Journal Issue: Adoption Volume 3 Number 1 Spring 1993
Long-term Outcomes in Adoption
It has long been the conventional wisdom that adopted children suffer from more psychological, behavioral, and adjustment problems than do nonadopted children. Brodzinsky, focusing on infant-placing, same-race adoption, states that considerable debate still exists over whether adoptees do or do not have those problems to a greater degree than do nonadopted children. Problems that appear to be more prevalent when studied in clinical settings are not found in nonclinical (community-based) settings. Problems that do appear significantly more frequently when adopted children reach age 5 to 7 years of age (but not before) tend to improve or disappear at around age 12. And studies on adolescents, who are usually considered to be the most vulnerable, have yielded conflicting results, compounded by the fact that adopted adolescents do appear to be referred to mental health professionals more readily than are nonadopted adolescents, often being referred for relatively minor problems.
Brodzinsky discusses the difficulties which attend doing research on a circumstance as private and varied as adoption and addresses very frankly the methodological problems in much of the research done to date. Nevertheless he concludes that the research supports the view that, while adoptees are at increased risk for various psychological, behavioral, and academic problems compared with nonadopted children, the majority of adoptees are well within the normal range of adjustment.
At the conclusion of this journal issue, what seems remarkable is the degree of consistency in favorable outcome in such widely differing types of adoption as special needs, international, transracial, transethnic, and inracial. Once again, these outcomes add strong support for adoption as the preferred solution for parentless children. In addition, they may also reflect the extraordinary strength of the adoptive bond.