Racial tolerance: examining the attitudes of people with adopted children

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Brunton, Linda
Issue Date
BA Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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In recent years the number of Irish children available for adoption has fallen dramatically with many more international adoptions occurring. Ireland has also become much more multi-racial with an influx of people from a wide range of countries. The availability of children for adoption from abroad alongside the increasing numbers of immigrants has moved the question of racial tolerance from an interesting debate to a real life question for Irish people. This study examines the levels of racial tolerance of people who have adopted Irish children and people who have adopted children from overseas. I should emphasise that the study does not seek to criticise individuals or their attitudes; there was absolutely no 'right answer' being sought. Twenty-six couples were invited to take part in the research (thirteen couples who had adopted Irish children and thirteen couples who had adopted from overseas). One individual per couple was asked to complete a 'ranking questionnaire' that attempted to measure their level of racial tolerance. To supplement this baseline data, semi-structured interviews were conducted with experienced social workers who have assessed couples for adoption and dealt with the racial tolerance issue first hand.