Children in Adoptive Families: Overview and Update

Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 7.26). 11/2005; 44(10):987-95. DOI: 10.1097/01.chi.0000174463.60987.69
Source: PubMed


To summarize the past 10 years of published research concerning the 2% of American children younger than 18 years old who are adoptees.
Review recent literature on developmental influences, placement outcome, psychopathology, and treatment.
Adoption carries developmental opportunities and risks. Many adoptees have remarkably good outcomes, but some subgroups have difficulties. Traditional infant, international, and transracial adoptions may complicate adoptees' identity formation. Those placed after infancy may have developmental delays, attachment disturbances, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Useful interventions include preventive counseling to foster attachment, postadoption supports, focused groups for parents and adoptees, and psychotherapy.
Variables specific to adoption affect an adopted child's developmental trajectory. Externalizing, internalizing, attachment, and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms may arise. Child and adolescent psychiatrists can assist both adoptive parents and children.

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    • "behavioral and emotional problems) (Glidden, 2000; Goldberg, 2010; Nickman et al., 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Previous research has shown that a positive marital functioning represents a resource in adoptive families, leading to a decrease in parenting stress, but little is known about the factors mediating such a relationship. This study aimed to explore whether adult attachment avoidance and anxiety mediate the effect of dyadic functioning on parenting stress in 90 internationally adoptive couples (mothers and fathers) who had adopted a child (aged 3–10 years) in the last 36 months. Participants completed self-report measures of dyadic adjustment, adult attachment, and parenting stress. A series of path analyses supported the mediation hypothesis, but differentially for mothers and fathers. Among mothers, there was a direct and negative relationship between dyadic adjustment and parenting stress. In addition, a better dyadic adjustment was related to lower levels of attachment anxiety, which in turn were associated with less parenting stress. Among fathers, increased dyadic adjustment was related to lower levels of attachment avoidance, which in turn were associated with reduced parenting stress. These findings suggest the importance of including both mothers and fathers in adoption research. Adoptive parents could benefit from specific interventions aimed at reducing attachment avoidance and anxiety by supporting parental sense of competence and involvement for mothers and fathers, respectively.
    Frontiers in Psychology 08/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01279 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "Situations may necessitate termination of parental rights, and formal adoption is deemed the outcome. Even though children can flourish in formal adoptions, unique issues may contribute to difficulties in the functioning of adoptive families, such as different familial backgrounds of children and families (Pinderhughes, 1996), attachment issues of children (Brodzinsky, Smith, & Brodzinsky, 1998; Nickman et al., 2005), lack of knowledge of children's histories (Sar, 2000), and decisions to allow children to maintain or develop relationships with biological families (Berry, 1993; Mcroy, Grotevant, Ayers-Lopez, & henney, 2007). Disruptions or dissolutions (removal of children from the adoptive placements before or after the adoptions are legalized) can result because of difficulties in the families (e.g., child behavior problems). "
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    ABSTRACT: Even though children can flourish in formal (legal) adoptions, unique issues may challenge the functioning of their adoptive families. Culturally appropriate services should be designed to address specific needs of adopted children and their families. Considering the importance of research in informing policies and practices relevant to these services, little research is focused on the experiences of Black families who adopt Black children. Therefore, a literature review was conducted to learn of past and current research and to suggest future directions of research that can be useful in helping children and their families. Although research involved a variety of topics, more comprehensive research is recommended.
    Families in society: the journal of contemporary human services 07/2011; 92(3). DOI:10.1606/1044-3894.4136 · 0.29 Impact Factor
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    • "Insomuch as children who are adopted are at a somewhat greater risk for developing emotional/ behavioral problems (Nickman et al., 2005), and aspects of the child (e.g., perceived difficultness) are often linked to parents' relationship quality (Levy-Shiff, 1994), the intimate relationships of adoptive parents may be at risk during the transition to parenthood. Thus, it is important to clarify what factors, present in the pre-adoptive period, are linked to relationship quality over time, as such knowledge can directly inform prevention efforts. "
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    ABSTRACT: The authors examined preadoptive factors as predictors of relationship quality (love, ambivalence, and conflict) among 125 couples (44 lesbian couples, 30 gay male couples, and 51 heterosexual couples) across the 1st year of adoptive parenthood. On average, all new parents experienced declines in their relationship quality across the 1st year of parenthood regardless of sexual orientation, with women experiencing steeper declines in love. Parents who, preadoption, reported higher levels of depression, greater use of avoidant coping, lower levels of relationship maintenance behaviors, and less satisfaction with their adoption agencies reported lower relationship quality at the time of the adoption. The effect of avoidant coping on relationship quality varied by gender. Parents who, preadoption, reported higher levels of depression, greater use of confrontative coping, and higher levels of relationship maintenance behaviors reported greater declines in relationship quality. These findings have implications for professionals who work with adoptive parents both pre- and postadoption.
    Journal of Family Psychology 06/2010; 24(3):221-32. DOI:10.1037/a0019615 · 1.89 Impact Factor
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