Research calls for a more open approach to adoption

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A more open approach to adoption is needed so that adopted people don’t lose relationships with the people who have been important to them in their lives, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

The results of two studies, published during National Adoption Week by UEA’s Center for Research on Children and Families, also suggest that this helps adopted people have a better sense of their identity.
The theme of this year’s National Adoption Week is about maintaining the relationships and identities of adopted children.

The teacher. Elsbeth Neil, of the UEA School of Social Work and one of the authors of the study, said: “Adoption has often been seen as ‘a fresh start’ with a ‘clean break’ from the birth of the child considered necessary. But now. new research with adopted adults demonstrates the problems this approach causes over the course of life.

“Without information about their background and family of origin, adopted people struggle with identity problems and many feel lost for having lost meaningful relationships or simply not having had the opportunity to know parents, brothers, sisters or others in the their family birth.

“Tens of thousands of adopted adults and their natural relatives have been affected by the lack of openness in adoption, but the services to help them cope with the consequences of this need higher priority.”

Professor Neil added: ‘Adopters need faster and easier ways to access their adoption documents and need access to affordable support services to help them work through the emotional impact of adoption and to support them in the process of finding their native family where this is desired.

“This research also has messages for adopted children today, specifically that the system needs to do more to actually keep children’s relationships where they are safe and supportive so they don’t end up with these questions about identity as adults.” .

The first study examines how adoption agencies respond to requests from intermediary agencies to support meetings between adopted adults and their families of origin.

Intermediate services help adopted adults contact their birth family and vice versa can help birth parents make contact with their adopted child.

Before intermediate services can connect people, they must ask the agency holding the adoption papers to check the file for contact details, basic information, and to make sure the adoptee has not vetoed the adoption. ‘be contacted by relatives at birth.

This new research, conducted with Adoption Brokerage Service Joanna North Associates, explores how quickly adoption agencies respond to these requests and the factors that could prevent a timely response. One of the key recommendations is that the needs of adopted adults and birth relatives should be given more strategic consideration at the national and agency levels.

Dr Joanna North said, “Our work in connecting adopted people to their lost family of origin has shown us the cost of human suffering when people cannot connect with their natural relatives in a timely manner. These researches are Time-sensitive: On too many occasions the system has been so slow in responding to our requests for records that the object of a search may have died before we reached it.

“The research we conducted with the UEA shows the large variations over time that agencies can take to check files, as well as the lack of resources and guidelines to allow for quick searches.

“The government must ensure a consistent process by local authorities so that there is a minimum standard to help adopted people access their records, reducing the suffering this is causing.”

The second study, conducted in collaboration with the adoption support agency PAC-UK, analyzes survey data from over 200 adopted adults by exploring their priorities on maintaining family relationships at birth.

It found broad support for prioritizing birth-family relationships, the need for more support for adopted adults, and a more open discussion of family ties at birth. The findings will be presented today at an online event organized by PAC-UK and led by adopted adults.

Mike Hancock, PAC-UK National Strategic Lead, said: “We are in an exciting time of potential change in adoption where questions are being asked about whether the disruption of ties to the family of birth and the resulting secrecy of identity is beneficial to adopted children. The message we are getting for many adopted adults is that it is not. “

During a webinar on Thursday (20 October) Professor Neil will discuss the ongoing work around the “theory of change”, focusing on the adoption system and highlighting the key problems related to the lack of openness in adoption and the problems this causes for adopted people. , birth parents and adoptive parents.

The webinar will be organized in collaboration with CoramBAAF, an independent organization for professionals, foster carers and adopters, and anyone else who works with or cares for children in care or care, or adults who have been affected by adoption.

In recent months, researchers have drawn on existing research and talked to a wide range of experienced and professional people. The event will include contributions from a range of people with lived experience, including adopted adults, a biological parent and an adoptive parent. There will be a focus on what could be done differently to improve the adoption system.


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Provided by the University of East Anglia

Citation: Research requests for a more open approach to adoption (2022, October 17) retrieved October 17, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-approach.html

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