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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The concept of non-adoptability; a study of the effect of the concept of non-adoptability on case-work services to the unmarried mother and an examination of the validity of this concept. Hamilton (Lansdowne), Rosemary Louise


This study concerns itself with the problem of the illegitimate child for whom adoption is requested but who, because of undesirable features in his background, is not considered suitable for adoptive placement. The whole field of adoption is receiving widespread publicity at the present time because of the tremendous demand for adoptable children, and as a result of this demand, the "black market" in babies. Because of this situation, and because of the growing recognition that adoption offers the most security to the unwanted child, it is of great importance that the adoptability of the child should be accurately determined. No child should be denied the advantages of adoptive placement who has the capacity to be absorbed into a family group, and to give satisfaction to those who care for him. The subject was attacked in two ways. First, a survey was made of all unmarried mothers who made any request for adoption to the Vancouver Children's Aid Society in 1941, and of the plans which were, made for the children. Second, a detailed study was made of those children in both Children's Aid Societies who were not considered adoptable and were therefore made wards of the agency and placed in paid boarding homes. The findings of the survey of adoption requests indicate that the concept of non-adoptability influences directly and inevitably the plan which is made for the illegitimate child. There are definite limitations to the assistance the agency can give to the unmarried mother who requests adoption but whose child the agency is hesitant to place. In some instances the mother kept the child despite a strong desire to release it; in others, she placed the child privately. Of the years total-of seventeen children free from any gross birth 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 is apparent, and the children are evidently able to give pleasure and satisfaction to the parents who care for them. The remaining one has since been institutionalized as mentally defective; this one exception illustrates the need for protective measures. In sixteen cases of successful development, the agency must now decide on the relative merits of (1) replacement in an adoption home, (2) allowing the boarding parents to adopt, and (3) continuing care on an indefinite boarding basis. The legal and social problems inherent in each of these alternatives give rise to the question whether children with unfavourable backgrounds might not, under certain safeguards, be placed for adoption.

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