In the USA there are thousands of children waiting for adoption within the foster care system. While international adoption and adoption from birth will always be popular options, domestic adoption from a foster care setting is another wonderful option for bringing a child into your family. But how can you make this process as easy as possible for the child? How can you reduce stress and help your new son or daughter settle into their new home and life with you? Let’s take a closer look at how best to transition your child from foster care to adoption.
Every child deserves the chance to live a safe and secure life. This responsibility is initially placed in the hands of their parents. Unfortunately, due to varying circumstances, some birthparents are unable to fulfill that obligation. At times, this can cause a lack of basic human rights that puts the life of the child at hand in danger. When this occurs, it is the responsibility of the state to provide salvation for that child.
There has always been an increased need within the domestic adoption system for non-white or mixed race children to be adopted. Aside from age and disability, race can sadly be another factor that can cause a child to wait longer within the system for a permanent home.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), also known as ‘Fetal Alcohol Syndrome’ is a medical term used to describe the permanent birth defects to a baby that have been caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. This damage is caused when alcohol reaches the fetus through the woman’s bloodstream via the placenta. The alcohol disrupts the oxygen supply to the baby which is essential for fetal development.
In the USA, the average age of children awaiting domestic adoption is 9 years of age. While babies and toddlers are usually adopted quickly, older children sadly have to wait several years to be adopted, if at all. However, adopting older children can be equally as rewarding as adopting younger children. It simply requires an open mind, open heart, and a slightly different approach.
Whether domestic or international, adoption disruption or dissolution can be an upsetting reality for many hopeful parents and children each year. In this article we’ll be taking a closer look at the causes of such events, and how you can prevent or come to terms with this happening.
What is Adoption Disruption?
Adoption disruption occurs when the adoption process ends after the child is already placed in their adoptive home, but before the adoption has been legally finalized. This will result in the child entering foster care, or being placed with alternate adoptive parents.
What is Adoption Dissolution?
Adoption dissolution occurs when the legal relationship between adopted child and adoptive parents is either voluntarily or involuntarily severed. This occurs after the child has been legally adopted and will result in the child leaving their adoptive parents’ home and enter foster care or be placed with alternate adoptive parents.
Why do Adoptions Become Disrupted?
There can be many reasons why adoptions may become disrupted such as;
- The adopted child’s age
- Emotional and behavioural issues
- The child’s strong attachment to their biological mother/father
- Being a victim of abuse (pre-adoption)
- Being matched to the parent and not their foster parent
- Lack of social support (particularly from relatives of adoptive parents)
- Unrealistic expectations (in regards to the parent’s expectations for the adopted child)
- Insufficient information on the child or their history
- Poor parent preparation
- An excess of case workers working the adoption case (which can often occur in domestic adoptions)
- Lack of sufficient support services
There can also be factors specific to the child, their unique circumstances, or the family they have been placed with that can increase the potential for adoption disruption. The most common factors are as follows:
- African American children have a higher risk of adoption disruption
- Two or three children that are placed together
- Children who have experienced abuse
- Children with disabilities
- Older children/teens
- Children who have experienced neglect
- Children who have spent a large amount of time in care institutions
Why do Adoptions Dissolve?
Adoptions can dissolve due to any of the above reasons or factors. While a fair amount of study has been given to the cause of adoption disruption, when it comes to adoption dissolution research is far less abundant. In general, aside from cases where the child needs to be removed from the adoptive home for their own safety, the cause of an adoption dissolving is usually simply down to the child being an incorrect fit for the parents/family, and vise versa.
How to Prevent Disruptions/Dissolutions
Sometimes there is simply nothing you, your partner, or your family can do to prevent disruptions from happening, but in general, being correctly prepared, informed, and realistic with your expectations for the adoption and the adoption process will help ensure your new child has a healthy transition into your home.
This can be an unimaginable and horrendous event for all parties involved. You may have been dreaming of adoption for some time, or have already formed an attachment to the child in question. However, sometimes the best thing you can do for an adopted child is to move them on to a home which will be a better fit for them where they can be truly happy. Remember that this isn’t a failure on your part, and remember that if you keep your home and your hearts open, a child that is a better fit for your family may not be too far away.
In the context of adoptions, the home study process is a series of information-gathering interviews that your social worker will ask about you and the family you would like to create through the adoption process. Over the course of three to six months, your social worker will conduct a comprehensive interview with you as well as from other relevant parties involved.
When adopting a child, there are many factors to discuss and contemplate. Domestic adoptions are known to have many perks for prospective parents. Domestic adoptions have a faster processing time and also afford new parents the same parent-child rights as a child born naturally to them. Domestic adoptions can also provide new parents with a more detailed medical history of the adopted child. Let’s look at some quick facts about domestic adoptions.
Writing an adoptive family profile is one of the most important things you will do in the adoption process. This is essentially an open and honest letter to a birth mother, sharing who you are and why you want to adopt her child.