Adoption Research, Practice, and Societal Trends: Ten Years of Progress

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Abstract

Adoption involves the legal transfer of parental rights and responsibilities from a child’s birth parents to adults who will raise the child (Reitz & Watson, 1992). Research related to adoption has expanded over the past 10 years and has incorporated more focus on implications for practice and public policy. This expansion has reflected increased awareness of the lived experience of adopted individuals, in addition to that of adoptive families and birth or first parents and families, collectively known as the adoption kinship network (Grotevant & McRoy, 1998). Trends discussed included research and social trends or movements (2007–2017) since the publication of the final article in a series of articles in the psychological literature related to adoption in The Counseling Psychologist (Baden & Wiley, 2007; Lee, 2003; O’Brien & Zamostny, 2003; Wiley & Baden, 2005; Zamostny, O’Brien, Baden, & Wiley, 2003; Zamostny, Wiley, O’Brien, Lee, & Baden, 2003). This article summarizes the social trends and research related to adoption over the last 10 years, including longitudinal and meta-analytic studies, increased research and conceptualization of ethnic and racial identity development, research on microaggressions, and research on diverse adoptive families, including those with gay and lesbian parents. Social trends included increased knowledge related to Internet accessibility, genetic information, continued focus on openness, and viewing adoption through a more critical lens. Implications are discussed for the development of programs that enhance competence of mental health professionals and adoption professionals in adoption-competent practice.

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