The British Chinese Adoption Study: planning a study of lifecourse and outcomes


Feast J, Grant M, Rushton A & Simmonds J (2013) The British Chinese Adoption Study: planning a study of lifecourse and outcomes. European Journal of Social Work, 16 (3), pp. 344-359.

Follow-up studies of adopted adults are very important in contributing to the development of policy and practice when placing children in families following early adversity. This article describes the development of a methodology for one such study due to be completed in 2012. The files of 100 ethnic Chinese girls adopted from Hong Kong into British families in the 1960s were made available and originally analysed in 2007. As the files recorded data on the children's pre-adoption experiences including orphanage care, this provided an opportunity to explore a well-established hypothesis that early orphanage experience has an enduring effect on later outcomes. However, given this group of women are now in their 40s and 50s, identifying these outcomes may offer a much longer term perspective to that usually available in research studies of this kind. This article reports the findings from an analysis of the information held on these files. It then discusses the benefits and challenges of developing a robust methodology for a follow-up study that compares this group of women with other adopted and non-adopted groups of a similar age and in particular explores how post-adoption experiences across the lifespan might moderate the effects of early adversity. Following up this group of women into their middle years and using data available about their early experiences provides a unique opportunity to test and challenge existing theories about the long-term consequences of international adoption. This will help to inform both policy and direct social work practice when children are being considered and placed through international adoption today.

Transracial Adoption; Intercountry Adoption; Orphanage; Longitudinal Study; Developmental Study

European Journal of Social Work: Volume 16, Issue 3

FundersThe Nuffield Foundation and The Sir Halley Stewart Trust
Publication date31/12/2013
Publication date online24/02/2012
Date accepted by journal21/11/2011
PublisherInforma UK Limited

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