Month: November 2010

Adoption: “Studies on How to Take Babies”

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A literature review was recently done on a collection of peer-reviewed journal articles on natural mothers published between 1978 and 2008. The results of this literature review were published as part of a masters thesis on trauma and are reprinted here with permission of the author.

In this literature review, 98 articles were identified, and 91 of them obtained.  The author did a thematic analysis of the articles, using grounded theory to identify the themes present in these articles.  Nine themes were identified, including search and reunion, the surrender experience, open adoption relationships, and advice for professionals.  But there were two main themes in this literature that were found to be above and beyond all others in terms of frequency. I am going to quote directly from the thesis:

” There were found to be two main themes in literature on natural mothers.  These can be viewed as two “streams” of research, as the articles within a stream mainly refer to other work and prior research within that one stream.  The first stream (43 articles) examines the consequences of surrender on the mother. The second stream (32 articles) examines factors that may predict and/or influence rates of surrender, often stating with concern that surrender rates have declined significantly and should be increased.  The latter stream contains three main sub-themes: factors (socio-demographic, educational, attitudinal, familial, or economic) that distinguish mothers who surrender their babies from mothers who keep their babies, surveys to determine what would encourage expectant mothers to consider adoption, and comparisons of differing agency practices and their effects on surrender rates.”

Let’s come to the point and put it into more concrete terms:  These 32 articles are on how to take babies.

The author of this thesis provides a list of some of these articles (below, reprinted with  permission).   So, seeing these, how can anyone believe that a “decision” about adoption is free from influence, coercion, or manipulation?   When agencies have 30 years worth of research on how to increase the likelihood a mother will surrender her child, is she really making an informed decision completely of her own free will?

Article

Summary

Bachrach, Stolley, & London (1992) Analysis – how demographic/economic/social trends affect and predict future surrender rates, plus factors distinguishing mothers who surrender from those who don’t.
Baran, Pannor, & Sorosky (1976) Results from a focus group on how to increase adoption:  Open adoption can persuade single mothers to surrender.
Barth (1987) Research on adolescent girls and mothers: how to make adoption more appealing. Recommends open adoption as a way to encourage more adolescent mothers to surrender.
Berry (1991, 1993) Study on effects of open adoption on family members and relationships.  Suggests that open adoption can benefit adoptive parents by enticing more mothers to surrender.
Caragata (1999) Examines teen pregnancy as an economic problem.’  Suggests open adoption to entice more mothers to surrender, that adoption should be “restructured,” and that meeting with prospective adopters might prevent a mother from “changing her mind”
Chippendale-Bakker & Foster (1996) Studies of what demographic/economic/social factors distinguish mothers who surrender from those who don’t.
Cocozelli (1989) Research – what situational variables predict surrender rates.  plus factors distinguishing mothers who surrender from those who don’t (life plans, social worker visits, sign consent before delivery)
Custer (1993) Research on influencing attitudes, beliefs and decision-making about adoption among pregnant adolescents.  Found that deterrents to surrender include:  fear of harm to baby, social disapproval, feeling that it shows lack of responsibility, lack of knowledge of benefits, “failure of professionals to actively initiate discussion of adoption with clients,” and anticipated psychological discomfort.  Suggests that these issues be actively addressed in “social programs and political interventions.”
Daly (1994) Research on adolescents to find out what keeps them from considering adoption.  Recommends agencies do educational and public relations programs to explain the benefits of adoption, promote open adoption, and conduct face-to-face outreach programs to adolescents.
Donnelly & Voydanoff (1991) Research on pregnant adolescents and new mothers: attitudes, demographics, relationships, experiences, and perceptions of early pregnancy distinguishing mothers who surrender from those who don’t.   Suggests programs to present benefits and “promote positive attitudes towards adoption” as those who surrender have more positive attitudes than those who don’t.
Dworkin, Harding, & Schreiber (1993) Research on pregnant adolescents, regarding how adoption knowledge, social/psychological functioning, familial influences (grandmother and father of baby), and demographics correlate with surrender rates.
Geber & Resnick (1988) Research on family functioning, cohesion and adaptability differences between parenters vs. surrenderers using “FACES II” questionnaire.
Hanson (1990) Research on factors distinguishing mothers who surrender from those who don’t, to recommend early intervention based on those figures, especially to get mothers “who might exhibit poor parenting styles” to surrender.
Herr (1989) Research study on maternity home inmates to examine what affected their decision most:  parents, “decision counseling,” and peer role models who are parenting.
Kallen, Griffore, Popovich, & Powell (1990) Research study on attitudes towards adoption and open adoption in mothers who surrendered, mothers who don’t, and their own mothers. .
Kalmuss, Namerow, & Bauer (1992) Research study on socio-demographics, family, education differences of mothers who surrender vs. those who don’t.   Plus 6-month outcomes on life satisfaction, outlook, relationships, etc.
Leon (1999) Instructions to physicians on treating surrendering mothers, including how to promote adoption to pregnant mothers.
Low, Moely, & Willis (1989) Research factors distinguishing mothers who surrender from those who do not, in terms of parental influence and vocational goals.
Miller & Coyl (2000) Analysis of how demographic/economic/social trends affect and predict future surrender rates, plus factors distinguishing mothers who surrender from those who don’t.
Moore & Davidson (2002) Socio-psychological influences (family background, peers), cognitive functions, beliefs, and decision-making in pregnant adolescents, to determine how to best influence decision-making processes as part of “adoption education” of adolescents and promoting “more reasoned choices” (i.e. adoption) for pregnant teens
Namerow, Kalmuss, & Cushman (1993) Research on what social, demographic, beliefs, and attitudinal factors influenced the pregnancy decision.
Resnick (1984) Overview/analysis of research on decision-making and what distinguishes mothers who surrender from those who keep. Mentions sociological, psychological, factors.
Resnick, Blum, Bose, Smith, & Toogood (1990) Studies of demographic/economic/social factors distinguishing mothers who surrender from those who don’t, including their views on adoption vs. parenting vs. abortion.
Sobol & Daly (1992) Overview and summary of the literature and findings: Factors influencing adolescents’ decisions about adoption.  How to get more babies surrendered:  Promote open adoption; make surrender easier; encourage pregnancy counsellors to suggest adoption; and present more “options” to make adoption more attractive.
Warren & Johnson (1989) Research on factors distinguishing mothers who surrender from those who don’t.
Weinman, Robinson, Simmons, Schreiber, & Stafford (1989) Research on mothers who initially planned to surrender but then decided to keep their babies: decision-making process, demographic/psycho-social and health differences, and treatment plans.
Weir (2000) Research on what familial, developmental and peer barriers might prevent mothers from surrendering, and suggests how to remove them through group and family therapy.

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New URL: Adoptioncritic.com

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Well, gradually I’m changing this blog, to make it more “user friendly” for readers while trying to keep costs down.   So, I’m pleased to announce this new update:

http://adoptioncritic.com

The old URL of https://cedartrees.wordpress.com will still forward over here, but this new URL is more in line with the theme of this blog.  And hopefully will be simpler to type and remember.

And to all my readership, many thanks for your words of support and encouragement!  Love you too!  🙂

P.S. At the same time, I’m going to change over to a different theme.  Even though the Greyzd” WordPress theme has an artistic edginess that I absolutely adore, I think the “artsy” aspects of it may be a bit too “busy” and distracting.   So, back to something a little less pretty, but perhaps  more readable.  The content, not the cuteness, is what is important.