■ The idea of adoption has changed over the last few decades from a last resort to a natural option in creating a family.
■ With the ease of travel many adoptions are from outside the US, blending not only a new family but also cultures and races as well. (known as transracial and transcultural adoption).
■ Adoption occurs for many reasons, such as the wish to expand families or to provide a home for children in need.
- o Kinship adoption may include grandparents adopting the children of their children.
- o More single people of both genders are adopting today than ever before, as are gay and lesbian couples.
■ The Decision to Adopt
- o If the choice is motivated by infertility many issues can accompany the choice.
◆ Feeling of loss
◆ Feeling of giving up on a dream
◆ Anxiety and fear about making this decision
◆ Stress related to how to go about adoption, how society will impact their decision, how their families and support systems will react.
- o The paper work alone can be overwhelming
- o Stress may affect a marriage if couples have different coping skills or if one is more ready to adopt than the other.
■ Foster Children
- o Being able to provide the appropriate medical, emotional, or academic support for foster children with special needs.
- o Prepared to suffer the potential loss of the relationship if child is returned to home or adopted by another family.
- o Stress of how to handle the child’s biological parents and family.
■ Parenting Adopted Children
o Address children’s questions about their adoption, about birth parents, and be able to prepare child for questions by others about their adoption.
o Any parent has to be aware of changes in behaviors that indicate an emotional struggle, such as:
- ◆ Social withdrawal
- ◆ In attentiveness that affects productivity at home or school
- ◆ Anger outbursts and temper tantrums
- ◆ Attachment anxiety, fear of being alone
- ◆ Changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
■ Role of Family Therapists
- o Help the family understand the impact of adoption on the family and the child
- o Work with the children who may have a hard time talking to adoptive parents about the adoption fearing it might show a sign of disloyalty or being unappreciative.
- o Normalizing the feelings of wanting to learn about their biological parents and the reasons why they were put up for adoption.
- o Work with the biological children in the family giving them a place to explore their feelings about the adoption.
- o With the adjustment to new relationships, the family therapist can ensure positive communication and creating appropriate boundaries to benefit the children and strengthen the family.
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