Adoption – What Can You Believe? Exposing Two Critical Flaws in Adoption Research

I am deeply troubled by what currently passes for research in adoption. View all research in adoption with a critical eye and look for two serious issues:


Positioning: this is a term that comes from ethnographic research and asks the question, “What’s it to you?” In the case of adoption, it means, “Hey researcher, are you adopted? Are you an adoptive parent? What’s your personal investment in your research?” Be wary of research in which the authors do not specifically state their involvement in adoption. If left unaddressed, it often means they have no personal involvement and thus are not privy to the inner workings of adoption. Research like this is rife with holes-questions unasked and opportunities for discovery missed.

Kim Park Nelson, in the book Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption (2006) writes, “I am critical of researchers who do not reveal their personal stake in their research,” (p. 90). Kirsten Hoo-Mi Sloth, an adult adoptee, echoes this sentiment saying, “…research influences-or should influence-adoption policy and practice. Research results interpret adoptees’ realities. They inform our assumptions about what is right and what is wrong in adoption…We cannot leave this task to nonadopted academics alone,” (p. 253).


The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute has been calling for adoption data to be collected for years. Here is what they say about the unavailability of national adoption statistics in the United States (from their website): “The total number of adoptions each year has not been comprehensively compiled since 1992. While there are reporting mechanisms for foster care and international adoptions, states are not legally required to record the number of private, domestic adoptions.”

The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute also informs us that adoption data is not collected at the state level either in the U.S., since this has not been mandated since 2001. The next time you read an article about adoption in the U.S. written after 2001 and it states that Americans are only interested in adopting healthy white infants, be aware that there is no reliable data collected at the state or national level to support that assertion. It is merely conjecture. Nothing more than someone’s opinion or guess.


If your cable has gone out and you find yourself, late at night, hungry to read adoption research with some meaning, check out the work of:

  • Jane Jeong Trenka.
  • Julia Chinyere Oparah.
  • John Raible.
  • Sun Yung Shin.
  • Kirsten Hoo-Mi Sloth.

These authors and researchers are adult adoptees and while they will suffer the same dearth of data as all researchers do, at least they can offer us the view from inside the adoption triad. I realize I am privileging the work of adult adoptees. Theirs is an important voice, a voice long unheard in our community. Let us welcome them and listen carefully so that we might better parent our own children.

Golden Retriever Adoption – Experts’ Approach to Finding a Dog That’s Right Up Your Alley

By now you’ve probably decide that Golden Retriever is the right breed for you. Now it’s time to make the next step. When it comes to Golden Retriever adoption you have several choices. Let’s have a look at the options you’ll have and find out which one is the best for you.

Puppy vs. Adult
Personally I take a great pride in watching my pups growing into well-trained strong and obedient adult dogs. Adopting a pup gives you an opportunity to train him the way you want and to develop traits you’d like the most. But, of course, you’ll need to put a lot of time, effort, money in training and caring for your pup until he grows up in a fully trained and developed dog.

On the other hand you can adopt an adult pre-trained Golden Retriever who thanks to the amazing character of this canine will start loving you almost at once! The downside is that an adult Golden already has an established set of habits and some of them may be hard or even impossible to change. An adult dog will normally cost more than a pup because the owner has already spent a lot of money on food, training and care.

Male or Female
This choice is not that difficult because there is not really much difference between male and female Goldens. Yes, males are generally larger than females, but unless you are planning on breeding Golden Retrievers it does not really matter whether you choose a boy or a girl. Both sexes in Golden Retrievers have the same traits of being very active, intelligent and obedient. Besides, it is a good idea to have your dog spayed unless you are planning on breeding Goldens.

Shelter, Breeder or a pet store?
My advice here is — definitely not a pet store. If you’ve decided to buy a dog rather than adopt it from a dog shelter then go and find a reputable breeder. The reason to avoid pet stores is a low quality of dogs available there. Most of them come from puppy mills and are in poor health or inherited genetic diseases as the result of improper breeding. On the contrary, buying a dog from a reputable breeder insures good health and reduces risks of various problems later in life.

If you’ve decided to take a dog from the shelter then your motivation is probably to help him. And I assume you are ready for some difficulties. Of course you can find a great pet there, but chances also are that you adopt a not very healthy dog. Just be aware of it and try to find out more about the dog you are willing to adopt before you actually do it.

Choosing a dog
Whether you’ve decided to adopt a pup or an adult dog the key here is to get to know each other before the actual adoption. If you are adopting an adult dog spend some time with him and learn about his character and habits. As it was stated above — you may not be able to change some of the habits. You also need to get a feeling of what is the personality of the dog and what is his health condition.

If you are choosing a puppy the things are bit different. The pup is just a kid, but you can already learn from his behavior. The fist step is to spend some time with the breeding pair. The pups are very likely to inherit many traits from their parents so it is essential for you to get a feeling of what is the character, the appearance and the health of the dogs. Ask questions to find out everything you need about the breeding pair. And always ask for the health certificate to make sure a breeding couple possesses no signs of hip dysplasia, cataract and other hereditary diseases.

Now, when you’ve found out enough about the breeding pair, its time to stay with the litter. Observing puppies as a group note which pup is the friendliest one (normally its the one that runs towards you first) and which one has the most balanced personality (normally its the one in the center of the group). When you’ve finished observing the litter, don’t forget to spend some time with each pup one-on-one. Take a pup in your arms. He should show no signs of enmity or fear to your touch. Now make the same with the next one. When you’ve gone thought the process, you’ll have an idea about the personality of each pup and what you expect from him when he grows up.

Finally, never adopt a dog if you are not 100% sure that he is the right one for you. It’s better to spend more time looking for the right dog than to spend next 10 years with the one that does not really suit you.