Adoption disruptions and dissolutions

Adoption dissolutions or disruptions are a tragedy for everyone–the child, the parents, and the family. What can we do to prevent them from happening, how do we know when they are inevitable and what to do if an adoption failure becomes inevitable? We talk with Dr. Richard Barth, Dean and Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and researcher in the area of adoption and adoption dissolution and disruption. Also joining us is Stephen Hayes, a litigator for more than 35 years with Grady, Hayes & Neary specializing in adoption and foster care. He is a member of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys and has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America and Wisconsin Super Lawyers.  Our host is Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national foster care & adoption education and support nonprofit.

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Hit the Highlights
  • What is the distinction between adoption dissolution and adoption disruption?

  • Failed adoptions. Displacement vs. dissolution.

  • There is not a lot of research in the area of the adoption dissolutions and the research that does exist often does not distinguishing between the two. What does the research show about how common are adoption dissolutions?

  • More common with older child adoption?

  • Why do families struggle post adoption?

  • Managing expectations. How can we help families form realistic expectations?

  • It’s easy to “blame” the child, but what can parents do to prepare in advance for adopting an older child?

  • Physical issues are seldom the cause for an adoption failing. Emotional issues are a far more common cause.

  • Educational struggles. Parents having unrealistic expectations on how their child will perform in school.

  • Impact of trauma?

  • Attachment issues?

  • Issues between children already in the family with the new child.

  • Lack of adequate resources and a family’s ability to pay for them.

  • Lack of insurance coverage for mental health.

  • Marital strains caused by parenting a child who may have challenging behaviors.

  • Where can families go for help is they are struggling?

  • How can families know when they have given it enough time?

  • If you believe that an adoption is going to fail, what steps should a parent take to make it less damaging to the child?

  • Who should the families first contact when they have made up their mind?

  • How to dissolve an adoption legally?

  • Parents worry about being found negligent and/or paying child support. How realistic is that fear?

  • What if parents want to dissolve the adoption to get help in paying for the treatment that their child needs but would still like to remain in the child’s life?

  • How can we support families before they give up?


Image credit: Image by Madalin Calita from Pixabay