Letter: Adoption can be the best way

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The Independent Online
Sir: Polly Toynbee (27 March) has painted an unduly gloomy picture of adoption. Whilst she correctly states that the overall rate of disruption is 21 per cent, the rate for adoptions made under the age of three is 3 per cent. Research studies of adopted adolescents and adults show that after allowing for differences in social class, they tend to have rather more psychological problems than controls from two-parent families, but fewer than those from one-parent families.

Research with adopted adults seeking information about their biological parents suggests that most are trying to establish their background, rather than yearning for their first parents.

I entirely agree that pressure should not be put on mothers to give their children up for adoption. However, the greater danger at present is that social workers very rarely raise this as a possible option until the child is much older, by which time problems have proliferated, and the child may well end with the worst of all options - residential care.

Professor Barbara Tizard

London NW3

The writer is Emeritus Professor of Child Development, London University