Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Survey Says . . .

Finally! The results of the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents have been published, and there are lots of interesting data. The survey compares results according to types of adoption -- from foster care, from private domestic, and from international -- and to the population as a whole. A limitation of the survey is that it is based on self-reporting by adoptive parents, with no independent verification of the things reported.

A few of what the report identifies as the key findings:

* Most adopted children (85 percent) are in excellent or very good health. At the same time, the parents of 26 percent of adopted children report that their child experiences moderate or severe consequences of any of 16 possible medical or psychological conditions. Adopted children are more likely than children in the general population to have health insurance (95 compared with 91 percent) and to have had insurance continuously over the previous 12 months (91 compared with 85 percent). The incidence of special health care needs is about twice as high in the population of adopted children as it is among the general population of U.S. children (39 compared with 19 percent).

* The majority of adopted children also fare well according to measures of social and emotional well-being. For example, only a small minority of adopted children have ever been diagnosed with disorders such as attachment disorder, depression, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder(ADD/ADHD), or behavior or conduct disorder. Furthermore, 88 percent of adopted children ages 6 and older exhibit positive social behaviors. However, compared to the general population of children, adopted children are more likely to have ever been diagnosed with—and to have moderate or severe symptoms of—depression, ADD/ADHD, or behavior/conduct disorder.

* The majority of adopted children have enriching experiences in their families, and they are more likely to have some of these positive experiences than children in the general population. For example, they are more likely to be read to every day as young children (68 compared with 48 percent in the general population), sung to or told stories every day as young children (73 compared with 59 percent), or to participate in extracurricular activities as school-age children (85 compared with 81 percent). However, a minority of adopted children have parents who report parental aggravation (for example, feeling the child was difficult to care for, or feeling angry with the child). Parental aggravation is more common among parents of adopted children than among parents in the general U.S. population (11 compared with 6 percent).

* Overall, 87 percent of adopted children have parents who said they would “definitely” make the same decision to adopt their child, knowing everything then that they now know about their child. In addition, more than nine out of ten adopted children ages 5 and older have parents who perceived their child’s feelings towards the adoption as “positive” or “mostly positive.”

* Overall, four out of ten adopted children are in transracial adoptions—that is, their parents reported that both adoptive parents are (or the single adoptive parent is) of a different race, culture, or ethnicity than their child. The majority of adopted children have non-Hispanic white parents but are not themselves non-Hispanic white. Transracial adoptions are most common for children whose families adopted internationally.

There wasn't anything terribly surprising in the results, but then I've only managed to skim the report. I'll take a closer look and blog about anything that strikes me as time permits. Post your reactions in the comments, please!


osolomama said...

As I commented on the NYT piece about this research, surveys that reach only adoptive parents and comment on the adoption experiences, e.g., happiness levels, of adoptees are going to be of limited value.

Cassi said...

Oh I am so glad O Solo Mama mentioned the limited value because that has been my thought too as I have seen mention of this in more than one area today.

My questions when I read this are, where are they then getting the "opposite" information. If they are questioning adoptive parents and coming up with the statistics of how much better adoptees are than children not adopted does that mean they are presenting the same questions to those parents and using their answers in this comparision.

Or are they taking different statistics for children who are not adopted while allowing adoptive parents to answer for themselves and their children.

Unless you are taking the same approach to both statistics and findings, you can't even claim you have any kind of true data for any kind of study.

At least that is my opinion and two cents worth.

Sue said...

I wonder why adoptive parents are more aggravated than non-adoptive parents!!!!

윤선 said...

Just out of curiosity, why do people bother with surveys like this? Does it make you adoptive parents feel better about your decision/s to adopt? Do you believe that if you cloud adoption with results of some random survey such as this, you can go on through life pretending as though there are adoptees who have struggled through their experiences?

I wish you luck, then, as an adoptive parent.

osolomama said...

I have no idea why they do them except I bet the agencies love 'em and it's good for business!