Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Forever Family Myth

Dawn Friedman of This Woman's Work has written, The Myth of the Forever Family, for Brain, Child, what MUST become required reading for all prospective adoptive parents about adoption disruption:

The hard truth is that adoption is not just like giving birth. It is rarely as straightforward. And as much as we would like to think otherwise, not all forever families are forever.

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Adoption termination is the industry’s dirty little secret. It’s especially secretive in international adoption. Studies of adoption termination, as reported by the Child Welfare Information Gateway report, “Adoption Disruption and Dissolution” (2004), usually focus on foster-care cases. This research, done by child welfare academics and advocates, estimates that ten percent to twenty-five percent of all adoptions terminate either before finalization (disruption) or after (dissolution). It’s hard to say whether or not the numbers in international adoptions are similar, but the kinds of challenges that terminate domestic adoptions are certainly present in many international ones.

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As I worked on this piece I became increasingly frustrated and saddened by the lack of information and support both for pre-adoptive and post-adoptive families. Adoption agency websites usually have glowing stories of new families and pictures of adorable children cradled in their new parents’ arms, but very few have concrete information about preparing for children who have suffered the tremendous loss and trauma that most of these kids suffer. I feel like we’re setting families up. Adoption can be a wonderful thing but unless prospective parents go into it with their eyes open and post-adoption services at the ready, how can we blame those families that fall apart?
Lots of good information about what causes disruptions, what can help prevent it, as well as personal stories from families who disrupted and families who didn't despite what might seem like cause to do so. And also quotes from Jae Ran Kim of Harlow's Monkey!

1 comment:

Joy said...

That was a really long article! :-) Thanks for sharing it.