Contact after Adoption: A longitudinal study of adoptive and birth families

In the past, adoption usually meant that an adopted child and his or her birth family would have no contact with each other once the adoption had taken place; this is often called “closed adoption”. From the 1990s onwards in the UK, adoption has become more “open” with many children having a plan for either letter contact with birth family members or, in a minority of cases, face-to-face meetings. This research has explored how these more open adoptions work out.

The “Contact after Adoption” study has answered questions about what post-adoption contact arrangements are like from the point of view of children, adoptive parents and birth relatives. The study has focused on children adopted in England who were under the age of four when placed for adoption. The families in the study have experienced a range of different post-adoption contact plans from no contact through to face-to-face contact. The study is longitudinal and has taken place in three stages following children from when they were first adopted through to late adolescence.

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Children’s Understanding of Adoption:
Developmental And Clinical Implications

Because adopted children are overrepresented in mental health settings, their parents often consult psychologists to help them understand and manage some of the unique developmental and childrearing challenges they commonly face. One of the most frequent issues raised by these parents is talking with their children about adoption. This article provides a developmental framework for helping psychologists understand the way children comprehend adoption and the implications of their adoption knowledge for psychological adjustment. It also provides psychologists with useful guidelines for supporting parents to meet the challenges of discussing adoption with their children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
(PDF) Children’s Understanding of Adoption: Developmental and Clinical Implications.

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