The need for postadoption services for adoptive families is well documented. While the majority of adopted children function within a normal range and their families are satisfied with their adoptions, all children who are adopted encounter issues and emotions and may be assisted by professional adoption-competent services. Adoptive and birth mothers, fathers, and their families also may need postadoption services to help manage their roles and to mediate postadoption contact. In this section, find resources about the need for postadoption services, including State and local examples.
Adoption is a process, not an event, and adoption-related issues may come up for adopted people around particular life events, such as birthdays, giving birth, holidays (Mother's Day or Father's Day), age- or school-related life events, and developmental milestones or stages (graduations, identity formation of adolescence, etc.). No matter the manner in which children are adopted or their age when adopted, there are predictable and normal issues and emotions that most adopted people will experience (see 7 core issues in adoption). Adoptive parents and birth parents also experience issues and emotions related to adoption that are normal and may benefit from professional services from adoption-competent providers. In addition, children who experienced multiple placements or maltreatment, were in foster care for an extended period, came from an institutional setting, or were brought to the U.S. from another country may have additional needs for postfinalization services and support. Their adoptive parents may also need postadoption services.
Assessing the Support Needs of Adoptive Families: Building Secure Placements
Miller & Bentovim (2006)
Provides guidance about making evidence-based assessments and planning successful adoption support.
National Consortium for Post Legal Adoption Services
Download (PDF - 13KB)
Encouraging Adoption and Helping Families: The Case for Refocusing Federal Funding on Post-Adoption Services (PDF - 427 KB)
Voice for Adoption (2009)
Describes funding of postadoption services and highlights the need to enhance and improve Federal funding for these services, develop competent postadoption services, and improve their evaluation.
Investing in Adoptive Families: What Adoptive Families Tell Us Regarding the Benefits of Adoption Preservation Services
Zosky, Howard, Smith, Howard, & Shelvin
Adoption Quarterly, 8(3), 2005
Presents findings from a study that aims to discern from adoptive parents' own experiences how adoption preservation services contributed to their parenting success.
Post-Adoption Services: Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Children Adopted From Foster Care (PDF - 158 KB)
North American Council on Adoptable Children (2007)
Provides information on the mental health needs of children adopted from foster care, including a description of the services needed and available financial assistance. State examples of effective postadoption service programs are also included.
The Postadoption Experience: Adoptive Families' Service Needs and Service Outcomes
Casey Family Services (2006)
Reviews and highlights successful approaches to meeting the postadoptive needs of families and children.
Parents and Professionals Identify Post Adoption Service Needs in New York State (PDF - 744 KB)
New York State Citizens' Coalition for Children (2010)
Includes information about current programs in New York, research on postadoption service needs of families, the survey results, and recommendations for future services.
Strengthening Adoption Practice, Listening to Adoptive Families
Child Welfare, 86(1), (2007)
Presents findings from a study of postadoption services provided through Virginia's Adoptive Family Preservation program, documenting the need for support in a variety of forms, including respite, counseling, and information.
Supporting Adoptive Families on a Shoestring (PDF - 4854 KB)
The Roundtable, 25(1), 2011
Describes efforts in Arizona to continue to provide postadoption support by minimizing costs and maximizing outcomes.