Ellen E. Pinderhughes
Each year, about 120,000 children are adopted (National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, 2003). Adoption, which involves the legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from birth parents to adoptive parents, is becoming more widely known and accepted. The adopted child, adoptive parents, and birth parents constitute the adoption triad: three persons who are profoundly affected by this process. Although an estimated 2% to 4% of children in the United States are adopted, 65% of the population in the United States is touched by adoption, as a relative, friend, or member of the adoption triad (Evan B. Donaldson Institute, 2002). There are four critical areas of variation in adoption: age of the child at placement, how the placement was facilitated, degree of cultural differences between the adoptee and adoptive family, and degree of openness in the adoptive placement. Children placed for adoption range in age from infants, placed at birth or after ...