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Future of Adoption Publication Series

 

Adoptive families are incredibly diverse. Parents frequently adopt children from racial, ethnic, or national origins different from their own. In a society where differences in race and nationality are noted and often stigmatized, adoptive parents must understand that "love is enough" is not sufficient to help their children thrive. Populations of adoptive parents are also increasingly diverse, with increasing numbers of adoptions by African American parents and LGBTQ parents. Today's contributions to our Future of Adoption Publication Series provide important insights for parents and professionals. Amanda Baden discusses the dramatic decline in intercountry adoptions over the past decade and looks into the future of this adoption practice. Ellen Pinderhughes focuses specifically on families who have adopted children transracially, drawing on a growing body of research to develop recommendations for attending to children's cultural socialization and preparation to encounter bias in a racialized world. Kathleen Belanger, Ruth McRoy, and Joe Haynes report on two program models that have been very successful in recruiting and retaining African American adoptive parents. Finally, Rachel Farr discusses the rapidly growing body of research on adoption by lesbian and gay adoptive parents, and what we know about family processes and child outcomes. Each of these papers provides important insights for everyone concerned with adoption.

 

Posted April 2, 2019:

Today, we are pleased to release three new papers in the Future of Adoption Publication Series, all focused on programs or interventions. Lee Raby and Mary Dozier discuss the importance of early intervention with adopted or foster children who have experienced maltreatment, presenting the Attachment and Biobehavioral Catchup (ABC) intervention as an empirically validated method of helping children and families.  In the Spong and Homstead contribution, we move from the parent-child dyad to the neighborhood as the focus of intervention. They describe the Treehouse Community in Easthampton, Massachusetts, an intentional intergenerational community for families who have adopted children from foster care, discussing the program model and outcomes to date.  Wilson, Riley, and Lee widen the lens further by addressing competency needs of professionals in the field. They describe the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative, which is creating web-based training for mental health and child welfare providers across the country, aimed at promoting the provision of adoption-competent care.  Taken together, these three contributions highlight innovative and validated approaches to program development. These models are already showing significant impact; they will certainly also inspire other innovations for the future.

 

Posted March 19, 2019:

Expertise in the adoption field comes in many forms. One form of expertise frequently overlooked is that of the lived experience of adopted persons themselves, and especially that of adopted persons who have chosen to work in the adoption field. Our second set of papers includes three articles that  were all written by adopted persons. Steve Kalb and Angela Tucker write about their leadership positions in adoption organizations as the developers of programs by and for adoptees. Their unique adoption journeys have shaped their approaches and goals in important ways; both are leading organizations that are having widespread impact and serve as national models. Hollee McGinnis chaired a panel of adoption researchers at the Rudd Conference, all of whom were adopted internationally. With Hollee, we hear from Amanda Baden, Adam Kim, and JaeRan Kim about the connections between their adoption experiences and their scholarly work; they also reflect on the greatest needs for adoption research in the future.  We also hear from Ana Dolan and a team of fellow undergraduate or recently graduated UMass students (Jennifer Mutén, Peter Nikolai McGinn, Ana Gremli, Emma Sander, and Victoria Griswold) who all helped launch the UMass Adopted Student Advisory Panel (ASAP).  Their open letter to adoption researchers, family, friends, and allies lays important groundwork for efforts that the field must take very seriously.  Our warm and sincere thanks to all who authored these articles; we look forward to their personal and professional contributions to come -- as they are the future of adoption.

 

Posted March 5, 2019:

Just as adoption practice and policy have changed substantially in recent decades, so will they surely continue to evolve into the future. In April, 2018, the Rudd Program convened a conference on the topic of the Future of Adoption, which generated considerable interest and discussion. In order to make insights from the conference more widely available and expand the discussion to additional topics, we have commissioned a talented group of authors to develop a series of user-friendly papers for broad dissemination.

Starting March 5, 2019, and continuing every other Tuesday through May, we will be releasing sets of thematically-related papers. The Rudd Adoption Research Program at the University of Massachusetts is excited to sponsor this Publication Series on the Future of Adoption. The user-friendly pdfs, linked below, are available to the public at no cost, due to the generosity of the authors and the support of the Rudd Family Foundation Chair at UMass Amherst. Please share the link to this page widely among your networks interested in adoption. Please return on April 2, 2019 when the next set of papers will be published. 

Our first two papers, linked below, are refinements of the keynote address presented by Dr. Gary Mallon, and the panel discussion that followed it, chaired by April Dinwoodie. Mallon's keynote is based on his career-long experience in the field of child welfare, as well as his personal journey as an adoptive and foster parent. The panel discussion featured professionals with deep experience within the field as well as diverse personal connections as birth parents, adoptive parents, adopted persons, and those who have experienced foster care. Taken together, these two papers provide much to consider as we think toward the future ... and importantly, a call to action on behalf of improving the world of adoption, keeping uppermost in mind the best interests of children.