Reiss, D., Leve, L. D., & Whitesel, A. (2009). Understanding links between birth parents and the child they have placed for adoption: Clues for assisting adopting families and for reducing genetic risk. In G. M. Wrobel & E. Neil (Eds.), International advances in adoption research for practice (pp. 119–146). New York: John Wiley.
Abstract: Researchers in the field of adoption research have designed studies to understand more fully the grief and recovery in parents who place their children and the intertwined processes of parenting and child development in adopting families. Rarely are these two domains linked in a single study. However, as studies are now showing (Dunbar et al., 2006) the birth parents and adopting parents are often linked to each other through actual social contact in open adoptions and, even in more closed adoptions, they may be emotionally linked as each set of parents might think about the other over the course of time. Thus, one may consider the birth parents, the placed child, and the adoptive parents as a single social unit in the same sense that step parents, children and divorced birth parents can also be regarded as a single social unit, even if there is little or no face-to-face contact among some members of this unit. Indeed, social units of this kind may be thought of as yoked together by circumstances. In the case of the adoption “yoke”, ongoing social ties between birth and adoptive parents may vary from pure fantasy to frequent contact but the genetic relationship between birth parents and the adopted child is invariant across time.