Adoption Disruptions & Dissolutions, How to Prevent and When to Accept

Do you worry that you’ve gotten in over your head by adopting this child? Are you about ready to give up? Or do you want to do everything possible to make sure that your adoption doesn’t fall apart? Do you need to learn how to prevent adoption disruptions? Join us to talk with Dr. Eshele Williams, Director of the Creating Stability During Change Model of Practice for Resource Family Disruption Prevention and Retention. She was also a birth child in foster adoptive kinship family. Dr. Eileen Pasztor is a Professor Emerita, California State University at Long Beach School of Social Work, and foster and adoptive parent.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What terms do we use for an adoption that falls apart? What is the distinction between adoption dissolution and adoption disruption?
  • What does the research show about how common adoption dissolutions are? 
  • What are the stages a family goes through before they decide to end an adoption?
  • Why do families struggle post-adoption to the point of considering dissolving the adoption?
    • CWLA’s new Compendium book chapter on adoption in the section on Trending Topics and Issues relating to disruption and dissolution. “Studies that have examined the risk factors related to disruption and dissolution reveal multiple reasons for postadoption instability, including factors relating to the children, their families, and the agencies (White, 2016).
    • Unrealistic expectations. Not fully understanding the impact of trauma.
      • How can we help families manage expectations and form realistic expectations prior to the adoption?
      • It’s easy to “blame” the child, but what can parents do to prepare in advance for some of the possible realities of adopting a child?
    • Child behavioral issues (Physical issues are seldom the cause for an adoption failing. Emotional issues are a far more common cause.)
    • Issues between children already in the family with the new child.
    • Lack of adequate resources and support and a family’s ability to pay for them.
    • Lack of insurance coverage for mental health.
    • Marital strains caused by parenting a child who has challenging behaviors.
  • Steps to Stability
  • Prevention/Intervention strategies for adoption disruptions or dissolutions
  • Where should families go for help if 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 minds?
  • 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?

Don’t miss an episode. Be sure to subscribe.

Leave us a rating or review.

Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Podcast Producer: Megown SoundWorks

Image Credit: Dominika Roseclay