• November 2018
  • Vol. 19, No. 9

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Preparing Adoptive Parents

Adopting a child is a lifelong experience that often involves challenging, complex, and evolving relationships between children, their birth families, and their adoptive parents. Preparing adoptive parents is key to ensuring not only the well-being of the adopted child but of the adoptive family as a whole. Adoption: Preparing Adoptive Parents is a brief intended for child welfare workers that discusses topics such as what preparing adoptive parents entails, desired outcomes of preparation, why preparing adoptive parents is important, social workers' responsibilities in preparing adoptive parents, and more.

According to the brief, preparing adoptive parents is a two-part process consisting of (1) educating prospective adoptive parents about the adoption process and the issues involved in adoption and (2) providing child-specific information, training, and support to help prospective parents successfully parent.

When preparing adoptive parents, professionals should keep the following goals in mind:

  • Facilitate a self-assessment process for adoptive parents that helps them gauge their strengths and limitations and develop realistic expectations regarding adoption
  • Prepare adoptive parents for the challenges of parenting an adopted child
  • Ensure adoptive parents are aware of all the information regarding their adopted child so that they understand the short- and long-term implications of the child's mental health history, risk factors, and physical and developmental conditions
  • Ensure that adoptive parents have the skills and support to provide a safe and stable home for the adopted child

To prepare adoptive parents, child welfare workers and other social workers should be aware of their agency's policies, procedures, and practices regarding preparing parents; assess the parent's learning style and barriers to learning; implement a plan for delivery of information; prepare child-specific information; and communicate any concerns regarding the adoptive parents' readiness to adopt with supervisors so that any concerns can be addressed accordingly.

The brief also includes adoption facts and statistics and a list of red flags child welfare workers should be aware of, such as looking out for postadoption depression among adoptive parents.

Adoption: Preparing Adoptive Parents is available at https://www.ebscohost.com/assets-sample-content/SWRC-Preparing-Adoptive-Parents-Sample-Content.pdf (144 KB).

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