A Theoretical Framework for Understanding Ethnic Socialization Among International Adoptees
The number of American families who choose international adoption has grown dramatically during the past decade, yet concern remains about separating children from their racial/ethnic/cultural groups of origin. Findings suggest adoptive parents face a complex task in socializing their children to their birth culture: direct effect of family ethnic/racial socialization and positive developmental outcome among minority children is demonstrated, yet the effect of overemphasis of ethnic socialization poses the possibility that excessive parental emphasis is counterproductive to children’s developmental and overall psychological well-being. The authors believe an important direction for social work in international adoption practice is to develop specific recommendations for parents as a “roadmap” for guiding the process of ethnic socialization for their adopted children that will enhance the child’s self-esteem and psychosocial development, support and encourage their sense of ethnic and racial pride, and nurture their sense of belonging with their adoptive family.
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