By Lydia Lambert
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Additional resources for Children in Changing Families: A Study of Adoption and Illegitimacy
One result of the decIine in the birthrate has been that iIIegitimate births as a proportion of all births have increased (Hartiey, 1975; GiII, 1977). Various explanations have been profferred to account for these farreaching changes. The Finer Report (DHSS, 1974), which is as much a comment on contemporary marriage as it is on one-parent families, summarises the key associated factors which have accompanied The Family 25 change in marriage habits and fertility as (I) the changing situation and status of women, (2) the weakening of the authority of religion, (3) two world wars, which brought social and economic upheavals that provided circumstances favourable to change, and (4) the twentieth-century stance, which emphasises the welfare and happiness of individuals.
Kirk's theory states that this role handicap is reinforced by the attitudes of other people towards childlessness and adoption even after adoption has taken place (Kirk, 1964). It is possible, therefore, that parental dilemmas and stresses manifest themselves in the evolving family relationships. Adoptive parents, however, have ways of coping with such difficulties. According to Kirk, they either deny that their situation is different from that ofbiological parents or they acknowledge the difference.
However, the fact that a higher proportion of boys than girls were placed for adoption may, indeed, have meant that some adoptive parents had to modify their preferences. A number of studies have shown that adoptive parents (particularly husbands) prefer to adopt girls rather than boys (Leahy, 1933; Brenner, 1951; JafTee and Fanshel, 1970; Kirk, 1964; Bohman, 1970). Bohman (1970), for instance, found that almost half the adoptive mothers expressed a clear sex preference and two-thirds of them wanted to adopt a girl.
Children in Changing Families: A Study of Adoption and Illegitimacy by Lydia Lambert