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Adoption Across the Life Span
Transcript of Adoption Across the Life Span
-When compared to adopted infants, biological infants had a more alert expression, smiled more, and were more likely to explore the environment.
-When compared to biological mothers, adoptive mothers had a higher instances of patting/caressing and nourishing their adopted infants. Understanding adoption:
-Feelings of loss
-Confusion with biological concepts
-Questions about being unwanted
-Thoughts about what birth families think/feel
-Tip: continue open communication Adoption in Middle childhood -Adjustment for transracially and inracially adopted children is very similar (transracially adopted children are NOT more likely to run away from home, have drug or alcohol problems, or have problems with the police)
-Males have more adjustment issues than females, regardless of race
-More adjustment issues when experiencing racial discrimination
-Children who lived in racially mixed areas had less discomfort about their appearance Adoption in Emerging Adulthood Adult Women Adoptees, age 33:
-Overall positive adult adjustment
-Socially and materially advantaged
-Employment and relationship history similar to non-adopted cohort women
-More likely to wait to have children
-Less likely to have psychological distress than birth comparison group
-Multiple sources of support Adoption in Middle Adulthood Based on a research study comparing the cognitive abilities of twins reared together and apart, there was no clear difference in performance. Overall, younger cohorts did better than older cohorts on the survey, but adoption does not appear to strongly affect the cognitive abilities in late adulthood. Beijersbergen, B. D., Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2012). Remaining or becoming secure: Parental sensitive support predicts attachment continuity from infancy to adolescence in a longitudinal adoption study. Developmental Psychology, 48(5), 1277-1282.
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Finkel, D., Pedersen, N. L., Plomin, R., & McClearn, G. E. (1998). Longitudinal and cross-sectional twin data on cognitive abilities in adulthood: The Swedish adoption/twin study of aging. Developmental Psychology, 34(6), 1400-1413.
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Suwalsky, J. T., Hendricks, C., & Bornstein, M. H. (2008). Families by adoption and birth: II. Mother-infant socioemotional interactions. Adoption Quarterly, 11 (2), 101-125. References Future Research Question: Do individuals who cannot bear children have a higher rate of satisfaction with adoption than individuals who already have biological children? Adoption in Early Childhood -Language development: Adopted preschoolers (ages 2 ½ to 5 ½) are very capable of learning a second language, about 4 times the rate of infants. The process of learning a second language mimicked the language acquisition of the first (i.e. nouns come first).
-Cognitive development: Environment helps with cognitive development. Of a large group of children exposed to cocaine in utero, the children who were adopted or who lived in a non-relative foster home had higher IQ scores than the children living with parents or a relative.
-Tips for communicating about adoption: Start talking to children at a young age about being adopted to normalize the event. Preschoolers start to grasp these concepts, but continue to keep the dialogue open. Behavior Issues:
-Behavior issues can be more prevalent in this age group.
-In one study, children who were more at risk of anti-social behavior based on the biological mother’s survey received more negative parenting (either negative control or inconsistency) than the children who were not at risk.
-Parents who used negative control had children who exhibited more externalizing behaviors in all age groups (7 through 12).
-Parents who exhibited more warmth in parenting style were less controlling and inconsistent.
-Genetics may be a factor in anti-social behavior, which evokes a negative parenting response from adoptive parents. Adoption in Adolescence Open Adoption:
-Less externalizing behavior (aggression, defiance, theft...)
-Securely attached adolescents better at explaining experiences and staying objective in conflict with parents. Insecure adolescents were angry, vague, and/or cannot give positive evaluations of parents.
-Mothers of secure adolescents showed significantly more sensitive support during conflicts than did mothers of insecure adolescents
-Maternal sensitive support in adolescences can support change from insecure to secure attachment Developmental Considerations:
-Realize permanence of adoption
-More mature in understanding why adoption was necessary
-Identity development is more complicated (especially with a difference in racial backgrounds)
-Tips: communicate openly, supportively, and empathetically; give information about birth family Adult Men Adoptees, age 33:
-More challenges in adult adjustment
-More likely to have lost a job, been unemployed, or have multiple periods of unemployment
-Increased rate of dependence on benefits
-Least likely to turn to friends for social support
-Life circumstances and relationship history similar to non-adopted cohort men