Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work




Adoption, Adopted children



Physical Description

1 online resource (129 p.)


The study examined differences in the adoption process between successful and unsuccessful adoptions. The focus of the study was on how much information the parents received about the child prior to placement and on related aspects of the process by which a child is placed in an adoptive home. All information for this study was gathered from the records kept on each child who is placed.

The procedure used was to examine the records of successful and unsuccessful adoptions in three stages. First, an assessment was made of amount and type of information available in the records. It was found that only a scanty amount of information-about the actual placement process, concerning the period just prior to the child actually staying in the home of the adoptive couple, was recorded. Second, a pretest of the data collection on key variables was undertaken. It was found that it was possible to separate positive and negative types of information in both recorded and conveyed information. Third, seven successful and seven unsuccessful cases from the year 1971-72 were examined for the variables chosen, namely negative and positive information in the record and negative and positive information conveyed. Each record was searched, the variables rated, and ratings were coded.

Results showed no difference between successful and unsuccessful adoptions, in the amounts of either positive or negative information in the record. However, there was more positive information conveyed in successful cases than in unsuccessful cases; despite the small sample this was statistically significant at the 1 percent level by Fisher exact probability. There was also a tendency toward greater conveyance of negative information in successful cases than in unsuccessful ones.

One hypothesis formulated as a result of this study is that the identity formation of the older adoptive child is closely related to the adoptive parents knowledge of the child's background. If an adequate amount of information about the child and his background is conveyed to the adoptive parents, they are then able to help the child become part of a new family. Thus, the more information about the child and his background is conveyed, the more likely the adoption is to succeed.

A review of the literature covered two areas, comparative practices regarding conveyance of information in the adoption process and the role played by information in the developmental tasks of the adopted child, particularly in identity formation.


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A research practicum submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Social Work, Portland State University.

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