Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute research: Adoptive Parent Preparation

ADOPTIVE PARENT PREPARATION PROJECT PHASE I: MEETING THE MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS OF ADOPTED CHILDREN

Author: David Brodzinksy
Published: 2008 February. New York NY: Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
Document Type: Policy Brief (18 pages)

Executive Summary

Changes in the institution of
adoption over the past few decades have resulted in many questions
about the best way to prepare and support adoptive parents for the task
of raising their children. Historically, many parents who adopted
children were given little, if any, information about their children’s
origins or about adoption in general. Yet, without adequate
information, the chances for developing appropriate expectations about
adoption, or for understanding the best ways of managing the challenges
that can be associated with adoptive family life, are lessened. This is
especially true for adoptions from the child welfare system and from
other countries, where there is significant risk of medical and/or
psychological issues.

It is widely accepted among
adoption professionals today that parental preparation, education and
support is crucial for the stability of an adoption and for the
long-term emotional well-being of all family members. Nevertheless,
there is a high degree of variability in the types and extent of
preparation and education offered by agencies, attorneys, and others
who facilitate adoption placements. Some of these organizations and
individuals offer extensive services, both during the pre-adoption and
post-adoption periods; however, others offer little to adoptive parents
in these areas.

This paper, which represents the first phase of the Evan B. Donaldson
Adoption Institute’s Adoptive Parent Preparation Project, outlines the
basic principles, key issues, methods, and content areas forming
best-practice standards regarding the preparation and education of
adoptive parents. This phase focuses on preparing adoptive parents to
better understand and manage the mental health, developmental, and
parenting issues about which all adoptive parents should be educated,
as well as those issues more relevant to specific types of adoptions.
The information in this paper should be viewed as a roadmap for the
development of specific curricula for professionals to use in preparing
and educating adoptive parents in a wide range of content areas.

For the full report, click here

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