Psychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice

By David M. Brodzinsky; Jesús Palacions | Go to book overview

Preface

As a social service field, the practice of adoption has changed dramatically over the past few decades not only in North America but in Europe as well. In most Western countries, fewer domestically born infants are being placed for adoption than in the past. In contrast, there has been a substantial rise in international adoptions. Many of these adoptions involve children of color who have been placed transracially with Caucasian parents. In other cases, they involve children who have lived in orphanages and experienced early social deprivation. In addition, there has been an increase in foster care adoptions and special needs adoptions in many countries. Typically, these children are older at the time of placement and often have histories of prenatal exposure to alcohol and drugs, maltreatment by birth parents, and/or multiple foster care placements. Changes in adoption agency policy and recruitment practices also have resulted in a more diverse group of individuals being approved for adoptive parenthood than in the past. In fact, the goal of current social casework practice for most North American and European adoption professionals is to screen in as many different types of adoption applicants as possible rather than restricting adoption to a select group of individuals, as was the case just a few decades ago. There also has been a discernible shift in many countries toward increased openness in adoption, with agencies offering adoptive parents and birth parents the option of meeting one another, sharing identifying information, and perhaps developing a plan for ongoing contact following the adoption finalization. Taken together, these changes and others have dramatically altered the profile of the adoptive family. Adoption practice today is so complex and the structure of adop-

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