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Adoption Awareness: Avoiding Adoption Disruption

November 7, 2012

TLC Guest Blogger: Annette Miner, CWY, CTC-S, CYC

“We have given our child everything; so much love, a great home, everything she could ever want, but it doesn’t seem to matter. We have done everything we can think of. We have read every book on child rearing, tried everything to get this behavior under control, and nothing has worked. We don’t know what else to do! We love her, but we don’t know how much longer we can do this.”

Sound familiar? There may be different families or different ways of expressing deep emotion, but basically the same story is told over and over again by parents who have adopted children with histories of trauma.

Various studies have been done on adoption disruption with statistics fluctuating on their findings. One publication, “Adoption Disruption and Dissolution,” Child Welfare Information Gateway, states that adoption disruption on average ranges from as low as 6–25 percent, depending on the population studied, and various other factors. It went on to break down results found in various populations studied. Although this was not a national study, the information gathered is worth reviewing from a trauma-informed perspective.

Adoption disruptions pointed to traumatic experiences being demonstrated through behavior. Here are some examples:

  1. Children having a history of sexual or emotional abuse
  2. Children with physical disabilities and emotional or behavioral problems
  3. Each additional year of age increased the likelihood of disruption, which went up by 6 percent
  4. Children who entered the child welfare system due to lack of supervision or environmental neglect
  5. Adoptive parents feeling they had a lack of information on where to go for appropriate services as well as the cost of services
  6. And many other factors

Often by the time an adoptive family comes for help, they are emotionally exhausted and feeling quite helpless and oftentimes hopeless. They may have sought help from books or other well-meaning support systems, but often resources given for dealing with behavioral issues in general are in the form of behavior modification. These approaches simply do not work. In fact, they often compound a child’s trauma experiences.

It must be a relief for adoptive families who are struggling when they are able to receive trauma-informed care for their families and education on trauma and trauma responses, as well as being given strategies and ways in which to help their child feel safe. Having a trauma specialist/consultant who understands what is happening at a deeper level within their child provides parents with the hope that their child will finally have the help he or she needs to find relief from and completion/resolve of their traumatic event(s).

TLC offers a number of excellent training options to practitioners on providing trauma-informed care to these children and their families.

TLC offers many tools and resources as well for practitioners to use with families when explaining trauma. TLC also offers exceptional trauma intervention tools to help children work through their traumatic experiences.

TLC offers tools for Foster/Adoption:  Foster Care Workbook and My Care: A Book for Transitions

I cannot help but believe statistics will change if adoptive parents are given education and tools on trauma and trauma response as part of their pre-placement training, as well as post-adoption, trauma-focused support once adoption has taken place. Adopted children and their new families deserve to have the best start they can as they begin their journey together!

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