After Adoption: Direct Contact and Relationships

Front Cover
Psychology Press, 2004 - Family & Relationships - 199 pages
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Few children nowadays are placed for adoption with no form of contact planned with birth relatives and it has become common professional practice to advocate direct rather than indirect contact. Practice has outstripped evidence in this respect and not enough is known about how contact arrangements actually work out, particularly for older children adopted from state care. Such children have often experienced neglect, and sometimes abuse, and have frequently been adopted without parental agreement.
Based on research with a large number of adoptive parents, children and birth relatives, After Adoption considers the impact of direct post-adoption contact on all concerned in such cases. It also:
· discusses the development of adoption policy and law, particularly with regard to the legal and social consequences
· reviews the research evidence on adopted children's contact with their birth families
· explores through interviews: participants' feelings about adoption and direct contact; their relationships with each other; what hinders and what helps.
After Adoption challenges readers to re-think the relationship between adoption and the possibility of direct post-adoption contact and at the same time provides a comprehensive understanding of adoption issues. It is a timely and valuable addition to the literature on adoption, making a substantial contribution to policy and practice.
 

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Contents

Adoption in context Social change and openness
1
openness and secrecy in adoption arrangements
6
difference identity and telling5
8
Identity issues in context
12
openness contact and adoption
13
the debate about contact and new challenges
16
Summary
17
Openness in adoption Essential for childrens wellheing? The practice of open adoption and arrangements for contact
18
a complicated business
90
losses and gains
91
advantages of direct contact
93
comfort and satisfaction with direct contact
98
Ownership control and direct contact
105
Conclusion
111
Summary
113
Birth relatives and direct contact Introduction birth relatives adoption and contact
115

the need for information and contact
20
the impact of contact on birth and adoptive parents
27
the impact of contact on children
30
how much do we know about the benefits of continuing contact?
32
Summary
34
Policy law and openness in adoption Policy issues openness and access to information
36
postadoption contact
41
Judicial intervention in contact arrangements
44
policy development and judicial restraint
50
Summary
52
The study Research issues methods and sample characteristics The study in context
53
Ethical and methodological considerations
54
Gaining access to adopters children and birth relatives after adoption
57
Research instruments and data collection
60
Talking to the children
61
Childrens characteristics and placements
62
Childrens legal and lookedafter status
64
variability frequency and arrangements
65
trials tribulations and rewards
67
Summary
68
Preparation and planning for direct contact Agencies professional practice and contact
69
Preparation for direct contact
70
Adoptive parents attitudes towards contact
72
Meeting birth relatives involved in direct contact
75
Planning for contact
76
adopters agreed with the plan and felt involved
77
adopters agreed with the plan although they were not involved
79
Planning was initiated by the adopters
80
Frequency of contact arrangements
82
Agency involvement in postadoption contact arrangements
83
agencies and planning for direct contact
84
Summary
85
Adoptive parents Perspectives on adoption and direct contact Adoptive parents and adoption
87
birth families and contact
88
Birth relatives attitudes to adoption and satisfaction with adoption outcome
116
Birth relatives satisfaction with frequency and security of contact arrangements
121
an alternative to adoption?
123
personal comfort role comfort and satisfaction
124
birth relatives and direct postadoption contact
129
Childrens thoughts and feelings Adoption and postadoption contact Introduction the children
131
Children and adoption
133
childrens wishes and feelings
137
childrens perceptions of comfort and satisfaction
140
Childrens and adoptive parents perceptions of contact
143
placement and contact
145
childrens wishes and feelings
146
listening to children and young people
149
Summary
150
Views from the triangles Introduction triangular relationships
151
The subsample of adoption triangles
152
Agreement to adoption and the enforcement of contact arrangements
155
Experiencing direct contact
157
respect and liking
158
sympathy acceptance and gratitude
160
Permission to parent
162
conflict and competition
164
the failure to develop a working relationship
166
The frequency of contact and changes over time
169
prospects for direct postadoption contact
172
Summary
174
Direct postadoption contact benefits risks and uncertainties Sixtyone adoptive families and direct contact
176
factors relating to comfort satisfaction and beneficial experiences
178
risk and uncertainty
180
managing uncertainty in decisions about direct postadoption contact
182
References
185
Index
196
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Personal Life
Carol Smart
Limited preview - 2007
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