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The concept of non-adoptability; a study of the effect of the concept of non-adoptability on case-work… Hamilton (Lansdowne), Rosemary Louise 1949

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^ 5 ?!< ft' A THE CONCEPT OF NON-ADOPTABILITY A Study of the Effect of the Concept of Non-Adoptability on Case-work Service to the Unmarried Mother, and an Examination of the V a l i d i t y of th i s Concept ROSEMARYJtANSDOWNE- jiDtfmVf&A; Thesis Submitted In P a r t i a l Fulfilment of the Requirements f o r the Degree of - MASTER OF SOCIAL WORK i n the Department of S o c i a l Work 1949 The University of B r i t i s h Columbia ABSTRACT THE CONCEPT OF NON-ADOPTABILITY This study concerns I t s e l f with the problem of the illeglmate child f o r whom adoption i s requested but who, because of undesirable features i n his background, i a not considered suitable f o r adoptive placement. The whole f i e l d of adoption i s receiving widespread p u b l i c i t y at the present time because of the tremendous demand for adoptable children, and as a r e s u l t of thia demand, the "black market" i n babies. Because of thia s i t u a t i o n , and because of the growing recognition that adoption off-frs the most security to the unwanted c h i l d , i t l a of great importance that the adoptability of the c h i l d should be accurately determined. No c h i l d should be denied the advan-tages of adoptive placement who has the capacity to be absorbed into a family group, and to give s a t i s f a c t i o n to those who care for him. The subject waa attacked i n two ways. F i r s t , a survey was made of a l l unmarried mothers who made any request f o r adoption to the Vancouver Children's Aid Society In 1941, and of the plans which were, made f o r the children. Second, a detailed study was made of thoae children In both Children's Aid Societies who were not considered adoptable and were there-fore made wards of the agency and placed i n paid boarding homes. The findings of the survey of adoption requests indicate that the concept of non-adoptability influences d i r e c t l y and inevitably the plan which Is made for the I l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d . There are d e f i n i t e l i m i t a t i o n s to the assistance the agency can give to the unmarried mother who requests adoption but whose ch i l d the agency Is hesitant to place. In some Instances the mother kept the c h i l d despite a strong desire to release I t ; i n others, she placed the c h i l d p r i v a t e l y . Of the years t o t a l - o f seventeen children free from any gross b i r t h abnormality, but placed In boarding—rather than adoptive-homes because of their background, sixteen have proved capable of complete absorption Into a family group. No serious physical, mental or personality aberration i s apparent, and the children are evidently able to give pleasure and s a t i s f a c t i o n to the parents who care for them. The remaining one has since been i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d as mentally defective; t h i s one exception I l l -ustrates the need for protective measures* In the sixteen cases of successful development, the agency must now decide on the r e l a t i v e merits of (1) replacement i n an adoption home, (2) allow-ing the boarding parents to adopt, and (3) continuing care on an i n d e f i n i t e boarding basis. The-legal and s o c i a l problems In-herent i n each of these alternatives give r i s e to the question whether children with unfavourable backgrounds might not, under certain safeguards, be placed f o r adoption. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I w o u l d l i k e t o e x p r e s s my moat s i n c e r e a p p r e c i a t i o n f o r the w h o l e h e a r t e d c o - o p e r a t i o n o f b o t h C h i l d r e n ' s A i d S o c i e t i e s o f V a n c o u v e r . Not o n l y d i d t h e y g r a n t c o m p l e t e l y f r e e a c c e s s t o t h e i r f i l e s , bu t a l s o p r o v i d e d the s e r v i c e s o t h e i r w o r k e r s i n o b t a i n i n g n e c e s s a r y i n f o r m a t i o n . W i t h o u t t h e i r a c t i v e a s s i s t a n c e t h i s t h e s i s wou ld n o t have been w r i t t e n . TABLE OP CONTENTS Chapter I. Adoption--Its Purposes and Problems The present status of adoption. The need f o r adoption standards - Interacting r i g h t s of natural parent, c h i l d , and adopting parents. How hereditary factors influence adoptive placement - present day thinking on the r e l a t i v e Influence of heredity and environment. Review of s p e c i f i c studies on the development of foster children, ^he general purpose of the present study. Chapter I I . Non-Adoptability factors i n a S p e c i f i c Setting Method of selecting the sample group - choice of agency, age group. Survey of a l l children for whom adoption was requested - c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of non-adoptability factors pertaining to father, mother, other r e l a t i v e s , and the ch i l d himself. Relationship of study to present day p o l i c y . Chapter I I I . Effects of the Concept of Non-Adoptability '^ he mother's request for adoption. The Influence of non-adoptability factors on the mother's decision to keep her child - the a l t e r n a t i v e s , the plan made. The Influence of non-adoptability factors on the mother's decision to place the c h i l d p r i v a t e l y - nblack-marketlng n of babies. Chapter IV. The Test of Time: Mentai Development Selection of these children. _:Case study of one d e f i n i t e l y non-adoptable c h i l d . Progress of the remainder -boarding parents' evaluation, school report, findings of the Child Guidance C l i n i c . Correlation with mentality of natural parent. Correlation with adjustment i n boarding home. Chapter V. Health and Personality Factors Present health of children, c o r r e l a t i o n to health of natural parent. Personality evaluation by boarding parents, agency, and school. Behaviour problems. Correlation to personality of natural parent. Correlation to adjustment i n boarding home. Chapter VI. Foster Home Care An analysis of the boarding homest age, finances, health, personality. Comparison to adoptive homes. Agency supervision. Status of chil d i n home. The boarding parents apply to adopt-legal and s o c i a i problems. Chapter VII. 'For Every C h i l d , a Home 1 Proposed d e f i n i t i o n of an adoptable c h i l d . Current experimentation i n child-placing agencies. Long-term placement. Need f o r c l a r i f i c a t i o n of l e g a l status of chi l d - voluntary relinquishment, Interlocutory decree. Need for e f f i c i e n t diagnostic f a c i l i t i e s . S i g n i f i c a n t factors In selection of home. Appendices: A. Sample Record Forms 1. A n a l y t i c a l schedule 2. Questionnaire B. Bibliography T H E C O N C E P T O F N O N - A D O P T A B I L I T Y A Study of the Effect of the Concept of Non-Adoptability on Case-work Services to the Unmarried Mother, and an Examination of the V a l i d i t y of thia Concept 1 CHAPTER I ADOPTION: ITS PURPOSES AND PROBLEMS The history of adoption i s as old as the family i t s e l f . References are made to the practice in the earl iest writ ings. Among primitive tribes, adoption was related to religious be l ie fs ; in other cultures i t has been associated mainly with inheritance r ights ; in s t i l l others, the practice has been u t i l i z e d for the exploitation of cheap labour. With the growth of democratic ideals, the purpose of adoption has come to centre on the needs of the chi ld , as enunciated in the Children's Charter of the United States of America: 1 " For every chi ld a home, and that love and security which a home provides; and for that ch i ld who must receive foster care, the nearest substitute for his own home. For every chi ld the right to grow up in a family with an adequate standard of l i v i n g , and the security of a stable income as the surest safeguard against social handicaps. The U. S. Children's Bureau reports that in 1944 f i f t y thousand legal adoptions were completed in the United States, and the number is increasing yearly. A comparable trend is present i n Canada. In Br i t i sh Columbia, 1948 s ta t i s t i c s show a 47 per cent increase over the previous year. A phenomenon of such magnitude has necessarily attracted a great deal of attention, and the l i terature on the subject i s voluminous. 1. Drafted at the White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, and published in 1933. 2 In view of th ia , the complete agreement found between professional and lay persons, adopting parents, adopted children and objective observors as to the success of adoption placement, is s t r ik ing . There i s overwhelming evidence to prove that the vast majority of adopted children have become so much a part of the l ives of their parents that neither thinks nor cares about the fact that they are not children by blood relat ionship. Indeed, adoption is undertaken deliberately, and usually by persons of mature years and judgment, in contrast with many "own" children who are not wanted or planned for . World thinking on the subject of chi ld placement is that adoption under proper safeguards i s the most satisfactory type of foster care for the ch i ld bereft of parental guardianships, and w i l l insure him that security and sense of belonging which are his inalienable rights as a member of human society. The conditional phrase "under proper safeguards," however, raises the essential consideration of how adoptive placements are made. Surveys have shown tha/fc between 70 and 90 per cent of a l l children available for adoption are the children of unwed mothers.- The remainder are legitimate children orphaned or deserted, or children whose parents are incapable of caring for them or unwilling to do so. Adoptions are generally grouped according to whether there i s , or is not, a blood t ie between the adoptive parents and the ch i ld . The majority of the "Related" adoptions are arranged privately, the most common situation being the unmarried mother who keeps her chi ld and later marries, her husband then applying to adopt the child and thus acquire joint guardianship with the mother. In one-third of the f i f t y thousand adoptions completed in the United States i n 1944, children and adoptive parents were related. A g a i n this is closely paralleled on the Canadian scene. For example, of 762 adoption applications pending in . B r i t i s h Columbia as at March 31, 1948, 226 were "related" adoptions. Placement of non-related children for adoption may be made through a licensed child placing agency, or indepsndently by the guardian. The most recent s t a t i s t i c s for B r i t i s h Columbia reveal that of a l l non-related adoption placements, less than half were made by agencies i n investigated and approved homes. The remainder were made di rec t ly by the mother, usually with the assistance of friends, lawyer, doctor, or some other person not conversant with the many ramifications, both legal and soc ia l , of adoptive placement. There are no surveys to show the relat ive success of these placements as compared to agency placements/ although i t is known that many of them are ent irely successful. There are, however, safeguards i n agency placement which offer advantages to a l l parties concerned in the adoption, advantages which are frequently lacking in independent placements. What are the legitimate safeguards set up by adoption agencies, and what are the aims which they 3 t r i v e to achieve? The def ini t ion given by Frances Lockridge would probably find general acceptance: The recognized agency has o n l y one purpose. It may be stated abstractly as ths purpose of lessening human • unhapplnesa. It may be stated-concretely as the purpose 4 of bringing together, under the most nearly ideal conditions possible, the homeless child and the childless adults.^ 'x'he function of the agency is to protect the interests of the ch i ld . This is inherent in the very nature of i t s organization, since i t s formation is an expression of the community's concern for the child bereft of parental guardianship. Because the child cannot be considered in a vacuum, the agency, in considering plans for his care, must take into consideration the Interacting rights of the ch i ld , the natural parent and the adopting parent. It must be stressed and re-stressed, however, that the service to the child is the primary "raison d'etre" of the placement agency. This simple fact is too easily lost sight of i n the welter of conflicting interests which arise in the adoption si tuation. What are the conflict ing interests and interacting rights which the agency must consider i n working out the best solution for the child? It has already been stated that a permanent home, and with i t , a sense of belonging and security, are essential to the chi ld 's welfare. At the present time there is no evidence to show whether, in the case of the i l legi t imate ch i ld , these needs are better met i f he remains with his mother or is placed with adoptive parents (other than that in the f i r s t instance he is deprived, at least at f i r s t , of a father person.) There is urgent need for research in this area, since i t may well affect planning with the unmarried mother. Whatever the results •2". Iiockridge, Prances, Adopting a Chi ld , New York, Grunberg publisher, 1947, p. "9~T^ " 5 of this research, however, the inviolable nature of the t ie between natural parent and child is an integral part of our democratic culture, protected by custom and by law. The right of a mother to keep her i l legi t imate child i f she so desires is fu l ly recognized, and impl ic i t i n this recognition is the responsibi l i ty of the agency to see that no undue pressures, par t icular ly f inancial pressures, operate to force the mother into parting with her chi ld against her wishes. These, then, are two interacting rights which the agency must take into consideration in planning for the c h i l d , But there is a third party to any adoption, the adopting parents, whose rights are not set out in law, nor so clearly definable as those of the child or his mother. Exactly what their rights are has never been c lear ly understood. There seems to be general agreement among placement agencies that the adopting parents have the right not to be hoodwinked,, to have a l l the information available about a given c h i l d , and to have every opportunity to consider clearly and luc id ly a decision which w i l l affect them for a l i fe t ime. But beyond th i s , adoption agencies stress to varying degrees the adopting parents' right to a child who is a good r i sk , with a good "growth potential" , i . e. the capacity to develop into an adult of average health and intel l igence. It i s i n the determination of this "growth potential" that adoption agencies encounter their greatest d i f f i c u l t i e s , and i t i s to protect the rights of the adopting parents that children available for adoption are classif ied as to whether they are adoptable or non-adoptable. 6 How is the growth potential of a child determined? Certain factors which make i t obviously impossible for the child to• l i ve a normal existence and i n most instances bar him from becoming a self-supporting c i t i zen , rule out adoptive placement. Among these are congenital blindness, congenital deafness, Huntington's chorea, hemophilia, or mongolian idiocy. In general the interests of these children are best served in an ins t i tu t ional setting where they are not called upon to compete with normal youngsters. It should also be noted that the decision as to the non-adoptability of these children i s not determined by arbitrary agency pol icy , but by the simple fact that adoptive parents cannot, be found who would undertake such a responsibi l i ty . However, this group of completely handi-capped children comprises a r e l a t ive ly small proportion of the' to ta l number of children available for adoption. This study concerns i t s e l f with the much larger group of "non-adoptable" children, not affected by the specific handicaps already mentioned, but of poor, or an unknown, heredity, and whom the agency there-fore hesitates to place for adoption. It is obvious that to formulate any adequate policy for these children, the placement agency must take into account the latest findings in the age-old battle of Nature vs Nurture. It must draw upon findings from the f ie lds of eugenics, sociology, psychiatry, medicine and education. When i t i s realized not only that opinion differs markedly among these social sciences, but also ;. that there is amazingly l i t t l e agreement between authori-ties in the same f i e l d , i t is l i t t l e wonder that there are almost as many placement policies as there are placement agencies. 7 Since the question of how far a good environment can modify poor heredity i s of v i t a l importance, i t i s necessary to consider br ie f ly the most recent thinking on this controversy, with particular emphasis on those specific areas where some agree-ment has been reached by the experts. At the turn of the century, when adoption agencies were i n an experimental stage of development, their thinking was necessarily influenced by the published results of the Jukes and Kall ikak studies, which purported to show the degenerate conditions which naturally 3 followed from a poor heredity. In the years that followed, the pseudo-scientific nature of these studies was.clearly revealed, since no steps had been taken to separate the effects of poor heredity from poor environment. A swing to the other extreme was forcibly expressed by Jacob R i i s at the Race Betterment Conference in Chicago, who was stormily applauded when he exclaimed: We have heard friends here talk about heredity. The word has rung in my ears unt i l . I am'sick of i t . Heredity.' Heredity.' There is just one heredity i n a l l the world that is ours - we are children of God, and there is nothing in the whole big world that we cannot do in His service with i t . ^ 3. The Kall ikak study.followed the progress of two groups of offsprings of Martin Kal l ikak , one by an affair with a feeble-minded tavern maid, the other by his marriage to a worthy Quakeress. The Jukes .study was made of an unsavory clan clustered.in one l o c a l i t y , tracing their ancestry to two 18th Century brothers who had married a pair of disreputable s is ters . 4. Quoted i n Paul Popenoe,. Applied Eugenics, New York, Macmillan, 1927, p. 6. 8 The fight between hereditarIans and environmentalists is no longer an "either-or" variety; i t has become a question of how great are their relat ive influences, how wide are the l imi ts set by the ch i ld ' s innate capacity. Geneticists naturally stress heredity, and sociologists stress environment, as being the major influence. Psychiatrists in general pursue a middle course, and i t is to them that social work agencies look for guidance. The trend of present psychiatric be l ie f is well formulated in Dr. Amran Scheinfeld's You and Heredity, 5 which won wide acclaim i n both lay and psychiatric c i r c l e s , though of course there were many dissenters. It w i l l be helpful here to make a br ief review of negative factors, both physical and mental, i n which heredity has been thought to have some influence. PERSONALITY TRAITS There i s no major disagreement i n this area. Dr. Scheinfeld expresses general opi$n when he states that : Every t r a i l of sc ien t i f i c evidence and reasoning points to the existence of genes which influence behavior, temperament, and personality. . .But we are s t i l l unable to identify any of these genes, or to guage the extent of their effects, or to hazard any predictions as to what the personality of a given child w i l l be on the basis of what we know about i t s parents. What is fu l l y clear i s that such genes as may be involved in moulding personality are highly susceptible to outside influence. 6 5. Scheinfeld, Amran, You and Eereidty, New York, Frederick A. Stokes, 1939. 6. Scheinfeld, op_, c i t . , p. 299. 9 PHYSICAL DISEASE Perhaps the greatest of a l l dreads in the physical f i e l d has been the inheritance of syph i l i s . Dr. Scheinfeld asserts most emphatically that "syphil is i s not, never was, and never 7 can be inherited." He emphasizes the difference between hereditary and congenital defect - the la t ter occurring after f e r t i l i z a t i o n , during the pre-natal period, and in many instance producing deformities. Majority opinion favours Dr. Scheinfeld' definite statement in regard to the non-hereditary nature of syphi l i s , and there remain only a few geneticists who maintain with Florence Teagarden that "syphil is can destroy germ ce l l s in such a way as to produce'offspring different in many ways Q from what they would otherwise have been."' Of - the thirteen diseases which take the. largest t o l l of deaths i n the United States, diabetes and rheumatic heart disease are the only ones in which heredity has been clear ly indicated as having a dominating influence. Again according to Dr. Scheinfeld, this is not an inheritance of the disease i t s e l f , but a suscept ibi l i ty to i t s development under certain conditions. In regard to- tuberculosis, r'.Br. Scheinfeld states that "prevailing opinion i s that heredity is no a l l y of tuber-culosis", i . e., tuberculosis i s not influenced by inheritance of "weaker", respiratory systems, but i s a purely social disease. 7. I b id . , p. 114. 8. Teagarden, Florence M. , Child Psychology for Professional  Workers, New York, Prentice H a l l , 1940, p. 181. 10 And so also with goitre, ulcers, migraine, a l lergies , asthma, cancer - there i s no evidence to prove that suscept ibi l i ty ' to these are inherited. There are many dissenting opinions in regard to this point of view; but those authorities who argue that these suscept ibi l i t ies may be inherited, agree that environment can in most instances prevent the appearance of the disease. MENTAL ILLNESS The hereditary factor in mental i l lness i s a subject of much debate, yet remarkable ggreement i s found in regard to several basic points. The-only mental i l l ness which can be d i rec t ly inherited is a rare disease, Huntington's chorea, which does not appear u n t i l maturity and i s incurable. A l l other forms of mental i l lness are governed by the law of Mendelian recessives. The arch-geneticist Paul Popenoe states: When an insane or epileptic or feeble-minded person mates with a.normal individual in whom no taint is found, the offspring w i l l be mentally sound. I f two people from tainted stock marry, although neither one may be personally defective, part of their offspring w i l l be affected. y Disagreement centres mainly on what part of the offspring of such tainted partners w i l l be affected. Since no inherited "unite, character" in the mind has as yet been isolated, "most of our evidence regarding the inheritance of any of the more general types of insanity or mental deficiency is s t i l l presump-t i v e . There is believed to be a hereditary factor, but the gene mechanism by which mental defects can be transmitted i s by no means conclusively established." 1 0 Dr. Scheinfeld»s 9. Popenoe, ep_ c i t , p . 206. 10. Scheinfeld, op_. c i t . , p. 103. 11 beliefs find general acceptance that schizophrenia can be, . but is not always, Inherited through multiple recessive genes. Manic depressive psychosis can be inherited, not d i rec t ly , but as a suscept ibi l i ty which w i l l lead to a breakdown under shock or other adverse circumstances. In epilepsy, hereditary influence has been claimed but not established, and there are many established non-hereditable causes such as i l l ne s s , pre-natal and post-natal influences such as accident,' etc. The chance of the child of an epileptic parent developing the disease is about 1 in 40, according to most authorit ies. In the f i e l d of mental i l l ne s s , most authorities agree with Dr. Teagarden's statement that "while inheritance is involved in the transmission, i t i s inadequate In i t s e l f to produce the disease, and is not always a factor." 1 1 MENTAL RETARDATION The amount of influence which heredity exerts on the Intelligence of the individual has created the greatest controversy in the.whole f i e l d of Nature vs.; Nurture. Theories range from Pop.enoe's statement that a large proportion of the children of feeble-minded persons w i l l be s imi lar ly affected, to Dr. Abraham Myerson's statement to the American Psychiatric Association in .194-7, that " i t i s time that the whole concept of feeblemindedness as occurring in many members of the same group and persisting for generations was thrust into•the limbo 12 of the forgotten and misleading." 11. Teagarden, op_ c i t , p. 256. 12. Quoted in Science News Letter, June 8, 1946. 12 Several salient points emerge from this welter of confl ic t ing be l ie f s : (1) There is no hard and fast l ine of demarcation between the normal and the feeble-minded. Lines are drawn a rb i t r a r i l y for descriptive purposes, and are based on I . Q. ratings as below: I . Q. Rating CLASSIFICATION 0 - 2 5 idiot 25 - 50 imbecile 5 0 - 7 0 moron 7 0 - 8 0 borderline 80 - 90 du l l normal 90 - 110 normal Moreover, the nature of intelligence is much too frequently taken for granted (as further commented on below.) (2) Among the lower classes of imbecil i ty and idiocy -mongolian id io t s , microcephalics, hydrocephalics, cretins, there i s no evidence as to the direct influence of heredity since these categories do not procreate. (3) As regards morons and the dull-normal group, the uncertainty as to the rfSle of heredity is s t i l l so great that no agreement has been reached as to the genes., which are involved. (4) Many cases of feeblemindedness have non-heredltary causes, such as disease (encephalitis, meningitis, syphi l i s , e tc . , b i r th injuries , toxic influences during pregnancy, or other environmental agencies. 13 (5) There are three unrelated divisions of intelligence -abstract, manual and soc ia l . "The fact that a boy i s found wanting in tests of more abstract intelligence does not condemn him to a l i f e of id leness . . . I f he has mechanical a b i l i t y , he may succeed in a wide variety of industr ia l occupations, under proper supervision...he should be self-supporting, productive and contented." There is apparently no great correlation between these three, yet "almost a l l studies have dealth with what has come to be known aa general in te l l igence. . .But the parent, who must take the chi ld as he i s and make the most possible of him, should not overlook other types of I n t e l l i -gence, especially since success and happiness in l i f e may be more dependent on them than on the a b i l i t y to manipulate 14 in te l lec tual symbols." SPECIFIC STUDIES The dispari ty of view indicated in this review of authoritative opinion arises in part from the d i f f i cu l t y of segregating hereditary and environmental influence. Most studies have been based on analysis of twins, fraternal and ident ica l , raised in different environments. In recent decades, several studies have been made by persons interested in the social aspects of the problem rather than the genetic, and these have therefore even greater bearing upon the present 13. Popenoe, Paul, Chi ld ' s Heredity, New York, MacMillan, 1933, p. 148. 14. i b id , p. 151. 14 study. In these projects, large groups of children raised in foster homes were carefully matched with children l i v i n g in their own homes as to age, occupation of parents, etc. The children in both groups were then given intelligence tests to discover whether there were greater correlations between children and own parents or children and foster parents, thus indicating the relative influence of heredity and environment. The most s t r ik ing fact about these studies is that despite the s imi la r i ty of method, there is complete contradic-15 tion in resul ts . Barbara Burks, in studying a group of 214 children in foster homes, found that 75 to 80 per cent of I . variance is due to innate and hereditable causes. A 16 study of 671 children undertaken by Freeman and others shortly after this showed strong correlation between chi ld and foster 17 parent. These opposed results occasioned a study by Leahy whose results confirmed those of Burks. Other studies have followed with equally contradictory resul ts . Wells and Arthur found that "from the standpoint of intel l igence, as measured by 15. Burks, Barbara S., "The Relative Influence of Nature and Nurture upon Mental Development," 27th Yearbook of the  National Society for the Study of laucation, 1928, p. 219-316. 16. Freeman, Holzinger, Mi tche l l , Blythe, Clayton, and others, "The influence of environment on the intel l igence, school achievement, and conduct of foster children" in the Twenty- seventh Yearbook of the National Society in the Study of  Education, I l l i n o i s , Public School Publishing Company, 1928. 17. Leahy, Alice M. , "A Study of Certain Selective Factors Influen-cing Predication of Mental Status of Adopted Children," Pedagogical Seminary & Journal of Genetic Psychology, 1932, p. 294-32_. 15 the Binet scale, the average chi ld of feebleminded parents placed in a foster home had a definite advantage over the average chi ld of feeble-minded parents who remained with those 18 19 parents. The findings of Sophie van Theis in a study of 910 children stressed the major role of heredity i n the chi ld ' s development but pointed out that two-thirds of those who had what seemed to be the most unpromising start were rated as "capable" adults. A sub-group of 155 children In the survey, where there was known mental in fe r io r i ty on the part of one or both parents, showed l i t t l e difference In capabil i t ies from the total group. The most s tar t l ing results , however, were obtained by Marie Skodak in a research project carried on under the auspices of the University of 20 Iowa. It is interesting to note that this study grew out of a regular c l i n i c a l program in connection with the routine examination of children on probation for adoption. I t i s s t i l l in progress, but the. results obtained to date have caused much comment among chi ld welfare authori t ies. As a 18. Wells, Jessie & Arthur, Grace, "Effect of Poster Home Placement on the Intelligence Ratings of Children of Feeble Minded Parents," Mental Hygienee, Vol.' XXIII, A p r i l 39, p. 285. 19. Theia, Sophie Van S., How Foster Children Turn Out New York, State Charities" Aid Association, 1924. 20. Skodak, Marie, Children in Foster Homes, Iowa Ci ty , Iowa, University of Iowa Studies, 1939. 16 result of her study of 219 children in foster homes, the author concludes that "intelligence as commonly defined i s much more responsive to environmental changes than had previously been conceived... Evidence from this study indicate that i t Is the home rather than the ch i ld ' s own-family background which for pract ical purposes sets the l imi ts of his mental development... i f there is a hereditary constitutional factor which sets the l imi ts 6'f his mental development... i f there is a hereditary constitutional factor which sets the l imi t s of mental development, these l imits are extremely broad." Some of the specific results obtained by Dr. Skodak are of particular interest . Sixteen of the total number of children had mothers whose I . Q. ranged from 50 to 74, and had near relat ives who were in state Institutions or had long records of family dependency. The I . Q.'s of these children at the last test (age 4 years) averaged 108. No chi ld in the group of 154 who were placed before six months of age had an intelligence rating of less than 80. AGE AT PLACEMENT Perhaps the only point on which a l l of the above studies agree is that the earl ier the placement i s made, the greater the influence played by the environment. This fact is emphasized over and over again by the students of this problem, and i t has particular significance for placement agencies in their attempts to work out a sound adoption programme. A l l three 21. i b id , p. 131. 17 parties to the adoption bring pressure to hear on the adoption agency for early placement. The unmarried mother who has reached the decision to give up the c h i l d , often at great cost to herself, wishes to do so as expeditiously as possible. The vast majority of adopting parents want an infant as young as possible, and the psychological soundness of th is has often been proven. As Dorothy Hutchinson points out, love is stimulated by the t o t a l i t y of the baby's dependence during his 22 early infancy. But most important is a growing awareness of the significance of these early weeks and months to the c h i l d . Margaret Ribble's follow-up study of infants in hospitals has clear ly revealed that the love and affection of a stable mother-person during the early period i s as essential to the baby's healthy emotional development as germ-free milk is to his physical well-being, whereas shif t ing t ies can 23 have unbelievably traumatic effects. PURPOSE CP THE PRESENT STUDY At the present time, adoption agencies throughout the country are struggling to formulate a policy which w i l l secure for the chi ld the security and s t ab i l i t y which is his right -without at the same time infringing on the rights of either the natural or the adopting parents. In doing so, they find 22. Hutchinson, Dorothy, "Re-examination of some Aspects of Case Work Practice^in Adoption," Child Welfare League  Bul le t in XXV, November 1946. 23. Ribble, Margaret, The Rights of Infants, New York, Columbia University Press, 1943. 18 no bulwark on which to lean—striving to give to every chi ld that time and thought and care which his future merits, yet being handicapped too often in the accomplishment of this by l imitations of staff and. finances. I t i s the aim of th is study to examine, in a specific si tuation, the concept of non-adoptability - what i t i s and how i t affects the to ta l adoption programme. What happens to the babies rejected by the adoption agencies because of hereditary and development risks? How do they turn out? How can they best be served? Can they ever be adopted? It Is hoped that this analysis may assist in the formulation of an adoption pol icy which w i l l work increasingly to the benefit of a l l children for whom .substitute parents must be found. 19 CHAPTER I I NOH-ADOPTABILITY FACTORS IN A SPECIFIC SETTING The f i r s t purpose of t h i s study was to review the progress of a group of children who were not considered adoptable at b i r t h , and to evaluate t h i s decision i n the l i g h t of t h e i r l a t e r development. This group (referred to i n the succeeding text aa "the sample group?/) has been selected from a l l those i l l e g i t i m a t e children for whom adoption placement was requested of both Vancouver Children's Aid Societies i n 1941, on the basis of the following c r i t e r i a : (1) the mother i n s i s t e d on placement and refused to make alte r n a t i v e plans; (2) the agency did not consider the c h i l d to be adoptable; 24 (3) the ch i l d as a re s u l t was made a ward of the agency. The records of these children were used for the present study. In reviewing t h i s sample group, the factors which deter-mined the agency's decision not to place the c h i l d f or adop-t i o n assumed great importance. I t became obvious that there i s no clear-cut l i n e between the non-adoptable and the adoptable c h i l d ; there are only undesirable factors i n the child's back-ground which, s i n g l y or i n combination, cause the agency to consider him unsuitable for adoption placement. These un-desirable factors are present i n the background of many of the children f o r whom adoption placement l a requested, but for whom 24. 1. e., guardianship was.transferred from the mother to the agency by court procedure. 20 other plans are made. In order to understand this concept of non-adoptability and the part which i t plays in the to ta l adoption programme, a survey was made of a l l children for whom any kind of adoption request was made of the Children's Aid Society in 1941. In this group, which total led 96, twenty-five factors were isolated which the agency took into consideration in determining adoptabili ty. The largest single factor was that of unknown paternity, a factor present in 56 of the 96 cases, in 29 cases being the only undesirable feature. The agency placed only six of these 29; in two of these paternity was considered f a i r l y definite though not proven; two were placed at the ages of nine months and 31 months, and two were placed on a long-term 25 probation basis. • The other undesirable factors which argue against adop-tive placement f a l l under four headings: (1) those re la t ing to the mother (2) those relat ing to the father (3) those relat ing to other relat ives (siblings and parents of mother and father) (4) those re la t ing to the chi ld (1) (1) The mentality and personality of the mother appear to be of the greatest importance in determiming adoptability of the ch i ld . Undesirable factors in this group are .shown below, & to ta l of 37); in no case was an agency placement made where this was present: Low mentality (based on psychiatric examination) 9 Low mentality (suspected) 5 Promiscuity 8 Inadequate personality (psychiatric examination) 6 25. This means that the legal adoption i s not completed u n t i l the chi ld is old enough for a psychiatric examination— usually 2tr years. 21 Health problem (thyroid deficiency, kidney condition, 4 asthma, venereal disease) Previous i l legi t imate births 4 Epilepsy 1 (2) Of the 40 cases where paternity was established, only ' four of the fathers revealed undesirable features; asthma, tuberculosis, epilepsy and Negroid blood. The smaller percentage of non-adoptability factors related to fathers as compared to mothers (four out of forty as compared w i t h 37 out of ninety-six) can probably be explained by assigning that paternity is only established in the "superior" cases. However, i t i s possible that a more extensive contact with the fathers would reveal a greater incidence of the features noted in the f i r s t group. (3) The incidence of undesirable factors in the background of relatives (a total, of 22) Is f a i r l y common; mental i l lness and low mentality are considered to be the most serious of these. Tuberculosis 5 Manic-depressive psychosis 4 Low mentality 3 Venereal disease 3 Schizophrenia . 2 Asthma 2 Mongolism 1 Microcephalism 1 Eczema 1 (4) Somewhat surprisingly, the chi ld has l i t t l e to say • (except negatively in cases of gross b i r th abnormality) _n regard to his adoptability. The chief reason for this Is lack of f a c i l i t i e s for psychiatric testing of the Infants. The Child Guidance C l i n i c does not consider that the tests given to children below the age of two years have much v a l i d i t y . Some of the factors taken into consideration (a total of 11) are 22 given below: Unusual appearance (droopy eyes, large head, small 4 head, "moronic-looking") Eczema . ^ Health problem (hernias, premature bir th) * Bi r th injury ~ Hydrocephalic 1 In the f i r s t 9 cases, varying plans were made for the child u n t i l the condition improved, when adoption placement was made i f s t i l l requested by the mother. The last two cases are especially significant from the point of view of th is study. Both conditions were apparent at b i r th , ahd the agency refused to consider either for adoption. The ch i ld with the b i r t h injury was placed privately by the motherland died at the age of eight months as a result of cranial pressure. The hydrocephalic ch i ld was made a ward of the agency and placed in a foster home where i t s progress was Carefully noted; at the age of 2-J years i t was admitted to the Mental Hospital as an incurable mental deficient. These cases i l lus t r a t e the advisabi l i ty of caution where the b i r th condition of the chi ld is abnormal in any way. Prom this discussion, i t i s obvious that the concept of non-adoptability i s a very complex one. Only in those cases where the mother refuses to make an alternative plan for the chi ld i s i t necessary fixe the agency to make an absolute decision as to non-adoptability. This i e true of a l l the children in the sample group, ..and i t might be argued therefore that th is sample group is not representative of the t o t a l group of non-adoptahle children, since they have been doubly selected on the basis of (1) non-adoptability and (2) complete rejection by the mother. 23 A careful study of the sixteen cases, however, indicates that the fact of complete rejection has not weighted the kind or amount of npn-adoptability factors in the sample group. Some question was raised by the agencies concerned as to the advisabi l i ty of using 1941 as a basis for this study. *t was agreed that such a chronological selection of cases would provide an effective sampling, but that selection of a later year might be more rewarding in terms of findings. In support of this argument, i t was pointed out that since 1941 there have been a great many changes in agency policy in the f i e l d of adoption placement, and that a study based on that year would not, therefore, be par t icular ly applicable to the present s i tuat ion. This i s a va l id argument; there have been many changes in the adoption programme of Children's Aid Societies since 1941. t The conept of non-adoptability i s becoming more and more f l ex ib le , and pol ic ies have been changed accordingly. Notable among these changes is the decision that children whose paternity i s unknown can be placed on long-term adoption probation. (This, as we have seen, was the exception rather than the rule in 1941.) This type of placement is being made in other cases where undesirable factors are not considered to be too serious. The success which has attended such placements raises the question as to whether they could not be extended much further. This lessening of r i g i d i t y in determining s u i t a b i l i t y for adoption is a reflection of.a continent-wide movement toward greater consideration of the needs of the chi ld in the adoption si tuation, and with i t , a changing focus in agency po l icy . 24 This movement is reflected in the statement of Wendell Johnson that " i t i s as valauahle a' service to place an infer ior chi ld in a home that w i l l offer him affection, security and and opportunity to develop those capacities that he has, as to place a superior ch i ld with adoptive parents who w i l l give him the advantages of wealth, culture and education... i t i s neither humane nor r e a l i s t i c to l im i t the defini t ion of an adoptahle ch i ld to' i one with good physical and mental equipment of his own and parents „ 26 who likewise were mentally and physically normal. This opinion is also affirmed by Shphie Van Thi is , well-known protaganist of the needs of children. She states that "when the chi ld is without patients, i t Is the task of the adoption agency to help him toward other parents. The agency should be able to do this for any ch i ld . Whatever his age, the colour of his skin, or his strengths and weaknesses,•the child.must be respected as a human soul who needs the care and attention of 27 parents who w i l l love him as their own". Here in B r i t i s h Columbia, a similar viewpoint has been expressed by the Provincial Superintendent of Child Welfare, who stated that "through the years we have seen the fal lacy of this kind of "high" standard adoption placement." Su i t ab i l i t y 26. "Why Babies are Bootlegged", Survey Mid-montiiy, June 1941, p. 176. 27. Theis, Sophie Van S., "Interpreting Adoption," Child Welfare League of America, November 1948, p. 10. 25 for adoption" now means to us not only the ch i ld ' s heritage and potent ia l i t ies hut these in relation to perspective adoption homes available. In other words, we no longer accept for adoption placements only those children with, unquestionable 28 background and so-called "pure r ac i a l inheritance." But this i s a recent - and radical - expression of opinion, and i t is not easy to change practices which have crys ta l l ized over a period of years. There is no over -a l l adherence to this principle in the vrovince 0 f . B r i t i s h Columbia at the present time. For instance, standards of adoptability differ as between the two Children's Aid Societies of Vancouver—one stressing that under no circumstances would they place the chi ld of a schizophrenic mother, the other permitting place-ment i f there were schizoid tendencies in the parent, but not i f manic-depressive. One stresses epilepsy in the parent as presenting a barrier to adoption, the other considers i t of not too great importance. Perhaps the greatest variance is in regard to the adoptability of the ch i ld of the feeble-minded mother. Changing opinion in regard to this factor is we l l reflected in the statement of a former psychologist of the Child Guidance C l i n i c ; she told the writer that her thinking on this subject had changed a great deal in the past several years, as she had seen so many children of superior intelligence produced by feeble-minded mothers. 28. Excerpt from a paper givin at the State of Washington Conference, May 18, 1948, by Ruby McKay, Superintendent of Child Welfare for the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia. 26 The s imi la r i ty of the problem facing agencies then and now indicates that a study based on- the 1941 situation would be of value in the present, and i t has the advantage of making available more complete information on the small sample group selected for the purpose of examining the v a l i d i t y of former concepts cf non-adoptability. In addtion, a l l the children included are nov; of school age and i t is possible to obtain an objective school report of their development. This would not have been possible had a later year been selected. There was some choice as to which child-caring agency to select for purposes of the broad survey of non-adoptability 29 factors, since l imitations of time did not permit the use of both agenices. The decision to use material from the Children's Aid Society rather than the Catholic Children's Aid Society was reached because the placement of children for adoption i s influenced strongly in the la t ter agency by the shortage of adoption homes. In Non-Catholic child-placing agencies, the placement or non-placement of children whose legal guardian wishes to rel inquish them for adoption is ent i rely dependent on agency determination of the adoptability of the ch i ld . There is a lengthy l i s t of adoption homes, and many of these homes make few demands so far as the background of the chi ld is concerned. Naturally, there are many adopting parents who feel strongly about heredity and who would not wish to take a chi ld of "inferior" background. But there are 29. The sample group includes cases from both agencies. 27 other homes, homes with much to offer a chi ld in terms of affection and security, who feel that the influence of a good home can do much to counteract the negative aspects of heredity. These parents are not necessarily, as is often thought, those who "just want a baby—any kind." They may have given muci? thought to the relat ive influences of environment and heredity and can accept the limitations which the lat ter factor imposes on the ch i ld ' s development. Parents -who are mature and sure of themselves as individuals have r e l a t ive ly l i t t l e need to project themselves Into the l ives of the i r adopted children, and be hurt by their l imi ta t ions . The homes needed by these "inferior" children are those with the t ra i t s sought in a l l adoption homes - an inf in i te a b i l i t y to love, to allow a chi ld to develop, to the f u l l extent of his capacities—and stop. What i s needed is increased, diagnostic s k i l l in evaluating these traits—a s k i l l born only of the integration of t raining and experiences. Because of the a v a i l a b i l i t y of permanent homes, the importance of accurate determination of whether or not a chi ld should be placed for adoption becomes apparent. There is no question that where the mother i s t ru ly anxious to rel inquish custody of the ch i ld , the adoption home is the best method of meeting the ch i ld ' s need for security and affection. Here we have an apparent need and an appaaent resource. In much of socia l work practice, the socia l worker is serving as an enabler, to correlate needs and resources, "to get people to-gether simply, competently, eas i ly ." 28 What differentiates her rdle in the area of adoption placement? In certain areas of practice, social agencies assume a protective function; in general, these functions are defined in law. For example, the right to take action i n cases-of neglect or delinquency is exercised entirely through rigourous court procedure. I t is not generally recognized that in i t s decision as to non-adoptability of a ch i ld , the agency is exercising a protective function. This protection does not apply to the ch i ld , as his needs would best be met in.an adoption home. It _is protection of the adopting parents--protection against risks of which they may not be aware, protection from undertaking bl indly a responsibi l i ty which they may not be w i l l i n g to assume. To this extent protection i s v a l i d . Too often, however, i t becomes a question of protecting in te l l igen t , responsible parents ggainst r isks which the agency i t s e l f cannot calculate; in such cases i t frequently merges imperceptibly into protection of a mythical coneept of "adoption standards." What w i l l be the effect on the status of adopted children in the community and of the to ta l adoption programme i f standards of adoptabili ty are lowered? The answer of course, depends on the success of the individual placement, whether of "superior" or of " infer ior" children. Placement of the la t ter w i l l require more studied and careful selection of homes, but given th is , there is no reason for .a higher percentage of "failed adoptions" in this group. Perhaps the need for such planning may best be i l lus t ra ted by consideration of the alternatives. In this chapter we have reviewed a l l adoption requests made to the Children's Aid Society 29 by unmarried mothers in 1941, to e l i c i t those factors which were given consideration in determining the adoptability of the c h i l d . In Chapters IV and V we follow the development of those non-adoptable children who were placed in foster homes; in Chapter I I I we w i l l attempt to evaluate the influence which the concept of non-adoptability has on other plans—on the mother's decision to ke.ep her ch i l d , . or to place i t privately for adoption. 30 CHAPTER I I I EFFECTS OF THE CONCEPT OF N0H4-ADOPTABILITY Obviously, there are many kinds of adoption requests, varying from that of the mother who sees this as the only solution to her problem and does not wish to consider any al ternative, to the mother who sees adoption as a pos s ib i l i t y but i s undecided as to whether to keep the child or not. A l l these were I l lustrated in the 96 cases reviewed i n the las t chapter. For purposes of s impl ic i ty , however, the mothers' requests for adoption have been class i f ied into two major groups, (1) before the b i r t h of the child and (2) shortly after the b i r th of the chi3>d. Each of these groups have been further divided Into three categories according to whether (a) the request was defini te , admitting no alternative, (b) the main emphasis was on adoption placement, but the mother considered keeping the c h i l d , or (c) adoption was a pos s ib i l i t y but the main emphasis was placed by the mother on keeping the ch i ld . It Is interesting to note that there are some correlations between the mother's request for placement before and after b i r th . Some child welfare workers have suggested that the physical b i r t h of the child frequently causes a complete change In the mother's wishes; whereas she has formerly been ins is t ing on adoption placement, she now wishes to keep the ch i ld . In the present sample, however, only one case out of the ninety-six evidenced such a dramatic change. In general, the request remained consistent before and after b i r t h . Of 54 definite 31 before-birth requests, 38 (70 per cent) were definite after-ward. Of the to ta l defInite-and-main emphasis requests before b i r th , 65 per cent were in a similar category after the chi ld was born. The mother's decision after b i r th did not seem to be influenced by whether or not she saw the baby, but her later decision and the ultimate plan made for the child was i n f l u -enced strongly by the amount of contact which she had with her ch i ld in the months following i t s b i r t h . It is here that the factor of non-adoptability enters strongly Into the picture. To understand this c lear ly, i t i s necessary to consider what happens to the mother and chi ld following the ch i ld ' s b i r t h . If there are no non-adoptability factors present and the mother requests adoption after b i r th , arrangements for 30 placement are made for the chi ld at the age of one month. During this period the mother may or may not be in close contact with the ch i ld . I f , however, the chi ld is considered a poor adoption r i sk , the mother's contact with the child i s almost inevitably increased. If she i s unable to take It home with her, she may remain in a home for unmarried mothers, taking care of the chi ld , for as long as six months. In some Instances the chi ld is placed In a foster home as a temporary measure while the mother i s making a plan, but always her t i e 30. This has now been shortened by the Vancouver Children's Aid Society to two weeks. 32 with the chi ld is encouraged. It is not surprising that in such circumstances, many mothers f ina l ly decide to keep their children. The difference in planning with the mother according to whether the child is or i s not adoptable may be seen as a c r i t i c i sm of agency pol icy, but actually i t i s a natural out-growth of the concept of non-adoptability. I f the agency does that not consider/the chi ld can be placed on a free home basis, the question of f inancial support enters. Since funds for the ch i ld ' s care are obtained by community subscription, the agency Is responsible to see that they are not expended unnecessarily. In practice, the only way in which the agency can assist in permanent planning for the non-adoptable baby Is by applying to the court for guardianship. This involves a court hearing at which the mother must appear and prove conclusivelyAonly.her unwillingness, but her Incapacity, to make a plan for the c h i l d . I f she is employed, some contr i -bution to i t s maintenance w i l l be ordered by the court. This i s a very different situation from that of the mother whose baby i s considered adoptable, where the agency stands ready and w i l l i n g to accept the chi ld on the signing of a relinquishment by the mother. Yet i t is obvious that the adoptability or non-adoptability of the ch i ld has no relation to the mother's willingness or a b i l i t y to plan for I t . On the contrary, the mothers of "non-adoptable" children are often less capable, from the standpoint of mentality and personality, of caring for thiy>r children. 33 How sound i s the f i n a n c i a l reasoning behind this court procedure? I t a v a l i d i t y can best be judged by a review of the resu l t s obtained. In the 1941 group of ninety-six cases of which a review was made, nine children whose mothers refused to make plans f o r them and who were not considered adoptable, were made wards of the agency through t h i s court proceeding. 31 In four of these,52, the mother was ordered by the court to contribute to the child's maintenance; in not one instance was payment made by the mOMier. This rather s t r i k i n g fact should ra i s e the question as to whether a simpler procedure of trans-f e r r i n g guardianship from the mother to the agency might not be evolved. THE MOTHER'S DECISION TO KEEP HER CHILD It Is not the purpose of t h i s study to consider the role of the worker In a s s i s t i n g the unmarried mother to come to a decision i n regard to her baby. Rather the focus i s upon evaluating i f possible how the concept of non-adoptability affects t h i s decision. There are many elements which enter 32 into case-work planning with the unmarried mother, but one 31. In the other f i v e cases, i t was obvious that the mother had d i f f i c u l t y i n supporting herself, to say nothing of the c h i l d . 32. Frances Scherz expresses very well the many-sided nature of work with unmarried mothers, when she states that "the caseworker should t r y to understand, and use i n treatment, knowledge of the precipetating factor i n the pregnancy, under-l y i n g behavior patterns and c o n f l i c t s , and the s o c i a l , economic and c u l t u r a l setting from which the g i r l has come and to which she i s returning. The l a t t e r should perhaps be emphasized because our experience has shown that caseworkers frequently focus t h e i r interest in the emotional elements of the c o n f l i c t without giving s u f f i c i e n t recognition to environmental forces which may have an equal degree of impact on the decision the unmarried mother makes." Excerpt from "Taking Sides in the flhmarried Mother's C o n f l i c t , M Journal of Social Casework, February, 1947. 34 of the essentials i s to discuss with her the environmental aspects of her si tuation, including the very rea l l imita t ion that the agency cannot consider the c h i l d for adoption place-ment, i f such be the case. There is strong evidence in the case records of the t h i r t y -eight mothers who kept their children that this fact of non-adoptability influenced the mother's decision to a notable degree. Of these thirty-eight children, only two were free from the non-adoptability factors reviewed in the las t chapter. This is circumstancial evidence, but i t i s substantiated by other facts. Eighteen of the thirty-eight mothers who kept their children were definite or emphatic in their request for adoption both before and after b i r t h . This means that had these children been considered adoptable, they would a l l have been placed by the agency. A further significant fact i s that of fifteen mothers who changed their request from "definite" or "main-emphasis" before b i r t h to "poss ib i l i ty" or "no-request" afterwards, only one was adoptable. It does not require any Interpretation of these facts to conclude that the concept of non-adoptability enters most def ini te ly into the mother's decision about her baby. What happened to the children whose mothersdecided to keep them? Unfortunately, in the majority of cases there was l i t t l e information in the case record. However, an attempt was made to classify them (aa at the(«lat<b of the last contact recorded by the agency, which in almoat a l l caaea was within a fewranwnntha of the formulation of this plan,) according to the care the 35 chi ld waa receiving. Sixteen of the thirty-eight were apparently satisfactory, fifteen obviously unsatisfactory, and seven un-known . This is a rough c lass i f ica t ion , but a review of the facts known about the unsatisfactory plans made by the fifteen mothers, gives reason for concern. In a l l these cases the child was reveiving minimal physical care. Eight of these mothers were of low mentality, two to the extent of requiring supervision themselves. Three mothers were act ively prost i tut ing, one being an a lcohol ic . In two cases there were mentally disturbed relatives in the home; in one the mother in addition to being 33 feeble-minded was a severe ep i lep t ic . Of this group of f i f teen, ten were definite or emphatic in their request for adoption. This suggests that In addition to the negative factors l i s t ed above, there would be a considerable degree of rejection of the c h i l d . Doubly handi-capped as they are by heredity and environment, these children have slight prospects indeed of developing into soc ia l ly useful c i t i zens . Planning for them is not an easy matter; but i t la apparent that almost any plan would be superior to that of having them return to such an environment. 33. This chi ld (known to the writer) was placed in a foster home at the age of three years because of the mother's neglect; at that time he could not speak. He ia now a most attractive ch i ld , of low average intel l igence, with no epileptic symptoms, and adjusting well In his foster home. 36 One incidental finding of thia survey of mothers who keep their children should he mentioned here. It i s sometimes argued that unless the mother of a non-adoptahle ch i l d i s made to assume responsibi l i ty for the c h i l d , i f i t is too easy for her to "get out from under," she w i l l be more l i k e l y to have more such children. Leontine Young points out that "the keeping or giging up the baby is not the v i t a l determinant in whether or not the g i r l has yet another c h i l d . The real determinant l i e s within the structure of the girl 's own problems and the success of casework in helping her to f ind a mm?e r e a l i s t i c answer to tt 3 4 her needs." The present study confirms the fact that keeping the chi ld does not prevent future pregnancies. Several of the mothers requesting placement had previous i l legi t imate children which they had kept; and several of the mothers who kept their children later became i l l eg i t imate ly pregnant again. Of the ninety-six mothers who made.any kind of adoption request in 1941, thirty-eight took their chi ld home, and nine children were made wards of the agency because of their unsatisfactory background and the mother's insistence that the agency make a plan for them, ^wenty-nlne children were placed by the agency in approved adoption homes. The remaining twenty children were placed for adoption by the mother independently of the agency. 34. In "The Unmarried Mother's Decision About Her Baby" Journal of Social Caseowferk, January, 1947. 37 The problems created by the "black market" in babies, and by private placements, have long been a cause of concern to child-placing agencies. The f i r s t of these which occurs when persons other than the natural guardian or a licensed ch i l d -placement agency arrange adoptive placements, with or without remunderation), has received much publ ic i ty i n the past few years. As a result of the widespread operation of the "black market" in babies, there have been a number of proposals to require a l l adoptions to be handled only through licensed agencies or by the natural parents. However, at the present 35 time there are only a few states with such requirementsj on the Canadian scene, Saskatchewan has a law requiring adoptive parents to notify the Director of Welfare immediately should such placement be made. There are some chi ld welfare authorities who advocate further l imitations and would res t r i c t the mother's r ight to arrange private placement. In Canada, legal advice i s that such a law prohibiting any placement other than through recognized social agency channels i s contradictory to the "rights of Parents" and might carry with i t more adverse implications than otherwise. At the present time, there ia nothing to prevent a mother placing her ch i l d in any home which she chooses, 35. Neglect must be proven as in the case of a ch i l d in his own home before the child can be removed. 38 and giving her consent for the parents to adopt. Before the adoption can be completed, the home must be investigated by a child-caring agency, but i t Is wel l recognized that this i s usually of l i t t l e benefit to the ch i ld . Even though the place-ment is unsatisfactory from many points of view, the ch i ld usually 36 remains in the home although the court may not grant adoption order. In addition to this handicap, in private placements the mother frequently knows the whereabouts of the c h i l d ; even though she signs a relinquishment, there la always the possi -b i l i t y that she may later return with result ing 111 effects on the ch i ld ' s security. 1 t i s extremely doubtful that a law w i l l ever be passed depriving the mother of the right to rel inquish her child as she sees f i t . In the absence of legal monopoly in the f i e l d of child placement, i t becomes important for the child-caring agency to create as far as possible an adoption programme gearAed to meet the needs of the unmarried mother. What are the factors which influence a mother in placing her ch i ld privately rather than through a licensed agency? Some are influenced by the advice of a friend or doctor who "knows the lovel ies t couple". But It is questionable i f thia factor in i t a e l f would cau3e a change of mind in theae mother3 who have already requested the agency to participate in planning. 36. Neglect must be proven as in the case of a ch i ld in his own home before the ch i ld can be removed. 39 Again we f i n d that the mother's decision i s Influenced by the concept of non-adoptability. Of the twenty children p r i v a t e l y 37 placed, only one was adoptable according to agency standards. When the agency hesitates to place the c h i l d f o r adoption because of "undesirable factors"; when the mother, convinced that adoption i s the best s o l u t i o n , encounters t h i s f i n a l hurdle i n a course which has been f i l l e d with physical discomfort and s o c i a l humiliation; when "the l o v e l i e s t couples" wait with mute l i p s and open arms to take her c h i l d , what i s more natural than that the harassed mother should take the easier course? The present study shows that the concept of non-ad o p t a b i l i t y has a considerable influence on planning f o r the i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d f o r whom adoption placement i s requested. In &A study o f the Adjustment of Teen-Age Children Born Out of Wedlock who remained i n the custody of t h e i r mother or r e l a t i v e s , " i t was found that "Knowing that a l l babies are not good prospects f o r adoption, and fe a r i n g the over-burdening o f foster homes and expense to the community, the agencies have in s i s t e d upon mothers staying with t h e i r c h i l d r e n , hoping that the a f f e c t i o n which arose would r e s u l t i n the mothers f i n d i n g a menas of keeping t h e i r c h i l d r e n . . . The records showed that many 37* In t h i s one ease the mother objected to making a plan for the c h i l d f o r a month* This agency regulation was also a causative factor i n private placements i n 1941, but has now been changed to two weeks* Free h o s p i t a l i z a t i o n has further reduced the f i n a n c i a l pressure on the unmarried mother; i t was formerly f a i r l y common for the adopting parents to pay the mother's medical b i l l s when she placed her c h i l d p r i v a t e l y * 40 of the mothers who had cared f o r t h s l r babies during the greatest period of dependency found i t impossible to release them... undoubtedly the p o l i c i e s and philosphles of the agencies Influenced the mothers In t h e i r decision to keep the i r c h i l d r e n , a situation.which unfortunately s t i l l p r e v a i l s . " At a time when the unwed mother i s i n the greatest need of the caseworker's assitance i n helping her see her problem c l e a r l y , the concept of non-adoptability a r i s e s as a new and extraneous pressure, a very weighty, environmental fa c t o r which Influences the mother toward keeping the c h i l d or placing i t independently of the agency* In view of t h i s influence, i t i s important to evaluate the v a l i d i t y o f the concept of non-ado p t a b i l i t y . How do these non-adoptable children develop? Do they ever become adoptable? These questions can only be answered by examining these c h i l d r e n at an age when objective t e s t i n g of the i r development i s possible* 38. Published by the Unmarried Parenthood Committee of the Welfare Council, Toronto, 1943* 4 1 CHAPTER IV THE TEST OF TIME: MENTAL DEVELOPMENT There are obviously d i f f i c u l t i e s i n tracing the development of a l l children whose undesirable backgrounds preclude adoption placement by an agency. The i n a b i l i t y to locate those children who remained with their mother, and those privately placed for adoption, prevented their Inclusion i n this study, since in almost a l l cases there was no record of agency contact following the formulation of this plan. It would have been possible to obtain some data on many of those pr ivately placed for adoption by reference to the provincial records of completed adoptions, since by law there must be an Investigation of the home and the chi ld ' s fitness before an adoption decree can be granted. Such a study would be of great value In comparing the degree of success of haphazard private placements with thoseccarried out under agency safeguards. Its value In ascertaining the development of children of doubtful parentage, however, la questionable. Agency supervision of these placements extends only over a s ix month period, and frequently comprises only one report. The age of the childfat the time of this report would vary widely, depending upon the age at which the pet i t ion to adopt was f i l e d . For purposes of tracing the ch i ld ' s development, a study of such records would have l i t t l e value. 42 The children for whom i t proved possible to obtain de t a i l e d developmental h i s t o r i e s are thoae who, by reason o f t h e i r non-adoptability, were made wards of the agency and placed In foster homes. Now aged seven or eight years, they are available f o r present study; psychiatric reports have been obtained on many of them, and school reports were obtainable on a l l but one. The evaluation of both agency and f o s t e r parents i s given i n a l l cases. From these varied sources i t Is possible to obtain a clear picture of the chil d ' s develop-39 ment and present adjustment. The number of children who were made wards of the Children's Aid Society In 1941 by reason of t h e i r non-adopta-b i l i t y proved to be nine. Of these, one suffered from a gross b i r t h abnormality, and was committed to Essondale at the age of 2 years* This meant only eight children were available for analysis. To enlarge the scope of t h i s study, a l l children who i n the same year were made wards of the Catholic Children's Aid Society by reason of th e i r non-adoptability were included* These chil d r e n , nine i n number, also are s t i l l i n foster homes and available f o r present study, making a t o t a l of seventeen* 39. The developmental history as contained In the case record proved to be of less value i n assessing the mental develop-ment of the.child than was hoped. The a n a l y t i c a l schedule Includes both "mental" and "motor" development columns containing the. comments of workers at the time of super-v i s i o n v i s i t s , such as: "a very bright youngster" (Beatrice); " t a l k i n g a l i t t l e at age 1^" (Ken); "crawling and standing alone, age 16 months" (Bobby). However, except In the case of Betty, who l a t e r required I n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n , these v i s i t s were infrequent and the material obtained does not contribute to a clear picture-of the child's development* 4 3 I t must be emphasized that, while the number of children i s small, they are, as I t were, the quintessence of non-adoptability, most of them revealing not one but several undesirable background features. A study of this group i s , therefore, of special significance i n considering the whole problem of non-adoptability. ^he two major features precluding adoption of t h i s group o f seventeen children were the mental retardation and inadequate personality of the mother. In seven cases, a marked degree of mental retardation, ranging from i m b e c i l i t y to high grade moron, was established by psychiatric examination of the mother, and constituted the major reason for r e j e c t i o n of the c h i l d ; i n f i v e others, suspected low Intelligence of the mother or, i n one case, the father, were Important factors i n a r r i v i n g at the decision of non-adoptability. The most s t r i k i n g single f i n d i n g of this sample i s that, with one exception, a l l t e s t as at l e a s t slow-normal i n i n t e l l i g e n c e . The seventeenth, who required i n s t i t u t i o n a l care, i s an important exception, and as such i s described i n some d e t a i l below. Since i t was found that foster parent evaluations, school reports and p s y c h i a t r i c findings confirmed each other, these seventeen children have been c l a s s i f i e d as to t h e i r present mental r a t i n g as follows? (1) requiring i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n , ^2) alow normal, (3) average, (4) high average or superior. In each case a comparison i s made with the recorded mentality-factors In the child's background* 44 REQUIRING INSTITUTIONALIZATION Of the seventeen children, one, whom we s h a l l c a l l Betty, waa i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e d at the age of 6jjr years as mentally d e f i c i e n t , t e s t i n g i n the low moron group of general i n t e l l -igence. Thia diagnosis was f i r s t made at the age of 5^  (Chronalogical age 5 5/12, Mental Age 2 11/12), when she was examined because of the fo s t e r parents desire to adopt. The parents refused to accept the diagnosis that Betty "would probably never be able to earn her own l i v i n g adequately and would always require supervision." They kept the child f o r another year and worked desperately to effect some improvement, only to find that she had retrogressed; they were then f i n a l l y convinced that I n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n was the only course. The tragedy of t h i s case i s apparent. I t i s because of the fear of ju s t such an occurrence that these seventeen children were not placed f o r adoption. Is there any way of predicting t h i s development? Apparently not. There was nothing i n the early months of Betty's l i f e which set her o f f from the other children. I t was only at the age of f i v e that the psychia-t r i c examination recorded "some i n d i c a t i o n of mongollaniam"; there i s a s l i g h t p o s s i b i l i t y that adequate diagnostic f a c i l i t i e s might have revealed these at a much e a r l i e r age, but t h i s i s questionable. B e t t y had 2 teeth at s i x months of age, 8 at nine months. She walked at eighteen months—somewhat l a t e , but she was a very heavy c h i l d . At two years she i s described as " d i s t i n c t l y odd looking"; by three years the slowness of her development was rea d i l y apparent—her speech was in c l i n e d to sl u r and be somewhat u n i n t e l l i g i b l e . " 45 On examination Betty's background reveals that low-mentality was not a major factor In the decision as to non-adop t a b i l i t y . An aunt seen by the v i s i t o r was reported to be of " d e f i n i t e l y low i n t e l l e c t 1 * . L i t t l e i s known of" the mother's intelligence--the only statement being that "there i s no record of her schooling, but she writes an adequate l e t t e r i n longhand". The main undesirable features were unknown pater-nity and the immorality of two 6$ the mother's s i s t e r s , one of whom had had too i l l e g i t i m a t e children. Many of the other c h i l d r e n i n t h i s group had f a r more damning h i s t o r i e s of mental retardation than did Betty. What of t h e i r development? THE SLOW-NORMAL GROUP Of t h i s group of "non-adoptable" c h i l d r e n , four can be c l a s s i f i e d as of slow-normal I n t e l l i g e n c e . In three cases t h i s diagnosis has been made by the Child Guidance C l i n i c ; i n the fourth there has been no ps y c h i a t r i c examination and the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i s based on the foster parent's evaluation and school record. Age and school records are given as at December 1948. In two of these cases, severe mental retardation of the mother i s indicated i n the record. June Bryson, at 7^ years, i s i n Grade I 1 , with a class standing of C; she i s progressing slowly. Two psy c h i a t r i c examinations have been made. The f i r s t , at the age of 6, placed her i n the slow-normal group; the second, at the age of 7^, showed a s l i g h t Improvement placing her high i n the slow-normal group (age, 7.6, Chronological Mental age, 6.6). The examination found her vocabulary 46 development to be average f o r her mental age, her reading somewhat below* Jane's mother had been previously diagnosed as an Imbecile, with an I . Q. of 67. Joan Pollard at the age of 7& years, Is also In Grade I i with a class standing of C* No p s y c h i a t r i c report i s a v a i l a b l e , but the school report i s confirmed by the evaluation o f the fos t e r parents, who consider Joan "average—a l i t t l e below." Joan's mother was committed to Essondale and s t e r i l i z e d as a mentally retarded patelnt (no s p e c i f i c diagnosis was given)* Joan i s the thi r d i l l e g i t i m a t e chl&d, the f i r s t being a mongolian i d i o t , the second appssantely normal, a maternal uncle i s a microcephalic* In the background of the remaining two slow-normal children, low mentality was not a f a c t o r i n the d e c i s i o n as to non-adoptablllty* Tommy C h r i s t i e age 7, i s regarded as "average" by the fo s t e r parents, who att r i b u t e his slowness In school to prejudice on the part of the teacher (no s p e c i f i c report from the school was a v a i l a b l e ) . A p s y c h i a t r i c examination at the age of 5 years and 4 months placed Tommy i n the slow-normal group of general Intelligence - (CA. 5*4, MA* 4.3). He did not a r t i c u l a t e c l e a r l y , and h i s language development was below average. Tommy's mother was found to be of average i n t e l l i g e n c e by the p s y c h i a t r i s t , the reason f o r non-adoptablllty being her "moral i m b e c i l i t y * " Donald Goodwin age 7, i s i n Grade I I , No class standing i s given, but the fost e r parents consider his development to be average. A ps y c h i a t r i c examination at the age of 7 years 4 7 placed Donald In the slow-normal group (CA. 6.1, M.A. 4.11) and found that h i s enunciation i s not clear - he often confused words with somewhat s i m i l a r sounds11 • No psy c h i a t r i c examination of Donald's mother was a v a i l a b l e ; the record states that she "seemed of approximately average i n t e l l i g e n c e . " The chief reason for non-placement was lack of knowledge of paternity. ( I t should be noted i n regard to t h i s c h i l d that he l i v e d i n an I n s t i t u t i o n u n t i l 3 years of age, and his present fos t e r -home i s of I n f e r i o r grade. This i s discussed i n more d e t a i l i n the chapter of Personality Development.) From th i s discussion i t i s apparent that slow-normal children can be produced by mothers whose background do not evidence any mental retardation, as we l l as by mothers of low mentality. THE AVERAGE GROuP 1 Nine of t h i s group of non-adoptable chil d r e n are classed as average by the foster parents, t h i s opinion being confirmed by reports from the school, and psy c h i a t r i c findings where avai l a b l e . Jerry Edwards, at the age of 8, i s i n Grade I I I , where he "does good work and i s making normal progress." Jerry's mother was found on examination to be " f a i r l y i n t e l l i g e n t , but unable to use to advantage what she possesses," as she was "lacking i n i n t e r e s t , a b i l i t y and continuity of mental e f f o r t . " Susan Morrison age 7 years and 8 months, i s i n Grade I I , class standing b. A psy c h i a t r i c examination at the age of 7 years, 5 months placed her i n the average group of general 48 intelligence (C.A. 7.5, M.A. 7.8) . She was found to be a l i t t l e slow i n reading test, but this v/as not considered to be a d i s a b i l i t y . Susan's mother tested i n the borderline group (C.A. 18, M.A. 11 2/12). The maternal grandmother was "said to be low mentally". Connie Llorgan was lega l ly adopted prior to commencing school, therefore no report of her present standing is a v a i l -able. A psychiatric examination at the age of 3 years placed her in the average group of general intel l igence (C.A. 5, LI.A. 2 10/12). Connie's mother v/as differently diagnosed on three tests as average, du l l normal, and mornn. 3he v/as ins t i tu t iona-l i zed for two years as a "moron and psychopathic personality." Other non-adoptability factors included V.D. infection, prosti tution and the East Indian race of the putative fathor• Jul ie Walker, age 8 years, i s i n Grade i l l , standing Of. Poster parents' evaluation i s "average". Ju l i e ' s mother tested i n the average group of general intell igence (C.A. 15, II.A. 13 9/12) and mental retardation v/as not a factor i n decision as to "non-adoptability." Beatrice Boyd, age 7 years, 5 months, is i n Grade I I , class standing "about average" according to teacher; she i s "especially good i n arithmetic." Beatrice v/as born in the Mental Hospital shortly after her mother was committed to that ins t i tu t ion as feeble-minded (the exact rat ing was not given.{ Joe Adams, age 8, i s considered "average" by the foster parents. He i s i n Grade I I , and the schoo.1 records his I .Q. as " i n 90's . Joe's mother tostod as a high grade moron (C.A. 18, l l .A . 10 4/32); she was said to- be "slow, du l l i n responses, and does not comprehend easi ly." 4 9 Ted Parkinson, age 8 years, i s i n Grade I I ; he " i s wel l advanced i n a l l his subjects but reading". Ted's nether was found to be of average intelligence (C.A. 18, M.A. 13 7/12). The father impressed the v i s i t o r as being "decidedly subnormal." B i l l y Harkham, age 8 years, i s in Grade I I , and considered to be a "very good student; his progress i s quite satisfactory." B i l l y ' s mother was found on examination to be of normal inte l l igence. The chiof non-adoptability factor in this caso was lack of knowledge of paternity. Ken Tompkins, age 7 years and 3 months, is in Grade I I , with a class ranking of B - . His effort i s not consistent. A psychiatric examination of Ken's mother showed her to be of du l l normal intel l igence. Prom this analysis i t i s found that of the nine children showing average progress i n school and general development, the mothers of f ive had been diagnosed as mentally retarded, and i n two other cases, an impression of subnormality contributed to the "non-adoptable" decision. THE HIGH AVERAGE GROUP Three of the children i n this "non-adoptable" group have shown above-average a b i l i t y i n the academic f i e l d ; in one case this progress i s confirmed by psychiatric testing as being the result of a s l igh t ly higher intell igence rating, and In one to greater effort; i n the th i rd case no psychiatric findings have been obtained. 50 Bobby McLean, age 1 years, and 6 months, i s i n Grade I I . The school reports that his work is very good, he i s always near the top of the class." A psychiatric examination placed him high i n the average group of general intell igence ( C A . 7.4, M.A. 7.10). L i t t l e i s known of his mother; the chief non-adoptability factor was the Negroid blood of the chi ld ' s father. Helen Luscombe, age 7 years and 6 months, i s considered by her foster parents to have superior a b i l i t y , ^he school report confirms t h i s . She is i n Grade I I and is "always i n the upper th i rd of the class." In the psychiatric examination, however, she was placed i n the average group ( C A . 6, M.A. 5.6). Her greater achievement was fe l t to be due to greater interest and effor t . Helen's mother tested as a high grade moron ( C A . 19, M.A. 10), and a recommendation for s t e r i l i z a t i on v/as made. Sylvia P h i l l i p s , age 8 years and 3 months, i s i n Grade IV, having skipped Grade I I I as a result of her superior a b i l i t y . The record contains the information that Sylvia ' s mother "did not impress the v i s i to r as being in te l l igen t . " The major non-adoptability feature was the Chinese extraction of the ch i ld ' s father. 51 SUMMARY OF CORRELATION OF MENTALITY FACTORS There has been l i t t l e effort to tntrepret the results of this comparison of the mental development of the child with the mental rating of mother and relat ives v/hich argued against his sadoptability. The facts found i n the case record, the evaluation of foster parent and agency e l i c i t e d in a joint questionnaire, the report of the school, and the findings of psychiatric examinations make i t possible to place i n justaposition the mental capacity of the ch i ld and the mental capacity of his parent. The results provide s t r ik inge vidence of the lack of immediate connecfion between the two. The one chi ld who proved mentally deficient had only a minor factor of low mentality i n her background. , J-h e mothers of two slow-normal children were judged to be of average inte l l igence. On the other side, the children of seven mothers whose mental retardation was established by psychiatric test ing, have developed normally, i n only two cases being in the slow normal grouping, i n one case showing above average accomplishment. In two cases where the mother was "du l l normal/2 "suspected low intel l igence," and one where the putative father gave the impression of being "decidedly subnormal/, the chi ld ' s mental development has proved average or superior. It i s not possible to determine whether this lack of correlation i s caused by the operation of unknown hereditary factors (since i n a l l but three cases paternity was not established), or whether i t i s the result of the influence of environment on the Inherited factors. It is suffeicient to establish that there i s such lack of correlation, for i t i s 5 2 obviously a&acew*t# to tztifee a prognosis of tfo© child's ftftwe trifle variati.on0 as?© to i?ath03? tft&a the vaoaittiUtou itmaMi» of cssos &feittodiy imj^ i i i fe^t i n o r to -wroiritQr •of the degree of meti-tehl i n tto& t^ftfegswa^ of half theso. c«S68 m ®ppm& to '&3®c$t aompl-^to #b#a&ce of euoti #©:fcs^a*itlm i n the ^ao****^^*^** cM&ci^ a.* the i n & a & t i o f t w&Xd sosta to bo fttytf* fcfe©- ©£ $voc<£ «ft« .^0 &ajh©>it^o# of 1;^ moatMkXltor roata idtii tfepa& who ifioeu tim im&& &&&iUL$3?[ pi the va^iou^. $tatile$ xmdo af i&0fs&$i&68i xsf footer 01*13*$?$* rapport' tfaafo fifttitngs*. fho sa&st oonsorfativ© • 40- . ' of ihoao "' .£o^a tts&t os?02? t^o t m & a * of' -cMMa^n, tntft zsost ui^^vota*abXo laaalqgttKgia prow ne&p&hlo,T a# a4uifeo'.' aoofc l l t o r a X " no mvv&te&im x^b&&w*'hG&$®Qn the i n t e l l i g e n c e of fosias? <Ml&?«ii sn4 tfefcfc of %h& h a t i ^ a i ^ n ^ t f t * fhsj isok of &gra<3ie©&t b&1^?©oh tbsatf ^aas^aclj, itomtt tfo&i--. mA stnaj tfossgis® t o tii> 4o&$| b*ai ' i a this s&ttt&Bfe It m$m . aost. -&i#taab3$ to g i w 'the .th® tasftt of tb« 40ttfcfc« 40* tcfe®i:#|, ^PPM# iten s»> s^g ff<j»t|efrr cMiag^a gftm $t&, op, «tt» 53 CORRELATION OP LOWER INTELLIGENCE TO STATUS OP CHILD IN HOME Another significant finding of this phase of the study i s the to ta l lack of correlation between the ch i ld ' s intel l igence and his a b i l i t y to win a place for himself in the affections of his foster parents. The most s t r ik ing example of this i s the case of Betty; despite the retardation which she revealed at an early age, she succeeded in winning a degree of love and affection unsurpassed by any of the group. Had there been a lesser degree of retardation, with any poss ib i l i ty of ad-justment i n a family group, these parents would have gaven her every opportunity for development--and would have gained great satisfaction i n so doing. It i s obvious that not a l l parent's would have this great capacity to give so freely of themselves; yet this one example suggests that i t i s possible to find such parents, that perhaps, agencies do not realize to the fu l les t extent the God-given capacity to love which i s generated by the utter helplessness of the infant. This bel ief i s confirmed by the status of the slow-normal children. In two of these cases, the parents are pressing-for adoption. Ill the case of Joan, the parents have continuously requested adoption since an early age. They have withdrawn this request temporarily on the advice of the Child Guidance C l i n i c , who emphasised the many undesirable features of the ch i ld ' s background. The withdrawal indicates, no difference in their desire to keep Joan permanently; "they regard her as their own daughter." In the fourth case, the age of the parents prevents adoption; but, as the present caseworker aptly phrased i t , "there would be a t e r r i f i c uproar i f we t r i ed to move him." 54 There i s every indication that there would he a " t e r r i f i c uproar" i f any of these sixteen children were moved from their boarding homes. The problems which arise as. a result of this close affectional t ie are discussed in de ta i l in a l a te r chapter. The question which i t raises here i s whether a c h i l d , even though found to be slow normal or borderline i n intel l igence, should be considered non-adoptable. I t is possible for even high)-grade morons, given a stable upbringing and suitable t raining, to he self-supporting, soc ia l ly useful c i t i zens . I f these retarded children are capable of giving and receiving affection, of becoming a rea l part of a home which would otherwise remain chi ld less , should they be denied the security of adoptive placement? On what ground? This -viewpoint may seem heret ical to agencies long concerned with protecting "adoption standards." There are d i f f i c u l t i e s attendant on such a programme, but none which are insur-mountable. The resultant benefits to the "non-adoptable" ch i ld make the d i f f i cu l t i e s seem very s l i gh t . 55 CHAPTER V HEALTH AMD PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT From the point of view of mentality, sixteen of the seventeen "non-adoptable* childr e n at the age of seven and eight had proved to be of average i n t e l l i g e n c e * I t i s important to examine also their physical development; do, they present any outstanding health problems? Are any serious personality deviations apparent? What i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between these factors and the health and personality of the mother? $he importance of poor health of the mother as a non-adop t a b i l i t y f a c t o r does not seem to have been as great as mentality and personality factors* In s i x cases i s a health problem mentioned as a negative factor* In two of these, venereal i n f e c t i o n waa present at the b i r t h of the c h i l d ; i n one, poor eyesight of the mother and a maternal aunt was mentioned; one mother had a "former s l i g h t congestion of the lungs; 0 one a "thyroid deficiency and running ears;" one suffered from chronic eczema# In a seventh case, strabismus o f a maternal aunt i s reported, and In another the maternal grandmother had Bright'a disease* In three cases, there i s p r a c t i c a l l y no mention of the health of the mother or r e l a t i v e s ; a l l others contain such notations as "always i n good health," "health excellent", "good physical condition." In only one instance waa there any serious health problem apparent i n the c h i l d during the f i r s t weeks of l i f e ; this boy. (Donald) was subject to vomiting and diarrhea and continued to have feeding disorders up to eight months of age* 56 PRESENT HEALTH OF CHILDREN In order to evaluate the present health ,of the sixteen children now i n boarding homes, a Joint questionnaire was prepared f o r completion by the agency worker and f o s t e r parents. Judging from this, thirteen children are now of average general health; two are over average ("robust."); and one i s said to be d e l i c a t e . In only two cases i s there a s p e c i f i c health problem; i n one t h i s i s "strabismus—-now being corrected", and i n another "dermatitis has persisted throughout placement--now clearing up." A l l these children have had a v a r i e t y of i l l n e s s e s , (several have had ton s i l l e c t o m i e s ) , but apparently none of greater severity than would be true of a s i m l l i a r group o f children i n the general population. With the exception of the one " d e l i c a t e " c h i l d , none of these i l l n e s s e s have had any Injurious e f f e c t s . This one l a d , ( B i l l y ) , "suffered from r i c k e t s i n his e a r l i e r years, and i s slowly getting over the e f f e c t s . " An examination of the dvelopmental h i s t o r y of these children does not show any po s i t i v e c o r r e l a t i o n to the health problems of the mother. B i l l y , i n addition to r i c k e t s , suffered at various periods from pinworms, running ears, and ' f l u ' which did not clea r up quickly. His mother was found, on psy c h i a t r i c examination, to be " i n excellent health, no hi s t o r y of family diseases." Donald had severe feeding disorders to the age.of eight months, frequent colds, and a rash; the health of h i s mo-ther was said to be "O.K.". J u l i e at various periods of her development had " s n i f f l e s " , running ears, some bronchial 57 trouble and a s l i g h t operation on her l i p ; a p s y c h i a t r i c examina-t i o n of her mother showed her to be "a b i g strong g i r l In good p s y c i a l condition." Jean had exczema during her early years o f l i f e , ear and eye discharge, and anemia; her mother waa said to have been "always i n good health"• In four of the cases where some health problem was reported i n the mother's background, there i s a s i m i l a r lack of c o r r e l a t i o n . Jerry, whose mother suffered from thyroid deficiency and running ears, has had quite a clear health h i s t o r y , aside from "excoriated thighs" at the age ofi'four months. Susan, whose mother had a s l i g h t congestion of the lungs,has been a p a r t i c u l a r l y healthy c h i l d . In one case of venereal Infection, the c h i l d had gonorr-heal c o n j u n c t i v i t i s at the time of b i r t h but was a "normal, healthy c h i l d " by the age of 6 months, and has revealed no further physical problem; i n the other case, no i n f e c t i o n was passed on to the c h i l d , who i s described at the age of 4 years as a "sturdy a t t r a c t i v e g i r l who has always been i n good physical condition." The c h i l d of the mother who had chronic eczema showed no symptom of t h i s condition, was a "healthy c h i l d , though overweight." There i a one i n t e r e s t i n g exception to t h i s lack of corre-l a t i o n i n the area of physical development. In both those cases where an eye condition was reported as being present i n the background, t h i s condition has revealed i t s e l f i n the c h i l d . Helen, whose maternal aunt had convergent strabismus, although her mother's eyesight was normal, suffered from a s i m i l a r a f f l i c t i o n t i l l the age of nineteen months. She also had stomach 58 upsets at the age of two, ulcers on her tongue and swollen teeth; her mother was reported to be In "good physical condition, although reflexes on right side are lacking." Ted's mother and maternal aunt both had "poor eyesight"; he has had convergent strabismus since b i r t h and his eyesight i s s t i l l below normal, although the condition l a being corrected. CORRELATION OP MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH. A review of the health h i s t o r y of the mothers who tested as mentally d e f i c i e n t and of th e i r c h i l d r e n , shows no posit i v e c o r r e l a t i o n of these f a c t o r s . In one case, nojihealth h i s t o r y i s a v a i l a b l e . In four, the mother's health waa good ("former s l i g h t congestion of lungs" In one.). Two mothers had venereal Infection, health otherwise good.. Of the seven children, three had health problems during t h e i r developmental h i s t o r y (exzema, strabismus, c o n j u n c t i v i t i s ) but are now i n good health. It waa suggested to the writer by a child*care supervisor that eczema and feeding disorders might have some connection with mental l l l l n e s s . It i s , of course, impossible to assess such a s p e c i f i c factor i n t h i s small group of cases, but i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note i n passing that the one c h i l d who required i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n had neither of these health probmems. Of the two c h i l d r e n who had eczema, one had a background of mental i l l n e s s , one did not. Sow mentality was not a fac t o r i n the background of the one c h i l d who presented a serious feeding disorder* 59 PJ-teONALIT. DEV.I&OPMENT Inadequate or abnormal personality of the mother waa a major non-adoptability f a c t o r In f i v e of these seventeen cases, i n a l l these being evaluated by p s y c h i a t r i c examination. It was a contributing f a c t o r i n four other cases. Under personality factors are grouped abnormalities as revealed i n the p s y c h i a t r i c examination, such as "apathetic, emotionless, lacks i n i t i a t i v e and s e l f - c r i t i c i s m " , and those revealed by the h i s t o r y of the mother—sexual promiscuity, and unstable work hist o r y (these factors are usually found i n combination.) An assessment was made of the personality of each of the sixteen c h i l d r e n now i n f o s t e r homes, as at December 1948. Joint evaluation by f o s t e r parents and agencies are confirmed i n most Instances by school reports. The most s t r i k i n g single f a c t i n t h i s survey i s the excellent adjustment reported on almost a l l these children, t h i r t e e n of the sixteen are described as outgoing, f r i e n d l y children; f i f t e e n prefer to play with others than alone, the sixteenth has no preference, f i f t e e n are described as "happy-hatured 0; th i r t e e n are .considered ac t i v e , f i v e "show i n i t i a t i v e " ; eleven are t a l k a t i v e , two are described as quiet. Six are considered independent, four dependent, six show no outstnading t r a i t one way or the other. F i f t e e n of the sixteen children are said to be affectionate i n dispostlon. Five are " s e n s i t i v e " • Negative t r a i t s of personality are much fewer i n number. Two c h i l d r e n cry e a s i l y , one whines, and one i s said to sulk, ^wo c h i l d r e n are said to be nervous and one stubborn. None of the children are described as sluggish or apathetic. In two cases, behaviour problems are present. 60 POSITIVE CORRELATIONS OF MOTHER-CHILD PERSONALITY In some Instances the Information given of the personality of the mother i s In s u f f i c i e n t to make any comparison with that of the c h i l d * In others, there are s i m i l a r i t i e s and differences i n the comparison* Representative of t h i s category i s Joe, who i s "outgoing, f r i e n d l y , s e n s i t i v e , happy, a c t i v e , affectionat while his mother i s "quiet, amiable, nervous, r e t i r i n g and sensi-t i v e " * In four Instances, a general s i m i l a r i t y i s d i s c e r n i b l e , Jerry i s described as "happy-natured, affec t i o n a t e , and plays w e l l with others;" his mother was "good-natured, pleasant and w i l l i n g " , Ted i s "outgoing, f r i e n d l y and happy-natured, but nervous"; his mother was " f r i e n d l y , cooperative and- Interested, bites n a i l s and picks at face", Donald i s "outgoing, f r i e n d l y and happy-natured, but I s hard to d i s c i p l i n e and has been involved i n ste a l i n g episodes"; h i s mother was "aggressive and uncooperative," l* Of the f i v e cases i n which the mother's personality was a major non-adoptability f a c t o r , one ch i l d (Tommy), i s showing some personality d i f f i c u l t i e s , stubbornness and enuresis. He i s also described as " f r i e n d l y , happy-natured and affectionate His mother, according to the ps y c h i a t r i c examination, "lacked wisdom and moral gumption, i s a moral imbecile and suspected psychopathic personality". Whether or not the correlations i n the case of Donald and ^ommy are i n d i c a t i v e of a hereditary basis i s very questionable* T n e s Q & r e only two who present behaviour problems, and i t i s not generally accepted that behaviour patterns are inherited, althought the basic personality structure underlying such behaviour may be. Certainly there Is 61 equally good evidence to support the contention that the environmental influence has created these problems. In the case of ^ ommy, the ch i l d had to be replaced at the age of 4 years, when the fo s t e r parents, with whom he had l i v e d since the age o f eight months, l e f t the province. Tommy's d i f f i -c u l t i e s at the present time are attributed by the agency to th i s replacement, and to the poor t r a i n i n g which he received i n his f i r s t f o s t e r home. Donald remained i n the Babies 1 Home u n t i l the age of 3 years, since no foster home could be found f o r him. The foster home i n which ha had l i v e d since that time i s not o f the highest q u a l i t y — t h e f o s t e r mother Is described as "overprotectlve, smothering i n her a f f e c t i o n , and unable to accept the c h i l d ' s slowness," (he tests i n the slow-normal group of i n t e l l i g e n c e , possible because of h i s poor s t a r t ) . This combination of circumstances i s s u f f i c i e n t to eause the problems which neceaaitated his examination at the age of seven, when he present "a combination of signs o f unusual behaviour. 0 besides s t e a l i n g and being hard to d i s c i p l i n e , he i s very nervous, f i d g e t s , b i t e s his n a i l s and chews p e n c i l s . I t seems more l o g i c a l that his a n t i - s o c i a l acts are part of t h i s pattern of maladjustments a r i s i n g from adverse environmental f a c t o r s , rather than being related to the mother's aggressive and uncooperative behaviour. NEGATIVE CORRELATIONS There i s abundant evidence to show that i f there i s an Inheritance of personality c h a r a t e r i s t l e s , those t r a i t s are extremely modifiable by the invlronment. In f i v e of the eases under review, there ware s t r i k i n g d i s s i m i l a r i t i e s i n the recorded 62 information concerning the personality of mother and c h i l d . In some instances the p a r a l l e l s drawn are quite s t r i k i n g . June's mother i s described i n the record as a "slow, s t o l i d g i r l with a blank expression 0; t h i s was her second i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d . The evaluation of June's personality deerlbes her as ' "outgoing, f r i e n d l y , a c t i v e , t a l k a t i v e , affectionate, and with occasional temper tantrums". Helen i s considered to be "happy, outgoing, a f f e c t i o n a t e , cries e a s i l y " ; the p s y c h i a t r i s t states that she i s 'Friendly and interested, and talks f r e e l y " ; the school reports that she i s "cheerful and cooperative". Helen's mother i s described as "apathetic, emotionless, lacking i n i n i t i a t i v e and spontaneity." The only information given i n the record to describe Sylvia's mother i s the word " l e t h a r g i c " . The combined evaluation of agency and f o s t e r parents describe S y l v i a as "outgoing, f r i e n d l y , happy-natured and affectionate." Ken's mother was hospitalized f o r several years as a manlS-depressive; her personality p r i o r to I n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n was extremely variable, a l t e r n a t i n g between e l a t i o n and depression. Throughout Ken's developmental h i s t o r y , there i s no record of moodiness of temperament. He i s happy-natured, active, shows i n i t i a t i v e , i s t a l k a t i v e , c r i e s e a s i l y . There i s some p o s s i b i l i t y that t h i s l a s t t r a i t might be symptomatic of some Inherent emotional l i a b i l i t y . However, entries i n the record emphasize his congenial n a t u r e — " a most a t t r a c t i v e c h i l d with a very cheerful d i s p o s i t i o n " ; " a good natured c h i l d " ; " a happy and assured youngster"; " a very sociable c h i l d " . 65 B i l l y ' s mother- was given a p s y c h i a t r i c examination at the time of his b i r t h and was said to be "a t y p i c a l country g i r l -somewhat coifttfrless personality, s t o l i d 1 1 * B i l l y i s by f a r the most nervous and high-strung c h i l d i n the group* a t one point the doctor prescribed luminol to quiet him at nights, s t a t i n g there was nothing wrong with him, " I t ' s just h is temperament". He i s f r i e n d l y , happy, a c t i v e , t a l k a t i v e , and a f f e c t i o n a t e . What of the mothers whose per s o n a l i t i e s adversely affected the decision aa to adoptability? In the case of Tommy, reviewed e a r l i e r , some behaviour problems are evident. In the other four cases, the children show excellent adjustment. J u l i e ' s mother was committed to the G i r l ' s I n d u s t r i a l School on a charge of i n c o r r i g i b i l i t y . She was demanding, quick-tempered, impulsive, high-strung, i l l at ease. J u l i e i s reported to be outgoing, f r i e n d l y , happy, showing i n i t i a t i v e . She haa an affectionate d i s p o s i t i o n , but i s i n c l i n e d to sulk*" Connie's mother was a p r o s t i t u t e , diagnosed as a psychopathic personality, with a lack of judgment and resentment* Connie shows no negative personality t r a i t s . CORRELATION OF PERSONALITY FACTORS TO STATUS OF CHILD IN HOME What e f f e c t , If any, do undesirable personality t r a i t s have on the child-parent relationships? This i s d i f f i c u l t to ascertain, because of the small number of such t r a i t s * I t i s in t e r e s t i n g to note that of the two behaviour problem" children, one home Is extremely anxious to adopt, the other i s prevented because of the age factor* The parents of the c h i l d who sulks are proceeding to adoption; the "whlny" c h i l d i s i n the home of the unmarried f o s t e r mother who Is unable to adopt* 6 4 Of the f i v e cases i n which personality was a major non-adop t a b i l i t y f a c t o r , one c h i l d i s l e g a l l y adopted, and three other homes are strongly desirous of adopting; the f i f t h i s prevented from such actions by reason of health and f i n a n c i a l problems of the fost e r parents* SUMMARY From th i s survey of personality f a c t o r s , there seems l i t t l e , i f any s i m i l a r i t y between mother and c h i l d , and no prognosis can be made of the personality type of the c h i l d from a study of the mother* This f i n d i n g i s i n agreement with the view already quoted, that "such genes as may be involved In molding personality are highly susceptible to outside influence 1 1. Mental i l l n e s s was present In the background of f i v e of these seventeen c h i l d r e n , i n one case (Ken) the mother her s e l f having been committed to a mental h o s p i t a l s u f f e r i n g from manic depressive psychosis. The maternal grnadfather was placed In Essondale with a condition of in s a n i t y a r i s i n g from venereal disease* Ted's paternal grandmother was paranoic, an aunt committed suicide, and a paternal uncle spent some time i n a mental hospital* The background of Betty (who was hospitalized because of personality d i s i n t e g r a t i o n as well as mental retarda-tion) mentions an aunt who had a "nervous breakdown"• It i s obviously Impossible to come to any conclusion as regards the Incidence of mental i l l n e s s i n these non-adoptable children, since sueh i l l n e s s , (with the rare exception of childhood schizophrenia) does not occur at least u n t i l adolescence, and usually at an even l a t e r age* I t i s , perhaps, of i n t e r e s t 65 that the developmental h i s t o r i e s of none o f these children show any i n d i c a t i o n of seclusiveness, a t r a i t often associated v i t h schlsophrenia, or of moodiness, such as i s associated with manic depressive psychoses. But of more significance Is the question as to how many "normal 0 families have a clos e t free from such skeletons? "Nervous breakdown" and forms of mental i l l n e s s may occur i n any family, no matter how free from t a i n t i t s background may be. A second factor which must be c a r e f u l l y scrutinized before the c h i l d of mentally i l l parents i s dubbed non-adoptable, i s the general agreement among aut h o r i t i e s that heredity by i t s e l f i s not s u f f i c i e n t to produce any form of mental i l l n e s s . Given a stable environment and parents who seek to develop those p o t e n t i a l i t i e s which he has; parents who w i l l use i n t e l l i g e n t l y , and i n his i n t e r e s t s , the knowledge of his background, i s there not great p o s s i b i l i t y that the c h i l d with mental i l l n e s s i n his background may never succumb to a similar I l l n e s s ? There are so many unknown aspects of mental i l l n e s s , and p a r t i c u l a r l y of the role which heredity plays, that again i t seems only humane to give the c h i l d the benefit of the doubt* 66 CHAPTER VI FOSTER HOME CARE An analysis of the development of the eighteen non-adoptable children placed i n f o s t e r homes i n 1941 has shown that sixteen (f this number vhow no major personality or mentality aberrations, and could be c l a s s i f i e d as developing normally* It i s important now to consider the environment i n which t h i s development took place. It i s obviouslx not within tae «*©pe o f t h i a study to evaluate the exact influence which environment had on thi s development—there are too many unknown factors i n the si t u a t i o n * For pragmatic purposes, i t i s s u f f i c i e n t to observe that such normal development can take place, and then to consider some of the general and obvious factors i n the physical and s o c i a l environment. How ef f e c t i v e i s the f o s t e r home as a method of care of t h i s group of children? How does i t d i f f e r from the adoption home? A most s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t i n t h i s survey of fo s t e r homes is the s t a b i l i t y of the plan made. With two exceptions, the children remained In the home of t h e i r o r i g i n a l placement. In one of these two eases, the foster father died, necessitating replacement; the second home, selected hurriedly, proved to be of poor standards, and a t h i r d home was found f o r the c h i l d at the age of f i f t e e n months, where she has since remained. In the second •five case, the fosterparents decided, when the c h i l d was found, years of age, that they wished to leave the province, and therefore returned the ch i l d to the agency. This c h i l d has remained In the home of his second placement. This s t a b i l i t y of placement 67 Is i n strong contrast to the "foster-home trek* which i s a phenomenon known to every s o c i a l worker dealing with an older age group, and beaess out the findings of the s o c i a l studies reviewed e a r l i e r as to the significance of early placement. Excluding the two cases mentioned above, where a change of home was necessary, the average age of the c h i l d at placement i n the Children's Aid Society was three and a h a l f months, 42 i n the Catholic Children's A i d , fourteen months. Correlated to the above f i n d i n g i s the rather s t a r t l i n g fact that the majority of these boarding parents are now applying to adopt. This f a c t , more than any other single f i n d -i n g , shows the strength of the a f f e c t i o n a l t i e s which have grown up between fos t e r parent and c h i l d . A l l but one of the eight C:A.S. f o s t e r families have shown a great desire to adopt, t h i s one being handicapped both by finances and health. In everyone of the sixteen cases, the f o s t e r parents state d e f i n i t e l y that the c h i l d i s regarded as a part of their family, and that they desire to continue to care f o r the child on an i n d e f i n i t e boarding home ba s i s . Perhaps this i s not so surprising when i t i s realized that one factor which adoption and f o s t e r homes have i n common i s t h e i r love of c h i l d r e n . Some of these foster parents thought t e n t a t i v e l y at the time of taking the c h i l d that he might 42. This difference i s the r s u l t of s c a r c i t y of Catholic f o s t e r homes, as of adoption homes. 68 eventually be available f o r adoption. But even i n those cases where there was no in d i c a t i o n at the. time that the fos t e r parents wished to undertake the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of adoption, the love and a f f e c t i o n which builds up fo r the c h i l d as a r e s u l t of his complete dependency on them i s so strong that these parents become most anxious to make him l e g a l l y t h e i r own. What i s the agency's p o l i c y i n regard to the request f o r l e g a l adoption? Where the child' s development i s completely favourable and there are no adverse f a c t o r s i n the boarding home, the agency i n general attempts to obtain the natural mother's consent, and allows the parents to proceed toward adoption. Two such adoptions have been completed i n the past years, and two more are i n process of completion. In three cases, the extremely poor background of the c h i l d has caused the agency to discourage proceedings. In three cases, where the f o s t e r parents are anxious to adopt, factors i n the home I t s e l f cause the agency to hesitate i n approving such a plan, even though the child's development warrants i t . In four of the s i x cases where there i s no active request f o r adoption, there are strong adverse factors i n the home which argue against adoption, i n three of these being the reason stated by the fo s t e r parents f o r t h e i r decision not to adopt. From the above general analysis i t i s seen that almost h a l f of the boarding homes i n which most of these children have spent the f i r s t eight years of t h e i r l i f e cannot q u a l i f y as 69 suitable adoption homes, no matter how favourable the child' s development may be; they were not subjected to the c r i t i c a l scrutiny which the l a t t e r undergo* It i s not su r p r i s i n g , then, to f i n d a large number of "adverse f a c t o r s " i n the t o t a l foster homes group. An analysis of these factors w i l l serve to draw a comparison between fos t e r and adoption homes. THE FIMNOIAL PROBLEM We have seen that both types of home have i n common a love of children, and this i s a fundamental reason f o r t h e i r applica-t i o n to an agency to take a c h i l d into t h e i r home. But i n t e r -woven with this motive In the case of the foster parents i s a d e s i r e — o r n eed—for remuneration. The strength of t h i s motive varies with every applicant, yet i t s presence i s lmpihiclt i n the nature of the ap p l i c a t i o n . Whether this difference In motivation i s symptomatic of a basis difference i n the types of home i s a question not e a s i l y answered. In an a r t i c l e written i n 1947, Weltha Kelley|polnts a fundamental difference between the two, and reaches the conclusion that no boarding parents 4 3 should be allowed to proceed with adoption. I t i s f a r better, she f e e l s , when the child's development has proved s a t i s f a c t o r y , to have him face the pain of separation from t h i s home, even at the age of f i v e or six years, and f o r placement to be made In an approved adoption home. She f e e l s that such a step, in spite of the obvious disadvantages, would contribute i n the long run to the child's security. There are many who would 43. "The Boarding Parents Apply to Adopt—A Dilemna," Child Welfare league of America B u l l e t i n , V 0 i , XXVI. . 70 disagree with t h i s generalization* Psychiatric and s o c i a l work findings are pointing more and more to the need of a c h i l d for a stable home and parent-persons; surely It Is possible to evolve a more s a t i s f a c t o r y plan for t h i s group of children, a plan which w i l l not disrupt the roots so necessary to t h e i r healthy emotional development* There does not seem to be any basis f o r be l i e v i n g that the acceptance of remuneration f o r a child's care i s correlated to a lesser a b i l i t y to give the c h i l d the warmth and a f f e c t i o n which he requires. Yet there i s doubt that inadequate finances are a problem In many of these homes when they begin to con-sider adoption. The occupational status of a l l seventeen homes studied was In the labouring group—farmer, j a n i t o r , shipyard worker, logger, mechanic, etc. While two families had Incomes o f $200 monthly, the average monthly salary was only $108. In three of the six cases where the f o s t e r parents do not wish to adopt, i t i s t h e i r lack of desire to accept f i n a n c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the child rather than any d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the child's progress which i s responsible f o r this decision. In the other three cases, the foster parents express a desire to adopt but recognize t h i s as being impossible f o r the point of view of finances; i n two Instances, the maintenance paid f o r fos t e r children i s the only Income i n the home, and i n the other the only Income i s a $64 Veteran's Pension* These facts under-l i n e a point which i s perhaps self-evident, that from a f i n a n c i a l standpoint the boarding home which applies to adopt i s not us u a l l y able to give the child a great degree of f i n a n c i a l security* 71 AGE OP FOSTER PARENTS A second problem of major Importance which, a r i s e s when the boarding home considers adoption, is that of age. In screening adoptive applicants, agencies usually rule out those who are past the age at which they are b i o l o g i c a l l y able to give b i r t h to children; applicants i n t h e i r f o r t i e s are not considered as having the most to o f f e r a c h i l d , since they w i l l be approach-ing s i x t y when the c h i l d Is going through the turbulent -ado-lescent period. This does not mean that such homes are not sometimes accepted, but i t i s considered more advisable to place infants with younger couples. In surveying this group of 44 seventeen foster homes, i t was found that the age at the time of taking the c h i l d was greater than would be expected i n a s i m i l i a r group of adoptive homes. The average age of the foste r father was 44, of the fo s t e r mother, 37. The oldest couple i n the group were 66 and 63 years of age respectively, the youngest 32 and 24. In two of the homes i n which the agency i s h e s i t a t i n g to g r a t i f y the parents desire to adopt, age i s a d e f i n i t e adverse f a c t o r . In two of the homes which have not requested adoption, the age of the parents i s a s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r ; i n one both are over seventy, and i n the other, approch-ing s i x t y . From this i t can be seen that age i s an important factor i n determining the a b i l i t y of parents to undertake the l e g a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f the c h i l d f o r whom they have cared. 44. The age of parents was not given i n one f o s t e r home f i l e . 72 OTHER ADVERSE FACTORS When a quantitative comparison i s made between a d o p t i o n — and foster—home applic a t i o n s , i t i s found that there are many more of the former than of the l a t t e r * This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noticeable i n the non-Catholic Agency, where adoptive applicants frequently wait f o r two years before they are offered a c h i l d , while f o s t e r homes are always i n demand* Because the supply of adoptive homes exceeds the supply of children f o r adoption to such a great degree, the agency i s able to be extremely sel e c t i v e i n i t s choice of a home. Such s e l e c t i v i t y i s not possible i n the area of fos t e r home placement, and because of this we fi n d that these homes are Inf e r i o r i n other regards than those of finances and age* There is not such emphasis on c l a r i f y i n g the, health of the fost e r p a r e n t s — since the agency retains guardianship, t h i s i s not considered to be of such great import, but i t comes very strongly into the picture when the question of adoption a r i s e s . In one home which i s most anxious to adopt, the father's health i s extremely poor, the r e s u l t of wounds i n the f i r s t world war. In another, the foster father has a serious heart condition, and also i s "shell-shocked," so that adoption i s impossible. Inadequate housing i s another facfeor, present i n three cases. In four instances, the agency questions the personality of the fo s t e r mother and her c a p a b i l i t i e s i n the area of c h i l d t r a i n i n g * I t must be remembered i n this connection that some of these personality defects are. not r e a d i l y apparent and may be present- i n some of the homes approved f o r adoption; but i n at 7 3 l e a s t one case, where the mother Is described as "strangely passive and devoid of personality—almost l i f e l e s s " , and where th i s personality Is the main obstacle to completing the adoption, i t i s probable that the more thorough.adoption Investigation would have uncovered such a handicap and prevented placement of a c h i l d i n thi s home. These are some of the problems which aris e to plague the agency when faced with deciding whether or not to permit boarding parents to adopt. It must weigh the disadvantages of allowing an adoptable c h i l d to remain i n the No-Man's Land of an "i n d e f i n i t e boarding home basis", against the disadvantages o f permitting his adoption i n an i n f e r i o r home. Nor i s t h i s the only problem which faces the agency at t h i s juncture; even when i t appears i n the child' s best Interests f o r the adoption to be completed, other complications a r i s e . MOTHER'S KNOWLEDGE OF CHILD'S WHEREABOUTS In some Instances, where the chUd was placed i n the home while contact was s t i l l being maintained with the natural mother, the l a t t e r i s aware of the child's whereabouts. It i s not possible from the records to discover i n how many cases t h i s i s true, but i t i s obvious that not the same precaution i s taken to conceal the i d e n t i t y of the home from the mother as i s the rule i n adoptive placements. This means that i n at lea s t a few of the cases, there i s the possibtL&ty of the mother r e -appearing at some future date with damaging e f f e c t s on the ch i l d ' s relationships i n the home which he has come to regard as hie own. 74 CONSENT OF THE MOTHER A more general problem, which occurs i n a l l cases where plans for adoption are being considered, i s that of securing the consent of the natural mother. A review was made e a r l i e r o f the court procedure by means of which the agency obtains guardianship of the non-adoptable c h i l d when the mother i n s i s t s on placement. The s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t here i s that the committal order giving guardianship to the agency does not contain, or take the place of, a relinquishment by the mother, although her request has been for adoption. In a l l cases of committal, i t remains the r i g h t of the parent from whom guardinaship i s removed to apply to the court for the return of the c h i l d . As a r e s u l t , when adoption plans are considered, i t i s necessary f o r the agency to make every attempt to locate the mother and obtain her consent to the adoption. This Is psychologically unsound, since i n a l l but the l e g a l sense the mother relinquished her rights to the c h l l d a t the time of the court hearing, p r i o r to this having been offered every al t e r n a t i v e i n making a plan of her own* I f i t i s impossible to locate the mother, the agency may give consent to the adoption as the l e g a l guardian; but i f she i s located, she has the r i g h t , even a f t e r t h i s lapse of time, to refuse to give her consent. I f her circum-stances have a l t e r e d , and she now wishes the c h i l d returned, she has the right to appeal to the court, since she has never l e g a l l y relinquished the c h i l d * There i s a discrepancy In the rig h t s accorded the mothers of adoptable and those of non-adoptable babies, a discrepancy which complicates the planning for the l a t t e r group of children. 75 This analysis of the foster homes i n which those children were placed who were not considered to he adoptable has revealed that the majority of these homes l a t e r apply to adopt, that t h i s t r a n s i t i o n of function gives r i s e to numerous problems, and that the choice Is often as to the less unsatisfactory of two unsatisfactory solutions. Is there any way to prevent these problems? The question arises as to whether or not these chil d r e n could not be placed on an adoptive basis i n an approved home in. the f i r s t instance, subject to certain safeguards, rather than i n a f o s t e r home. What, i f any, are the disadvantages of such a plan? GREATER DEGREE OP SUPERVISION IN POSTER HOME Another argument which i s frequently raised i n favour of d i f f e r e n t i a t i n g the placement of children of good heritage from that of bad, i s the need to protect adoption standards. I t i s thought that there w i l l be a higher percentage of " f a i l e d 1 1 adoptions i n the l a t t e r group, that adopted children In general w i l l s u f fer from t h i s lowering of a d o p t a b i l i t y standards, and that the public w i l l become c r i t i c a l of the agency's adoption programme. The v a l i d i t y of this argument depends on the number of f a i l e d adoptions i n the placement of the "non-adoptable" group. In the present study, only one of the seventeen children who were free from b i r t h abnormalities has required I n s t i t u t i o n a l care; the remaining sixteen have proved t h e i r a b i l i t y to win the love and a f f e c t i o n of the parents with whom they are placed, and give every Indication of developing Into self-supporting 7 6 Individuals. These numbers are too small to be s c i e n t i f i c a l l y sound; but every study which has been made of children placed i n f o s t e r homes (including studies made of children now over eighteen years of age) has shown that by f a r the greater majority of children with the very worst inheritance develope s a t i s f a c t o r i l y i n a good environment, even without special inheritance develop s a t i s f a c t o r i l y i n a good environment, even without special selection of the home. Wj.th a stronger emphasis on ehoosing homes which have greater-than-average a b i l i t y to meet the needs of the c h i l d , there i s every reason to believe that the percentage may become even greater. {•a I t i s questionable how great the unfavourable influence o f unsuccessful adoptive placements a c t u a l l y I s . There i s r i s k i n any adoptive placement. Every adoption agency has had the experience of placing a c h i l d with an apparently good heritage, only to have gross abnormalities show up during the t r d l l placement. The wr i t e r r e c a l l s placing a p a r t i c u l a r l y promising c h i l d i n a superior home, only to have the ch i l d die a few days l a t e r of an unknown malady which could not possibly have been detected e a r l i e r . How much more r i s k i s involved i n the placement of children of poor heredity i s not known, but i t need not e n t a i l any lowering of standards. In 1941 the Child and Family Agency of Toledo reviewed I t s adoption programme as a re s u l t of the number of private placements whijpch were occuring i n the c i t y , and came to the conclusion that one of the causes of t h i s phenomenon was the agency's p o l i c y of placing 7 7 only "gilt-edged" b a b i e s . 4 5 As a res u l t of t h i s survey the agency embarked on a programme of placing a l l children who were l e g a l l y free f o r adoption. I t i s t h e i r b e l i e f that such a programme would mea.*i no lowering of standards for the superio c h i l d , but was a recognition of t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to the c h i l d "whose pedigree cannot be guaranteed." The advantages of greater service to unmarried mothers, r e s u l t i n g In decrease of private placements (which i n t h i s Instance followed Immediately) outweigh any disadvantages which might r e s u l t from a s l i g h t l y higher percentage of unsuccessful placements. PROTECTION OF THE ADOPTING PARENTS The aim of the s o c i a l agency Is to prevent unhappiness; thus, to protect adopting parents from the pain of becoming attached to a c h i l d who may prove Incapable of normal development, Is an argument advanced In flavour of excluding children of poor inheritance from adoptive placement. A further aim i s to protect the adopting parent from undertaking l e g a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r such a c h i l d . The only case In t h i s study where th i s con-cern appeared to be j u s t i f i e d i n the l i g h t of future developments was that of the c h i l d who l a t e r required i n s i t u t l o n a l care. 2he manager of the agency which placed the c h i l d stated to the writer that the tragedy of this one case was s u f f i c i e n t j u s t i -f i c a t i o n f o r the plan of foster home care feather than adoptive placement f o r t h i s whole group of children. 45. Reported by Johnson, Wendell, i n "Why Babies are Boot-legged", Survey Mldmonthly. June,-1941. 78 How v a l i d i s thi s argument? In the f i r s t place, we have seen that such a tragedy may occur i n the placement of a chi l d of any background; no human agency can eliminate the r i s k of adoption. I t Is noteworthy that the background of this c h i l d was not as bad as many of the children reported to be developing normally. But more important than t h i s i s the question as to whether the parents are saved any degree of pain by reason of being foster parents, ^oes agency payment f o r maintenance le s s e n the strength of the parents* a f f e c t i o n a l t i e with the c h i l d , lessen to any degree the pain produced i n watching a loved chil d ' s deterioration? There i s strong i n d i c a t i o n that nothing can be done to prevent this pain. In the case under consideration, no adoptive parents could have been more devoted to their Child than were the fost e r parents to t h i s l i t t l e g i r l . From the age of 15 months to 5^ years they continually requested adoption,though f u l l y acquaninted with the facts of her background, and recognizing that her mental development was slow. Aa long as there was any hope of the child b e n e f i t t i n g by care i n a foster home, they kept her, and only consented to her i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z a t i o n at the age of 7 years on the basis that i t was the best plan f o r her. When the p s y c h i a t r i s t recommended a further t r i a l i n a fo s t e r home, the foster.parents, despite the 111 health of the mother (caused mainly by the s t r a i n of caring f o r t h i s c h i l d ) took the ch i l d again into t h e i r home i n the desparats hope that they mlghfr be able to help her. She was re-committed to the mental hospital after several months, where the f o s t e r parents-continue to v i s i t her. 79 The a f f e c t i o n and love which these f o s t e r parents gave so f r e e l y to the c h i l d Is evident i n every l i n e of the case record* Equally evident Is the r e a l anguish they experienced in t h e i r unsuccessful attempts to help her* They received much support from the placement agency throughout t h i s period, but i t i s obvious that l i t t l e could be done to l i g h t e n the g r i e f of these devoted parents. What would have been the r e s u l t s had this c h i l d been placed i n an adoption home? There i s no i n d i c a t i o n that the t i e between parents and c h i l d could have been more strongly established. Nor i s there any reason why the supportive help given the foster parents during this c r i s i s could not equally well have been given to adopting parents. From the point of view of preventing unhappiness, there seems l i t t l e j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r f o s t e r home care as opposed to adoptive place-ment. What of the unhapplness and unrest of parents who have grown to love t h e i r charge as t h e i r own, but are consistently denied the s e c u r i t y of knowing he belongs to them? Any s o c i a l worker who has interviewed parents awaiting completion of an adoption knows the strength of the f e a r that haunts them, fear that "something" may happen to take the c h i l d from them. This f e a r i s accentuated with foster parents since the place-ment i s much more i n d e f i n i t e , and t h i s fear and i n s e c u r i t y i s r e f l e c t e d i n the pressure brought on the agency to permit them to adopt. The agency has as much reason to be concerned about t h i s l e s s obvious pain as about the unavoidable pain f e l t by the f o s t e r parents described e a r l i e r . 80 What of the l e g a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y undertaken by adopting parents In such cases? What i s to prevent them being saddled with a l i f e - l o n g r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the care of a c h i l d who i s Incapable of self-support? It should be pointed out that there are state i n s t i t u t i o n s f o r the care of mentally d e f i c i e n t or mentally i l l c hildren; i t Is doubtful that any such lnstutitfton would require contribution from adoptive parents. However, there are methods of protecting adopting parents from t h i s f i n a n c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , without preventing adoptive placement. These methods are discussed i n more d e t a i l i n the next chapter; here, we* are concerned as to the degree of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y the agency should take i n protecting adopting parents. There has been a growing tendency i n the past two decades f o r agencies, i n the interests of the c h i l d , to p2>ace adoptable children at a few weeks of age rather than a few months. Agencies were extremely hesitant about this step at f i r s t , f e e l i n g that they were giving i n s u f f i c i e n t protection to the adopting parents. To th e i r surprise, "what the agencies considered as a r i s k , the adopting parents took as a matter of course 1 1. Is i t not possible they would s i m i l a r l y accept as a matter of course many children whom the agencies consider as poor r i s k s ? The complete acceptance found by the group of children reviewed here suggests that such would be the case. And has the adoption agency, whose existence i s the res u l t of the community's concerjvfor i t s children, the r i g h t to refuse to l e t that community share the r i s k s involved In this task? More and more, agencies are coming to the conclusion that any family with the w i l l to serve i s a legitimate resource f o r use i n meet-ing the needs of the children. 81 CHAPTER V l l »POR EVERY CHILI), A HOME* In the preceding chapters, i t has been shown that the concept of non-adoptability i s based l a r g e l y on undesirable features i n the background of the c h i l d . A review of adoption requests made by unmarried mothers has made i t apparent that t h i s influence may be toward the mother keeping her c h i l d , or toward her placing i t independently of the agency. F i n a l l y , examination of the development of a group of these "non-adoptable" childr e n has shown the v a l i d i t y of the concept to be very questionable indeed. Of the seventeen children free from gross b i r t h abnormalities who were made wards of both Children's A i d Societies i n 1941 because they were considered unadoptable, sixteen have developed normally and are an i n t e g r a l part of the family grouping. While t h i s sample group i s too small to have s c i e n t i f i c v a l i d i t y , the r a t i o of sixteen successful placements (from the point of view of the chi l d ' s development) to one unsuccessful placement, suggests that the problem merits further study. I t appears that an evaluation of the p o t e n t i a l i t i e s of a c h i l d which i s based on a study of hi s background i s frequently invalidated by his l a t e r development. This f i n d i n g of the present l i m i t e d study i s confirmed by the res u l t s of larger studies (reviewed e a r l i e r ) which have centred s o l e l y on the development of fos t e r - c h i l d r e n , and which agree on the inadequacy of background information i n determining a child's growth potential. 82 The findings of the present study suggest the need f o r a new d e f i n i t i o n of what constitutes an adoptable c h i l d * Adoption i s a dynamic s o c i a l concept* whose purpose and meaning have altered tremendously over the centuries* Only i n Western democratic society has the emphasis been c h i e f l y on the well-being of the c h i l d * I t i s t h i s very f l e x i b i l i t y which makes It possible for further change to be effected as the best methods of meeting the needs of children come to l i g h t . I f the old concept i s not meeting the needs of the children who are offered f o r adoption, what new d e f i n i t i o n can be evolved? The r e s u l t s of the present study suggest that an adoptable c h i l d must meet three—and only t h r e e — c r i t e r i a : (1) His parents, a f t e r due consideration of other a l t e r n a t i v e s , are unwilling or permanently i n -capable of caring f o r him* (2) He i s free from gross b i r t h abnormality. (3) A suitable home can be found which i s w i l l i n g to adopt him. This new d e f i n i t i o n i s slowly gaining recognition among chi l d welfare agencies. Even more s i g n i f i c a n t than the opinions of writers i n the adoption f i e l d are the programmes which have been undertaken by some of the more progressive child-placing agencies i n the United States. The fosterhome department of the Jewish Child Care Association of New York several years ago made a survey of those unwanted children who were placed i n boarding homes because th e i r heredity showed considerable path-ology; t h i s survey revealed that the great majority made excellent physical and s o c i a l progress." As a result, plans 83 have been made to place a l l children l e g a l l y available f o r adoption In permanent homes. In recognition o f the fact that "any foster home placement for the c h i l d of the unmarried - 46 mother carries within i t the germ of possible adoption". The Michigan Children's I n s t i t u t e f o r several years has been developing a s i m i l l a r program of "boarding into adoption homes", the c h i l d being placed on a boarding basis with the understanding that he may ultimately be available f o r adoption. The decision as to when the c h i l d i s adoptable i s made i n consul-t a t i o n with the p e d i a t r i c i a n , the p s y c h i a t r i s t , and the psychologist. The Minnesota State Department of S o c i a l Security has been encouraging agencies i n Minnesota to give greater consideration to children who have previously been considered unadoptable. A state-wide adoption committee was appointed some tvo years ago to review adoption p o l i c i e s * The committee adopted the following d e f i n i t i o n o f an adoptable c h i l d : "A c h i l d deprived of his own parents i s adoptable i f a set of adoptive parents can be found f o r him who are morally, s p i r i t u a l l y , p h s y i c a l l y psychologically and s o c i a l l y capable of providing that c h i l d with the care and a f f e c t i o n that society expects of parents"• ^he placement of more children for adoption including those with physical handicaps, Is being stimulated. The Department of Assistance and Child Welfare of Nebraska states that "some outstanding work i s being done by our boarding p arents and Foster Care Unit ? workers i n developing children 46. Reported by B e l l e Wolkomir i n "The Unadoptable Baby Achieves Adoption", Child Welfare League B u l l e t i n , • February 17"T93TT" 84 who, when f i r s t committed to the State, were considered retarded mentally, or who had other handicaps preventing adoption* Many of these children were eventually adopted." The Boys* and G i r l s 1 Aid Society of Portland, Oregon, has adopted a si'mlliar programme of placing a l l children who are legally available for adoption, in permanent homes, regardless of the undesirable features in their background. Special staff members are assigned to work on these and other cases with special legal problems or other complications that make adoption seem impossible, o^me of these "non-adoptable" childnen are placed on a free home basis with long-term probation period, and others on a boarding basis until more Is known of the child's progress* The decision as to whether or not payment w i l l be made is determined in each individual ease, not on the basis of the child's background, but the meaning which payment has to the adopting parents* KONG-TERM PROBATION It is generally agreed that, when the child's background 1 s doubtful, the legal adoption should not be completed at least unti l the child i s old enough to be examined on his own merits. This principle is sound, since i t enables the adopting parents to know the capacities and possible limitations of the child whome they wish to adopt, and prevents them from undertaking legal responsibility for a child before they1 have thoroughly considered these factors. The value of paying for the (maintenance of the child dinting this probationary period is questionable* We have seen that such payment in no way 65 lessens the strength of the bonds which link parent and child. In most cases, the fact of payment perhaps s^f8iboliaaa..tbe. ^  •9e&Q$t.} douhta aa to th%.. ( ^ l * f •; p»teftUaaifr4M» ... Hdf/... resultant protection of agency standards might be more simply accomplished by obtaining a written acknowledgment from the adopting parents that the background of the child had been thoroughly discussed vlth them, and that further testing would be necessary v s o N before they assumed legal responsibility for the child—preferably with a definite indication as to the age at which the potentialities of the particular child might be adequately measured. Boarding home care is obviously necessary for the child whose birth condition raises question, or for whom a permanent home is not immediately available. Payment to the permanent home,however, should be made only after Individual consideration of the value to be obtained from so doing. Of much greater importance in such planning are the clarification of the child's, legal status during this long-term placement, the diagnostic faci l i t ies for testing his development, and the selection of the permanent home. LEGAL STATUS OF CHILD It is imperative that when a child is placed in a permanent home? whether or not any payment is made for bis care, every assurance should be given to the parents that they w i l l be able to complete the legal adoption should they be satisfied with his development. This means that the consent of the mother must be obtained prior to the placement; this is not done in the case of non-adoptable children made wards of the agency and placed in foster homes, and arises as a complicating factor • when adoption is later considered. H is important in a l l cases of permanent placement, that this consent should be obtained. One present adoption law in B r i t i s h Columbia creates some d i f f i cu l t i e s in this connection, since i t requires the mother's consent to adoption in a specific home. This provision is not in line with current thinking as to good adoption practice, since the mother's decision as to relinquishment of her child may not be synonomous with the location of a home suitable for his placement. This is par t icular ly true in the case of our children of questionable background, when homes must be more special ly selected. The U. S. Children's Bureau and the Canadian Welfare Council recommend that a l l relinquishments should be made by the mother to an authorized agency],, which is then left free to make the best possible placement of that ch i ld , -^ t the present time the mothers of "non-adoptable" children may remain for months in a Home for Unmarried Mothers, while/bhe agency strives to work out a plan. Dorothy Hutchison, a we l l -known authority in the f i e l d of adoption, points out the injustice of this si tuation: "Surely the refusal to take the surrender under ' circumstances such as these is unjustified on the score of our case-work objectives for the unmarried mother. The two are incompatible and at cross purposes the net result of such practice is to chastise the mother, not for bring-ing a baby into the world, but for producing one of inferior grade." 47. Hutchison, Dorothy, "Re-examination of S0meAspects of Cpse Work Practice in Adoption, " Child Welfare League B i l e t i n . November 1946, p.6. 87. The only method of remedying this injustice i s to provide* for voluntary relinquishment to the agency; i t is the responsi-b i l i t y of the agency to work towards incorporation of this important provision in our statute. The consent of the mother to adoption would do much- to clar i fy. the legal 3tatus of the child during the probationary period--these children would have the same status aa children of proven pedigree placed on a normal adoption basis. Because of the extended time element in long-term placements, however, i t is worthwhile to give consideration to other measures which would increase the security offered both the child and the adopt-ing parents during this period. I t should be emphasized that the greater sense of assurance' which the parents have that the. chi ld belongs to them i f they are satisfied with his development, the more w i l l l i n g they are to accept the agency's wish to delay completion of the legal procedure. Tne interlocutory decree is one method of reinforcing the security of the placement without making i t legal ly Irretrac-table. This measure is recommended in a re®nt issue of the 48 Child Welfare League Bu l l e t in . Where this provision is contained in the adoption act, the adopting parents pet i t ion to adopt as aoon as possible which is as soon as the child Is placed in their home; Then, on receipt of a report from a 48. "Suggestions for Adoption Legislation^ May, 1948.' 88 social agency, setting out the circumstances of placement, an interlocutory decree is made by the court, granting permission for them to proceed with the adoption after a specified period of supervision, i f at the end of that time both adopting parents and agency are satisfied with the chi ld ' s development. I t is obvious that such a plan would give great reassurance to the adopting parents. In spite of a l l precautions taken by the agency, there is s t i l l a poss ib i l i ty that after an adoption is completed, a child may be found to require ins t i tu t iona l care. While these insti tutions are publicly supported and i t is extremely unlikely that a doptive parents would be asked to contribute toward maintenance, there is indication that provision should be made for abrogation of adoption decree in such instances. Prov-sion for such abrogation is looked on by some child welfare author-i t i e s as a complete refutation of the security that adoption attempts to secure for the ch i ld . The answer to this argument is that the security of adoption l ies not in the legal ties that bind the. parties, but in the affactional ties between parent and ch i ld . Surely i f relationships in the home deter-iorate to the point where the parents desire to relinquish guardianship, the welfare of the child demands that this be done. The experience of New York State, where provision for abrogation has been in effect for many years, provides evidence on this point. In contrast to the "thousands of adoptiondecrees yearly granted in these Courts, there have been only a handful of petitions to dissolve the relationship. The judge who reported on these circumstances gave his opinion that no court would 89 refuse a pet i t ion to abrogate where the ch i ld was revealed to be mentally deficient after the decree was.granted. The safe-guards of long-term placement and adequate testing of the ch i ld would make such an occurrence a r a r i ty ; but provision for abrogation in such instances would give the agency more assurance in agreeing to the adoption of children of extremely poor back-ground. This is par t icular ly true where there is strong i n c i -dence of mental i l lness in the heredity, since at present there is no means of ascertaining the predisposition of the ch i ld towards such i l l n e s s . It might be suggested that the writer is advocating a lowering of agency standards In placing children for adoption with'no thought to their "growth potential", and that there is l i t t l e point, therefore, to agency supervision of adoption. This is def ini te ly not true. I t is because of the dangers: and disadvantages of haphazard private placement that the agency mu3t formulate a policy which w i l l minimize these dangers-, and yet prove attractive to the unmarried mother who i s concerned primarily with her own problem and only secondarily with working out the best plan for her ch i ld . The agency has three v i t a l contributions to make in adoption placement: (1) . Protection of the unmarried mother—permitting her an unhurried consideration of alternatives and freedom from pressure i n arr iving at a decision, followed by acceptance of her relinquishment i f she decides to release the ch i ld for adoption. (2) . Protection of the child—by careful selection and evaluation of the home which w i l l shape his entire future. (3) . Protection of the adopting parents—by offering only children who are legal ly availalbe for 90 adoption, and by giving them a l l available Hmm information on the chi ld , and providing diagnostic f a c i l i t i e s for assessing his development. The change advocated is a change i n emphasis only--from concentration on the background of the chi ld to concentration on his own development, and on selection of the home i n which he w i l l have the best chance for successful adjustment. DIAGNOSTIC FACILITIES The -primary need of such a programme is for adequate f a c i -l i t i e s for examination of the ch i ld during the early weeks of l i f e . Authorities are i n agreement that "a good pediatrician, with adequate laboratory f a c i l i t i e s , within the f i r s t few weeks after a ch i ld ' s b i r th , can state whether there are any gross 49 abnormalities of structure, or congenital disease processes." Such examination rules out the group of grossly handicapped. Dr. Clothier points out that where the background is weighted with psychoses, feeble-mindedness, epilepsy,or general emotional i n s t ab i l i t y , nothing is to be gained by waiting two or three years for placement,' since their effect, i f any, on the ch i ld , could not be revealed u n t i l much la te r . There is extreme difference of psychiatric opinion as to the age at.which.a f a i r l y accurate .estimate of the chi ld ' s potent ial i t ies can be given. This was revealed most s t r ik ing ly in a survey of the 49. Clothier, Florence, "Placing the Child for Adoption", Mental Hygiene. A p r i l 1942, p. 257. 91 opinions of th i r ty psychiatrists , i n which no two were found to be i n agreement, and the majority confessed that they 50 re l ied on "hunches". . The development tests formulated by Arnold Gesell, commencing at 4 weeks of age, are considered by many authorities to give some indication of the chi ld ' s inherent capacity. The psychologist of the New Bedford Children's Aid and Family Society expresses the situation wel l : "We may not be able to know the chi ld as well at six weeks as we do at a year; however, we can get definite indications of his growth potent ial i t ies at a few wee:ks of age through the use of well-standardized testing tech-niques....we are often asked—what of the risks of placing a chi ld so young? It seems to me that the r isks of not placing him u n t i l he is older are immeasurably greater." 1 Such tests are not discontinued with the chi ld 's placement. Dorothy Hutchinson, advocating earl ier placement In adoptions, states " i f we place babies ear l ie r , we would only change the location of these (health and. psychological examinations) from 52 the boarding home or nursery tp the adoptive home i t s e l f . " Such testing could be continued u n t i l an adequate picture of the chi ld ' s capacities was obtained. In some cases this might net be u n t i l the chi ld had reached school age; in many others, an accurate estimate would be possible at an earlier age. 50. filp^Mn^jHyman S., "Sui tab i l i ty of the Child for Adoption", American Journal of Orhopsychiatry, 1947, pp. 270-273. 51. Reported by Hatch, Ju l ia E . , i n "Two Early Adoption Place-ments", Journal of Social Casework, March 1948, p.101. 52. Hutchinson, Dorothy, op. c i t . , page 5. 92 SELECTION OF HOME By far the most important requisite for success of this programme i s the selection of the home for the chi ld of doubtful parentage. The helpful factor i n the"situation is the "oversupply" of adoption homes, which makes rigorous selection possible. Moreover, adoptive hemes vary widely as to economic leve l , as to intel l igence, education, social status' and cu l -tural standards. They differ as widely i n their motive for wishing a ch i ld , and i n the emphasis they place on a "clean" heredity. Many of these homes place far less stress on the chi ld ' s heredity than does the agency, and there Is evidence to support the bel ief that _lacement is possible of a l l children legal ly free for adoption and free from gross b i r th abnormali-t ies . This opinion is confirmed by the experience of the Jewish Child Care. Association of New York, who found themselves swamped with applications when i t was learned that "non-adoptable" children placed on a boarding basis might eventually be e l ig ib le for adoption.- It i s further confirmed by the experience of the-Boys' and Girls* Aid Society, who have had no d i f f i cu l ty i n finding homes for any chi ld (with the exception of children of mixed blood who constitute a particular problem i n this area). The problem is not to find the homes, but to select those which w i l l best meet the needs of the "non-adoptable" c h i l d . One of the most important areas to be explored with a l l applicants for a chi ld is their feeling about the importance of inherited factors. This is stressed by Lee Brooks i n his 93 stimulating book, Adventuring in Adoption. He points out that i t i s not heredity which is important, but how the adopting parents feel about heredity. W i l l they react to Johnny's temper tantrums at age two as manifestations of his I r i sh heritage? I f this question is important i n a l l adoptive placements, i t is doubly irportant for this selected group. A second important area i s the motive for adoption. There are as many shades of motivation behind the desire to have a chi ld as there are adopting parents. Do they wish a chi ld to f u l f i l their own unresolved need for success, academically or i n some particular f ield? Agencies are always suspicious of would-be parents who are too r i g i d i n their specifications or plans for the c h ' l d . There are other parents whose primary motive is to "do for " a ch i ld , who can give unstintingly of love and affection and be sat isf ied to develop to the ful les t extent those capacities with which he is by.nature endowed. These parents see in the chi ld who is doubly- handicapped by questionable background and loss of his natural t i e s , an extra challenge, an extra opportunity for service. The major emphasis i n choosing homes for this special group of children must be an analysis of the adopting parents' personalit ies. How f lexible are they, how able to accept !pain? Is their focus on what a ch i ld can give to them, or on what they can give to a child? A l l the warmth and generosity which society associates with true parenthood must be present in large 9 4 measure. To evaluate these basic t ra i ts of personality takes the time and best effort of sk i l l ed case workers. Yet in what other area of practice i s time and effort so amply repaid? To give to a handicapped chi ld "a home, and that love and security which a home provides" i s a satisfaction unequalled in social work experience. APPENDIX A A n a l y t i c a l Schedule Date Name B i r t h Date B i r t h Weight B i r t h Abnormality Committed Placed HISTORY OF MOTHER (Also Father When Known) PHYSICAL PERSONALITY MENTAL RATING MENTAL ILLNESS OTHER HISTORY OF RELATIVES FOSTER HOME NAME: MOTIVE URBAN OR RURAL: OCCUPATION: REMARKS FINANCES: AGE FOSTER PARENTS: PREVIOUS PLACEMENTS DBVBLOgMBHT OF CHILD HEALTH PERSONALITY MENTALITY OTHER PSYCHIATRIC EXAMINATION _____ _ FINDINGS: REASON: APPENDIX A QUESTIONNAIRE GENERAL PICTURE OF CHILD AS AT DECEMBER 1948 # NAME BIRTHDATE WORKER HEALTH: GENERAL: ROBUST AVERAGE DELICATE S p e c i f i c health problems: Attitude of fost e r parents to any health problem: Excessive worry Average concern Leaves most of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to agency " ' ''Shows reluctance to Include the agency i n t h i s area PERSONALITY: (check any item applicable to c h i l d . Is this f o s t e r parentis evaluation? Worker&a Joint? ( l a s t preferable)• Outgoing r e t i r i n g shy f r i e n d l y s e n s i t i v e cries e a s i l y whines apathetic happy-natured prefers play alone with others shows I n i t i a t i v e active — sluggish talkatIve_ quiet sulks affectionate dependent Independent BEHAVIOUR PROBLEMS: Temper tantrums enuresis stammering / excessive daydreaming excessive masturbation " destructive b u l l y i n g n a l l b l t i n g l y i n g s t eallng o t he r ;  What discernible home factors have contributed to the development of these problems: STATUS OF CHILD IN HOME: What i s fos t e r parent's opinion of child's general development: Slow Average Superior ? I f slow, do they show understanding of t h i s : Good F a i r Unaccepting ? Is the c h i l d i n worker's opinion an accepted member of t h i s family group?_ _Do the foster-parents wish to adopt? Keep.the child on an i n d e f i n i t e boarding home APPENDIX A (Continued) QUESTIONNAIRE basis? What f a c t o r s , i f any, i n the home prevent adoption? GENERAL COMMENTt APPENDIX B SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY A. GENERAL REFERENCES 1. Bradley, C., Schizophrenia In Childhood, New York, MacMlllan, 1941. 2. Burks, B. S., "The Relative Influence of nature and nurture upon mental development," 27th Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Bloomingtoji, 111., Public School Publishing Co., 1928, p i 219 - 316. 3. Burlingame, L. L., Heredity and S o c i a l Problems, New York, McGraw H i l l , 1940. 4. "Feeble Mlndedness," Science News Letter #49, June 8, 1946. 5 . Freeman, A. N., & Newman, H: H., etc., Twins: A Study of Heredity and Environment, Chicago, University of Chicago,.1957. 6. Gates, R. R. Human Ancestry from a Genetleal Point of View, Cambridge, Harvard Press, 1948. 7. Gesekk, A., & Thompson, H., Infant Behavior, I t s Gensla and growth, New York, McGraw - H i l l , 1934. 8. Glass, H. B., Genes and the Man, New York, Columbia U., 1943. 9. Popenoe, P., Applied Eugenics, New York, MacMlllan, 1927. 10. Osborn, F., Preface to Eugenics, New York, Harper Bros., 1946. 11. R i f e , D. C., The Dice of Destiny, Columbus, Long's, 1945. 12. Scheinfeld, A., You and Heredity, New York, Frederick A. Stokes, 1939. 13. Snyder, L. H., The Pri n c i p l e s of Heredity, Boston, D. C. Heath, 1940. 14. Teagarden, F. M.,Child Psychology f o r Professional Workers, New York, Prentice H a l l Inc., 1940. ~" 15. Woodworth, R. S., Heredity and Envlronment, New York, S o c i a l Science Research Council, 1941. (2) B. SPECIFIC REFERENCES 1. "A Study of the Adjustment of Teen-age jfihildren Born out of Wedlock who remained i n the Custody of th e i r mother or r e l a t i v e s , * Canadian Welfare Council, Toronto, 1943. . 2. Bishop,.J., "Discussion of Miss Browning's -Paper on 'The Placement,of the Child Needing Adoption'", Child Welfare  League, V o l . XXIII, Sept. 1944. .„ " 3. Browning, L. K., "The Placement of the'Child Needing Adoption," Child Welfare league, Vol. XXIIII Sept. 1944. 4. Clothier, F., "Placing the Child f o r Adoption," Mental Hygiene. Vol. XXVI, A p r i l 1942. . " 5. Freeman, F., Holzinger, C . J . , and others, "The Influence of Environment on the I n t e l l i g e n c e , School Achievement, and Conduct of Foster Children," 27th Yearbook of the Natjonal  Society f o r the Study of Education* Bloomlngton, 111., Public Schools Publishing Co., 1923. 6. Dumpson, J. R., "New Developments i n Child Welfare," Child Welfare League of America B u l l e t i n , V o l . XXVII, May 1948. 7. Hutchinson, D., "Re-examination of Some Aspects of Casework Practice i n Adoption," Child Welfare League B u l l e t i n , XXV, Nov. 1946. -8. Johnson, W. F., "Why Babies are Bootlegged," Survey Mldmonthly, June, 1941. 9. Kel l e y , W. M., "The Boarding Parents Apply to Adopt - A Dllemna," Child Welfare League, Vol. XXVI, December 1947. 1 0 . Leahy, A. M., "Study of Certain Selective Factors Influencing Prediction of Mental Status of Adopted Children," Peda- gogical Seminary and Journal of Genetic Psychology. 1952. 11. Leavy, M. L., The Law of_Ad6ptloh a l l 48 States, New York, Oceana Publisher, 1947. 12. Lippman, H. S. " S u i t a b i l i t y of the Child f o r Adoption," American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1937. 13. Lockrldge, F., Adopting a Chil d , New York, Columbia TJ., 1943. 14. Mangold, G. B., Children Born out of Wedlock, Columbia, Missouri, U. of Missouri, June 1921. 15. Ribble, M., The Rights of Infanta, New York, Columbia U., 1943. I (3) 16. Scherz, P. II., "Taking Sides in the Unmarried Mother's Confl ic t ," Journal of Social Casework, Feb. 1947. 17. Skodak, M., Children In Foster Homes, Iowa Ci ty , Univer-s i t y , of Iowa,' ; 18. "States Tightening Adoption Laws to Curb Dlack L&rket i n Babies, Child Welfare League, Vo l . XXVII March 1947. 19. "Suggestions for Adoption Legis la t ion," Child Welfare League, Vol . XXVIII :"ay 1948. 20. Thois, S. , Low Foster Children Turn Out, Now York, State Charities Aid Ass. 1924. 21. Thels, S. , "Interpreting Adoption," Child Welfare League of - America L u l l e t l a , Vol . XXVII, Nov. 1948. 22. Thais, i>., Social Aspects of Adoption, New York, F. A, Stokes, 1939": : 23. Walkamir, B . , "The Unadoptable Baby Achieves Adoption," Child welfare League Vo l . XXVI Feb. 1947. 24. V^ells, J . , knd Arthur, 0 . , "effects 'of Foster Home Place- ' ment on the Intelligence Ratings of Children of Feeble-minded Parents," Cental Hygiene, V o l . XXIII , A p r i l , 1939. 25. Young, L . , "The Unmarried Mother's Decision about her Baby," Journal of Social Casework, January, 1947. 26. Z e l t l i n , J . , "Adoption Agencies can Help," Channels, Rational Publici ty Council, vo l . XXIV, December 1946. 

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