Critically Evaluate The Move To Open Adoption

2302 words - 10 pages

Critically discuss some of the arguments to support the move to a more open adoption practice, for the child.This essay will briefly identify the move to open adoption and it will clarify the term of "˜open adoption'. It will discuss some of the issues surrounding this, namely, identity, self-concept, and work around attachment theory and arguments for and against to support this practice.The first adoption legislation in England and Wales was the "˜Adoption of Children Act' 1926. A veil of secrecy was drawn over the adopted child's origin, based on the effect of adoption as severing all links between the adopted child and their birth family. However in the last 20 years there ...view middle of the document...

The issue of "˜identity' is prevalent in literature. Erickson (1968) defined identity as a "˜subjective sense of invigorating sameness and continuity'. Researchers in the field have emphasised the dynamic organisation of part identities into the whole. Tizard and Phoenix (1993) suggests the idea of a plural, rather than this single identity, the "˜self' made up of personal, physical, social, genealogical, racial or ethnic. As an example, the centrality of physical identity is illustrated by the fact that for many of those who set out in search of a birth parent, one of their main wishes is "˜to see what she/he looks like' (Triselotis 1973).The expression, "˜genealogical bewilderment' has been used to describe the state of confusion and uncertainty experienced by the child who either has no knowledge of his or her natural parents or only uncertain knowledge of them (Sants, 1991). Sorosky et al. (1974) argues that many people cannot realise their full identity until they have information about their birth parents."˜For some, the existing block to the past may create the feeling that there is a block to the future as well.' (Sorosky, cited in "˜Adoption, search and reunion, 2000, p.16).Triselotis argues with commitment that full honesty and knowledge are necessary for the individual to be able to build and inhabit a strong identity. Tied in with this is knowledge of culture, history, language and traditions which are part of the adoptee's birth family but are not, necessarily, part of the adoptive family's heritage.Identity on children into transracial adoptions is more compounded. The child has to make sense of their place in a world where, every day, the differences are manifest, where frequently they will have to struggle with the fact of racism, yet may feel isolated in a family which does not share that experience. Phinney (1990) suggests that an ability to manage and deal with racism is the major prerequisite for the establishment of a satisfying ethnic identity within overall identity formation. Barn (1999) argues that if the adoptee has experienced a silence around the issues of origin, birth parents, racial differences or even adoption itself, this may make it more difficult to open the subject and explore what it means or feels. Mallow (1994) suggests that a general openness can preclude many of these problems and open adoption can eradicate them entirely. Craven et al. (1994) argues that openness can help meet the identity needs of minority ethnic adoptees in white families a view, which finds support from Fratters (1996) study. Fratter concludes that openness may well both improve the quality of transracial adoption and yet still work better within same-race placements.Ryburn (1998) holds that a person's self-concept will depend critically on the amount of information that we have about ourselves, which for those who are adopted will include the amount of information that is available concerning...

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