When in Doubt, Count: World War II as a Watershed in the History of Adoption
ADOPTION IN AMERICA: HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES, Wayne Carp, ed., pp. 181-217, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002
37 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2009
Date Written: 2002
This article is the first historical, longitudinal statistical study of adoption triad members - birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parent - and of adoption agencies' policies, which uses the confidential case records of an adoption agency. By sampling one out of every ten case records of the Children's Home Society of Washington's 21,500 case records from 1895 to 1973, this essay hopes to fill this gap in our knowledge of adoption agencies' constituencies and practices, with preliminary findings that can be tested by future historical studies of adoption agencies. Another goal of this essay is to use statistical data to test the thesis that World War II marked a third watershed in the history of adoption, following the Massachusetts Adoption Act of 1851 and the beginnings of adoption reform and the sentimentalization of adoption during the Progressive era.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation