Adoption, Foreign-Born Status, and Children's Progress in School

Kevin J.A. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Using recent data from the American Community Survey, the author investigated how the dynamics of immigration influence our understanding of the adoption-schooling relationship. The results suggest that implications of immigrant and adoption statuses could be understood within specific familial contexts. Thus, no statistical differences were found in the outcomes of foreign-born adoptees in U.S. native families and their peers with immigrant parents. Instead, the most favorable patterns of schooling progress were found among U.S.-born adoptees living in immigrant families. Among immigrants, the analysis indicated similar patterns of achievement among Hispanic and White adoptees that are inconsistent with the predictions of segmented assimilation theory. However, there was a Hispanic disadvantage relative to Whites among immigrant children living with biological and stepparents. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of these findings for kinship selection and assimilation processes and the contention that alternative theoretical frameworks should be used to understand the implications of adoption status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-90
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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