Planning and Supporting Birth Family Contact When Children are Adopted from Care.
Future of Adoption 2019
University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Rudd Adoption Research Program.
University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Rudd Adoption Research Program
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences 135 Hicks Way Tobin Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
Tel: (413) 545-0547
This report explores the experiences of children who have been adopted in England and who have stayed in touch with their birth families, and best practices for planning and supporting birth family contact. Research is shared from three studies: an 18 year longitudinal study of all types of contact; a study of face-to-face contact and how it can be supported; and a survey of adoptive parents. Overall, the studies found that staying in touch with birth relatives can be positive for adopted children when arrangements carry minimal conflict and where the child’s place in their adoptive and birth family are both respected. Three key considerations for ensuring successful experiences are discussed and include: making individualized decisions not blanket policies by treating each child’s situation as individual, assessing when contact is likely to be a positive experience, and offering support according to need. The report concludes that when birth families and adoptive families work together in the best interests of the child, the potential for adoption to be a possible experience is much enhanced. Implications for the future of adoption are discussed in the areas of research, practice, and policy. 4 references.
England; open adoption; adoption triads; outcomes; promising practices; child welfare services; birth parents; adopted children