Title page for ETD etd-06122003-151315

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Linville, Deanna Christine
Author's Email Address dlinvill@vt.edu
URN etd-06122003-151315
Title Family Experiences Concerning Adopting a Previously Institutionalized Child from Russia or Romania
Degree PhD
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Johnson, Scott W. Committee Chair
Albers, Lisa Committee Member
Piercy, Fred P. Committee Member
Prouty, Anne M. Committee Member
Sawyers, Janet K. Committee Member
  • Eastern European adoption experiences
  • international adoption
  • family therapy
  • post-institutionalized children
Date of Defense 2003-05-12
Availability unrestricted
The number of families choosing to adopt a child internationally in the United States has increased exponentially on an annual basis (Johnson, 1997; Miller, 2000). The purpose of this study was to understand the adoption process experiences of families who have adopted a child between the ages of three and five years old from Russia or Romania after 1992. In this clinical sample, all participants’ adopted children had been referred for and undergone neuropsychological, medical, speech, and/or language evaluation. Specifically, the research questions were designed to help therapists understand the role mental health care professionals, schools, family members, and friends played in the adoption process and how the participants’ experiences compared with their preadoptive expectations. Twenty families were interviewed and several observations were conducted. Data analysis consisted of thematic analysis which elicited codes and themes across the interviews. This study’s findings suggest that: 1) parents would have found more preparation before adoption helpful in the process; 2) health care professionals and schools need to be better educated about problems, concerns, and appropriate treatments specific to post-institutionalized children; 3) raising (a) special needs child(ren) puts significant strain on the caregiver(s) and their significant relationships; and 4) families with special needs children are extremely resilient. These findings are important for education and healthcare professionals, families who are planning to adopt internationally in the future and current adoptive families.
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