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Socio-Economics of Adoption Placement, page 2

Imagine for a moment that you are a social worker, trying to find the best adoption home for a young child in foster care. Your choices are a young white couple who rent a small, crowded duplex in a blue collar section of Wadsworth, and a middle aged white couple who own a large, clean home among the horse farms of Medina County, with a big yard and a pool. Before you pick, listen to Mary Brooks, a recruitment consultant for child welfare agencies, who has been studying the qualities of families that adopt successfully...

Brooks: We found that in general, the families tend to be blue collar, perhaps average to lower education when compared nationally, and what we really think is that these are people who might not necessarily have a big wallet but they have a big heart.

Those research findings don't surprise Krissy Kolaric, who co-owns a private adoption agency in Copley...

Kolaric: We do find on a regular basis that we do have more success with lower income families or middle income. It's difficult to say why. I don't like to generalize and say anything negative about the higher income families, but I think that as far as the higher income families, they do have higher expectations of the children that are coming into their home.

pictured from L to R: The Hagy Family, Brandon and Rhonda, Mercedes (3), Talaya (infant)

Social workers have name for these higher expectations, they call it the "Porcelain Doll Syndrome," and while there are exceptions, it works like this, the higher a family's socio-economic class, the more likely they are to desire the perfect child...a child that can be put on display. When placement agencies conduct home studies of adults wanting to adopt foster children, one of the things they look for is cultural sensitivity. That's not just a code word for race, but also class...

Kolaric: And it would be difficult for example to place a child that has come from a very low-income environment and place them into a very high income environment because the cultures are so very different. The values in those homes are very different than the values in the homes these children may have come from, and that's one of the reasons adoptions do disrupt, when you place an older child that's come from such a different culture.


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