Chapter 9: Adoption

The end of chapter nine reveals to us that one of the terrorists, Ishmael, will be adopted by Ruben Iglesias. I instantly became interested in the topic of adoption. I began my research with how age effects adoption situations. Devon Brooks states in Psychological Issues in Adoption that, age unfailing is the most predominant factor influencing adoption outcomes (p. 9). Statistical data from the U.S. DHHS reveal that the average age of the children adopted in 2000 was 6.9 years. Studies have found that adoptions where the adoptees are between the ages of 3 and 5 showed a disruption rate of 4.6 percent, ages 6 to 8 a rate of 10.4 percent, 9 to 11 a rate of 17.1 percent, 12 to 14 a rate of 22.4 percent, and 15 to 18 a rate of 26.1 percent (Hutton p. 240). These statistics prove that a child’s age at adoption is related to the degree of risk of them being adopted will be disrupted. Not only does age effect the percentage of children who are adopted but also the mental effects adoption has on the child. Teens who were adopted in infancy showed somewhat more problems than those living with both biological parents (Brooks p. 10). However, older child who are adopted could have had a closer tie to their biological parents making the integration into a new family more difficult. There are many types of adoption: Domestic Trans-racial, International, Open, Gay and Lesbian, and Kinship (Brooks p. 11). These different types of adoption greatly affect the process and each cause different stresses in a child’s life.

There are many psychological effects both good and bad on adopted children. Adoption can have negative effects on a child’s life through their teenage years. “Adoption-related identity conflicts as resulting in “identity lacunae,” which can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and low self-esteem. In addition, adoptees may experience a deep fear of loss and separation. Many adopted children feel that they were given away because there was something wrong with them from the beginning” (Baran). While we hear of this negative side of adoption and the negative impact it can have on one’s mind there have been studies to prove that adoption is in the long run generally beneficial. Dr. Patrick F. Fagan, psychologist and Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, after reviewing research and studies done on adoptees, concludes that adoption is “life-alteringly beneficial for children” (Seifert). A study was conducted in the United Kingdom comparing groups of adults who were adopted with non-adopted. At age 33, nearly all of the adopted men and women out-performed their non-adopted peers socially and economically (Seifert). I would argue this is due to the undeniable desire and love for children that the parents who adopt have. Most adoptees are raised in loving, compassionate, and supportive environments because parents have to go through an in-depth and expensive process to adopt. Although children may show behavior issues early in life this study allows us to see that adoption creates a positive life once in adulthood. In contrast with this adopted adults may face psychological issues when they themselves become parents. They may be unable think of their biological parents as real people making them incapable to open up to their child about where their real parents are and/or why they were given up (Buran).

I thought again of Bel Canto and Ishmael’s situation. I became interested in the fact that Ishmael would be completely changing social classes once integrated into the Iglesias family. I wondered the power and effects socioeconomic status has on adoption situations. Stereotypes are prevalent among American parents who are looking to adopt. “The image of “smart” Asians undoubtedly influences both the decisions of Americans to adopt from Asia and the feelings about those Asian children brought among us” (Wegar 25). Besides the stereotypes in the adoption system an even cruder flaw is placing different costs on different children. Such as, a baby from a middle-aged college-educated white woman are the most costly, while babies of poor women of color the least. Placing different values on one’s life should be seen as unethical and I was very surprised to read about such injustice for a child.

Although I have already chose my topic for our final research paper, I believe the ethical issues of adoption is an interesting topic. Especially when considering the price we put on one’s life based on their biological parents. How can we rate the importance of different individuals and how is the system consistent between adoptions. I wonder what has been done to argue how we conduct adoption and why this the modern way of adopting has been chose to be the most effective way?

Baran, Annette, and Reuben Pannor. “Perspectives on Open Adoption.” The Future of Children 3 (1993). The Future of Children. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Brodzinsky, David. “Contemporary Adoption in the United States: Implications for the Next Wave of Adoption Theory, Research, and Practice.” Psychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2005. 1-25. Print.

Hutton, Lisa. “The Effects of Older Child Adoption on the Family.” Undergraduate Research Journal for the Human Sciences. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Seifert, Carly. “The Effects of Adoption on Kids.” Everyday
. Web. 6 Nov. 2015.

Wegar, Katarina. Adoptive Families in a Diverse Society. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers UP, 2006. Print.


2 thoughts on “Chapter 9: Adoption

  1. ballen68 says:

    Hi Katelyn,

    I really enjoyed your posting, because I one day want to adopt. I never knew about the social issues involved with adoption and different races being adopted at different compared to others. It really shocks me that this is still an issue today, it also shocks me that the race I would and condition of the child I would like to adopt is the lowest of all the different races. Will this ever change, or will we as a society continue to have a stigma towards certain people groups? Are there things that we can do to remove this stigmas, or replace them with more positive thoughts? I find it interesting that they said that more Chinese children are adopted, because of the American thought that Chinese children are smarter than others. Are there not other issues that may play in to this a well though? I see that more non-profits are pushing for children to be adopted from China. Is this a way for them to make more money, or are they doing this because there are just so many kids in need of adoption in China from all the laws associated with the number of children that you can have? The other part I was interested in is the success of adoption. That really excites me about adopting and supporting adoption of more children. It is a hard thing to do, because as studies have shown, children often times go through times of rebellion and depression, but in the end they are much better off from adoption than being alone. This relates well with your recent topics about the need for love that you have been blogging about. The fact that love controls the rate of success in children’s live’s is really quite interesting. Should we as a society be adopting more children so that our society improves, and everyone gets a better chance in life, and the chance and experience of being loved by parental figures?



  2. Michael Pedersen says:

    Very unique choice of topic from this week’s chapter.

    Just as how there is a mathematical model of “perfect” beauty I wonder if there is an equivalent model for innocence in children. That is to say, does the 6.9 years of age figure from the US. DHHS study stem from some unique attribute children about 7 years of age have to invoke more empathy in adults? Well, a topic for another paper perhaps.

    While talking about the research from the US. DHHS it would be useful to relay how the study defined “disruption” since everyone has their own range of what that actually entails. It might just be useful to just make it things a bit clearer. That being said I am interested to how all of this plays together in affecting how a cihld gets incorporated into a new family.

    The research you presenting into the different costs varying races have for adoption is quite startling. This idea really shows how ingrained stereotypes are in our culture and how adoption agencies use said stereotypes to increase “sales.” I assume most of the adoptions are taking place between American parents and children from other regions and so this paints a pretty unflattering image of how Americans really see other races – even when we want to claim that all children should be treated equally.

    Overall, I very much enjoyed your post and the discussion we had in class about it. Sometimes it really is nice to take a step back from the focus on our main research papers and take in some fresh research.


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