Attitudes and Perceptions Among Adoption Professionals: Qualitative Research Report.
Donaldson Adoption Institute.
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Published: December 2016
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This report presents the findings from a series of focus groups conducted to gather information on the perceptions and experiences of social workers, lawyers, and clinicians involved in adoption. The research was conducted as part of the Donaldson Adoption Institute’s Let’s Adopt Reform initiative that aims to galvanize change within the adoption and foster care landscape. For this research, 16 professionals participated in five 2-two-hour qualitative online discussion groups and fieldwork was conducted on October 22-23, 2015. Participants included 3 foster care social workers, 4 adoption agency professionals, 3 therapists, 3 attorneys, and 3 academic researchers. Key findings indicate: open adoption was embraced as a goal to strive for; access to original birth certificates at 18 was considered a civil right; foster care social workers believed that ideally children would be placed with adoptive families of the same ethnicity; skepticism existed around international adoptions; adoptions by LGBT people were universally encouraged; most professionals believed that aspects of the adoption process would benefit from national standards; most believed adoptive parents should be allowed to dissolve an adoption after it has been finalized, but maintained that increased pre- and post- adoption services should reduce the chance of this occurring; they believed that a longer period than 72 hours would ideally be given before allowing a birth mother to sign an irrevocable surrender; the most significant factors perceived as leading a first/birth parent to consider adoption were abusive domestic situations, economic hardship and addiction; money was seen as playing a major role in shaping the adoption landscape; overall, the adoption industry was regarded as “too white,” and insufficiently reflective of either the adopted children or the first/birth parents it serves; and a tremendous need was seen for increased support services.
adoption workers; foster care workers; child welfare workers; social workers attitudes; adoption agencies; open adoption; gay and lesbian adoption; ADOPTION DISSOLUTION; POST ADOPTION SERVICES