors i n t e n s i f i e s this Interest i n "unreal" parents? The f i r s t phase of the research w i l l attempt to draw from a study of pertinent l i t e r a t u r e i n the f i e l d s of s o c i a l psychology, psychiatry, and s o c i a l work, those factors which seem to intensify the adolescent foster child's concern about h i s unknown natural parents.  These factors w i l l be  l i s t e d i n a schedule which w i l l provide a conceptual framework for a study of the incidence of the factors i n selected oase records of adolescents, who show intense concern about t h e i r unknown natural parents. The second phase of the research w i l l be an application of the framework to the case records.  I f the factors i n the schedule can be  i d e n t i f i e d i n the case records i t w i l l be assumed that the purpose of tile study w i l l have been accomplished, namely, the formulation o f a conceptual framework with which to view the factors which seem t o intensify the adolescent foster child's concern about h i s natural parents. .  Chapter 2. Factors which may i n t e n s i f y The Adolescent Foster Child's Concern - A Review of the Literature.  Introduction The purpose of t h i s chapter i s to review relevant l i t e r a t u r e from the f i e l d s of s o c i a l work, psychiatry and social psychology which has dealt with the separated foster child's concern about his unknown parent. Although the l i t e r a t u r e i s sparse on the subject, i t can be divided into th© following rough categories; experience cases.  (1) expository material based on general f i e l d  (2) expository material based *ipon c l i n i c a l study of specific  I t i s possible that some of the l i t e r a t u r e has been overlooked by  the writer inasmuch as no l i b r a r y study i n t h i s area appears to have been printed, and f o r that matter, no bibliography appears to have been collected. The l i t e r a t u r e was reviewed with the object of selectings (1) basic causative factors i n the child's concern about h i s unkown parents (2) precipitating factors i n the child's concern.  Many ^ f the factors had to be  inferred from the l i t e r a t u r e inasmuch ae i t was found i n many cases to be too vague and generalized. Basle Causative Factors. For purposes of the study, th© writer decided that a basio contrite-, uting factor could be viewed from the standpoint of h i s t o r i c a l causation. In other words, the writer looked f o r those factors previous to adolescence which might have a relatiunship to the child's concern about hie natural parents.  Precipitating factors on the other hand would be those i n the  immediate d a i l y environment which would lead to the adolescent's concerned about h i s own parents.  being  29 1,  Separation Trauma In Infancy as a,, causative Factor* One student o f the subject, i n an analysis o f the concern o f a  six year o l d adopted c h i l d f o r h i s .unknown parents advanced the theory that the main cause o f the c h i l d ' s concern was "archaic trauma" i . e . a h u r t f u l t  separation experience i n the f i r s t s i x months o f l i f e ,  1  The case presented was that o f C a r l * a German war refugee who had been kidnapped from h i s parents by the Seals during the f i r s t few months o f his  l i f e , near the end o f World War I I ,  He was placed i n an i n s t i t u t i o n  where he and the other children received extremely poor care* infants d i e d .  Hany o f the  A f t e r the war, a t the age o f a year and a h a l f , C a r l was  placed i n a United Nation's Childrens* Center.  A f t e r a stay i n the childrens'  center o f about a year, when C a r l was two and a h a l f , he was sent to the United States f o r adoption*  The adoptive parents were c a r e f u l l y chosen and  seemed t o be sensitive t o the c h i l d ' s needs.  At the age o f three he was  t o l d he was adopted and o s t e n s i b l y aecpeted t h i s quite well*  (  However, as  time went on, he became more and more concerned about who h i s n a t u r a l parents were, why they could not keep him, and so on.  Although C a r l was aided  through close p s y c h i a t r i c consultation i n working out h i s concern about h i s own parents,, a f t e r a year and a h a l f o f intensive work o f t h i s kind by both the p s y c h i a t r i c consultant and the adoptive mother, much o f C a r l ' s concern remained..  He refused to believe that h i s parents were dead and expressed  t h i s concern i n many ways, i n fantasy and i n a n t i - s o c i a l behaviour.  Although  well-adjusted i n school and apparently happy i n most areas o f l i v i n g , C a r l s t i l l could not accept the f a c t s of h i s separation.  Or. Hens S p i t s i n  commenting on the case advanced the following theory* Bene Spits "Discussion o f the Working Through Process i n Dealing with Anxiety around Adoption" by Marion Barnes, Journal o f Orthopsychiatry, J u l y , 1953, pp* 605^620. 1  30 "X believe that the symptoms, described by Hiss Barnes (concern about natural parents) should be viewed as a secondary elaboration b u i l t upon the o r i g i n a l trauma which had as a basic pattern the kidnapping from home. As the r e s u l t of t h i s basic pattern any kind o f change i n s i t u a t i o n repeats the s i g n a l o f i n s e c u r i t y , provokes the expectation that t e r r i b l e things are going to happen. The change i s s i t u a t i o n a l one and can r e f e r i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y to persons, objects, houses and l o c a l i t i e s . Any change i n Carl's physical environment o r i n h i s emotional environment w i l l act as a t r i g g e r to produce symptoms that reenact the f e e l i n g o f d i s o r i e n t a t i o n which he experienced on the occasion o f the f i r s t trauma, It w i l l produce something analagous to the 'catastrophe react i o n ' described by Kurt Goldstein i n the b r a i n i n j u r e d . But according to h i s mora advanced age, C a r l now r e f e r s h i s anxiety to the person who l e f t him o r who i s leaving him, o r whom he i s leaving, to the house to which he moves, to the l o c a l i t y to which he changes. S e c u r i t y f o r C a r l has come to mean an unchanging s t a t i c , t o t a l environment."* S p i t s ' theory i s that i f an i n f a n t i s separated from the mothering-one i n infancy (the f i r s t six: months) before the ego i s d i f f e r e n t i a t e d , the i n f a n t organism experiences " t o t a l " conditioned shock which i s devastating because conditioning i s the basic way of l i f e at t h i s time. produces a s i t u a t i o n of complete d i s o r i e n t a t i o n f o r the c h i l d .  This  The f e a r o f  such an experience recurring i s so great that the o h l l d cannot stand change l e s t the shock reoccur.  The concern about the natural parents i s a symbolic  expression o f the o r i g i n a l h u r t f u l experience. Solomon has s a i d , i n explaining the dynamics o f t h i s kind o f experience, that i t i s analogous to what happens i n the personality when an adult f a l l s o f f a horse or i s hurt i n an aeroplane. not go back up i n an aeroplane, f o r example, he may fantasies o f the i n c i d e n t .  I f the person does b u i l d up too many  " S i m i l a r l y , the c h i l d who  has been exposed to  traumatic s i t u a t i o n s i n h i s r e a l l i f e b u i l d s up fantasies more t e r r i f y i n g than the o r i g i n a l trauma because of the condensation o f previous trauma and Loc. c i t . p  620.  the elaborations which take place as c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f the c h i l d .  This may  be an attempt upon the part o f the organism t o r e p a i r the damage o f the trauma, but often i t serves to i n t e n s i f y or. amplify the t r a u m a W h e t h e r fantasy about the parent i s an attempt to r e p a i r the damage o f trauma o f separation> or whether i t i s a reaction triggered by situations s i m i l a r ,to the trauma i s an i n t e r e s t i n g point f o r speculation.  The major point i s that fantasy about  title natural parents, according to these w r i t e r s , i s d i r e c t l y connected with the o r i g i n a l h u r t f u l experience i n infancy.  The assumption would be that a  c h i l d , moved d i r e c t l y from the h o s p i t a l where he was born, s h o r t l y a f t e r b i r t h t o an adoptive o r boarding mother where he received love and care necessary f o r healthy emotional growth, would not have as much occasion t o • -  ;  fantasy about h i s natural parents as the c h i l d who was taken from i t s  i mother and placed i n circumstances where i t s psychological l i f e wasin danger. In contrast, C a r l remained i n physical danger f o r a year and a h a l f j and without any Individual adult r e l a t i o n s h i p f o r two and a h a l f years* with only a few months of i n d i v i d u a l care. Lack o f Continuity i n Parental Figures. In essence t h i s f a c t o r i s c l o s e l y related to the previous one. I t may be defined as lack of experience on the part o f the c h i l d i n having consistent relationships with the same adult figures and i n having a reasonable semblance of order and continuity i n those r e l a t i o n s h i p s . ' In a study o f f o r t y adolescent f o s t e r c h i l d r e n who wore concerned about t h e i r own parents but who had no t i e s i n r e a l i t y with them, Stone found "that almost a l l the c h i l d r e n had been i n some kind of placement before they became known to the agency and many o f them had a number o f placements a f t e r service Joseph C* Solomon> "Play Technique and the of Orthopsychiatry, July, 1955.  1  I n t e g r a t i v e Process", Journal  32 by the agency was i n i t i a t e d .  Such a c h i l d i s d e f i n i t e l y an anxious c h i l d .  We see i n hire the c h i l d who cannot r e l a t e t o and stake c o n s t r u c t i v e use o f the  s o c i a l treatment o f f e r e d oy the agency.  Thus he movos from foster-home  to foster-home and thereby increases and deepens the v i c i o u s c y c l e by which h i s l i f e i s already c h a r a c t e r i z e d . * l e v y describes these persons i n l a t e r l i f e as ones "Whose s o c i a l l i f e represents a s e r i e s o f r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h o l d e r people, every one o f whom i s a s u b s t i t u t e mother. They may be s i n g l e , o r i n combination, the p o i n t being that the p a t i e n t must, throughout l i f e , be i n contact w i t h a person from whom the same demands are made a s those t h a t were thwarted i n the o r i g i n a l experience w i t h the mother. The l i f e p a t t e r n then becomes dependent upon making such relationships."2 T h i s i s the person s i m i l a r t o the one S u l l i v a n describes as seeking a f t e r the good mother.  (See Chapter 1 ) .  As Anna Freud says,  "repeated r e j e c t i o n by separation i n t e n s i f i e s the process o f d e t e r i o r a t i o n (of a b i l i t y t o form r e l a t i o n s h i p s ) and produces persons who are d i s s a t i s f i e d , shallow, and worst a f a l l , promiscuous i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . " 3  Here  again the concern about the n a t u r a l parents may be i n t e r p r e t e d not as concern about the s p e c i f i c parents per se, but as symbol o f the b a s i c anxiety i n the i n d i v i d u a l . C o n t i n u i t y i n P a r e n t a l Figures but B a s i c R e j e c t i o n by Them* Xt would appear t h a t even though the c h i l d has had c o n t i n u i t y i n p a r e n t a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , he might be concerned about h i s n a t u r a l parents by reason o f the f o s t e r parents' r e j e c t i o n o f him.  R e j e c t i o n may be viewed a s  * Sarah Stone, "Children Without Hoots", S o c i a l Service Heview, June 1953 pp 146-147. 1  2»  Levy, J)., American Journal o f P s y c h i a t r y , 94, p. 645. (1932)  3« Anna Freud, "Safeguarding the Emotional Health o f Our Children? Casework Papers, R a t i o n a l Conference on S o c i a l Work, 1 & > 4 , p. 1 2 .  a form of psychological separation which has similar effects upon the i  personality as physical separation*  Every child experiences a certain amount  of rejection i n his l i f e , as when a new child comes into the home*  What i s  referred to here i s basic lack of acceptance of the child upon the part of the foster parent even when he continues to keep the child i n the home* According to Anna Freud* rejection i s experienced by the ohild when there i s a basic lack of willingness upon the part of the parents to take care of the child, by physical separation of parents and child, by abnormality of the mother (refusal to l e t the child grow - overprotectiveness) and by inconstancy of feeling (alternation of rejection and acceptance of the child on the part of the parent-ambivalence).l That this may be a factor i n the child's concern about his unknown parents i s inferred from Grace Hutchinson's observations which she made after several children who were concerned about their natural parents were interviewed*  She observed that the interest i n the parents was not so  intense i n those children who seemed to have made a good foster parent-child relationship adjustment*2  However, the literature i s not very clear on  actual evidence of this point*  In a study made by Eppich and Jenkins of the  experience of 38 sets of adoptive parents i n telling tho adopted ohildren about their background, i t was found that very few of these adopted children asked any questions about their natural parents*  In many instances the  adoptive parents did not f u l l y accept the adoptive child.  However, i n one  case cited i n the study, that of an eight and a half year old boy who asked persistent questions about his adoption, the writers raised the question of rejection i n connection with a child's concern about his own parents. 1  They  Anna Freud, l o c . c i t .  Grace Hutchinson, "Who am I", The Child, February, 1347, U.S. Childrens' Bureau, Hashington. 2  1  34 commented a  "X think that Hr. Gray would l i k e Jim t o f e e l g r a t e f u l to the .  family f o r adopting him*  He w i l l not Introduce even the s l i g h t e s t b i t o f  h i s t o r y t o ease any o f the i n f e r i o r i t y Jim may be f e e l i n g , although the h i s t o r y i s good*  Hr. Gray i s a rather insecure person himself and has a  great need to be dominant.  Jim seems a threat to him and t think that Mr.  Gray f e e l s as long as Jim i s insecure about h i s background he w i l l not be more o f a threat."1  Stone observes that i n a good adoptive, home where  there i s a good r e l a t i o n s h i p between parents and c h i l d r e n "the knowledge about h i s (the c h i l d ' s ) natural background i n l a t e r years can be assimilated with a rainirauta o f anxiety o r trauma."2  Kohlsaat and Johnson make the point  that poor parent-child relationships may be a f a c t o r i n the c h i l d ' s concern about h i s own parents.  "Host c h i l d r e n , when momentarily angry wish they had  a d i f f e r e n t set o f parents.  Adopted c h i l d r e n , l i k e w i s e , remain bound t o  fantasies o f how wonderful t h e i r own parents might have been only when the adoptive parents n e u r o t i c a l l y drive them t o such a pitch."3 C l o t h i e r has s a i d :  Florence  " I f a c h i l d ' s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with h i s adoptive parents  i s complete he w i l l have no need t o search f o r h i s own true parents.  If  h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with h i s family i s incomplete, he w i l l repeatedly return to fantasy about h i s natural parents."4 I t would seem a l o g i c a l inference that i f separation trauma and repeated separation experiences (forms o f r e j e c t i o n ) tend to increase the f o s t e r c h i l d ' s concern about h i s natural parents, then other forms o f 1 E t h e l t). Eppich and Alma C. Jenkins, " T e l l i n g Adopted Children",- Studies of Children* G* Meyer (fid), Columbia U n i v e r s i t y , King's Crown Press, Hew fork, i m , p . 124* 2  Stone, op. c i t . p . 144*  3 6. Kohlsaat and A. Johnsonj "Some Suggestions f o r Practice i n Infant Adoptions", S o c i a l Casework, March, 1954, p. 92. * Florence C l o t h i e r , "The Psychology o f the Adopted C h i l d " , Etental Hygiene A p r i l , 1943.  35 rejection might also do t h i s . Negative Attitudes on the Part of Foster Parents toward the Child's Own Parents, This factor i s closely related to the previous one*  I t i s probable  that the "rejecting" foster parent would also have negative attitudes toward the child's real parents.  Kohlsaat and Johnson uphold the view thatj  "because of the possibility of neurotic character t r a i t s i n the adoptive parents, they and the child must be protected by keeping them from any knowledge about the child's background which they can use as a cudgel."1 One example of this fact was cited which serves to describe the basis for their thinkingJ "As we know, some people who cannot produce children whether or not demonstrable organic disease i s present, have deep neurotic feelings of i n f e r i o r i t y about femininity and masculinity. Such people, therefore, may be hoetilely envious of those who can bear children. I t i s not surprising then that an adoptive mother may be hostilely envious of the baby's natural mother, whether the natural mother was married or not. This conclusion seems elementary to anyone who spends a moment thinking about i t . I t i s not d i f f i c u l t to anticipate that the adoptive mother's hostile envy would come easily to the surface on provocation by the child and, with i t , a wish to depreciate the woman who could bear a child. Ten year old Anne, say, becomes angry over some issue and says to the adoptive mother, *You are mean to me. Ky own mother would have loved me more. I wish X had my own mother." Here i s a tailor-made opportunity for the envious woman, i n word or tone, to depreciate the child's natural mother."2 Another mainspring of the parent's negative attitudes toward the child's own parents may be through social disapproval of the parent's behaviour, such as illegitimate parenthood.  Johnson and Kohlsaat cite the  Kohlsaat and Johnson, op. c i t . p. 92* 2* 8. Kohlsaat and A. Johnson "Some Suggestions f o r Practice i n Infant Adoptions", Social Casework, March, 1954, p. 92*  adoptive mother who t e l l e of*her fantasy that the c h i l d may get i n t o sexual trouble because o f heredity.* possibility.  Stone also points out t h i s  2  I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note i n connection with the a t t i t u d e s o f the f o s t e r parents toward the behaviour o f the r e a l parents that none o f the ' t h i r t y - e i g h t p a i r s o f parents i n Eppich's and Jenkins' study f e l t  comfortable  about the c h i l d ' s i l l e g i t i m a c y and about t e l l i n g the c h i l d about i t . apparently none o f them depreciated the c h i l d ' s background.  Yet  On the other  hand, "these who were glad t h e i r c h i l d was a foundling were u s u a l l y the most insecure."3  This seems t o imply that the persons who accepted the  c h i l d ' s parents l e a s t , by not wanting t o know about the c h i l d ' s n a t u r a l parents, were also the people who had the most p e r s o n a l i t y problems.  This  would seem to indicate that the f o s t e r parents• a t t i t u d e toward the n a t u r a l parents i s c l o s e l y related to t h e i r own a b i l i t y to accept the c h i l d f u l l y . f  Concealment o f Information about the Natural Parents from the C h i l d . Jalowics has pointed out that strong f e e l i n g s o f c o n f l i c t may be present i n the c h i l d and that "the strength and influence o f these f e e l i n g s are increased by t h e i r c o n c e a l m e n t T h e theory here would be that concealment o f information may i n t e n s i f y fantasy around the subject.  A  comparable thing takes place often when the f a c t s about sex are concealed from the c h i l d .  His lack o f information tends to make him wonder and  *•  Ibid.  2 #  Stone, I b i d , p. 150.  3*  Bppich and Jenkins, op. c l t . p. 128.  Alameda P. Jalowica, "A Foster C h i l d needs h i s own Parents", The C h i l d , August 1947, p. 21.  37 fantasy more about seat* Tho ttaineprings of Concealment sight l i s l a the foster parents* rejr&tloa o f the c h i l d and h i s natural parents*  I t sight l i e sore i n the  area o f the foster parent's feelings about sex as observed by Hppieh and Jenkinst  "fna adaptive parents who were able to give the most h i s t o r y to  t h e i r children were also the families who discussed sex information with them Eisei f u l l y . * 1  1  Another factor may be the f a c t that the adoptive parents  actually come to f e e l that the children arc t h e i r own* "Almost a l l adoptive parents arc threatened by the idea of including the natural parents i a t h e i r own thoughts and i n the child's l i f e *  $o them the l i f e of t h e i r c h i l d  actually begins a t the time o f placement into t h e i r family*  ESQttonally,  they have given b i r t h to the c h i l d they have wanted and waited f o r *  Ae  tiros goes by and acceptance of his* i n t e n s i f i e s , t h i s emotional b i r t h may also seesfc*>ths& a physical one, to f u l f i l l tlteir inner wishes that he be a product of thsaa."2  that t h i s factor i s not as operative i n the boarding  parents* situation i s obvious*  while aany a f them may want to make the  c h i l d t h e i r own, the worker and the agency are too much i n the picture t o ever allow them to f e e l the same as an adoptive parent. Whether o r nab concealment by i t s e l f stakes f o r greater concern en the part of the c h i l d about h i s natural p&renta does not seesa to be indicated i n the study by Applch and Jenkins*  The Attitudes toward t e l l i n g the children  ranged f r o s almost complete hiafcory t e l l i n g  tt&a  the beginning on the one  extreme to complete conceal&ftnt on the other hand* thatt  these students found  "In general the adopted children reported cn i n t h i s study did not  Btfeel 8. i^tpich end alma C. Jenkins, " f e l l i n g Adapted Children", Studies o f Children. p« 125* 2  *  I b i d , p* 125.  38  spontaneously seek oat information about t h e i r backgrounds or the d e t a i l s o f t h e i r adoptions*  there was not, contrary to expectations, much natural  questioning on the part o f the c h i l d *  There was no s e r i e s o f question which  the parent, the worker, or anyone could a n t i c i p a t e as the c h i l d grew i n perception and understanding.  There were no set age l e v e l s at which c e r t a i n  ohildren asked c e r t a i n questions*  Very few o f these adopted c h i l d r e n asked  any questions about t h e i r backgrounds...they d i d not take advantage o f the situations that a few adoptive parents created to enable them to ask f o r information.  One boy was t o l d that he could look at the adoption papers  but refused to take advantage o f the opportunity* Concealment o f information about the natural parents may have more i n t e n s i f y i n g e f f e c t s on the f o s t e r c h i l d ' s concern inasmuch as the worker frequently v i s i t s the c h i l d and the c h i l d ' s surname i s u s u a l l y d i f f e r e n t from that o f the f o s t e r parents*  The adopted c h i l d conceivably could never know  of h i s adoption i f he l i v e d i n a community where no one knew o f h i s adoption and h i s adoptive parents f a i l e d to t e l l him about i t .  The f o s t e r c h i l d ,  because o f the factors mentioned above probably knows i n a general sense during h i s e a r l y years that he i s not the n a t u r a l o h i l d o f h i s f o s t e r parents. F a i l u r e on the part o f the f o s t e r parents to t e l l him about h i s status therefore, l e a d him to wonder about h i s "difference" i n status.  may,  4s i n the  case o f sexual fantasy, mentioned e a r l i e r , he would then be apt to b u i l d up . a structure of fantasy around t h i s d i f f e r e n c e .  As Syroonds has noted, the  c h i l d tends to elaborate In fantasy ideas and f e e l i n g s whioh he does not have the opportunity to face i n r e a l i t y .  Concealment, therefore, i s devas-  t a t i n g because there can be only p a r t i a l concealment a t best. adolescence  l o  Usually i n  the f o s t e r or adopted c h i l d w i l l l e a r n o f h i s "difference" and  Eppich and Jenkins, i b i d , pp. 122-123.  39 the  degree to whioh this i s disturbing to him often varies with the degree  of concealment of information about his natural parents and. difference i n status which he experienced i n early years.  This w i l l be discussed more  f u l l y under, precipitating factors. Extreme of "Colour Difference" Between Foster Parents and Poster Child. ISppich and Jenkins have pointed out: "If a good matching job i s done (between adoptive parents and adopted child) the child w i l l not heed to feel either inferior or superior to the family group i n which he i s placed, By inference, the writer understands that this means that a child should be as similar as possible i n torms of physical appearance, and general intelligence to the adoptive parents.  the grossest "difference" would be an extreme  variation i n raeial background.  As yet l i t t l e i s known as to how this  variation affects the foster ohild.  very rarely do adoptions take place  between parents and children of different racial backgrounds.  In foster  care programs, because of the scarcity of adoption homes for children of particular racial groups, i t i s often necessary to place children i n foster families* homes where the racial background of the child i s different from that of the foster parents.  These placements are s t i l l i n the stage of  experimentation and l i t t l e i s known as to the effects they have on the personality of the children.  Probably the effects vary as to the degree of  racial prejudice which exists i n different communities. None of the writers studied have brought this subject into tile open. It might be true that, i f the child's physical appearance differs significantly from that of tho foster parents that he would tend to wonder about his background and need reassurance and acceptance on the part of the adults i n regard Eppich and Jenkins, i b i d . p. 127.  40  to h i s origin*  This w r i t e r f e e l s t h a t t h i s may be a s i g n i f i c a n t i n t e n s i f y i n g  f a c t o r i n the c h i l d ! s concern about h i s n a t u r a l parents and should be i n c l u d e d as a causative factor* P r e c i p i t a t i n g Factors i n the C h i l d ' s Concern about h i s Unknown P a r e n t s . •A p r e c i p i t a t i n g f a c t o r i n the c h i l d ' s concern abcut h i s unknown b i o l o g i c a l parents may be defined as any f a c t o r i n the c h i l d ' s i n n e r o r outer world which seemed t o be the immediate reason f o r h i s asking about h i s unknown p a r e n t s . 1.  Separation Experience as P r e c i p i t a t i n g f a c t o r * The f a c t t h a t a c h i l d ' s concern about h i s parents might be  i n t e n s i f i e d by a separation experience i n the c h i l d ' s outer world has been noted by Barnes.  Returning t o tine case o f C a r l mentioned e a r l i e r i t  is  r e c a l l e d t h a t t h i s f a c t o r seemed t o be a t r i g g e r which r e c a l l e d t o C a r l the o r i g i n a l h u r t f u l experience.  According to Barnes,  "There has not been a  s i n g l e i n s t a n c e , when one o r both o f the parents have gone out f o r the evening, t h a t has not been accompanied by expressions o f a n x i e t y , although C a r l has been prepared i n advance and assured o f t h e i r r e t u r n .  His fear of t h e i r  p o s s i b l e l o s s has been i n t e r p r e t e d t o him many t i m e s , but the o r i g i n a l traumata have been o f such p a i n f u l nature t h a t h i s anxiety i s s t i l l i n the process o f being worked t h r o u g h . "  1  According to Barnes, C a r l was not o n l y  anxious about separation from p e o p l e , but from f a m i l i a r p l a c e s :  "isach y e a r ,  when the f a m i l y move from t h e i r winter home to t h e i r summer home, C a r l i s most uneasy, although he knows t h a t the parents and t h e i r dogs a l l go together and r e t u r n t o g e t h e r . "  2  This separation experience has been i n t e r p r e t e d by  i  !• Marion j . Barnes, "The Working Through Process i n Anxiety Around Adoption**, Journal o f Orthopsychiatry^ p . 609. 2  «  Ibid.  41 Spite as a "signal of insecurity which provokes the expectation that terrible things are going to happen."  1  I t i s l i k e l y that a certain amount of separation anxiety exists i n the inner world of a l l adolescents..  This may be directly referred to  the need f o r the adolescent to emancipate himself from M s  parents.  In an  analysis of the fantasies of forty "normal" adolescent boys and g i r l s through the use of the picture-story projection test, Symmonds discovered that relatively few themes occur with high frequency i n adolescent fantasy. Among them are themes related to family, aggression, punishment, economic concern, separation and love, i n that order.?  This writer does not know  how valid the methods of testing and correlation of themes were i n this study: however, i t i s of note that separation themes correlated most positively with themes of parent figures and family*  Several of the children i n the study,  however, had been separated from their parents at an early ages therefore, l t Is not known. In this writer's opinion how much fear of separation exists i n the "Normal" adolescent.  I t would Seem safe to assume, however, the  adolescent i s torn by the desire to separate-from the parental figures on the one hand and to be more dependent upon them on the other hand.  A separation  experience may then intensify a fear of separation which as a common denominator i n the adolescent's personality and i n relation to the specific adolescent foster child may reactivate the child's earlier separation fears which could be referred i n a secondary way to his parents who abandoned him. On the other hand the separation fear i n the adolescent's personality might be a causative factor i n leading to reactivation of an, earlier, repressed fear, and thus lead to behaviour which would result i n separation from foster parents.  Kurt Lewin has hypothesized that such inner conflict might lead to  Spit's, op.: c i t . , p. 619. 2 •  a-  .  •  .  Symonds, Percival, Adolescent Fantasy, Columbia University Press, Hew York, l$h9  42  n  pn the one hand, increased uncertainty of behaviour and conflicts, and on  the other hand, to the aggressiveness of some of the adolescent reactions ."* 2.  Prior Concealment of Knowledge about Natural Parents and Sudden Revelation i n Adolescence. Eda Bouwink cites a case which illustrates this factor.  been adopted from birth. had been normal.  A boy had  In most ways the writer f e l t that his adjustment  However, he did have some conflict about separation from  the adoptive parents and going out on his own.  The adoptive parents on the  other hand were i n conflict about whether to t e l l him about his adoption. When the child was eighteen, they went to a local clergyman to ask his advice about when to t e l l the child and he advised them to wait u n t i l the boy was about to be married.  In an argument with the adoptive family, the boy was  told that he was adopted.  This seemed to Shatter his world and he spent the  next three years hunting down information about his biological mother. Finally he found her and met her.  The result of this search and discovery  was that the boy developed "a stronger, more realistic t i e with his adoptive parents."2 The dynamica of the effects of concealment and sudden revelation have been explained by Kurt Lewin en a theoretical basis.  He says that this  situation i s aaalagous to that of a Hegro g i r l brought up i n the Northern united States with the expectation and belief the Hegroes and White people are equal i n status.  Suddenly she finds herself, i n adolescence, i n a  situation i n which she i s discriminated against.  She has a complete break-  down i n adaptation.  Kurt Lewin, "The Field Theory Approach to Adolescence", The Adolescent, J. Sudma (£d), The Dryden Press, New York, 1333, p. 37. » Eda Houwiak, "An Adopted'Child Seeks His Own Hother", Child Welfare League of Ataerica, Bulletin Vo. XXXI, Ho. 4. 2  43  "The histories of fostor children reveal (similar) tragic developments, A child adopted very young grows up believing his foster parents to be his true parents* They do not t e l l the child the truth, wishing him to regard them as his true parents. I t i s not unusual, however, that around the age of fifteen or seventeen he i s told by someone that he i s 'merely* a foster child. The result i s frequently devastating beyond a l l expectation. There are oases where the child who was a good student at school loses his high rank, stops taking any work seriously and turns into a vagabond. Such reactions have been observed where the foster-parents continue to give the child every proof of their undiminishing love and loyalty and nothing has changed i n the 'objective' relations of the family. In such cases the deplorable effect seems to be excessively out of proportion, for nothing else than the child's feeling of belonging to the parents has been changed." 1  A partial dynamic, explanation of this effect i s that "the group to which an individual belongs i s the ground on which he stands, which gives or denies him help and security.  The firmness or weakness of this  ground might not be consciously perceived, just as the firmness of the physical ground i s not always thought of.  Dynamically, however, the, firm-  ness and clearness of tills ground determines what the individual wishes to *  do, and how he w i l l do i t .  This i s true equally of the sooial ground as  well as. the physical ground."  2  The sudden knowledge, especially when  received during adolescence, weakens the social ground i n the social structure of the child's psychological world and "his own position (as far as the child's perceptions are concerned) has changed, and therefore a change of the relation to the totality of the facts existing i n his world has taken place...He too has seen a world built up for years break down In a moment«  and his faith In the stability of the ground on which he stands  !• Kurt Lev&n, "Resolving Social Conflicts", Harper and Brothers, Tork, 1948, p. 173u • • • • —8  *  Ibid. p. 174.  Mew  44 and nance h i s w i l l i n g n e s s t o make plans f o r the future i s l o s t . " * Such a sudden change i n s o c i a l ground i s p a r t i c u l a r l y devastating to the adolescent because h i s world i s fraught with i n s e c u r i t y and c o n f l i c t * The sudden s h i f t i n s o c i a l ground imposes further s t r a i n and pressure on a personality which i s already under the severe pressure o f f a c i n g other sudden changes, both p h y s i o l o g i c a l and psychological, and s o c i a l *  Thus the new  s t r a i n pushes the adolescent's shaky p e r s o n a l i t y t o the point o f d i s i n t e g r a t i o n * In e a r l i e r years, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n l a t e n c y when the c h i l d i s r e l a t i v e l y c e r t a i n about himself and world around him, such a new burden would not be as devastating because the c h i l d ' s personality a t that time i s secure and w e l l intograted enough to cope with a d d i t i o n a l pressure* .  Psychosexual C o n f l i c t s and Confusion Aroimd Future S o c i a l Sexual Role* One way psyebosexual c o n f l i c t s and confusion about social-sexual r o l e could be a p r e c i p i t a t i n g f a c t o r i n the adolescent f o s t e r child's, concern about b i s natural parents might l i e i n the area o f a sense o f shame with the natural parents' sexual behaviour i n such instances as when the c h i l d learns about h i s Illegitimacy. Adolescence i s a period whan the c h i l d has to cope with resurgence o f sexual d r i v e s , repressed during latency, and to Integrate them with c u l t u r a l l y acceptable forms o f sexual behaviour,  the primary form o f adult  s o c i a l l y acceptable sexual behaviour i n t h i s culture i s sexual behaviour within the confines o f l e g a l marriage.  John Sirjamaki, i n formulating  "Cultural Configurations o f the American Family" has observedt i s the dominating goal f o r men and women.  "Carriage  I t i s f e l t that married l i f e i s  the normal, desired condition f o r a l l a d u l t s , that i t brings the greatest  I b i d . p. 175.  45 personal happiness and f u l f i l l m e n t , and that i t permits the proper exercise of sex f o r the procreation o f c h i l d r e n arid f o r i n d i v i d u a l s a t i s f a c t i o n . "*. C o n f l i c t s about sexual behaviour which i s s o c i a l l y acceptable are p a r t i c u l a r l y strong i n adolescence.  Part of the c o n f l i c t seems t o l i e i n  the realm o f morals (what a person ought to do).  Symonds, among Others, has  noted that adolescents have rather r i g i d moral standards. > Epplch and Jenkins have noted the close a f f i n i t y between the c h i l d ' s questions about sex and about h i s unknown b i o l o g i c a l p a r e n t s .  2  Barnes has  noted that C a r l ' s concern about h i s own parents was p r e c i p i t a t e d i n p a r t by h i e concern about sexual information and sexual-social role.5 Kohlsaat and Johnson have noted t h i s area as a f a c t o r i n the c h i l d ' s concern about h i s unknown parents*  "Adolescent boys and g i r l s have a need to  believe that t h e i r natural father o r mother have never acted out a h t i s o c i a l l y * Adolescent boys and g i r l s are more l i k e l y to hold themselves i n l i n e sexually when they sense i n t h e i r parents mutual esteem and protective respect toward each other,  through i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with such parents adolescents come to  t r e a t persons of the opposite sex with s i m i l a r generosity and kindness.  If  they hear o f serious disrespect o r a n t i s o c i a l acting out on tho part o f the parents, t h e i r own sense of s e c u r i t y i s shaken:  they h o s t i l e l y i d e n t i f y  with such parents and may set out s i m i l a r l y , t h e i r sexuality fused with sadomasoehism (punishment o f s e l f through punishment o f others). In other words, the g i r l f e e l s , I am so ashamed o f my mother's a f f a i r s , and therefore so angry, that I don't care what X do.  The boy f e e l s , Women are not to be  1. John Slrjamaki, ''Cultural Configurations, i n The American Family", American, Journal o f Sociology, Hay, 1948* « Eppioh and Jenkins, " T e l l i n g Adopted Children", Studies of C h i l d r e n , p. 122* 2  5*  Barnes, op. c i t . pp. 608-610.  46 trusted, X hate them a l l and w i l l use them as I wish.  T h i s applies to  children with adoptive parents as w e l l as to children with own parents, what they w i l l do h o s t i l e l y i f they hear of a n t i s o c i a l sexual behaviour i n t h e i r parents i s h i g h l y p r e d i c t a b l e , "  1  This " i d e n t i f i c a t i o n " with the  sexual misconduct o f unknown natural parents has also been observed i n a case studied.by J a l o w i c z .  2  An Analysis o f the Factors. flany o f the factors are c l o s e l y i n t e r r e l a t e d .  Severe separation  trauma might make i t impossible f o r a c h i l d to adjust i n a "normal" f o s t e r family*  In such a case the c h i l d might be re-placed, not because o f the  f o s t e r family's r e j e c t i o n of hint i n a psychological sense, but because o f t h e i r knowledge that they could not give him emotional s e c u r i t y .  Such a  child, without receiving psychological treatment might l i v e i n several family environments, but be part o f none o f them.  Therefore, he would  experience not only separation trauma, but also lack of continuity i n parental f i g u r e s . On the other hand, the c h i l d  might have been able to s e t t l e i n a  f o s t e r f a m i l y even though he was traumatizedx  however, p a r t i a l r e j e c t i o n by  tho f o s t e r parents might be too much f o r the c h i l d to take and i t would r e s u l t i n another placement f o r the c h i l d .  Thus the chain reaction o f  lack of continuity i n parental f i g u r e s and frequent separation experiences would then s t a r t over again. Sometimes the c h i l d might not be traumatized i n infancy "but would experience r e j e c t i o n whieh might lead t o f u r t h e r separation experiences. !• B. Kohlsaat and A. Johnson, "Some Suggestions f o r Practice i n Infant Adoptions", S o c i a l Casework, March 1954, pp, 92-93. Alameda fl. Jalowics, "A Foster Chilfi Heeds His Own Parents", The C h i l d , August, 1947, p. 22.  47 Cn the other hand* a child might be traumatized, but remain i n one foster home because Of a neurotic attachment to the foster parents*  In this case,  the child might have continuous parental figures i n his l i f e but lack the basic love needed for growth because of the foster parent's psychological rejection of him* It i s not unknown for a child to have experienced trauma i n infancy, frequent separation experiences In early childhood, and yet to have f i n a l l y found foster parents who accepted him to such an extent that his previous problems were alleviated and their effects on his personality modified* The interrelation between concealment of information about the natural parents and rejection of the child by the foster parents has already been discussed.  None of the basic causative factors would be clear-cut  entities, although the impact of one factor might be greater upon the child's concern than others. Neither can a precise distinction be made between basic causative factors and immediate precipitating factors.  Sudden revelation of inform-  ation to the child about his natural parents i n adolescence might not be so devastating i f virtual concealment of this information had not preceded i t i n the child's earlier years.  Negative attitudes toward the natural parents  and/or rejection might also be closely related to the precipitating factor of revelation of information i n adolescence.  The impact of information  given by a "rejecting" foster parent might have much more disturbing effects on the child than the impact of such information i f given by "accepting" foster parents, even i f the information was previously concealed by both. The distinction between causative factors and immediate precipitating factors was made for convenience of exposition, . It.was also thought that Certain factors such as social-sexual conflicts would be a more immediate precipitating  48.  f a c t o r i u adolescence than i t would have been previously:  thus the d i s -  t i n c t i o n might serve the purpose o f focussing on the more long-range factors, as distinguished from the short-range f a c t o r s . With the close connection between these f a c t o r s i n mind, the w r i t e r w i l l use them as an outline f o r study o f seven cases of adolescent f o s t e r c h i l d r e n , wards of the Vancouver Ohildren*s A i d Society, who showed intense concern about t h e i r natural parents from whom? they were permanently separated at an e a r l y age.  An attempt w i l l be made i n Chapter 3 to i d e n t i f y and  describe these factors as they appear i n the ease records.  Chapter 3 A Description and an identification of the Sectors i n Seven Case Records. The conceptual framework developed from the review of the l i t e r a ture i n Chapter 2 was used to study the case records of seven adolescent foster children who showed Intense concern about the natural parents from whom they had been separated during the f i r s t three years of l i f e . . Each of the factors as they appeared i n the records are identified and discussed i n this chapter i n the light of each child's ease history*  Hp attempt  was made to establish definitely that one factor had more impact upon the child's concern than another, although the case descriptions are suggestive of which factors seem most significant* exploratory rather than definitive*  The purpose ef the research i s  therefore, i t was thought sufficient  as an objective of the research to identify the factors and describe them i n the light of each case history*  More definitive research would hopefully  be able to determine which factors were most significant i n a given child's concern* Method of Selecting Case Records In order to select the cases for study, the writer asked two social workers, experienced In working with adolescent fester children, "toe following question: "Of a l l the foster children i n adolescence with whom you have worked, diicb, children seemed most concerned about their natural parents?"  A condition of selection was that the ohildren must have been  separated from their natural parents during the f i r s t three years of their l i f e i n order to rule out the possibility of their being able to remember their parents consciously*  The hypothesis was that a child who does not  5o know o r who cannot r e c a l l h i s natural parents would have l i t t l e Ooncern about parental persons who were not i n h i s present r e a l i t y world (escept for mild curiosity) unless some special factors i n his environment or i n his personality were causing t h i s concern. Concern was roughly defined as: (a) persistency i n request f o r information about the natural parents over an extended period of time even though the c h i l d had been given a l l the positive pertinent Infoxmation available about them, <b) persistency i n trying to f i n d the parents i n r e a l i t y , (c) an elaboration of fantasy about the natural parents as to their good or bad q u a l i t i e s , physical appearance, reasons f o r abandonment of the c h i l d , or t h e i r moral behavior - which seemed to the s o c i a l workers t o occupy a great proportion of their thinking time, The method o f selection was j u s t i f i e d upon the basis of expediency inasmuch as i t would be beyond the l i m i t s of time t o study a l l the cases of adolescent foster children i n this group to determine whioh ones were greatly concerned, some concerned, or l i t t l e concerned.'  This would be  properly the job o f another study. Upon the basis of t h i s question and these c r i t e r i a seven records were selected by the workers.  Such a limited cample tsould be within the  realm of the time available for. study.  The cases wore thought to be  suggestive rather than representative of a l l the cases i n this group, . Representativeness was considered r e l a t i v e l y unimportant l h t h i s exploratory study; however, i t was recognised that other cases sight reveal other factors upon study. Definition of the Factors For the purpose of study i t was decided that some e f f o r t should be made to define i n a general sense how each factor could be recognised.  51 Separation £rauma was defined ag a hurtful experience for the child which occurred as the result o f his separation from th* mother*©n© during the f i r s t three years of l i f e .  I f the child was placed i n an Institution during  this period this was taken as an experience which would tend to intensify the trauma*  I f the child sieved frora one mother figure to another during  these years o f l i f e this was considered as evidence o f trauma having taken place.  Syssptons snch as psychosomatic feeding problem or disturbances  of the digestive system were also seen as evidences of separation trauma. Lack o f spontaneity In the child's behavior may also hay© been symptomatic of the tmwas,. althcu$x not always, 1,  Lack of Continuity i n Parental figures was roughly defined as having  taken place when a child moved from one family to another three or more times during childhood.  I t was recognised that separation experiences and their  subsequent result i n this factor being present would have varying impact upon the child according to the length of stay which a child had i n a particular hcjpe, the degree of his acceptance or rejection by the substitute parents, and his age.  Generally speaking, separation experiences are most  devastating to the child's personality during the f i r s t five years of l i f e . Some effort was made to select as being most significant' those moves made during the f i r s t five years of l i f e and those moves occasioned by the parents' rejection of the child, 2.  Continuity o f Parental Elgares but Rejection of the Child by thorn was  Identified upon the basis of the writer's c l i n i c a l experience and judgment. From his experience the writer has found that foster parents usually show rejection of a child when (a) they expect to make the child over into a "good" child, (b) when they ask for the child's removal from the home for  $2 3eamingly minor reasons such as a mild illness i n the family or a holiday. 3,  Hegative Attitudes Expressed by the Foster Parents toward the Child's  Natural Parents,  This factor was thought to be identifiable when the foster  parent verbalized that they considered the child was "bad" on account of his natural parents' behavior or by the expression of some other disparaging criticism of the natural parents.  Also i t was thought to be identifiable  i f either the sooial worker or the psychiatrist noticed that the negative attitude was expressed by direct statement or implication. U.  Extreme Color iDifferanoes were thought to bo identifiable when there  was evidence i n the record that the child perceived a noticeable difference between his foster parents' skin color and his own, 5,  Cpncealffisnt'of Inform tion about the Hatural Parents from the Child  was identified by tho absence of any information i n the record that the ohild was told that he was a foster child and had natural parents with whom he was not l i v i n g .  I t was thought that i f the child used the surname of the  foster parents this Slight heighten the effect of concealment as i t would tend to lead the ohild to think that his foster parents were his own by birth.  I t was recognised that i n many instances the c h i l d may have been  told by the foster parents about his status and his natural parents although this information did not appear i n the record, 6.  A Separation Experience was thought to be a precipitating factor i n  the child's concern i f he asked about his natural parents during, or immediately following the separation experience (defined as a move from one family environment to another during adolescence).  53 7«  Bevul&tiou of Iiii-oatat^oia about tee Natural Parents was thought to be  significant i n the adolescent's concern when (a) lie knew relatively l i t t l e about the parents before he reaci«ed the age of adolescence, (b) he was told inforstation which he may have associated as being "bad", (c) he was told information during a critical stage i n ids l i f e , such as during a separation experience* 8.  Social-Sexual Conflicts were thought to be precipitating factors in the  child's concern when the child Implied a relationship between his concern about his natural parents and his concern about social-sexual role functioning.  Such an example might occur when a child showed concern about  his natural parents about the time when he was getting married. The incidence of factors identified i n each child's case are listed i n Figure 1,  The Incidence of Contributing and Precipitating Factors which seem to Intensify the Adolescent Foster Child's Concern about his Unknown Natural  parents,  Figure H .  Fadtor Causative  Hams of Child Harjorle  Jane  Jerry  Separation Trauma  X  lack of Continuity  X  X  Partial Rejection  X  X  Concealment  X  Larry  Harold  X  X  X  X  Bill  X  if  I  Continuity but Rejection Negative Attitudes Toward Natural Parents  X  Jim  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  X  Color difference  X  X  X  Precipitating Factors Separation Experience  X  X  X  Bevelstion  X  X  X  Social-Sexual Conflict  X  X  •  •  X  "  X  X  X  X  An additional  Factor "Semblance of Family"  x  x  X  Case I.; $farjori3 m* on© o r the t&ildren studies who Sealed most concerned i n aUoleacajiee about Uuv uttural parents,  ij&aiaififcd by a psychia-  t r i s t &% the Child Guidance C l i n i c whun she was seventeen,. Marjorie was described us a g i r l "whose restlessness i s activated by a constant and f r u i t l e s s search f o r her tsather figure* conjuring up soiaeone who might answer her i d e a l .  She i s a t the sa&& time attracted and repelled by a  desire to sea her mother's photograph. the street and buses f o r somom  iMom  SIKJ  She scans the faces of people i n iaight acknowledge as her isother".  fcjasy of $he factors both causative and precipitating seemed to be intens i f y i n g Mas'jorio's concern. This c h i l d was bom out of wedlock to a young  mother who while  a  Bomber o f an apparently stable family, seemed to be a m i s f i t within the family group.  She was promiscuous i n her l a t e r adolescent years, and had  two i l l e g i t i m a t e children p r i o r t o Marilyn's b i r t h .  'Ihe natural mother  never kept the c h i l d and abandoned i t i n an infant's home.  At tho age of  f i v e months Marjorie was placed with a foster mother who was described i n the record as "nervous" and unsure of herself".  Ibr nearly a year  Harjorle  was moved back and forth betwaan t h i s fondly and an infout's hospital because she presented severe feeding problems, which the attending doctor described as being of "nervous" o r i g i n .  Undoubtedly maternal deprivation in the  infant'3 hospital and separation trauma were basic causes of MSarjorie's restless and nervous behavior and physical syi^tomology.  At tho age of  twenty-one months I4arjorie was placed from the infant's hospital  into a  foster environment where strong elements of rejection were present.  This  factor was inferred by the writer from the scarce material in the records because o f the fester aether's almost constant complaints to the worker about  55 the child's "baa" behavior. Murjoi-le'u physical onu mental development; seemed to be within • tlie iiormal range; however, ber behavior was described as "demanding, rest** l e s s , sei£<-«enterea, and unco-operative".:  The foster mother t r i e d using  physical punishment to curb the child's impulsive behavior, but this produced no results.. family group,  She f i n a j j y t r i e d i s o l a t i n g the c h i l d from the  i & r j o r i e ' s poor behavior continued, however, and two years  after the placement began the foster mother asked to have the c h i l d moved temporarily on the pretext that she was going away f o r a holiday.  Tho  worker thought that t i l l s would be a good time to move the c h i l d because she considered the foster mother to be "incompetent and lacking i n d i s c i p l i n e " . I t i s doubtful that Marjoxie's problem l a y i n the realm of discipline alone. Hor Demanding behavior suggests thau she may not have received the basic affection she needed from the mothering person. harjorie's t h i r d foster nam© placement lasted f o r f i v e years (from the ages of f i v e t o eight). more accepting foster parents.  On the surface these appeared t o be  Physical standards appeared t o be high,  the parents well-educated and well-mated.  However, they had four young  foster children i n the home and i n t h i s enviroaifflont i t was doubtful whether a c h i l d , as deprived as Harjorie was, could obtain satisfaction f o r her strong affectional needs.  Always a f r a i l c h i l d , i & r j o r i e was physically  sick with one i l l n e s s after another,  She became involved i n a n t i s o c i a l  behavior i n the community because she could not relate to other children. Although of average intelligence she could not pass i n school because of her apparent i s o l a t i o n from the teacher, her classmates, and the subject material.  I t i s l i k e l y that the disturbances which Marjorie brought with  her into the home brought out many of the unfavorable elements i n the  56  fouler parent's personality.  I t Is also Kfcely that the foster mother  p a r t i a l l y rejected her imsrjuclt us sho, to uae the worker's phrase, "expected too saica" of tho c k i l d . p^-ent-cMld r**laUonsi&ps,  L i t t l e i s recorded i n d e t a i l about the  However, Harjorle's behavior became pro-'  gresslvely worso, and at ths age of sight tho footer mother began pressing foy tha child's removal froa ths ha,aa, worker ooKusented* psychoanalysed.  33uring t h i s l a t e r period, the  The foster aether constantly asks to have Marjorie I t i s perhaps unfortunate th&t the foster .mother i s aware  of the I n s t a b i l i t y of the child's natural mother inasmuch as she.constantly refers to inheritance i n the p o s s i b i l i t y of Jtorjoria seeing a p s y c h i a t r i s t " . At t h i s time both tho foster Mother and the c h i l d saw the psychiatrist at , the Child Guidance C l i n i c who recoasae&dad: The foster mother knows of the , child's family history and .therefore I t i s f e l t that i f Harjorie i s removed \  •  •  .  to a coiiimunity away from that of tha foster mother, there w i l l be no con« flicts".  The c h i l d was placed i n another foster hoase shortly thereafter.  Hare 'the negative attitudes on tha part of th? fostor mother toward the child's natural mother and their close connection with rejection, of the c h i l d seem strongly inter-related.  Previous to adolescence Harjorie apparently  was t o l d nothing about her natural parents (concealment)$ however, because, of the foster mother's rejection arid strong negative attitude toward the natural parents, Barjoris asay have learned d i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y to associate her bad behavior with that of her nebulous natural mother.  from  tiie time she waa eight u n t i l the time she was f i f t e e n , Marjorie was sieved fifteen tiass. grant.  She never seemed to f i n d acceptance i n any family environ™,  Usually bad behavior led to her removal from the foster homes* . The  The behavior symptoms included: lack of emotion, isolationism, cruelty to babies and animals, marked interest i n sex (exhibiting herself), and frequent  57 stealing of food.,  ?>he uluo run away from tho foster hones frequently*  Ife^jcrlc'e interest In nor natural parents began when she was fourteen.  .  At this time she was about to bo plaoed from one f o s t e r hone  to another because the foster parents "could no longer cope with her behavior, Tho record reads;  "Recently Marjorie hao been brooding over tee disap-  pointments she experienced from the agency.  Foster mother feels that she I s  vszy deep and bus a l o t of f c a r toward the agency which she f e e l s has been the cause of many disuppointrasnts to her,  Foster mother has encouraged  her to writ© tho otoi^- of her l i f e aa Eftrjorle i s interested i n writing and has expressed an interest i n her l i f e history"*  After the placement was  made the t7orl»r. brought up..tho aubjeet with Marjoria.  "She wanted to know  where her parents were now and tho conditions of her coming into the agency' s care." Two years l a t e r Marjorie*a interest i n her natural mother was s t i l l persisting,  faring t h i s time she was having a great deal of trouble  because of petty stealing and damaging of property.  Furthermore, i t was  suspected that she was having sexual conflicts inasmuch as she frequently ran away with beys.  Harjorie's c o n f l i c t s , particularly i n regard to her  natural parents, xasy have had a connection with her s o c i a l sexual confH o t s . "In recent months Hnrjorie has been interested i n her family background. Harjorle f i r s t began to ask worker two i?ears ago* At this time, worker told her as much as she could of her background history and her early history i n care. Unfortunately there i s l i t t l e information on the family f i l e and not enough to satisfy her curiosity. Worker has noticed that Marjorie seems to f e e l deeply about her family and has expressed a desire to know what her mother looked l i k e . At f i r s t the worker did not t e l l Ha?jorie of her i l l e g i t i m a c y , but as t h i s question has come up on various occasions i n the past two years, worker t o l d Karjorle of t h i s l a s t spring when discussion regarding her family background l e d to  58 her questions Was she illegitimate?, worker gave Marjorle a great deal of interpretation regarding this subject trying to help her feel that i t was not for her to be ashamed of and that she should not concern herself about i t * , I t was also suggested that this was l4arjorie'e own private information and there was no need for her discussing i t with anyone. However, i f she would l i k e to discuss i t with her foster mother, worker f e l t i t would be a l l right. She did discuss this with foster mother after the interview and worker was pleased to learn that foster mother had continued worker's interpretation around illegitimacy.. This subject was referred to i n subsequent interviews as i t appeared that Marjorle was somewhat confused about her role as she f e l t that I t made her different from other children." While no direct relationship between social-sexual conflicts and Harjorie's concern about her mother can be established* her behavior and her conflict around illegitimacy suggest that this ,was the case.  She  continued to be promiscuous i n her sexual relationships and became an unmarried mother at nineteen.*  She remarked about the similarity between  her predicament and that of her natural mother's. herself with the expected baby*,  She also identified  "She was most interested i n the questions  about the putative father and insisted upon writing them out f o r herself• She also went on to request further information about herself as a baby and was quite insistent that she see her own f i l e . 1 told her that X would be glad to l e t ' her have pertinent information but could not l e t her see the f i l e . She told me that she has 'seen' her mother and that she loves her and wants the baby named after her mother, i f i t i s a l i t t l e g i r l . When I questioned when she could have seen her mother she said quickly, '1 don't think i t i s anything X can explain. X don't suppose you would understand. X gathered from the way she said this that she had Seen her mother i n a dream or had imagined her very vividly. Marjorie insisted that the baby be given a good adoption home and not move around the way she herself did." Today Karjorie i s slowly developing a relationship with the worker whom she has had for several years and gets pleasure out of calling her 'mother' occasionally.  She remains concerned about her natural parents,  59  fluctuating between the desire to go by her father's name and her mother's. She burns candles in the church for the natural aether she has never known. Xt i s difficult to assess in Marilyn's ease whether concealment of information about bar natural parents and revelation of this information in adolescence had an effect on her concern.  It can only.be surmised that  this may have been a factor as shown by her concern over- a period of two years about whether she was illegitimate.  Although Marjorio had never  been told this previously by the worker or foster parents, as far as i s recorded, she surmised this.  It may be true that i f her feelings about  this had bean brought out earlier that she would have had less concern. However, her concern seems related to so many other factors such as rejection, Separation trauma, lack of continuity in parental figures, and frequent separation experiences in adolescence as well as social-sexual conflicts that i t i s difficult to assess whether concealment had precise influence except as related to the other factors. Case 2. jane i s another child who was exposed to separation trauma i n infancy.  2he illegitimate daughter of an agency ward who was described as  being emotionally unstable and engaged in prostitution, Jane lived with her maternal grandmother during the first three months of her l i f e .  The  grandmother was herself a promiscuous woman who was also considered maladjusted.  After three months, she placed Jane in an infants hospital whore  she lived until the age of eleven months.  One can only infer from these  shreds of evidence that Jane had been traumatised.  She was placed i n a  foster home at the age of eleven months and remained with the same continuous parental figures until she was twelve years old.  She was described as an  apathetic child who was slow to walk and talk (possible'indications of early  60 deprivation),  for the f i r s t twelve months i n the foster home she was  plagued by stomach illnesses which seemed to have no purely physical origin., l i t t l e i s recorded of Jane's f i r s t four years of l i f e i n thie foster home... There was some indication that tee ohild craved attention and was jealous of an older foster sister..' The foster mother's rejecting attitude toward the child began to appear when Jane was about five years old.  She was afraid that Jane was "too restless" to go to public school  and seemed to need discipline.. She saids "I have been having quite a b i t of trouble with her. She i s very disobedient and getting quite sly.. She nevers seems to be ashamed of anything, but i s very resentful when punished... .1 never knew a child with such conflicting characteristics, fly one ambition i s teat she grow into being a useful citizen. She i s quite clever. 1 think teat cleverness can be directed into useful channels* She ought to be a great success, i f that f a i l s , t am afraid she w i l l make plenty of trouble," This i n i t s e l f might not be an indication of rejection.  However,  after six months the foster mother called tee worker because Jane had been Stealing food from the neighbours for no apparent reason.  Evidently this  had been going on for some time but the foster parents had kept i t hidden. The foster mother's ovorproteetivenese (a form of rejection) i s indicated by the fact that she said she always picked Jane's friends since she was a child "who was easily influenced by other spoiled children",  jane, upon  closer study by the worker, was found to be an excessively demanding child who always wanted tee center of attention, was exceedingly jealous of other children, and somewhat isolated from the family.  She seemed to lack  affection for other people. Concealment of information about the natural parents did not seem Operative so much i n Jane's case.  The foster mother told her when she was  four years old that she was not the child's natural mother.  I t was unfor-  61  tunat©, however, that the second explanation took place when the foster mother brought up the stealing problem a year later. business was i t of ours that she was bad*  "Jane asked what  Fester mother explained to  her that we. (the worker) looking after her had asked the foster mother to be her mother."  Evidently Jane showed l i t t l e interest i n her natural  parents during the period previous to adolescence i n spite of the fact that the., foster mother had given her some information.  At the" age of twelve  Jane told the worker that she., hover really knew before this that the foster mother was not her. natural mother.  She may have meant that she did not  understand i t , very well. Jane's behavior i n the foster home became progressively worse during the years between five and bine. became more openly "rejecting". scarlet fever.  The foster mother's attitude  When Jane was eight, she became i l l with  The foster mother severely c r i t i c i s e d the agency because  they did not remove the child from the home temporarily so that the rest of the family would not get the i l l n e s s .  A year later, the foster mother went  into hospital for a minor operation aad asked for a temporary re-placement of Jane.  This was done.  Then ths foster mother debated whether  she  would have the child back i n the homo beoause of her bad behavior. However she f i n a l l y "relented" and l e t Jane come back into the home. cult to get a clear picture of Jane  It i s d i f f i -  i n the years between nine and twelve.  At times the foster mother seemed most accepting of her and at other times seemed to be rejecting.  Jane seemed loud and boisterous and had l i t t l e  relationship capacity. when Jane was nearly twelve the foster mother admitted that Jane was getting on nor nerves.  She f e l t that she could not trust her.  The  foster mother again mentioned the child's natural parents to hers Poster  62 toother tried to explain to her that she had been particularly wanted i n this home, that there were several children i n the d i s t r i c t who are not l i v i n g with their parents, and there Is no disgrace attached to i t . "  This  information seemed to be i n the context of the foster mother's rejection of tiie child, however, inasmuch as she mentioned this while she was implying that she wanted Jane removed from the home* A study of Jane's case at the Child Guidance Clinic at this time indicated that "tills home i s not f u l l y accepting of her and that d i f f i c u l t i e s are bound to arise during her adolescence when the foster mother w i l l not be able to cope with thorn,  The fact that the foster mother took a fester  child as a mission i n l i f e would prove a d i f f i c u l t y as she would have a great sense of failure should Jane get Into d i f f i c u l t i e s , "  It was recommended,  therefore, that the child should be moved to another home, tyhlle concealment of information about the natural parents did not wholly occur i n Jane's case the impact of telling the child at a c r i t i c a l time i n her l i f e can be seen.  The worker persuaded the foster mother to  t e l l the child more about her background just at the time the c h i l d was being rejected by the foster mother.  While Jans apparently ignored this  "telling", she later showed great concern about her natural parents, after she had moved from the foster home.  The impact of t e l l i n g 'the c h i l d about  her natural parents at this c r i t i c a l time, the rejection by the foster mother* and the separation experience i t s e l f may have a l l played a part i n intensifying Jane's concern, ' A few days after she was moved from the homo, Jane visited the worker,  "Khen the worker appeared, Jane was i n tears.  she could ask was, "where i s my mother?"  The only thing  Worker took her to the office  where we were able to be alone and Jane had quite a crying spell..  She  63 wanted to know where her mother was and why she was not with her," Three months later Jane s t i l l persisted In inquiring more about her  natural mother.,  "She told worker that she had tried hard to think, but  the  only thing that kept coming to her mind was tee time she came to c l i n i c  with her foster mother.. Some worker had met her on the stairs and said she looked just l i k e her natural mother..  I t would seem from that time onward  Jane has been wondering about her natural mother, and I t i s possible that perhaps foster mother's manner of explaining about her natural mother was not  entirely tactful."  This picture seems to support the viewpoint that the  foster mother, i n spite of tee fact that she had told tee child about her natural parents, may have expressed to tee child a negative attitude toward her  parents.  Up to this point a l l tee factorss separation trauma, continuity  but  rejection, and negative attitudes toward the natural parents are sug-  gested i n tee record;  Concealment of information i n this case would  appear to have been absent.  The separation experience and sudden revelation  of information seemed to have been important precipitating factors for the child's immediate concern about her natural parents*. Since this separation Jane's social adjustment has steadily deteriorated.  She has been i n numerous foster homes and i n a convent.  None of these homes has been able to give her the security and affection she has needed.  She has been committed to the Industrial school on charges of  sexual immorality and i s now a drug addict,  iter unhealthy bond with her  original foster mother seems never to have been completely severed. For three years the contact between the two w a B f a i r l y regular, although i t was evident teat the rejection on tee foster mother's part became more clearly defined. her  Jane i s s t i l l confused about tee reasons for her separation from  foster mother.  At tee same time she Is quite persistent about her  concern about her natural mother.  Since she has become a drug addict,  6h she has come Into the office i n a semi-conscious state and while lying on the floor i n a state of stupor, says over and oyer again, " I f only X could find my own motlier !.  Unlike Marjorie, Jane had continuity of parental,  figures i n her l i f e *  However, the basic rejection by her foster mother  1  seems to have been the mainspring of her concern about her natural mother. Oase 3. l i t t l e i s known of Jerry's early l i f e * .  Another c h i l d born but of  wedlock* jerry lived with his mother f o r the f i r s t two and one half years of his l i f e .  She was described as nervous end erratic.  Jerry and hie  half brother, a year younger than Jerry, ware apprehended by the agency because the mother apparently was unable to look after the children. Jerry's f i r s t placement i n a foster family abruptly ended after four months because the foster mother had a heart attack.  the child showed his reaction  to tho two olose separation experiences and their resultant trauma by frequent masturbating, soiling and bed-wetting. Jerry's second placement lasted for three years (he was placed with his brother).  I t was noted throughout this placement that the foster  mother was inconsistent i n her attitude toward the children, treating one with favoritism one time and the other, another time. and dietary standards were poor.  Also, accommodation  During this time, Jerry's behavior  fluctuated between hostility, aggressiveness and withdrawal from those around him.  The foster mother thought he was d i f f i c u l t to control*  Toward the end of the placement, Jerry became more affable and affectionate, but at this time, placement was terminated by the agency because i t was thought that tee home was unsuitable. rejected i n this home* anxiety.  J&rry probably was partially  This rejection may have increased his separation  One incident serves to Illustrate this*  Jerry was slow i n  65 getting ready for a trip*.  She foster parents l e f t him along i n the house*  Vflien they returned ten minutes later they found him crying on the steps* Stating that he did- not want to stay home again, jerry's third placement lasted f o r three years*  At f i r s t he  was an obedient and wall*mannered youngster who responded immediately to • a word of reprajaand.  Bis rejection i n the previous home was indicated  by the unusual way l a which he cringed when reprimanded*  The record i s  sparse during this period, hut here again Jerry was apparently rejected* Suddenly (Jerry 'was nine) the foster mother complained that the boy was becoming more and more rude and disobedient and asked f o r his removal along with his brother's. Called she observed?  The worker agreed to the move,  t&en the worker  "The fester aether seemed to feel that the children  were being deceitful and naughty, rather than being mischievous. not  She did  seem to feel any warmth for them but enjoyed seeing their sad expres-  sions when a move was mentioned.  R  ighen the worker called for the boys  she observed* "Sbster mother was annoyed that worker had kept her waiting for half an hour*  ' Foster mother had an appointment and was anxious to  rush the boys off. * 1  The next placement lasted only two more years*  I t i s net possible  to get a picture of the home as few interviews were recorded. mother deeided to keep Jerry's brother but not Jerry*  The foster  She asked for his  removal on the grounds that he was an "angel" one moment and a completely "obnoxious" child the next*  The writer checked the brother's f i l e and found  that he too had been rejected by the foster parents at the age of fifteen* Jerry was eleven at the time of this isove. Since that time he has lived i n numerous fester homes, never staying more than a few months at a. time* His behavior pattern was one of constantly running away. His early l i f e  66 me characterised by lack of continuity of parental figures, .rejection by parental figures, and separation trauEia. In adolescence Jerry became intensely concerned about his natural parents.. . This concern f i r s t started after a "running away incident" when Jerry was. fourteen (separation experience).  The record reads: "Jerry  asked about his parents and v i s i t o r explained that they had been unable to look after him",  Previous to this time, Jerry had apparently known nothing  about his natural parents.  Cohcealmsht of information along with the ,  other factors mentioned above seems to have played a part i n intensifying liis concern,  No further mention of Jerry's concern was made u n t i l a year  and a half later.  There i s some indication that revelation of Information  i n adolescence may have had an intensifying effect upon Jerry's concern. "He was told her stody and that she had died. accepted the history quite wen.  He cried a l i t t l e but  Ber death was a great disappointment to  him because he had hoped that some day he would go to l i v e with his mother like some other agency children be knew".  This was apparently quite a  shock to Jerry on top of the other experiences lie had previously,. pressed for more information a few months later, "Then there was a dead silence and Jerry came, out with a question and asked what year his mother had died. Worker indicated that she had died a few years after he was bom. Worker went on to say that when ids mother had gone to hospital, Jerry had been under.the care of the agency. He said he knew his mother had died i n mental hospital and had been buried close by there. He then wondered about his father, who he was and what kind of a person he was; He wondered whether he could find out from the court papers. Worker pointed out that i t had been rather d i f f i c u l t for apparently the man who had been called his father had not been with his mother vezy long. A© far as worker knew, this man had never married Jerry's mother* Jerry said he wouldn't do a thing l i k e that* Worker remarked that Jerry knew tho consequences Of tiais for himself as he knew how unhappy ho had been* Jerry then wondered whether he ran away from the various homes because hie father had run away from his mother."  He  67 Undoubtedly the worker's intentions i n this case were good. Yet' apparently the information Jerry received about his natural parents seemed to emply that his bad behavior was the result' of his natural parents' behavior*  This revelation of information along with the previous rejec-  tion and separation experiences seemed to intensify Jerry's concern to a pathological degree.  He began looking for his father saying he had heard  that he was i n an eastern city,  Mhan Jorry was twenty years old, he came  to the agency requesting mora information about his background. At that time he was "hanging around" the fringes of the underworld. Jerry had located the nam whom he thou^it was his father.  Apparently  The worker sayss  "Jerry exhibited a desperate need to find his father and talk with him. It appeared that he had a punitive attitude toward him and was desirous' of Seeking some foaa of legal action against him i n order to obtain funds,*' A month later Jerry returned to' the worker and said that he had found hie father*s address and was going to v i s i t him immediately.  Mhen i t was  pointed out that this might not be his natural father, Jerry threatened to sue tha agency for giving him incorrect informatioh, fie wanted' the cose completely Investigated to find out who his real father was.  Later he  went to see the man-who lie thought was his father and was satisfied that this was not the man.  He persisted however with his quest to establish his  father's identity u n t i l the agency's lawyer told him that this was impossible to do.  At one point he threatened to take the case to tho provincial  legislature.  Case h. Jjpfr l i k e Barjerle and Jane, lived i n a baby home i n infancy. He was abandoned by his mother at birth and remained i n the institution f o r thirteen months,  Apparently this was not a traumatic experience or as  68 depriving an experience for him as i t was for the other ehlldren. % e n he cause into care, he seeded to be able to relate well to people, was well physically and happy.  His f i r s t foster placement lasted thirteen months  and seemed exceptionally good for him.  He was cheerful and spontaneous.  His physical and mental development appeared normal.  Unfortunately, as i t  turned out, Jim was, removed from thie homo and placed on adoption probation i n another one.  I n i t i a l l y he. seemed slow i n responding to these.new  foster parents.  He was plagued by constipation, related to a,severe  appendix infection which almost claimed his l i f e .  Even after he recovered  he had constipation and the attending doctor f e l t that these were caused by psychological problems.  I t was f e l t that the foster mother was "nervous"  and excessively worried about the child. the  This partial rejection led to  child's removal from the home at the age of five. Jim's new foster placement lasted not quite a year,  He reacted  to the home by wetting himself i n the daytime. His constipation continued. The foster mother thought this was "wilful" and punished him by keeping him i n bed a l l day. clothing.  Another time she punished him by dressing him i n g i r l ' s  Jim also frequently l i e d about seemingly insignificant things.  The foster mother admitted that he had lost some of his affectionate disposition and said that she was not the demonstrative kind i n that she seldom fondled the ohild.  Apparently the foster mother had threatened him with  a policeman's v i s i t and this l e d Jim to be anxious about being placed i n another home.  Jim's behavior improved and seemed mainly on aecount of  his fear of being moved.  At this time (at the age of six) he started asking  it  about his natural mother and the foster mother found these questions d i f f i cqlt to answer. "He wants to know why he cannot stay with one mamma l i k e other boys do."  At this time Jim was s t i l l calling himself by his previous  69 f o s t e r parents' surname.,  No e f f o r t apparently was xaade a t explaining h i s  status t o him and t h i s concealment seemed to be connected with h i s questions about h i s  natural parents,, Jim l i v e d i n h i s next foster home.for a p e r i o d o f nine years ,  ( u n t i l the age o f f i f t e e n ) , , f pater parents.  In t h i s home Jim seemed t r u l y accepted by the  There were none of the o l d behavior problems and Jim  gradually regained h i s former a f f e c t i o n a t e d i s p o s i t i o n and spontaneity. was a bright boy i n t e l l e c t u a l l y and did well i n school,. by the ether c h i l d r e n i n the neighborhood and i n school. remained very s e n s i t i v e and somewhat shy.  He  He was w e l l l i k e d However, he  While these f o s t e r parents  seemed t o be accepting o f Jim, there i s some i n d i c a t i o n that there was some negative a t t i t u d e expressed toward h i s natural parents on the part o f the foster father. "Jim went on t o say that as a c h i l d he was addicted to swearing and quite without meaning, one day c a l l e d ' a boy a bastard. Foster father had immediately picked i t up and flung i t back a t Jim, saying t h a t he was i n no p o s i t i o n to c a l l anyone e l s e a bastard because he was one himself. This hurt Jim deeply," I t i s impossible t o determine what impact t h i s a t t i t u d e had upon the boy's concern about h i s n a t u r a l parents, o r whether t h i s statement was r e l a t e d i o the f o s t e r father's possible r e j e c t i o n o f the boy, Although the f o s t e r parents seemed t o accept Jim, he begged t o leave home e a r l y i n adolescence.  This was postponed f o r a year.  However,  when Jim f i n a l l y d i d leave, he did not r e t a i n the t i e s with h i s foster parents very c l o s e l y f o r a long time.  Possibly the new f e e l i n g s o f adoles-  cence and i t s confusion reactivated h i s e a r l i e r separation anxiety.  At  any rate Jim moved from one f o s t e r home to another f o r the next three years. At ona point he wanted a family, whom he had known only a adopt him.  few days, t o  70  a n g i n a l queetlona about h i * -owl ;parc«t»/ l»8tt*4 t» ft* precipitated a t tfed t i s e when hie engagejoeut to laarsy had ham hvokm by his fi&scea..  H G W«,S vesy sorrowful over t h i s unfortunate lovo a f f a i r s .  At a ^ u t 4tita-«gaa he asked f o r infoiaetien m the gmthds that a eaupKi, was latttttftadi i n etcoptinfj his,, fact, bs»Bvor«-.  t h i s proved t o he based vary l i t t l e upon  &t t h i s tim Jiia was i» the Kavy and at l a s t gestsea t o have  3©Wl<?a aaim.-. He. was eigM$e*i.-.  w k e r hafedSbatf t h i s "teiliRg" very  mXk m& Jim zmpomted t o tho i&fosas»tio» about his illegltfcsacy by sayings  *%&11* i t dspchdi}  upcn ijyself Eilono, afeut I am."  At titis tlase Jim revealed  that sosse of th$ various foster parents had been "badgeasiaftg h£& about. «he he was and shy ho was i n care and so on".  t h i s along with- the statement  cheat h i s ftvmgr fester father's attitude points t o the fact th&t nesativo attitudes ea -the part of the 'fetter parents t o the child*® natural .patents' saay have baen one of the basic cssses of h i s ooaoara i a addition to the prccii>i.t^tihg factor about h i s c o n f l i c t about scsjai^excaA j a i e , cosccym persisted over tho next two years*. object of «y interest  Jin'a  One© h& wrote* "The main  the wfesreaboite o f «y s&ther.  £ have always f e l t  that th« agency had known store abcut her than they have t o l d m* However* now that X m of age, I have every right t o knew anything thaij aay threw some l i g h t on t h i s case.  £ quite realise the ©irctK&tasieefli of sy feirtfe.  Sliat, 1 have l i v e d down ssfself • Bow 1 twuld l i k e to lind ttet i f 1 do have any next o f k i n in tho t&ape cf p&rantg o r relfttivee."  j$ta gave up the  csareh, bowsver* a f t e r accepting the fact -that mthisig acre was known. Be id new happily m%rlQA and has an exccll&nt relationship with the agency* although he apparently s t i l l has l i t t l e contact with h i s losg*feis® fester parents. Th® factors i n Jiia't? concern cess to be p a r t i a l l y sopayatlon traoaa  71 partially rejection by foster parents, and partially negative attitudes of foster parents toward the natural parents. ' The major precipitating factor seemed i n this case to be concern with social^sexaal role as the questioning occurred when Jim was having heterosexual problems and seemed to have been sensitive to tho fact of his illegitimacy. Case 5, L i t t l e i s known of Haroldj3 early l i f e .  Apparently he lived  with his mother for the f i r s t two years of l i f e and then she deserted him. There i s some indication that Harold suffered from separation trauma inasmuch as he reacted with apparent psychosomatic stomach complaints immediately after being placed i n his f i r s t foster home. foster home u n t i l the age of five.  Harold remained i n his f i r s t  His adjustment was apparently good,  although l i t t l e Information was recorded. adoption probation i n another fanily.  At this time he was placed on  There were no contacts with the  family or child (they lived i n tee interior of British Columbia) f o r six years.  At this time the foster parents decided to give Harold up because  he had been stealing.  He seemed on tee whole well-adjusted and was doing  good work i n school and was getting along well i n the community. foster parents, however, seemed to be partially rejecting him.  The His was  temporarily removed from the home for an examination at the Vancouver Child Guidance C l i n i c .  airing the short time he was away, tee foster parents  wrote to tee agency requesting teat he sot return. attitude and their negative attitude appeared i n the letter they wrote.  Their rejecting  toward tee child's background Both factors seem inter-related i n  this oase, . "It i s with great regret teat we have to t e l l you that we have decided we cannot have Harold back  72 here with us again.,. Since he l e f t here we have had different instances of his untrustworthiness brought to our attention.,.. I t i s perfectly evident that he has a hereditary stealing and lying'instinct.. I intend to get another young boy, and believe me, I w i l l sake certain that there i s no foreign strain i n him., Harold's case has been a bitter lesson.,"! One can only speculate what the impact of this attitude was on Harold's concern about his unknown parents.. when Harold moved to his new foster home at the age of eleven he took his own surname and seemed to enjoy this., Harold remained i n this home for about five years., In general tills seemed to have been a good foster home experience for his..,  While i n i t i a l l y he had certain behavior  problems such as stealing and masturbation,, these became a problem with him no longer as he settled i n the foster family environment.,. I t i s doubtf u l , however, i f he was able really to feel that he "belonged" i n this home i n the sense that he thought i t was his "own"..  As he proceeded on into  middle adolescence old anxieties seemed to be reactivated inasmuch as Harold's former behavior reappeared.,  One stealing incident followed  another.. Several times he got into d i f f i c u l t y by having sex play with neighborhood girls..  Superficially the foster parents seemed to be helping  Harold cope with his problems..  Yet there was always the question raised  by them that he would have to be moved from tee home i f his behavior did not improve..  Harold seemed to be "testing" their feelings out i n this area  and a stealing incident f i n a l l y led to his replacement at the age of fifteen.. In the next foster home which lasted for about a year, Harold's behavior was about the same..  He seemed unsettled and ran away frequently..  He seemed confused about- surnames and refused to use his own name, choosing insteadj the foster parents'..  Shis writer does not get the impression  teat Harold was a deeply disturbed boy, but rather teat he was confused 1 This letter was written i n tee 1930's when C.A.S. adoption practice was i n i t s i n i t i a l stages.  about h i s status and perhaps f e l t teat no fatally environment represented the s e c u r i t y he needed to work through h i s adolescent problems.  His  a t t i t u d e showed that he f e l t g u i l t about hie behavior and was consciously t r y i n g to make an e f f o r t to behave b e t t e r *  Yet he had not achieved a  balance with the stranger d r i v e s and anxieties within him.  At about t h i s  time i t was implied that Harold was seeking information about h i s hackground and h i s parents.  The worker contacted h i s mother who had  maintained  come contact with the agency on account of some younger c h i l d r e n who were i n care..  The worker mentioned to the mother (who thought Harold had been  adopted a t an e a r l y age) that he had been i n q u i r i n g about h i s parents and "one o f these days he was going to look teem up". About the time he was eighteen, while i n the SJavy, -Harold s t a r t e d being concerned more about h i s natural parents. apparently adjusting quite w e l l .  By t h i s time he  was  He s a i d that since he had time to think  he started wondering about h i s parents.  A year l a t e r a f t e r he returned  from overseas duty Harold returned to tee worker with whom he had kept frequent contact during the war and requested f u r t h e r Information about h i s parents.  Some of t h i s concern seems to have been p r e c i p i t a t e d by s o c i a l -  sexual c o n f l i c t s : "Harold said a t t h i s time that he was planning to get married and f o r t h i s reason wanted t o know something about h i s background." About a month l a t e r he returned f o r more information. "Harold was given information regarding h i s background. He was disturbed a t tee thought o f h i s mother wanting to place him f o r adoption but a f t e r discussing the whole s i t u a t i o n he seemed to accept the f a c t that because o f her youth and the p o s i t i o n she was i n , h i s mother had no a l t e r n a t i v e other than t o place him f o r adoption. He was t o l d teat h i s mother I s apparently happily married and he was a l s o t o l d o f h i s step-brothers and steps i s t e r s who are i n the care of the agency. A f t e r some thought Harold decided that he d i d not wish to contact her as he f e l t that t h i s might jeopardise h i s marriage, and he didn't wish to do t h i s , 0  7U Several months later, after receiving his discharge from the Kavy, Harold came to the office, stating that he had given the.matter more thsught and wondered whether i t would be possible to arrange a meeting with his mother.: "Harold has been i n the' office several times arranging for his marriage.: He has been most anxious to meet hie mother.; On the ir*>rning of the wasting worker met Harold f i r s t and discussed with him this situation.. The lad was pretty nervous and asked many times what he was to do. His mother also seemed to be i n a nervous state. She did not know just what to do. However, after a brief introduction of 'Harold, this i s your mother', . worker l e f t as the emotional strain was pretty hard. The lad was with ills mother alone for about an hour and teen worker went i n as the mother had to sign her consent for the marriage... tee meeting seemed quite successful. Later the mother and step-father attended the wedding." Harold's concern seeded to be precipitated i n the main by his conflicts i n the social-sexual area.  B i i l e there had been some rejection  i n his growing years from parental figures, this did not seem to damage his personality to the extent teat lie could not grow and mature emotionally. Harold's concern seemed to be anchored more i n reality than teat of the other ohildren, .as he was able to see his mother's side of the story f a i r l y objectively.  He accepted her early behavior quite philosophically by  saying, as he smiled: "She did get around, didn't she?"  The continuity  of parental figures i n Harold's l i f e , particularly during tee f i r s t five . years and his apparent acceptance by parental figures during that time seemed to have been a faetor i n giving him the strength to mature i n spits of later d i f f i c u l t i e s .  also i t i s l i k e l y teat he received a f a i r amount  of acceptance i n the third foster home environment although i t was not able to help him directly when his adolescent problems became too great.  7S Case 6.» B i l l apparently l i v e d with hie mother, an Indian, during the f i r s t :  year of his life.-. Nothing i s recorded i n the history..  Shy placed him i n  a baby's home when he was about a year old and he remained there for over a year, i  There i s no evidence i n the record to point to definite separation  trauma i n B i l l ' s case, although i t i s possible that there probably i s some inasmuch as he moved from his mother t o the probably less-dose mothering of someone i n the i n s t i t u t i o n . In his f i r s t foster home, where he was placed at tee age of twentyseven months, B i l l seemed to have adjusted f a i r l y well, although he was described as shy and r e t i r i n g .  Th© foster parents seemed to have accepted  him as there were no particular problems as f a r as B i l l was concerned. l e t they asked f o r his removal two years l a t e r on tee grounds that they were taking a t r i p .  Not enough i s known as to whether this request f o r separa-  tion constituted a psychological rejection of the c h i l d . In his t h i r d foster home B i l l showed some signs of poor personality adjustment.  His shy and retarded behavior continued and he seemed unable  to relate well to people. ships.  l i t t l e i s recorded about tee family r e l a t i o n -  At about age eight B i l l ' s "acting out" behavior became more severe.  He had regressed to bed-wetting, and at the same time had been exposing his i  genitals to neighbourhood ohildren.  In addition he was involved i n several  stealing and property destroying incidents.  B i l l ' s physical appearance  was markedly different from the foster parents inasmuch aa he was a swarthy c h i l d with Indian f a c i a l features.  He had tight curly hair and the foster  mother noticed that he fondled t h i s a good deal of the time.  B i l l took  other children's caps frequently and t h i s may have been related to his s e n s i t i v i t y about his difference i n color and r a c i a l features from other  76 children, which the curly hair symbolized..  When B i l l was nine, his,foster  father died suddenly and B i l l grieved a loftfc time over t h i s loss. behavior became worse and f i n a l l y the c h i l d was ranovod  iron the  His home a t  the age of ten.. B i l l was placed with foster parents who had adopted a c h i l d about the same age as h i s own.  VJhother B i l l was t o l d about h i s status as a  foster c h i l d i s not known.  There i s some indication that other children i n  the neighborhood teased him about not being adopted. about t h i s teasing.  B i l l was Sensitive  ¥et the fact that the children knew of M i l ' s status  and of the other boy's adoption indicates that the foster parents may have been f a i r l y open about t h i s i n the community and perhaps to the children themselves.  B i l l , HWever, used the foster parent's surname and this may  have heightened his feeling of "difference" which was accentuated by his Indian features.  This foster home seamed r e a l l y to be a place where B i l l ' ,  f e l t that he belonged.  He had no particular problems i n adolescence and,  although information i s scarce, B i l l remained l i v i n g with his foster parents a f t e r "board" was terminated by the agency.  The worker commented on t h i s  saying that she r o l l e d a-great deal on foster mother's a b i l i t y to give B i l l proper supervision. "She takes a motherly interest i n t h i s boy and treats' > him as her owa."  B i l l s t i l l retained a bond with the former foster mother i  and v i s i t e d her occasionallyj 'so therefore, i t does not appear that he f e l t "rejected" by her* At the age of nineteen, M i l returned fttom the Navy intensely concerned about h i s natural parents.  His concern seemed related to the  s e n s i t i v i t y with regard to h i s r a c i a l background which was noted e a r l i e r in his l i f e , "lie went on to ask a r a t t e r pointed question.  "Just  77 who SIB I? And what nationality aa 1? liforker was taken aback as be did not know the background o f t h i s lads however, as soon as the f i l e s were c a l l e d fer^ he realized that t h i s l a d had a right to knew about his ' past. As i t was a rather sordid one, worker f e l t that he could only t e l l B i l l so much. I t was rather awkward to t e l l him that, although we had records on his mother we had none on h i s father* B i l l did not know anything of his past whatsoever. He stated hew awkward i t was when with a group o f fellows, i f anyone started discussing nationality ha was never quite sure what he was. worker'assured him that he was of good B r i t i s h stock and had nothing to be ashamed of. However, he s t i l l looked d i s s a t i s f i e d with the results of this conversation, liforker f e l t there was something behind his attitude and questioned him about t h i s . B i l l asked t h i s question: "What would happen i f you got married and you had Children and one was of different color than you?" Worker then gave htm information from the f i l e s that h i s mother had Indian blood i n her*; B i l l was very relieved. He stated that he ma always worried that he had Negro blood on account o f his curly black hair. B i l l seemed very pleased with the interview and worker f e l t that the shock, although bad at f i r s t , was now fading away* One was inclined to f e e l that the problem of Segro blood was r e a l l y worrying the l a d . He l e f t with good s p i r i t s and promised t o c a l l again the next time he was i n Vancouver." ;  In t h i s case i t would appear that comealmant, c o n f l i c t s around differences i n color, and the s o c i a l stigma attached, were the mainsprings of B i l l ' s concern..  I t i s noteworthy, however, that B i l l brought t h i s  up i n connection with carriage and i t i s possible, that goclal-sexaal con*, f l i c t s were also involved as immediate precipitating factors.  Although  B i l l had been exposed probably t o some separation trauma which seemed to have been i n t e n s i f i e d by his foster father's death, he received enough acceptance from h i s foster parents to indicate that probably neither negative attitudes toward t h e n a t u r a l parents or psychological rejection were present i n t h i s child's concern.  78 Case 7» In ocmp&xlng B i l l ' s history with that of h i s half-brother Larry, i t would seem to tha writer that the color difference aa a causative factor l a intensifying a child's concern i s further substantiated. early history i s meager* Iiad l i v e d about a year.  Larry's  He was taken into care from a baby home where he There i s some evidence that separation trauma  may have been caused by four foster placements during Larry's second year of l i f e .  These placements were occasioned lay i l l n e s s on the part of the  foster parents and did not seam to constitute rejection.  Larry remained  with the fourth set of foster parents a l l during his youth and i n adulthood considered them as his parents.  Although he was always somewhat shy,  he seems to have been accepted and loved i n t h i s foster home,  Cf average  intelligence, he did f a i r work i n school and became soli' supporting a f t e r reaching grade nine. Bill*  Larry always want by his own name i n contrast to  A e t h e r he was t o l d such about h i s natural parents i s not recorded* Bay elation i n adolescence may have been a factor intensifying  Larry's concern.  Although he had not known his.brother during h i s early  years, i n some way he met him at the age of fourteen*  "According to Larry's  foster mother, B i l l saw his natural motheir before he l e f t town (unsubstantiated by record - he had not yet discussed t h i s problem with the worker) and xuas inclined to be very friendly with her."  B i l l came to the f o s t e r home  and saw Larry, and while there evidently t o l d B i l l something of hie mother as foster taother noticed that Larry had been quite upset f o r a few days after the v i s i t . " About a year l a t e r , Larry came to the o f f i c e with a belligerent attitude and demanded to know about h i s parents.  "He stated that he got  fedVup with people asking him what nationality he was and when he said  19  Canadian they always laughed".. The worker noted that Larry did not seeta nearly as concerned about his i l l e g i t i i s a c y as B i l l had been., Although Lorry aeeisad s a t i s f i e d iwith tJus inforififction, he o&m  buck In a month s t i l l  upset. <• He f e l t the agency was not giving him the correct,information*  He  ?*&nt®d to f i n d h i s mother, and proceeded to i n i t i a t e a seardh.. His mother was f i n a l l y located i n . j a i l .  The worker f e l t teat he was mature enough to  see her."Worker met Larry and took him to Oakalla,. He was extremely nervous, chain smoking and drying his hands. Worker made no attempt to introduce teem, merely greeting Hrs* A, and saying: "Larry has asked me to come up with him and v i s i t you. Mother and son shook hands and just gaaed f o r approximately forty seconds and then embraced. The controlled their emotions very w e l l and Larry s a i d : "Gee whls, my own Horn* X f i n a l l y found you." Larry and h i s mother discussed family happenings, work, l i k e s , d i s l i k e s , clothing and plans f o r the 'future. The Interview lasted f o r approximately h a l f an- hour and worker agreed i n every way to help establish normal relationship after mother's discharge. Upon getting outside Oakalla»s gates, Larry's bottled tension demanded r e l i e f and he said "Qee, l e t ' s run." Worker obliged f o r two blocks and then both agreed on a cup of coffee. Larry was J b l l . of plans for his mother and promised to keep worker informed on a l l details." However, Larjty never did follow up with h i s plans to keep tee worker i n formed.  In t h i s case, difference i n color and sudden revolation i n  adolescence of information about tee natural parents seemed to have been the main causative and precipitating factors i n Larry's concern. An Additional Factor In both the case of Jerry, Larry and B i l l there Is some evidence to suggest that i f the c h i l d knows that he has siblings or has lived-with s i b l i n g s , h i s concern may be intensified*  ftiring  tee  time J e n y was con-  cerned about his father he was also concerned about reuniting with h i s brother.  He had l i v e d with his brother continuously u n t i l he was eight  80  years of a$e.,  On the other hand, Larry and B i l l d i d not l i v e with each  other but apparently knew abdut each other,., seek out Larry,  This apparently l e d M i l to  Vfiiile il«y were together tha> discussed tlieir unknown  natural parents,, I t **»uld seem only natural that knowing about a "semblance of family" would tend to lead the c a i l d ^o inquire further about his and h i s sibling'a parents, > Summary of Findings A l l of the factors, both causative and precipitating, have been i d e n t i f i e d descriptively i n the case records upon the basis of the writer's c l i n i c a l judgment i n analysing the data i n the case records,  M i i l e the  writer d i d not attempt to establish precisely that the factors d i r e c t l y i n t e n s i f i e d the child's concern, the presence of these factors i n these seven cases suggests that thay may have some relevance to an i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of the child's concern,  *  Generally speaking, i n the oases studied, the children with the most traumatic and rejecting experiences seem to be more pathologically t  concerned than the children wHo have not been subjected to such severe experiences.  Also their concern seems less connected with the normal ado-  lescent c o n f l i c t s around social-sexual r o l e .  The more disturbed children  (Jane, Marjorie, and Jerry) seemed t o be preoccupied about their parents to a f a r greater degree i n terms ;ot time-span over a period of years and i n terms of fantasy than the other children, Negative attitudes on the part of the foster parents toward the natural parents seemed to be connected with the foster parent's rejection of the c h i l d i n most cases,  Concealment of information was present i n most  cases as i t appeared that- the children knew very l i t t l e about their parents before adolescence.  I f they did knew (as i n the case of Marjorie and  61  possibly Jim and Harold) tho ini'orstution giv^sn was probably negative. While difference i n nasw nay have ca*oed c o n f l i c t because i t tended to conceal information about the c h i l d which he may have suspected, the l e s s concerned children were concerned peihaps f o r other reasons such us color differsnce social-sexual conf I i et- or a separation experience. None of the 3  3  intensely concerned children had used a different name. Sudden revelation of information i n adolescence appeared to be present i n three cases i n a way that mi^ht have impact on the c h i l d ' a concern (Jane, Jerry, Larry). However, t h i s factor may have had acre influence 'than i s apparent inasmuch as none of tho children knew much about t h e i r foster c h i l d status or t h e i r natural parents before reaching adolescence. 'Jiie ^concern seemed related s » to r e l a t i v e l y normal socisl-pexual c o n f l i c t s i n the less pathologically I  concerned children. • Karriuge and possible i n f e r i o r i t y feelings regarding that role seemed to be tee main concern as related to tho aatural parents. In Harjorie'e case the social-sexual c o n f l i c t seaaed to have a r e l a t i o n to hat own maladjustiBent i n "a psyehosexual sense.  I t i s doubtful i n the  writer! a opinion whether Marjorie became l i k e her mother because she i d e n t i f i e d with nor as much as she did because of her oxtfi basic personality disturbance.  The factor of separation experience, wbieh seemed'closely  connected with rejection, seemed to be a precipitating factor i n tee child's concern.  Semblance of family also seemed to have some bearing on the  child's concern although other factors were operative (see contrast between Jerry's cose and Lariy's and B i l l ' s ) .  Noticeable oolor difference seemed  to be the mainspring of the concern i n two cases, although other factors seemed to have relevance i n these cases also. t l v e and suggestive rather than conclusive.  These findings are speculaIn Chapter U t h e i r implications  i n terms of further research and s o c i a l work practice w i l l be  discussed.  Chapter It Conclusions and Implications for Research and Social Work Help. This study was an attempt to explore the general problem of the intense concern which nam adolescent foster children show about their biological parents, from whom they were separated permanently during the f i r s t three years of l i f e .  I t was aseuaed by the writer that being reared  by natural parents i s a socially defined need which children i n this culture may feel more strongly than children i n other cultures.  furthermore, i t  was assumed that the adolescent foster child, like ether adolescents, has strong conflicts with parental figures which nay at tiiaoe precipitate a natural fantasy about an "ideal" set of parents who are different i n personality and physical appearance from the parents with whom they are l i v i n g . In the adolescent foster child's cose, the content of this fantasy might be expressed i n terms of concern about the natural parents whom the child has not known since his early years of l i f e .  However, sose adolescent foster  children are much more concerned about their natural parents than might be expected i f the above factors were the major causative ones i n their concern, t&at creates this intense concern on the part of some of these children? tills was the fecal question of the study.  The writer hoped that study of a  group of intensely concerned adolescent foster children might reveal factors which may contribute to this intensification ef concern. In order to exassine the case records for the purpose of identifying these factors, the writer decided that a series ef inter-related hypotheses would have to be made to form a frame of reference,  This frame  of reference was derived by the writer from a review of relevant literature on this subject from the fields of social work, social psychology, and  63 psychiatry.  Th© series of inter-related hypotheses (factors) were grouped  arbitrarily Into basic causative factors and imedlate precipitating factors, and described under these groupings' i n Chapter Two.  In Chapter  Three the writer described the factors which he identified In seven ease records oh the basis of c l i n i c a l judgment.  Elements of a l l the factors were  found to be present In the esses of these adolescent footer children, wards -af tho Vancouver Children's Aid Society who, i n the c l i n i c a l judgment of two experienced workers, were considered to be intensely concerned about their unknown natural parents.  Ho attempt to weigh the significance of the  factors i n a particular child's concern was made, as I t was thought that this would properly be the job of more definitive research. A Critique of the JEteaearch Miile the study admittedly was an exploratory one, i t raises certain questions ef methodology which have implications for farther research. One of the crucial areas of the study ley i n conceptualising arid defining the factors.  One Eight well ask the question) were any of the  factors actually located i n the cases studied?  Certainly descriptive defi-  nition lacks precision, tihat are the coaponeiito of separation trauma? Bow can they be Identified with precision that would lend i t s e l f to further verification?  I t would seaa that such a question oe this l e of c r i t i c a l  import.  C l i n i c a l judpients by themselves do net necessarily form a solid  base for  research.  researcher?  Yet with the material at hand, what i s open for the  At the time these children were taken into care (in the late  1920's and early I930*e) the c l i n i c a l judgments of workers nay not have been refined enough to identify evidence suggestive of separation trauma, for example, or else there may have been Insufficient consideration of this  ah problem by the workers.  Thus the records may not reflect the c l i n i c a l  observations which social workers could make today i n tee actual ease situations.  This student was forced therefore on the basis of tee paucity  of the material to superimpose certain general descriptions of the factors upon the material at hand* factors are presented.  The result i s that only indications of tee  The limitations of such research are obvious. In  order to establish rathar than s u r e s t that certain factors may bo present i n such oases, .more complete case material and more definitive c r i t e r i a would have to be set up.  This study merely provides a suggested conceptual frame-  work with wtilch to further study the factors Whioh may contribute to the adolescent foster child's concern about hie natural parents from whoa he was separated at an early age. Implications of the Findings i n Terms of Euture Research The limitations of tee study point up the need for further research In this area.  This research should be directed toward further definition  of the problem f o r sooial treatment purposes*  Admittedly the concern about  the natural parents Is only one phase of the adolescent foster child's problems*  But i f , as tee study suggests, tee concern for tee natural parents  i s systematic of disorganizing factors i n the child'e environment, this seems to indicate teat any dealing with tela concern Isolated from the adolescent's own psychosocial problems would be without) helpful purpose. Hie problem teen Is to set the concern within tee framework of a particular adolescent's inner and outer world.  This can be accomplished by sound  psychosocial diagnosis based on definitive research*,  what influence does a  factor such as separation trauma have on the adolescent's concern?  Does  Separation trauma hove a different degree of influence than concealment during  m childhood,, and revelation of the knowledge about natural parents i n adolescence?  Which factors can be dealt with cost effectively by social  workers} which factors can be dealt with mast effectively by psychiatrists? The writer believes that within i t s limitations such a framework as suggested i n this study may provide a start i n answering seme ef these questions. The f i r s t step i n research would appear to be an amplification of this frame of reference with more refined c r i t e r i a .  One could study the  foster child who i e not concerned about his natural parents. subjected to separation trauma In infancy? parental figures? rejection by them?  Has he been  Has he had lack of continuity i n  Has he had continuity i n parental figures, but basic Are M s  parents negative or positive?  foster parents attitudes toward his natural 1  I f the adolescent foster child who shows  l i t t l e concern about his natural parents has these negative factors present i n his environmentj then a new dimension w i l l have to be added to the conceptual framework.  Other factors w i l l have to be ferreted out and examined.  On the other hand the conceptual framework might be validated as i t stands. The study sight serve as a basis for illuminating our understanding of the concern susse adopted children show about their unknown natural parents. I f the child was adopted during the f i r s t months of infancy and remained with his adopting parents for the rest of his childhood, factors other than continuity i n parental figures might be highlighted f o r further study. This study also provides a tentative framework for examination and weighing of these factors i n individual cases upon a quantitative basis.  The  relative degrees of the presence ef each factor could be compared with the relative intensity of the child's concern.  Probably generalisations would  be hard to draw ae each dhild defines a cultural need i n hie peculiar  56 idiomatic fashion.  I f tho basic social work principle of understanding  whore the individual client i s , i o to be applied, teen this researoh seems indicated. Also the question of whether this i s a peculiar problem of the adolescent foster ohild should be answered., I f tele i s a Special problem for adolescent foster ohildren* teen the efforts on the part of sooial workers i n tee c h i l d placement f i e l d should be foeused more on the problem*, many adolescent foster ohildren i n this group are concerned?  How  Is the over-  a l l concern great enough, as compared with adopted ohildren, to warrant specialised attention?  A coapa3?atlve study of the concern quantitatively as  between the two groups would ©sea to be indicated. The Social frforker's Bole i n Diagnosis and Treatment Jean Charnley i n her book "The Art of Child Placement'' has said tee sooial worker i n c h i l d placement i s the link between the ohild, h i s natural parents, and hie foster parents*  The trorltor'o role i s that of keeping  balance among these persons i n tee triangle.  1  Although tee worker's role i n  helping the adoleeoent foster child © concert about his natural parentis was 1  not studied specifically I t was evident teat the children i n tills study saw the worker as a bridge between teem and the parents whom they did not know* What should tee worker t e l l the child about his own parents? t e l l them?  How should he t e l l them?  definite answers seem available*  When should he  These are questions to which no  This thesis points up softs provocative  areas f o r further study i n regard to these questions*  Jean Chamley, The Art of Child Plaeeaent Minneapolis, 19SS.  a  University of Minnesota Press,  87 One of the assuraptlonB oany workers have aad i s that a child who IS afforded love and security of permanent parental figures l h a fasaily sotting w i l l have very l i t t l e concern about his natural parents, of the literature reveals this Ray net always be the case.  The study  Spita has  diagnosed the concern ef one child as being symptomatic of the child's anxiety over a basic traumatic experience of separation.  I f the diagnosis  ef the case consultant and the psychiatrist i n this instance i s correct, I t would appear that Carl hod both love and continuity of parental figures i n bis adopted home.  In addition he seemed to be well adjusted i n other areas  of his l i f e , school and peer  relationships,  Yet time and time again Carl  returned to the question of his own parents whom he could not believe wore dead.  In spite of two years of Intensive psychiatric treatment, Carl's  concern persisted. of fantasy.  He showed his concern by stealing and by a great deal  I t i e interesting to know that i n this study five children would  seem to have had early traumatic separation experiences,  f&ile i n each Case  other factors seem related to the child's concern about his unknown natural parents, this writer wanders how influential was the repetitive pattern of the basic separation experience i n relation to the concern these children shewed.  I f the concern i s related to a deep-seated problem such as a  repetitive reaction to on early separation trauna, then i t would appear that some special focus would have to be made on this core problem early i n a child's l i f e ,  Whether an attack en this problem Hee within the realm of  social work or psychiatric competency i s the question.  Spits questions  whether psychiatric treatment In i t s present forai would be helpful, "ttiether our verbal, our interpretive analytical approach can touch the basic insecurity, the one which I have called conditioned trauma, remains an open, question i n sy t&nd, W& Bay have to coneider i n such cases approaches which compleaent  33 the classical analytical therapy. That i s not a n&& idea| ohild analysis as such already ie a (sonified analytical therapy and play therapy goes s t i l l further i n Its modification. I t i s sy conviction that we may have to become even more radical.'*! I f Spits*e theory i s correct, then- i t may be true to eay that l a these instances where severe separation trauma has occurred i n a child's l i f e , the natter of what to t e l l a child about h i s natural parents and when to t e l l hi& nay be Irrelevant to the basic itimie.  I t would seem teat i n  Carl's cade (described i n Chapter Two) teat the t a i l i n g o f tee background to the ohild may have intensified, rather than helped Carl with his basic separation anxiety.  This cay be .also truo i n tee eases of several children  studied i n thie thesis,  for  example, <fe??y Bast have been told quite a h i t  of infoxmtion about hie natural parents by the worker, fie was told, i t would appear, that his mother had died while i n a mental hospital. l i k e l y teat he was told hie putative father's name,  I t ie  later i n adolescence  he used this Information not only to punish himself but also to punish the people he believed to have been responsible for bis basic separation experience, his natural parents. c r i t i c a l diagnostic tidnking.  This seems to be a matter which raerits  -  I t would appear to be a trs#e circumstance  that tea social worker or the foster parents «ould play into a c h i l d a 1  unhealthy fantasy. As Sarah Stone says, tee fantasy of this typo of child differs from that of tee child who has had a reasonably normal l i f e history* •Xt i s not the quality of the young active ohild who w i l l stop momentarily i n his ploy to wonder what kind of bouncing games be might devise on top of a pretty white cloud* I t i s not of the quality of tee add*  Bene A* Spits, K.9., "Discussion of. 'The Working-Throng Process l a Dealing with Anxiety around Adoption*, by Harion J, Barnes, "American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, July 1953, American Orthopsychlatric Assciation, *tow York, p. 620.  lescent g i r l who before dropping off to ©leep dreams of & lover... Xt i e different too frost that whieh derives from the hatred which a well-tak©R-care-of middle class child develops: as a sideline to hie anxiety or compulsion neurosis. His (the foster child's) fantasy i e pathological i n that i t irraoblliacs him for productive use of many of hie capacities to nest current living*"1 However, although the traunatiaed foster child's fantasy i e pathological oe Stem points cut, she cakes this observations "Sbr son© of these children the voids are so large and so deep that l i t t l e can be dene to effectively f i l l them*  these children w i l l * despite the social worker's most s k i l l f u l  efforts, continue to dessonstrate a craving for a 'crutch' a craving which t  for some w i l l be insatiable* that l i f e be tolerable*"  2  She fantasy w i l l need to be continued i n order Therefore, i t would appear that t e l l i n g the severely  trauB&tiaed adolescent fester child about hie natural parents i s a matter which requires a great deal of casework s k i l l *  In these cases i t would eeera  a eafe gSBeraliaation to l i m i t ssany of the specific details about the parent's lives, particularly i n regard to their a n t i s o c i a l behavior, so that the child would not build up a fantasy which he could turn against himself and the world. PUrthepEsore, i t would appear that seise special means of helping these children early i n childhood, i n addition to carefully selected foster home placement* seems warranted,  Possibly the use of structured ploy therapy i s a c l i n i c a l  setting, as defreeated by Solomon and Levy, might help the c h i l d to work cut the repetitive separation problem by his achieving a desensitiaation e f the basic separation trouma.3  Many of the children i n the group studied' seemed  Sarah Stone, "Ohildren Sftthout Roots", Social Service Review, June, 15>J>3, University of Chieago Press, Chicago, p. lm, 1  2  ma, p*  150  Hambridge, 0. Jr,, Structured Play Theraay. Americani Journal of Orthopsychiatry, American Orthop^chiatric Association, Bei* York, Kew Wfc, July  9  90 to be unable to benefit by foster home placement because of the behavior caused by this basic separation anxiety which usually displayed i t s e l f either i n antl«aocial behavior or a restlessness making I t impossible for them to remain situated i n a foster horns f o r mors than a few months at a iiaa. Obviously, such thinking would influence philosophy regarding whether a child should be told nuch about his parents a t an early age* Other things being equal however. I t would appear that i t would be better for a child to face some facts about his parents and about hie fester home s i t e * ation throughout his early childhood,  The dangers of revelation of these  facts i n adolescence would seesa to be too great.  As Kurt Lawin has eaids  " I t i e of f i r s t importance that a stable social ground be l a i d very early; tee some experience of being called a foster child which might upset tee 15 year old boy who was not aware of the real situation, y i l l have l i t t l e or no effect at e l l on the child who i s properly introduced to Ilia ?4al situation at the age of three* The variety o f social structures to which a growing child can adapt himself In & relatively stable wgy Is astonishingly great. I t seems, however, extremely d i f f i c u l t to establish a new stable social ground after one has broken down."! This theory of Lewin'a sight have to be limited i n t e l l i n g the severely traumatism child*  However, wite other children i t would seem that a realis-  t i c facing of the Circumstances i s indicated. The study reveals that, as far as records are concerned, a l l except one of the foster children were told nothing about their situation before adolescence,  Bomo childrea went by the same name as their fester parents  only to learn i n adolescence that their name was different.  These children  3- Hart Lewin, Itesolvlng Social Conflicts, Harper and Brothers, Hew York,  91  mm  generally the atm  who had d i f f i c u l t y facing the facte around aa$a«  Two of the© tired aliases quite extensively.  Bath were children who  had  used the foster parents' r e a l suafnaoos at various times i n t h e i r l i v e s . However, the fact that conceslaont &nd sudden revelatica i s not a contributing factor i n i t e e l f i s shown i n Jane's ease. Even theu$* Jane was t o l d at an early a^e that oho was a foster c h i l d slue seeras to have repressed' t h i s knowledge as indicated by her e ^ l a n a t i e n to the sorter, after her rejection by the footer parents, that she always thought tho foster parents were har oiaa. The writer believes that i n Jam's case, separation trawrea and rejection, r a t t e r than concealment or lack of i t , my  nave beer, the c r u c i a l factors i n  her concern. The study seemed to point up the fact that negative attitudes t«ward the natural parents on tho part of th© foster parents were related to a baelc rejection of the c h i l d by the foster parents. Jam'e and SSarjorie'a cases.  This was obviously so i n both  la Harold's case the foster father i n rejecting  Harold said that he believed that Harold's bad beh&vlor was caused by heredity and 'foreign blood'.  In Jia's ease tho fact that the faster fattier  c a l l e d him a "bastard" alee smmd related to the foster 'parents' lack e f acceptance of t!» c h i l d .  That t h i s hurt Jim deeply a f t e r seven years i s an  indication of the s e n s i t i v i t y a c h i l d has to the negative attitudes on the part- of the foster parents toward the natural parents.  One of the basic  principles i n foster ylaceaant work i s that th® foster parent should ba able to accept the natural parents of the c h i l d .  Tills i s applied more to the  c h i l d who has parents i n r e a l i t y ^ i t mosau not to have applied so such to the c h i l d who does not have parents.  While the records do not indicate the  way  workers interpreted the natural parents to the foster parents, i t would appear that one of the c r i t i c a l factors l a selecting the foster parents ted been over-  92.  looked: that i e , the fester parents' acceptance of the natural parents* , Here again, tho scarcity of the material i n th® records points to the need for wore focusing on the interpretive job which the social worker &u@t do to help the foster parents be able to show the foster child that he accepts the child's natural parents however nebulous they may be.  One worker, jolowiea,  has recoraosnded that foster parents try to keep reraet&rcnces of the child's am  parents i n the horn, each as photographs and mementos.  She also recaia-  mende that the child observe the birthday of the natural parente*'* this le a v a l i d idea or not Is probably open to question.  f&ether  However, i t would  seem to be worth notice inasmoh as i t would tend not only to f i l l the gaps i n the child's l i f e and thus lessen the need of fantasy end concern about the natural parents, but i t would also tend to help the fester parents have positive attitudes toward the natural parents,  This might be a practical way  i n which the worker could help relieve the necessity of fantasy which may result not only from concealment of information, but also from possible unconscious negative attitudes on the part of foster parents*  Beth of these  factors, concealment and negative attitudes on the part of foster parents, would appear to be closely inter-related* The setter of racial difference between the^f ester child and the fester parents seeras to be one which would accentuate the concern about the natural parents on the part of the child*  As yet, no careful study has been  nade i n relation to the influence this factor may have cn the child's concern* Cultural attitudes toward racial differences i n the cewiraunity play a part In intensifying the adolescent's concern about his "difference . 9  Sesse children  Alaraeaa R» Jalawlcs, "A Foster Child Heeds his own Parents", The Child, August 1SU7, O.S. Children's Bureau, tfcshington, p* 21.  have to be placed i n foster noises where the racial background Is different from their own,  Scarcity c f foster hoses i n certain racial groups makes  this necessary.  Therefore, tee "difference" whioh the child feels himself  can only be minimised with careful casework help.  This factor could be  discussed with the child at an early age; his feelings of i n f e r i o r i t y could be brought out into the open and accepted by the foster parents end the worker.  This would seem to be the aost practical way of minimising not only  concern about racial difference, but the concern about the natural parents which this feeling of difference may engender. The matter of social-sexual conflict i n relation to the adolescent foster child's concern about his natural parents i s one which i s a subject of considerable controversy.  Huch of this concern i s related to the natural  parents' socially unacceptable sexual behavior.  Kohlsaat and Johnson^  believe teat a child should never face the fact of his being illegitimately bom.  itihile i t i s true that some children face this fact with more trauma  than others, tee writer thinks that i n many cases concealment of this fact by the worker from tee child only tends to intensify his concern i n this . area.  Many foster children probably learn from novels, moving pictures, or  talk with peers or adults that a foster c h i l d i s i n many cases illegitimate. I t would appear that i n many situations i t would be better for tee ohild to have hie suspicions brought into the open so he can receive help from tee caseworker with tee anxiety and shame which he may f e d .  I f the child could  be helped to accept tele fact, i t might i n general be a mors healthy approach than i f tee whole matter ware ignored.  In tee writer's opinion the child  should be helped to see teat social stigma i s not on tee child,  his  B, Kohlsaat and A. Johnson, "Some Suggestions tor Practice In Infant Adoptions", Social Casework, March, l$$h Sfeaily Service Association of America, Hew York. t  .  9h  iliugitaUaata bir%u wao not caused by h i s boMOVior ama ha siiould be helped to accept t u i a .  He could also be helped  naa that i t «ae not caused  tty hie parents choosing to be "baa", but rather i t igas caused by their own uah«ppiii©s0 or unfortunate clrauiast&ncss.  ©ie scarcity of juuterioi i n  these case records accut uau tije c h i l d was told atout M s i l l e g i t i w c y aud i.uw tie reacted to this ini'anuation, point ua tho mad for further focus on the part of social wurters i n this c r i t i c a l area. Una factor which tne study revealed was tha« KnouLedgo of siblings sate/ have an influence on thu c n i l t i s concern au>ut> »:&ES unknown natural 1  p a i n t s . . 'i'ao etutijy does not euww whether t»4.8 i e a factor i n i t s e l f * however, i t would BQ& that f&uily faowoarahip has deep seatad isport i n t a i s culture and that a c h i l d laijut o l i n g to a biological f a - i i l y even though i t has no speei£i<j waning t o h i a i i i r e a l i t y .  waothe? children wao ore  too young to know their own aiulings aaould ruisuin with then In foster care i s a c r i t i c a l question.  The writer can sea how Eaalntaiuiug the i'aaily  Kay be Important f o r tha oidar C i i i l d .  however, i n tite case of x,ha younger  'child who hopefully l i v e s i n a substitute lordly of hie own, i t would seen that k .apiiiij a seabluiice o f family f o r hi« i s unrealistic ami would only intensify his concern about a fatally which i s not wis i n r e a l i t y .  In tide  study, i n both iriatianees th® half brothers ware only aeparaied i n age by a saort span of time.  Tuese children wore separated f m a i h o i r parents i n  infancy, onts sot u£ children did not even l i v e with each otaer but the other set of e a i l d m i l i v e d with each other u n t i l they waro eight years o l d . In th# former case a worker isay have Hade an etfort to bring the boys together although tuiu i s xmt clearly Indicated i n the records.  In the  l a t t e r case an effort was euae to keep tho boys together and i t did not work out.  f i d s wiiole question of keeping siblings who never r e a l l y knew each  .9$  other tejjether to com degree i e one which should be examined further, She fact that a worker ?oay have special feelings around this area i s an important area to bo cojwidered. "The worker needs to understand thEt his proposed demands t o help the c h i l d learn about hl&sslf w i l l be anxiety producing not only to the c h i l d but to h i E s o l f as w e l l . He needs to understand himself to know why a t times he w i l l say 'this I could net share with the c h i l d * . Obviously i t stay not be wise to share with a c h i l d everything that bccojaes known, but the selection o f what and when raay be related t o the worker's own naeds and to & s own previous personal l i f e experiences. A work o f caution i s necessary here. tSiile the jaajority of workers w i l l tend t o be. over-protective and try to ahiolrt the c h i l d from an inevitable pain, there are unfortunately a few with so such basic h o s t i l i t y that they rsay run raa?3ant i n t h i s kind of situation. Knowing o f ouch elements o f h o s t i l i t y i n a worker, a supervisor should not p e m i t embarkation on a project such as this unless they can o f f e r sufficient protection."i As Yet i t i s impossible to cake v a l i d generalisations, as Stone points out, about what and when to t e l l an adolescent. how to t e l l a c h i l d aeons to be m r a open f o r d e f i n i t i o n ,  The question of Xrt this s i t u -  ation the s o c i a l worker should apply the sai^e umterstanUini;, warmth and acceptance that he uses i n other case work situations.  The? object i s  to proceed at the child's pace by not giving hits tooranchinformation too prematurely or information that would be devastating t o hia personality structure.  A worker, i n t h i s writer's opinion should t r y to help the c h i l d  see that bore i s an understanding adult (the oaewworker) who accepts the fact that a c h i l i I can hava mixed feelings about hia unknot® parents and who understands that there are voids In a child's past which need to be f i l l e d , tJith t h i s kind of suppox$ive understanding the worker should be able, except i n eases of extreme disturbances, to help the c h i l d (1) to relieve his Stone, op. c i t . , p. 1J>0.  negative fueilugs about his situation and ( 2 ) to gain a positive perspect i v e toward the facts of h i s l i f e ac tout hu cay be able to f e e l that what fee i s hiaself i o itaportuwt, what he dees i n the future i s important, and that he does not L«ave to be t i e d to tho past.  Too worker should also  help the c i d l d to accept the fact that h i s parents had t h e i r &wd  as \ f e l l  ss t h e i r bad qualities and that basically thesy haa probleaa over which he personally had no control, but which he could understand.  Tide would seem  to help the c h i l d W form a better understanding of the d i f f i c u l t i e s other people i n the world around h i a have.  '£,.is say eventually lead to h i s  acceptance of h i s own weaknesses as well as strengths. I K the broad sense t h i s study would seoa to point cut a need f o r further efforts on tha part of the s o c i a l worker i n c h i l d placement to help foster children have the satisfaction of l i v i n g i n a hone with accept i n g foster parents who con reia&in as a aoustunt parental f i b r e s throughout h i s develepisentol ye<*re.  While ease of these children Kay never be  adopted, continued efforts should be si&de to help the c h i l d f e e l that this footer finally i s liis am Xi' the worker can help  fa»<43y, as close as one can possibly be for hita.  thts fostar  parents and footer c h i l d accept the  strengthe. as well as the limitations of foster care, the worker w i l l have accomplished a great deal i n helping the c h i l d f e e l that, tale foster forally i e a place where he con f e e l that he belongs and i s wanted..  general inferences Boesard, Ji«jae©tt.S., Tho Sociology of Child Development, Harper and Brothers, Bew York and London, W&. ' Bruhe, Frank J . , Trends i n Sooial Ufcrk (As Sefleeted i n the Proceedings of the National Conference o f Social Work, 187ii-lyk(S), Columbia University Press, Urn York, l°i*B. Brikeon, Erik H., Childhood and Society, W. W. Norton and Cccpany, New York, 1$50. j&aud, Anim, and Burlih&bara, Dorothy, Infants Without ffanftlias, Int©3?~ national tfnivorslty Pre«s, Sew York, I9iib« Josselyn, Initio M«, gw Adblescont and His World, totally Service Association of A f r i c a , liefer York, 19i>£. Hutchinson, Qorothy, I n ^a.est. of Foster Parents, (A Point o f View i n HOJBSflading), ColuBbia University Press, lieu York, Is?b3. Lundberg, Eiaaa Qctavia, Unto the Least of ghooe, 9. Applstos-Cantury Company, Ifsc., &»t York &nd London, I$u7. Xosng, Leostine, Out of tfediock (A Stu*$r o f the Bi-obleas of the Unmarried Mother and her Chiid)",*l4«0raw-'ilill Soak Go&paoy, Slew York, 2$$h* Specific Mferencss socks Bowlby, John;, Maternal Care and Mental H**^* , World Health Organisation, Geneva, 19$2, (Ponograph Series 2) I9hh~. 1  Charnloy, Jean, The Art of Child Placetsant. University of Minnesota ftress, Minneepolis, 1955.'' Lewin, Wart, Sssolvifig Social ConfH o t s , Harcer and Brothers, tew York, 1  i9he.  ;  Sfoad, Margas-et, Greying Up i n Hew Cuinaa, The Hew Aaesican Libraiy of World Literature,"'"(Wohtor Ttk>o!k''editi on)1S#3. Mead, Kargaret, Kale and jfeia&le, The. Hew American Library of World L i t e r a ture (Kentor Book edition),' 1°&3. S u i l l v a % Harry Stock, Intorpsraonal Theory of Psychiatry, W. t?. Gorton Co., How York, 35»J>2« — * -  °6  Synaade, Poroiv&l, Adolescent ftuitasy, Columbia University Press, flowYork, 1S>J*°. fboraas, t&lliam 1., Primitive Behavior, KcOraw-HiU Book Company, Inc., $uw York and London, 1 9 3 7 Periodicals Eenedek, Shereee, "The ©actional Structure ef the Sanily", gho ffaasily, I t s function and Destiny. &ith Nanda Anchen (ed) Harper and 'awe-there. Hew York, l y t e . Barnes, Marion J., "The Working through Process i n iSeallns with Are&oty Around.Adoption", Agoricao Journal of Orttiop.sychiatry, July, 1953, Aiaariean Orthopsychiatric Association, Hew York. Burgess, Ernest w*., fh© Jtoaily*', i n American Society An Wartime, W. Ogburn (&&.), l?i<3, University of Chicago Press, Cnxeago. M  Clothier. Florence, "the Psychology of the Adopted Child", llsntal Hygiene, A p r i l 19«3, national Association of Mental Hygiene, Albany, Itew Xork. Da l a , John, Tho Child Away froa Hone*, Journal of Social Casework:, Api&l 19b8, Easily Welfare Association of America, New ¥ork. ,J  English, 0. ftpurgeon, "Tha Psychosocial Ifclo of the Father ir. the Faasily", Social Casework, October, l?£lj, F&edly Service Association of America, Hew York'.' Ippieh, Ethel 3., and Jenkins, Aloa C., "Tolling Adopted Children", Studios of Children, Columbia University, Hew York, 19h&. Freud, Anna. "Safeguarding the Sa»tional Health of Our Children", Casework Papers, i9S>u, national Conference on Social Work, How York. " " J l  data, Clyde, "Adoption", postal *fork Yearbook, 195U, Social Workers, New York.  Aearlcaa Aoscci&tion of  Cordon, Henrietta 1,, "Limitations of Sbstsr Home Care", Child Welfare, July 19$3, Child i/elfare league of Anerlca, New York. Hagan, Helen S., "Foster Care for Children!; Social Work Yearbook, 195h, American Association of Social tforl&rs, !?ew York.' • Hambridge, Cove J r . , "Structured Play Therapy", AasrlcauJournal of Orthopsychiatry, July 19$$, Aaorican Orthopaychiatric Association, &ew xork. Houwink, Eda, "An Adopted Child Geeks His Own itother", Child Welfare League B u l l e t i n . Sew York, A p r i l l°hi Hutchinson, Borothy, "The Placement vrbrker and the Child^s Own Barents", Social Casework, July 19$h, Fsaily Service Association of Amsricu, New York.  99  Hutcnincon, Oracu, "fc&to ils I?", ?hu Child, U.tf. 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