Adoption USA. A Chartbook Based on the 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents. Family and communityactivities

11/01/2009

This section examines a set of activities that are often inherently of value to children and families and that are also predictive of child well-being. For example, reading to young children,25 as well as telling stories and singing to young children,26 supports children’s early literacy development. Regularly sharing meals supports parent-child connectedness and family connectedness and may positively influence adolescents’ nutrition habits and behavioral outcomes.27 Finally, although children’s participation in extracurricular activities takes place outside the family, parents typically facilitate children’s participation. Extracurricular activities can positively influence children’s academic performance and social skills, and they provide opportunities to develop supportive relationships with caring adults.28 See Appendix Table 10 on page 69 for detailed data on each indicator.

Overall, most adopted children have families that engage in positive and supportive activities. For example, almost seven out of ten adopted children under age 6 are read to every day, and more than seven out of ten adopted children under age 6 are sung to or told stories every day; see Figure 24. Over half of all adopted children eat meals together with their families six or seven days per week. More than eight out of ten adopted children ages 6 through 17 participate in extracurricular activities; see Figure 25.

Figure 24. Percentage of children whose parents read to them and sing or tell stories to them, by adoptive status

Figure 24. Percentage of children whose parents read to them and sing or tell stories to them, by adoptive status

Figure 25. Percentage of children ages 6-17 who participate in one or more organized activities outside of school, by adoptive status and by adoption type

Figure 25. Percentage of children ages 6-17 who participate in one or more organized activities outside of school, by adoptive status and by adoption type

Adopted children are more likely than children in the general population to experience each of the four family activities examined here. Specifically, 68 percent of young adopted children were read to every day during the prior week, compared with 48 percent in the general population. Similarly, 73 percent of young adopted children were sung to or told stories every day during the prior week; this was true of 59 percent of all young children; see Figure 24. Adopted children are also slightly more likely than children in the general population to eat meals with their families six or seven days a week (56 compared with 52 percent).i Eighty-five percent of adopted children ages 6 and older participated in an organized activity, compared with 81 percent of all children ages 6 and older.ii

Results on two of the measures of family activities differ by adoption type, with internationally adopted children most likely to experience positive circumstances. Nearly two-thirds of children adopted internationally (64 percent) eat meals with their families six or seven days a week, compared with just over half of children adopted from foster care and in private domestic adoptions (54 and 52 percent, respectively). Additionally, children adopted internationally are more likely to have participated in an organized activity than children adopted from foster care or privately in the Unites States (93, compared with 81 and 85 percent, respectively). However, there are no differences across adoption types for reading to young children or in telling stories and singing to young children.

 

MEASURES OF FAMILY AND COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES AND CONTEXT

Child is read to every day: This measure was assessed for children ages 0 to 5 based on parents’ answers to the question, “During the past week, how many days did you or other family members read to [your child]?”

Child is sung to or told stories every day: This measure was assessed for children ages 0 to 5 based on the number of days during the past week that parents reported that “[they] or other family members [told] stories or [sang] songs to” the child.

Family eats meals together 6-7 days per week: Parents responded to the question, “During the past week, on how many days did all the family members who live in the household eat a meal together?”

Extracurricular activity participation: Parents of children ages 6 through 17 answered three questions regarding whether or not their child had been “on a sports team or ... [took] sports lessons after school or on weekends,” “participate[d] in any clubs or organizations after school or on weekends,” or “participate[d] in any other organized events or activities” during the 12 months prior to the survey. Children whose parents answered “yes” to any of the questions were categorized as having participated in extracurricular activities.

Note: Appendix Table 10 includes two additional measures: 1) involvement in community service or volunteer work, and 2) child attendance at religious services.

 

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