This nonjudgmental, inclusive, and far-reaching text focuses on the diverse patterns of family structure prevalent in our society today. Family Diversity presents empirical research on the internal dynamics, social environments, support factors, prevalence of discrimination, and common stereotypes that account for the issues surrounding current family relations. By examining the history and nature of foster and adoptive, single-parent, lesbian/gay, step- and grandparent family units, Pauline Irit Erera is able to challenge both the idealized family prototype and the hegemony of the traditional structure.
Chapter 3: Adoptive Families
Adoption is a legal procedure whereby a person who is not a child's birth parent becomes the child's legal parent, acquiring the rights and assuming the responsibilities of a parent (Carrieri, 1991). Adoptions may be arranged independently (without agency supervision) or through either public or private agencies. The agencies investigate both the child's parentage and the suitability of the adoptive family. Placements are then reviewed by a court, which then issues a new birth certificate designating the adoptive parents as the parents. In addition to the legal arrangements, adoption is also a highly significant social event and a lifelong process.
About half of all adoptions today are by stepparents. These stepparent adoptions are considered here only in passing, because the issues relating to ...