Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Did you know that November is National Adoption Awareness Month?

Did you know that November is National Adoption Awareness Month?
By, Sarah Dreyer-Oren

This year, the theme of National Adoption Awareness Month is “Teens Need Families, No Matter What,” and highlights the importance of adopting older children from foster care. Adoption enriches lives of parents, children, and communities, but it is critical for psychologists to recognize and address the unique challenges associated with adoption. Given that most psychologists report needing more education and training regarding the adoption process (Sass & Henderson, 2000), psychologists should reflect on the role of adoption in their clinical work and consider additional training in this area.

Image result for adoptionImage result for adoption
Psychologists can help facilitate successful adoptions by becoming competent in their knowledge of the adoption experience for both adoptive parents and adopted youth. At a basic level, studies of parents in successful foster care placements have demonstrated that for adoptive parents, formal and informal social support and pre-adoption preparation are associated with successful adoption placements.
Image result for adoption
Another factor associated with positive adoption placement outcomes is adoption openness, which allows adoptees to maintain a connection to biological families (Liao, 2016; Oke, Rostill-Brookes, & Larkin, 2013). This factor might be especially important for older youth transitioning to adulthood, who sometimes struggle with issues of identity and loss (Chamberlin, 2005). Birth parents may also need adoption-related mental health care to process their loss. For adoptive parents, birth parents, and adopted children, finding a provider who has a background in adoption issues may facilitate the adoption and post-adoption process.
Image result for adoption
According to the Center for Adoption Support and Education, areas of adoption competency for psychologists include (CASE, 2016):
  • Learn the theoretical framework and therapeutic approach of adoption competent mental health practice.
  • Understand the legal and ethical issues that impact adoption.
  • Develop clinical skills in working with birth families, children and prospective adoption parents in planning for adoption.
  • Develop clinical skills in working with adopted children and youth and adoptive families on issues of loss, grief, separation, identity formation and attachment.
  • Develop clinical skills in working with adopted children and youth and adoptive families on issues related to the impact of genetics and past experiences on adjustment and the psychological well-being of adopted children.
  • Understand how trauma impacts adopted children and tools and techniques to support recovery from adverse beginnings.
  • Develop an understanding of the racial, ethnic and cultural issues in adoption and how to work with transracial and transcultural families.
  • Identify and utilize evidence-based and evidence-informed practices and interventions with individuals affected by adoption.
In addition, the following adoption resources may be useful:
General information about National Adoption Month: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam/about/
National Council for Adoption:
Resource for adoption mental health support and education: http://adoptionsupport.org/
Resource for adoption competency training form mental health professionals: http://adoptionsupport.org/adoption-competency-initiatives/training-for-adoption-competency-tac/about/
APA resource for psychologists on the influence of adoption on psychological practice: http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec05/adopting.aspx
Information for parents about selecting mental health providers competent in the area adoption: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/f_therapist.pdf
Chamberlin, J. (2005). Adopting a new American family. Monitor on Psychology, 36(11), 70-74.
Liao, M. (2016). Factors affecting post-permanency adjustment for children in adoption or guardianship placements: An ecological systems analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 66, 131-143.
Oke, N., Rostill-Brookes, H., & Larkin, M. (2013). Against the odds: Foster carers’ perceptions of family, commitment and belonging in successful placements. Clinical child psychology and psychiatry, 18(1), 7-24.
Sass, D. A., & Henderson, D. B. (2000). Adoption issues: Preparation of psychologists and an evaluation of the need for continuing education. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 9(4), 349-359.
Skinner-Drawz, B. A., Wrobel, G. M., Grotevant, H. D., & Von Korff, L. (2011). The role of adoption communicative openness in information seeking among adoptees from adolescence to emerging adulthood. Journal of family communication, 11(3), 181-197.

No comments: