Adoptions can take a matter of months to years to finalize after initial placement. During this time, events called “disruptions” can occur that can lead a parent to decide that they do not want to keep that child. The adoption fails, and the child now returns to the system to be rehomed.
Prospective parents are given various tools to prevent disruptions, but the statistics are sobering. As many as one in four teenage adoptions fail. That is terribly harsh for children who have been neglected or abused and have struggled for years to find a family. But there are things a prospective parent can do to prevent these disruptions and bring their family together. Let’s look at the big picture.
Prospective parents can eagerly agree to adopt a child with certain traits or disabilities already outlined by the adoption agency. Perhaps the child has HIV or a physical or emotional disability that will require extraordinary care. The prospective parents have agreed to bring that child into their home, but it is possible they have not fully understood the time and energy needed to fulfill that child’s specific needs.
Sometimes behavioral challenges can be violent, aggressive, and traumatizing to other people in the household. Young or inexperienced parents can have a harder time, as can parents who work long hours and have less time to spend with the child. Parenting tools specifically for adoption can help finalize the adoption and cement the family unit.
Educating Prospective Parents
Adoption agencies have an ethical duty to provide necessary tools to educate prospective parents on what adoption can truly require of them. Each state has mandatory pre-adoption courses. Some classes are on video and others are face-to-face in conjunction with child welfare agencies. Many of these initiatives are designed to strengthen and educate foster and adoptive parents and families.
Some of the subjects discussed are meeting and supporting developmental and emotional needs, ensuring safety and welfare, declaring permanency, and protecting and nurturing a child for a lifetime. Providing prospective parents with tools for adoption-competent therapists and support groups is also imperative.
Successful Adoptions and Strong Families
Prospective parents should be fully aware of the real challenges of adoption and do as much research as they can on the causes of adoption disruptions to get a sense of the real picture. This diligent pursuit of adoption parenting education can only strengthen a parent’s resolve and broaden their scope of understanding. This will lead to less adoption disruptions and more finalized adoptions with strong family bonds.