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ERIC Number: ED357843
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Pages: 45
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Adoption: The Reconstruction of Unshared Pasts into a Shared Present and a Projected Future.
Eheart, Brenda Krause; Power, Martha Bauman
To illustrate the problems and possibilities in the adoption of older special needs children, two case studies based largely on informal interviews are presented. The case studies describe the experiences of two families, one of which adopted a mentally retarded 9-year-old boy with severe facial deformities while the other adopted an 11-year-old boy with a history of abuse and severe emotional and behavioral problems. The families' experiences are recounted from perspectives of: (1) the implied objective past, that is, the past that must have been and is remembered; (2) the symbolically reconstructed past, which redefines past events so that they have meaning and utility for the present; (3) the social structural past, which structures the experiences found in the present and conditions the future; and (4) the mythical past, which refers to symbolic creations used to manipulate social relationships. The families' experiences were also examined in the context of postmodern theory, which sees individuals as having an absence of reflection on the past and a perceived inability to control the future. Letters from the two families that describe reactions to their adoption experiences are included. The case studies show that without the benefit of a shared past for families and adopted children, the connecting of past, present, and anticipated future can be problematic, leading to misunderstandings and disruptions in everyday life. (AC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A