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International Adoption Education

By Dr. Victor Groza

What should prospective adoption parents educate themselves on while preparing for their international adoption?

At a minimum, parents should either receive training, or, in the event the agency facilitating the adoption does not provide training, attend seminars or read books in the following areas:

  1. Details on the legal and social process of adoption in both the United States and abroad;
  2. Issues of abandonment, separation, grief, loss and mourning for adoptees that are evident throughout the life cycle;
  3. Issues of separation, grief, loss and mourning for infertile couples that are evident throughout the life cycle;
  4. The adoptive family’s life cycle and unique issues in family formation;
  5. Individual and family identity development in adoption;
  6. Unique issues of attachment in adoption;
  7. Outcomes and risks in international adoptions; and
  8. Dealing with unresolved infertility issues.

Adoption preparation helps families to understand the unique issues in forming families or adding to families through adoption.  A successful adoption depends less on the child and more on parental and family characteristics, which allow the child to be incorporated into the family without an intolerable level of family distress or chronic crises.  The lack of preparation cannot be easily compensated for later and adequate preparation reduces the risk of negative adoption outcomes.  As part of preparation, parents should go to support groups for international adoptive parents.  They will get the most insight from these parents.

Dr. Victor Groza is an Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. He is a prolific author and editor in the field of adoption studies; four books and over 40 professional articles are in publication, including Clinical and Practice Issues in Adoption.

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