In the following
extract from an adoption home
study, there appear a number of abbreviations that were common
in social work narratives.
FM stands for foster mother, FF stands for foster father, and HF
stands for home finder.
Present situation: Couple said they have been married for twelve
years. Both have received complete physical examinations and have
been informed by Dr. D. that there is no apparent physical reasons
why they cannot have a child. Their estimated monthly income is
a little over $300. Last Spring they built a new home in B-----
and have been successful in completely furnishing it. The couple
said they were anxious to adopt a boy in the neighborhood of one
year of age. Both listened very carefully to explanation given them
of our investigation, and both emphasized that they would like a
child as soon as possible. HF made it clear to them that we could
give them no assurance of an early placement. Couple explained that
they wished to adopt a child for a long time, but had not taken
the necessary steps in the past because of Mr. R’s employment,
which necessitated them moving about the country and living in apartments.
His employment in Pittsburgh now has an aspect of permanency. Advised
that investigation would start upon receipt of completed application
form. . . .
Marriage: FM and FF were married at St. J---- Church, W-------,
on April 13, 1929 with Monsignor S----- W----- performing the ceremony.
According to the couple, both wanted children from the beginning
of their married life and FM consulted doctors during her travels
with her husband to ascertain the reason for her inability to conceive.
Probably the physician who gave her the most attention and is most
familiar with her case is Dr. J---- D---- of C-------- A------.
Dr. D----- confirmed to HF foster parents’ statement that
they had both been examined by him and pronounced physically fit
and capable of having children.
References bore out the fact that the couple appeared to their
friends to be well-adjusted and happy with one another. All of the
references emphasized FF’s unusual character and personality,
at the same time, speaking of FM in positive terms. . . .
It was Dr. D------ who first revealed, under promise of absolute
confidence, that at one time FF had consulted a psychiatrist about
his wife. Dr. D------ did not state directly the reason why FF had
felt it necessary to see a psychiatrist and indicated the fact that
he had given any information on this subject must be kept from FPs.
It was decided in view of this to call FF into the office to try
to lead him to discuss frankly the sexual maladjustment which it
was felt existed between the couple. When approached on the subject,
FF was unusually frank and honest in his discussion and expressed
a great deal of understanding. He said after he married FM he learned
that she had absorbed through religion and through her mother’s
attitude a rather distorted conception of the role of sex in the
life of a married couple and consented to endure intercourse at
very rare intervals. FF said he had done nothing about this for
approximately two years’ time other than hope that her attitude
would slowly change as time went on. However, when it became evident
that his wife’s attitude did not spring merely from innocence
and inexperience but appeared to be something which he could not
change, he consulted a physician who agreed to talk with FM about
the matter. FF said although two physicians had talked with FM about
the matter in the meantime, he felt he should consult Dr. M-----,
local psychiatrist, and the latter had seen his wife on two occasions.
Dr. M------ advised FF directly to simply dominate the situation
and not permit his wife to refuse him intercourse. FF said he felt
there has been a marked change in her since the psychiatrist talked
with her and added quite frankly that he felt she had adjusted to
the entire situation to the best of her ability. FF explained that
his wife would never receive any satisfaction or pleasure out of
intercourse, but he, himself, was willing to accept it as such since
he was convinced that she was handling her own unnatural attitude
to the best of her ability and making a sincere effort to provide
him with some satisfaction. FF’s discussion of the entire
situation was very honest and direct and it was possible to conduct
the interview without revealing to him the fact that Dr. D-----
had first indicated that there was some emotional maladjustment
between the couple. He admitted that during the first few years
of their married life the problem of their sexual maladjustment
had been a constant source of friction between them, but he said
now that FM was meeting the situation to the best of her ability. . . .
8/23/42 At a meeting of the foster care committee, the question
of the advisability of approving the R’s home was under discussion
for a great length of time. A number of the supervisors felt that
FM’s inability to accept and adjust to the idea of a physical
relationship with her husband after twelve years of married life
was a definite indication of a type of frigidity which was not only
deep-rooted, but which would have its influence on the child. One
or two of the members present felt, however, that her poor adjustment
in the sex realm was not necessarily indicative of any inherent
short-comings as a mother. The former group out-weighed the latter,
however, and at this time the home was not approved as an adoption
home. . . .