By Carole R. Smith (auth.)
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Additional resources for Adoption and Fostering: Why and How
What has not been demonstrated either theoretically or empirically is how and why adoption may relieve psychodynamic blocks to conception and as Mai (1971) points out, even those authors providing detailed case studies have not shown how this mechanism is supposed to work. Without adequate explanation, it seems equally likely that adoption would reinforce the significance of such factors rather than removing them. A large number of empirical studies have set out to measure the impact of adoption on infertility, by following up infertile patien ts who have subsequently adopted and comparing their conception rate with that of couples who have chosen not to adopt.
Fourthly, we must recognise those areas in which difficulties may arise for adopted children. Clinical studies have based their conclusions on information about a selected group of children referred to child psychiatric services, rather than on an assessment of the actual frequency of emotional problems among adopted, as compared to non-adopted children. Where problems are indicated, for example in the case of boys adopted as only children into middle-class families or in relation to age of children on placement, a combination of several factors seems likely to influence outcome.
Different aspects of early developmental experiences have a differential impact on the specific nature of problems at a later stage. Several points may be extracted from Rutter's detailed discussion. First, undue emphasis has been placed on the mother-child relationship - the crucial factor is the quality of the relationship itself and other people may have more significance in this respect. Secondly, experience of multiple caretakers is not necessarily problematic provided the standard of care is good and caretaking individuals remain the same.