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International Adoptions

International Adoptions

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Published by Alan Challoner
The UK government published updated guidance to local authorities in England in February 2011 which made it clear that ethnicity and race should not be barriers to adoption. For many people this initiative will be a relief but there are still important issues to be considered and making the process easier from an administrative standpoint does not necessarily make it easier for the child that is to be adopted and the family who wishes to adopt a child from another culture. This paper outlines the research that ought to be considered during the processes of initiating applications for international adoption.
The UK government published updated guidance to local authorities in England in February 2011 which made it clear that ethnicity and race should not be barriers to adoption. For many people this initiative will be a relief but there are still important issues to be considered and making the process easier from an administrative standpoint does not necessarily make it easier for the child that is to be adopted and the family who wishes to adopt a child from another culture. This paper outlines the research that ought to be considered during the processes of initiating applications for international adoption.

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Published by: Alan Challoner on Feb 25, 2011
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02/26/2011

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International Adoptions -Dependency & Socialisation
Alan Challoner MA (Phil.) MChS
“ ... the best that any individual scientist ... can do seems to be to follow his owngleam and his own bent, however inadequate they may be.”Edward Tolman, 1959Abstracted from:
For Want of a Better Good 
- ©
 
International Adoptions - Dependency & Socialisation
Alan Challoner MA(Phil.) MChS  © 
Preface
The government published updated guidance to local authorities in England in February2011 which made it clear that ethnicity and race should not be barriers to adoption.For many people this initiative will be a relief but there are still important issues to beconsidered and making the process easier from an administrative standpoint does notnecessarily make it easier for the child that is to be adopted and the family who wishesto adopt a child from another culture.The decision to adopt is not an easy one to take.  There are very many things toconsider especially when cultural issues are to be considered.  However, what may notbe realised is that cultural issues are involved in any adoption.
Petrinovitch maintained that one of the most important events determining themoral status of an individual occurs at birth.  At that point, an emotional levelcomes into play at which attachment occurs  the organism attains the status of personhood.  The neonate is recognized as a member of the human moralcommunity, which entitles it to respect from all moral agents who, from thatpoint on, must assume duties and responsibilities toward this moral person.  Thestatus of personhood is the biological embodiment of the social contract thatmoulds the family and community.  It represents the end point of foetaldevelopment, and signals the successful progress of the reproductive processthat drives evolution and connects us with all of nature.
1
There are many issues that are brought to bear on how the influence of earlyexperience characterises a child’s eventual behavioural characteristics.  These include:traumatic neonatal events, nutrition, contact with human culture, various forms of sensory deprivation and diminished opportunities for motor exercise.  These have beenclassified by Beach and Jaynes (1954), into at least four sub-groups:1. traditional concern with the relative contribution of maturation and learningbehaviour development;2. certain psychoanalytic theories regarding infantile experiences (e.g., limitedfeeding responses);3. the special type of learning that Lorenz called ‘imprinting’;4. the importance of early perceptual experiences upon subsequent performance inlearning situations.
2
Investigations into child-rearing practices in different cultures and sub-cultures has beenundertaken by many but this work has been undertaken in our own cultural setting by
1
 
Petrinovitch, L.
 
Darwinian Dominion
.  MIT Press  1999. pp5.
2
 
Beach, F. A.; & Jaynes, J.
Effects of early experience upon the behaviour of animals.
Psychological Bulletin
, ,
51
; [pp., 239-263]; 1954.
2
 
International Adoptions - Dependency & Socialisation
Alan Challoner MA(Phil.) MChS  © 
Davis and Havighurst (1947)
3
, Milner (1951)
4
, and Williams and Scott (1953)
5
.  Of interest here is Milner’s study that examined the relationship between reading readinessin first-grade children and patterns of parent-child interaction.  Milner found that uponschool entrance the lower-class child seems to lack chiefly two advantages enjoyed bythe middle-class child.
The first
is described as “a warm positive family atmosphere or adult-relationship pattern which is more and more being recognized as a motivationalprerequisite of any kind of adult-controlled learning.”  The lower-class children inMilner’s study perceived adults as predominantly hostile.
The second
advantage is an extensive opportunity to interact verbally withadults in the family.  The latter point is illustrated by parental attitudes toward mealtimeconversation, lower-class parents tending to inhibit and discourage such conversation,while middle-class parents encourage it.There are probably more adoptions undertaken in cross-cultural situations than manypeople realise and now it is more common for international adoptions to take placewhen the child to be adopted is no longer an infant and has been exposed to at least itsindigenous culture and possibly that of an institution.  It is important for potentialadoptive parents to try and understand how a child can be better understood and how itcan be helped to deal with its life-changing transition.Other important issues that are beyond culture also have to taken into consideration.Children awaiting international adoption and families travelling to adopt these childrencan be exposed to a variety of infectious diseases.  foreign countries often havedifferent immunization practices and methods of diagnosing, treating, and monitoringdisease.  Reporting of medical conditions can also differ.The prevalence of infectious diseases varies from country to country and may or maynot be common among adopted children.  The transmission of tuberculosis, hepatitis B,and measles from adopted children to family members has been documented.Furthermore, infectious organisms (e.g., intestinal parasites), bacterial pathogens (e.g.,Bordetella pertussis and Treponema pallidum), and viruses (e.g., humanimmunodeficiency virus and hepatitis viruses) may cause clinically significant morbidityand mortality among infected children.Diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome or avian influenza have not beenreported among international adoptees, but transmission is possible if infection ispresent.  Family members may be infected by others during travel or by their adoptedchild after returning home.  Families preparing to adopt a child from abroad should payspecial attention to the infectious diseases they may encounter and to the precautionsthey should take on returning home.
6
3
 
Davis, W. A., And Havighurst, R. J.
Father of the Man: How Your Child Gets HisPersonality 
. Boston, USA, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1947.
4
 
Milner, E. A.
A Study of the Relationships Between Reading Readiness in Grade OneSchool Children & Patterns of Parent-Child Interaction.
Child Developmen
,
22
; [pp., 95-112]; 1951.
5
 
Williams, Judith R.; & Scott, R. B.
Growth & Development of Negro Infants: IV. Motordevelopment & its relationship to child rearing practices in two groups of negro infants.
Child Developmen
,
24
; [pp., 103-121]; 1953.
6
 
.  International adoption: issues in infectious diseases.
.
 2006 Sep;26(9):1207-20.
3

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