Impact of Adoption on Adoptive Parents: Managing the Adoption Process

This information was taken directly from Child Welfare Information Gateway

Managing the Adoption Process

The adoption process can seem intrusive and overly cumbersome to prospective parents. Each State has its own laws governing adoption. Intercountry adoptions are subject to additional regulations. For the most part, these laws are designed to protect the best interests of the child and the expectant parents before they decide to place their child for adoption. So, it’s normal for prospective adopters to feel vulnerable and powerless about the adoption process.

During the process, prospective parents will find themselves making life-changing decisions, which can be both exciting and stressful. Decisions need to be made about what type of adoption to pursue; whether to work with an adoption service provider and, if so, which one; how to answer the home study questions; and, finally, how to respond to a potential placement of a particular child or children. Prospective parents may also experience long waiting times and have to face uncertain outcomes. It’s not unusual for them to feel anxious about the process and to find it difficult to go about their regular routine when so much is at stake. A good agency and social worker can help prospective parents manage the adoptive process and provide guidance for the decisions and learning along the way. Some agencies may be able to link prospective parents to support groups for those awaiting adoption or to counselors who can help them with the sometimes extensive waiting period.

Sometimes a planned adoption does not proceed, and the prospective adoptive parents are devastated. While the prospective parents may have known intellectually that the expectant parents could change their minds about the adoption or that their foster child’s grandparents might seek custody or that a child in foster care could be reunited with his or her birth family or that a country might shut down its international adoptions, the reality can be very difficult to accept. If the parents have already met and attached to the child or served as foster parents, it may be particularly difficult. This is a loss for the prospective adoptive parents, and grief is an understandable reaction. They may need time to work through their grief before they’re ready to proceed again.

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