Although no preparation of the child is needed in an infant adoption, when older children are to be adopted caseworkers usually work together with foster parents and adopting parents to help the child get ready for the impending move.
Various means are employed to prepare a child for adoption. Many caseworkers use a LIFEBOOK, which is a special scrapbook describing the child's life, hobbies and relationships. The social worker also counsels the child about what adoption will mean to him or her and makes it clear that an adoptive family is a permanent family. This explanation also necessitates the often painful realization that the biological family ties will be severed prior to the adoption.
Social workers usually arrange a meeting between the prospective adoptive parents and the child before any home visits are arranged. The child may go to a park or a fast-food restaurant with them, or they may meet in the social worker's office, or the meeting may occur at an adoption picnic. In some cases, the social worker will show the child a videotape the family has made of their home, family and lifestyle. Social workers who use such techniques say children ask to see the videos over and over.
If the prospective parents and the child appear to be a possible "match," the caseworker will arrange a visit within their home for a day or a weekend. Many times the child and the adopting parents are anxious for visits to end and for the child to move in permanently but caseworkers want to ensure as much as possible that the placement will work and that a DISRUPTION will not occur, causing the child further pain.
Whenever possible, foster parents are also employed to prepare the child for adoption and to speak positively about the adoptive placement. Sometimes foster parents have become very attached to the child and may resist the placement, thus making the child's transition even more difficult. Today many foster parents adopt their foster children, and it's likely to be an increasing trend. (See also FOSTER PARENT ADOPTIONS; SPECIAL NEEDS.)
Find more information on preparing a child for adoption
©2000 by Christine Adamec and William Pierce, Ph.D. Reprinted from The Encyclopedia of Adoption, 2nd Edition (2nd Edition) with permission of Facts On File, Inc.
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