Focusing on developmental and clinical issues in children's adjustment to adoption, the authors introduce this volume with an overview of historical and contemporary perspectives, then explore various theories that have addressed the issue of psychological risk associated with adoption. Following a review of empirical research on factors that influence the adjustment process, the authors discuss different types of adoption, analyze methodological problems, and discuss clinical and assessment issues that commonly arise in work with adoptees and their families.
In the first half of this century, adoption practice in this country was based, to a large extent, on three primary principles: secrecy, anonymity, and sealing of records. Adoption agencies went to great lengths to prevent birth parents and adoptive parents from meeting one another and sharing identifying information. At the time of adoption, all records of the proceeding, including the original birth certificate, were sealed by court order, and an amended birth certificate for the child was issued to the adoptive parents. These confidential adoption practices, which were supported by statutory law, were instituted by social workers in the belief that they would protect the child from the stigma of illegitimacy, preserve the birth mother's anonymity, protect her from the stigma ...