Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Keeping the Promise: Post-Adoption Services

Speaking of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. . .

Adam Pertman, their director, mentioned at the adoption conference that they were going to release a report this week on post-adoption services.  And now they have -- Keeping The Promise: The Critical Need for Post-Adoption Services to Enable Children and Families to Succeed.  From the Executive Summary:
Several months ago, when the media focused the nation's attention on yet another sensational adoption story - this time about a Tennessee mother who put her 7-year-old son on a plane back to Russia – all sorts of disquieting questions flowed through people's minds. They ranged from the rhetorical ("What kind of mother would do such a thing?") to the important ("Are children in orphanages being adequately cared for before adoption?") to the inadvertently stigmatizing ("If a child can be so easily `returned,' is adoption really permanent?").

Most child welfare and adoption professionals watched the drama with better-trained, more-experienced eyes, however, and so they raised very different questions. For example: "Did the mother get accurate information about the boy before adopting, as well as training and education, so she would be prepared for the challenges of parenting a child who had been institutionalized?" And, most pointedly: "Were post-adoption services readily available to her so that she could help her son, and herself, rather than giving up?"

Over the last two decades, our nation has seen steep increases in the number of adoptions from foster care in the United States and from orphanages abroad – which, combined, make up the vast majority of non-stepparent adoptions; i.e., we have made considerable progress in finding enduring families for girls and boys who have suffered from abuse, neglect, multiple placements, institutionalization and other pre-adoption experiences that can cause them physical, psychological, emotional and developmental harm. Now the paradigm has to shift, and our priority must be not only to achieve permanency, but also to assure that adoptive parents receive the supports they need to raise their children to healthy adulthood.
The findings are fascinating, including discussion of why some adopted children are at risk of physical, developmental, psychological, and emotional issues, and the "protective factors" in children and families that can help ameliorate the problems.  I'll write more about it after I've digested this lengthy report.


travelmom and more said...

The question of adequate information is one I have been thinking about recently. We just returned from China with our second child, a waiting child and I was struck by how little information we had about him to make our decision. While in China it was apparent that there is not enough information about children in the waiting child program because there were a number of children with severe needs whose parents were telling us that they didn't know thier child was deaf or was non-verbal at three or four, etc. The way special needs children are placed could use some serious revamping otherwise I think we will see a lot more disruptions.

Anonymous said...

Now the paradigm has to shift, and our priority must be not only to achieve permanency, but also to assure that adoptive parents receive the supports they need to raise their children to healthy adulthood

---> AMEN! However, I doubt there will support because agencies typically do not make money off post placement services.

Also, we recently adopted via China SN program and it is true, the medical files are often outdated and incomplete. Desperate parents wanting to switch from the long wait of the NSN program will sometimes take the fingers crossed approach or read too many sugar- coated blogs like the No Hands one. I don't know if there have been more disruptions lately (seems like it)or people are just more willing to talk about them. Either way, not a good set up for the child.