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Up Front and Personal: Adoptive Parents’ Perceptions of Their Eastern European Children’s Adoption Outcomes in Context
Today's Children Tomorrow's Parents: An Interdisciplinary Journal (2014)
  • Josephine A. Ruggiero, Providence College
U. S. parents of 70 Eastern European children participated in telephone interviews with the author in which they shared their perceptions of their children’s adoption outcomes along with information about a variety of demographic and contextual variables. The study objective was to improve understanding of the variables connected with parents’ perceptions by conducting an in-depth investigation of adoption outcomes. The author spoke personally with 46 parents of adoptees who had typically had lived in their families for at least two years at the time of the interview. Respondents rated their adoption outcomes into one of four categories: very successful, pretty successful, somewhat problematic, or very problematic. Although these respondents rated the outcomes of three out of four children a very or pretty successful, one in four of the adoption outcomes were described as somewhat or very problematic. The author provides case examples to illustrate each adoption outcome. This study 1) challenges highly optimistic reports of questionnaires which claimed parental satisfaction of U. S. adopters of Eastern European children to be in the high 90% range, 2) recognizes and supports other research indicating that a sizeable minority of Eastern European adoptees exhibit behavioral and other serious problems which may require long-term post-adoption services, and 3) addresses an important gap in the scholarly literature on adoption outcome by grounding parents’ ratings in important demographic variables including the child’s sex and age at adoption, sibling adoptions, and the number of children adopted into a single family at the time of the interview and contextual variables including respondents’ perceptions of each child’s compatibility with them, their pre-adoption expectations of each child’s adoption outcome, perceived accuracy and completeness of the information they got about each child from the agency they used, pre-adoption preparation to adopt a child from a high-risk institutional setting, access to post-adoption services, support from family and friends and perceptions of the child’s relationship with them and other family members. The author discusses the implications of this research for adoptive family functioning and for the adoptees in regard to navigating the world of intimate relationships and future parenthood.
  • adoption outcome,
  • Eastern Europe adoptees,
  • family functioning,
  • qualitative research
Publication Date
Citation Information
Josephine A. Ruggiero. "Up Front and Personal: Adoptive Parents’ Perceptions of Their Eastern European Children’s Adoption Outcomes in Context" Today's Children Tomorrow's Parents: An Interdisciplinary Journal Vol. 37-38 (2014) p. 49 - 66 ISSN: 1582-1889
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