Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Are adoptive parents more attentive than biological parents?
The guest of honor was the size of a Honeybaked ham and just as sweet. After months of fervent prayers and false starts, Doug and Cheryl's dreams of adopting a child had finally come true. They named their son Alexander James, but everyone calls him AJ. At AJ's welcome-home party, I looked around the room. Strangers hugged and family members cried as the little man slept securely in his daddy's arms. I had no doubt love is thicker than blood. AJ was finally home.
From Doug and Cheryl to Angelina and Brad, it seems as if everyone is adopting these days. A recent survey found that up to 4 percent of U.S. households include adopted children. That number is expected to increase, so I was interested to read about a new study that finds adoptive parents invest more time and financial resources in their children compared with biological parents. (See Full Study)
Intrigued, I called one of the researchers, Dr. Brian Powell at Indiana University. He says that, ironically, the challenges adoptive parents face actually set the stage for them to excel in parenting. "Society often tells people that adoption isn't normal," says Dr. Powell. As a result, he says, adoptive parents often spend more time with their children, know their friends and their friends' parents and are more involved with school activities.
Dr. Powell also believes this study could change public policy and the way adoption is handled in the courts. The legal system usually bases its decisions on what's in the best interest of the child. Historically, it's been assumed that in most instances children are better off with their biological parents and that adoption should be considered only as a last resort. These new findings, say Dr. Powell, could change the way the legal system handles international adoptions (for example, by older, single parents) and adoptions by same-sex couples.
I want to know what you think. Do you think adoptive parents invest more in their kids than biological parents? Also, do you think this study will change the debate when it comes to same-sex adoption?
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