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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Parental information for the adopted child : a descriptive study of relationships between adoptive parents and adopted children between the ages of six and ten, based on Children's Aid Society of Vancouver cases, 1947-1957 Taylor, Audrey Rothnie

Abstract

Because of the growing recognition that early, continuous and warm relationships are essential for a child's healthy development, it is important that children be placed in their adoptive home as early as possible and that the home be well chosen. But information about the origins of an adopted child is specially significant in several ways. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the subject of how adoptive parents tell their child he is adopted, and to assess their feelings and attitudes on this topic. For exploratory purposes, seven adoptive homes were selected from the files of the Children's Aid Society of Vancouver for study. The adoptions had been completed from five to nine years ago. Each child had been placed in his adoptive home as an infant under 5 months of age. All adoptive parents were interviewed, also the natural parents' file and adoption home files were studied. The study includes a brief description of the adoptive parents, their home, the child, and his adjustment in the home. The subject of telling the child he is adopted is focussed particularly on (a) method of giving the information; (b) time of introduction of the subject; (c) the child's reaction; and (d) questions asked by the child. The analysis of the material obtained indicates that these adoptive parents accepted as their responsibility telling their child he was adopted. Typically, the simple facts of how he came to live with them were told to the child as soon as he was old enough to understand. However, none of the children in the group studied had asked any questions about their natural parents, and all parents signified that they would wait until their child asked specific questions. This suggests that adoptive parents have difficulties in accepting natural parents, and their main area of concern is how and when to tell their child about them. It is indicated that adoption workers should give more guidance to adoptive parents before and after placement in this area, and that adoptive parents should be encouraged to return to the agency for help if needed.

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