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Children's and parents' thoughts and feelings about adoption, birth culture identity and discrimination in families with internationally adopted children

Authors


  • Author's note: Marta Reinoso was supported by the Comissionat per a Universitats i Recerca del DIUE de la Generalitat de Catalunya and the European Social Funds. Femmie Juffer was supported by Wereldkinderen.

Marta Reinoso, Department of Personality, Faculty of Psychology, University of Barcelona, Passeig de la Vall d'Hebron 171, Barcelona 08035, Spain. E-mail: mreinoso@ub.edu

ABSTRACT

We examined the perceptions of adoption and related issues in 68 families with internationally adopted children in Spain (48 transracial and 20 same-race adoptions). The adopted children, between the ages of 8 and 12 years, and their parents answered questions about the children's thoughts and feelings about adoption. Descriptive data and scores on four scales – family, adoption, birth culture identity and discrimination – were obtained. Compared with same-race adoptees, transracial adoptees scored significantly higher on birth culture identity and perceived discrimination. High levels of convergence between the children's and parents' viewpoints on the experiences of adoption and related issues were found. Nevertheless, the adopted children scored higher than their parents on birth culture identity, suggesting that at this age adoptive parents may underestimate their children's connection to their cultural origins. In contrast, the same-race adoptees scored significantly lower on perceived discrimination than their mothers. We conclude that at this age adoptive parents should acknowledge their adopted child's daily-life experiences regarding cultural identity with the birth country and discrimination.

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