Adoptee Studies…

15 Apr
Dawn over at Creating A Family has a post summarizing the results of a meta-analysis study covering the last 40 or so years that says Adoptee’s Do Just Fine…and of course I commented and then thinking further on my comment I decided I needed to expand and explain.  You can read her post and my comment here if you are interested…
You see my comment basically stated that I don’t think much of any adoptee studies, meta-analysis studies that cover to many different types of adoptees, countries and mega years really don’t wow me.  And then I asked how adoptive parents would feel if they were studied and broken down into subtypes and found to be just fine and no challenges because they have self-esteem.  That most of us would be classified as “Just fine” but that we also have real issues with how adoption is done, equality, and other real items that need fixing.  Do you see where I am going with this? 
So the adoption study on adoptees was to determine if we have self-esteem, and following is my understanding from reading the study of what was included and excluded.
Included studies: Not limited to English language studies – Comparing self-esteem of international adoptees vs non adopted vs institutionalized – Transracial vs same race -Adoptees from childhood to early adulthood – Adoptees adopted at different ages – Adoptees adopted from different circumstances – Different self-esteem tests used – at least have a dozen different tests – Tests themselves were either self reported, parent reported, teacher reported – Different levels of standards required in studies were acceptable…
Excluded studies: Studies of clinical samples – examples; studies of adopted children referred to psychiatric clinics or given medical treatment, drug or alcohol exposed adoptees, physically or mentally handicapped adoptees…
Covering studies done between 1970 and 2007
So if I was to design a similar study to analyze studies done on adoptive parents in the last 40 years to see if all adoptive parents have self-esteem, I would need these studies done with these types of categories…
Include studies: Multiple Countries, Cultures and Languages – AP’s by fertile vs infertility vs infertility and used IVF and/or other ART adoptive parents vs biological parents – Domestic infant adoption vs Foster care adoption vs International adoption,  further subtypes by race, vs biological families subtypes by race – Married vs single vs same race married vs dual race married vs biological (same categories) –  Open adoption vs semi open vs closed vs open then closed vs semi open max 2 years – Self reported vs child adoptee reported vs adult adoptee reported vs social worker reported – APs from all ages 21-60…Different standards on the studies done accepted, multiple different tests used accepted.
Excluded studies: Adoptive parent(s) who returned child to country of origin or state – Adoptive parent(s) who advertised to privately re-home child(ren) – Adoptive parent(s) who sued agency for non-disclosure – Adoptive parent(s) who have been convicted and jailed for abusing or murdering their child(ren) – Adoptive parents who adopted any special needs children – Adoptive parents who sought any therapy for their children.
Feeling a bit like the adoptees who aren’t fond of studies on adoptees?  Do you think the above study will show you are all “just fine” and your adoptions are wonderful without any problems because you have self-esteem?  No? you aren’t like all other AP’s?  You don’t like being lumped together and studied?  What, you have specific concerns about adoptive parenting that don’t fall under the category of self-esteem?  Things like pre and post adoptive support for all parties?  The education services?  How different parties are treated by the industry?  The challenges that fuel the blogs and forums?  Are you finding yourself feeling a bit used to promote adoption as a win-win-win see how wonderful it is promotion? 
As a final note I always read what the link is, not just the blog post and then I go further and research who the authors are and what else they have published – very easy to accomplish via a quick google search and I found the following studies they also authored, so go have a look at them as well, to get a full picture (especially the 2nd link) – not just what the adoption industry wants you to read:
Behavior Problems and Mental Health Referrals of International Adoptees
The Emanuel Miller Memorial Lecture 2006: Adoption as intervention. Meta-analytic evidence for massive catch-up and plasticity in physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive developmentthe details really start on page 7 and cover growth, attachment, IQ, self-esteem, internal and external behaviors, mental health access – you should read right through to page 13 which covers the ethics of adoption as well and when it is or isn’t in the best interests of the child – this is the study the adoption industry should have chosen to provide to the adoption community.

Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Adoption, Ethics


Tags: , , , ,

9 responses to “Adoptee Studies…

  1. Dannie

    April 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Ok correct me if I’m wrong….because I very well could be, but to me showing that adoptees have “self-esteem” is like; ok and? Kids that are in homes with good moms/dads tend for the most part to have decent self-esteem. That seems a bit irrelevant to other issues that involve the adoption community worldwide, such as corruption, unethical practices etc. But I need to have some time to read all the links you have provided here for a clearer picture. I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s astonishing to find out that kids in normal homes have normal self esteem right?


  2. The adopted ones

    April 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Dannie…exactly but it is also used (by Holt in this instance) in an exploitive way by excluding adoption related feelings or concerns about the practice of adoption…I knew there was a reason I liked you…


  3. b.

    April 15, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I am really glad to read your post on this study. I was wondering what I felt was wrong with the method used – it has become a lot clearer to me now.


  4. The adopted ones

    April 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    b…thanks for reading, hope I did not come across to snarky but I wanted to make a point, I guess I am tired of studies upon studies designed to get the results they want.


  5. b.

    April 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    Not snarky – just clever 🙂


  6. Kara

    April 15, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Holt is not a paragon of ethics, is it? And of course, meta-studies that show adoptees are “just fine” as measured by self-esteem help grease the industry.

    I am sick of studies in which APs answer for adoptees. I think studies need to be done of adoptees in which adoptees answer for themselves, and as adults. By excluding any studies in which adoptees sought psychological/psychiatric help, the adoptee population is skewed.

    I also know that I would have been nervous to answer truthfully, even on an anonymous survey, for fear that my aparents might be hurt by anything I said. By most measures, I am “just fine” in terms of being a well educated, thoughtful, contributing member of society, and yet I have had self-esteem issues that are very clearly linked to adoption. As a child and teen, I would NEVER have voluntarily admitted that adoption caused me pain. My aparents had made it clear that my nfamily and my feelings about being adopted were not an acceptable topic for discussion. Now that I am middle-aged, my parents can’t dictate the path of the conversation, and they know I am in reunion. They don’t necessarily like it, but it’s not their business.

    The adopted ones: I do like your parody of a study concerning AP self-esteem. Made me laugh!


    • The adopted ones

      April 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Kara – you hit on so many valid points that are so true – even at our age we still pick and chose words to ensure our parents would not be hurt…even while we speak up…it just all becomes so crazy. I love analogies to get a point across – if you can apply it to yourself then it makes sense.


  7. Von

    April 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I couldn’t resist blogging on this one either! I like your points about analysis of adopters, some very badly needed studies there!
    Yes we do choose our words carefully, the long habits of adoption die hard!


  8. shadowtheadoptee

    April 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Another great post.

    Dannie, you are my hero AP. Salute.

    Speaking for myself, well, I am “just fine”. I’ve been a “just fine” adoptee all my life. If you don’t believe me, just ask me. I’ll tell you that I am “just fine”, and havve always been just fine. I’ve been so “just fine” that I’ve been in therapy for the past three years facing, and dealing with, my just fineness as an adoptee, because, about age 40, my jusst fineness came exploding to the surface like a volcanic eruption.

    I guess the people conducting, reading, and believing, these studies have a different definition of “just fine” than mine? lol And they say we, adoptees, are the ones with the issues? lol



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