|dc.description.abstract||Child adoption is about the provision of families for children who cannot be cared for within the families into which they were born. It is also about experiencing parenting in which people legally assume the role of parents in respect of a person who is not their biological child. The current adoption practice in Nigeria is closed adoption, and as such, concealment of adoption information from the child is the norm.
Concealing adoption information from adoptees is a practice that has generated many problems in adoptive families that negatively affects both the adoptee and the adoptive parents, leading to disruption of the adoption process, particularly in Nigeria. These problems present a challenge to adoptive parents, and hence, the need to address the issue of communicating adoption information to adoptees in a normative and timeous manner that should lead to a more successful adoption.
The objectives of this study were: to examine perceived factors contributing to concealment of adoption information by adoptive parents from their adopted children; to identify the perceived possible implications of concealing adoption information from adoptees; to explore possible methods of sharing adoption information with adoptees; and to examine the perceived challenges of sharing adoption information with adoptees. The study was based on two theoretical frameworks: social constructionism and ecological system theories.
The study adopted a qualitative approach in the primary data collection using interviews, focus group discussions, and documentary analysis. Secondary data were collected from relevant existing documents, periodicals, and internet and bibliographic data base sources. A total of 35 participants, consisting of fifteen (15) interviewees, and twenty (20) other participants who formed 2 focus group discussions participated in the study. The study setting was South Western Nigeria, using Lagos and Oyo states. These states were selected using a purposive sampling approach. Both states were considered central to the study in terms of access to relevant information, stakeholders, institutions and ethnic diversities. Specifically, the narratives and opinions of respondents helped to explain why people conceal adoption information from their adopted children and the effects of concealment and sharing adoption related information. The data were coded under themes based on the objectives of the study.
Findings of this study revealed that people concealed adoption information from their adopted children due to societal perceptions towards adoption, cultural values relating to rearing of adopted children, cultural beliefs on communal values, individual fears and misconceptions, scarcity of information on adoption from adoption agencies, and confidentiality factors. The possible implications of concealment included emotional problems such as adoptees getting depressed, being demoralized, being devastated, being traumatized and manifesting violent behaviours on hearing about their adoption status from third parties. There were also, social implications including withdrawal syndrome, and loss of self-esteem. It emerged from findings that the possibility of sharing adoption information depended on societal views. There were more views in support of the need to share adoption information with adoptees than those who said the information should not be shared. The views that adoption information be shared were anchored on the fact that it could help the emotional stability and early adjustment of adoptees which could cement the adoption, and minimize the problems which could arise from concealing the information. The views that adoption information should be concealed were based on the fear that it might create instability in the child’s relationship with adoptive parents.
Sharing the information is the foundation of love and care and a good relationship between the parents and the child. This could make the child more appreciative of the parents than becoming violent on hearing about his/her adoption. Thus, love, care and a good relationship between the parents and the child should be the foundation for the sharing of adoption information.
The study findings provide enough evidence of the need to share positive adoption information with the adoptee, as well as the need for a policy statement on the issue. In addition, far reaching policy recommendations are made including: government involvement through comprehensive adoption policy; government and non-government backed public enlightenment adoption campaign; and recommendations for social work practice and professionals. Lastly, a framework for sharing adoption information with adoptees is proposed in this study.||en_US