The Future of Adoption
Over the years, there have been many positive changes with regard to adoption. Improvements in pregnancy counseling services, proactive education campaigns, and the shift to open adoption are but a few reasons we have seen greater awareness and acceptance of adoption than in decades passed. As a result, couples today have greater access to resources to help make informed decisions that are right for them and their child.
While there have been positive developments in adoption counseling, another recent adoption trend may stunt these developments moving forward. Traditionally, couples wishing to adopt a child would work with an agency, such as Bethany Christian Services, who would discuss and review adoption options in great detail, provide training and post-adoption support, as well as other critical services.
Working closely with both the adoptive couple and the birth parents, the agency’s role is to ensure the smooth and successful placement of a vulnerable child with a loving family, while providing the support the birth parents will need during this difficult time. This takes time; however, given the length of the traditional adoption process, nearly 70 percent of adoptions are now completed through attorneys as opposed to working through agencies. The unfortunate outcome of this is that it is turning adoptions into business transactions between adoptive couples and birth parents.
I understand an adoptive couple and birth parents’ desire to expedite the adoption process; nobody wants to wait two to three years to place or be united with an adopted child. However, while working through attorneys and over the Internet may result in quicker placement, adoptive couples and birth parents need to consider the long-term impact of expediting the placement. Without access to proper counseling, training, and post-adoption services, interactions between the adoptive family, expectant parents, and their professional social worker become more transactional than relational. Ultimately, everyone in the adoption triad loses and the likelihood that the adopted child will thrive in his or her new environment is greatly reduced.
Tremendous strides have been made over the last two decades in adoption. Adopted children, or birth parents who create an adoption plan, are less often the subject of ridicule or scorn. Invaluable resources are available throughout and after the adoption process to promote the health of the adopted child, the birth parents, and the adoptive couple. Moving forward, we must continue to work together in promoting the proven benefits of post-adoption services: Education and counseling on post-traumatic stress and improving family life together can be necessary for years beyond the actual placement of a child into a family.
I believe that the adoption landscape will continue to change socially, economically, and practically over the next decade—and we must continue to focus on maintaining positive advancements. Every step of this process is important, from the decision if adoption is the right choice for your family to navigating a strong and healthy family far into the future.
Contributed by Bill Blacquiere
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