Parents of international adoptees are encouraged to provide ethnic socialization for their children. Retrospective evidence from adult adoptees suggests this is important for identity development, particularly among transracially adopted persons. However little is known about ethnic identity development among children placed internationally in in-racial placements. It is unknown whether a focus on... read moreethnic socialization by the adoptive family might further distinguish an adopted child as different, or relate to an adoptee's increased perception of adoption visibility. The current study examined the ethnic identity development of 31 adoptees ages 11-18 in in-racial international adoptive placements. Adoption visibility, perceived self-competence, and affiliation with the adoptee's country-of-origin ethnic group and the adoptive family's ethnic group were assessed using an online questionnaire. The survey was completed by both the adoptee and the adoptive parent. Analyses of responses indicates that the majority of adoptees do not feel highly visible with respect to physical dissimilarity and have positive feelings about adoption and their birth countries. The vast majority of parents indicate that they have provided the right amount of exposure to the adoptee's culture of origin. However, adoptees who affiliate more strongly with the ethnicity and culture of their birth countries have higher perceived self-competence than those who affiliate more strongly with the culture of their adoptive families. This suggests that ethnic socialization is important for all adoptive families regardless of racial identification. Further analysis will explore parental exposure to birth country culture as related to geographic area, as well as other relational factors like parent-child relationship closeness. Implications for policy and practice for families with in-racial placements will be discussed.read less
Matthews, Jessica A.K. and Ellen E. Pinderhughes. "Ethnic Racial Socialization Among Inracial International Adoptive Placements." Poster presented at the Rudd-REFCA 2016 Conference, UMass Amherst, May 13, 2016.