A story in yesterday’s New York Times discussed a new study by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute titled: ”Beyond Culture Camp: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption” by Hollee McGinnis, Susan Livingston Smith, Dr. Scott D. Ryan and Dr. Jeanne A. Howard. The study focuses on a group of adults who were adopted in Korea and raised in the United States. The Times story is available here; the Executive Summary and the full report will be available from the Donaldson Institute here.
Here’s an excerpt from the Executive Summary of the study:
This ground-breaking study by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, to our knowledge, constitutes the largest, most extensive examination of identity development in adopted adults in the U.S. And it does so by asking the experts – adult adoptees – about the experiences, strategies and choices that promote positive identity development. Too often, our understanding of identity, particularly of those adopted across race/ethnicity, has been formed through research only on children and youth. Similarly, conclusions about identity in transracial adoption too often have come from the perspective of parents, not adoptees themselves. The Institute’s study focuses on adult adopted persons, gaining their understanding of how they have integrated “being adopted” and their race/ethnicity with other aspects of themselves that, together, form an identity.
Although 468 adopted adults completed the online survey at the heart of this research (making it, to our knowledge, the largest study ever conducted of adopted adults in the U.S. to focus on identity), for the purposes of comparison, this paper concentrates on the 179 respondents born in South Korea and adopted by two White parents, and the 156 Caucasian respondents born in the U.S. and adopted by two White parents. For this analysis we chose these two groups, who constituted over 70 percent of our respondents, to make them as homogeneous as possible for comparison purposes. It is also noteworthy that South Koreans comprise the largest group of internationally adopted persons in the U.S., and adoption from South Korea into the U.S. has a longer history than from any other nation; indeed, 1 in 10 of all Korean American citizens came to this country through adoption.