"When You're Sitting on the Fence, Hope's the Hardest Part": Challenges and Experiences of Heterosexual and Same-Sex Couples Adopting Through the Child Welfare System.

Abstract

Foster-to-adopt families can be viewed as systems that are influenced by many other systems (e.g., the legal system, the social service agency, and the birth family). The current qualitative study of 84 foster-to-adopt parents (members of 42 lesbian, gay, and heterosexual couples) examined the types of challenges that parents faced as they navigated multiple systems during the initial post-placement period. Some participants described the legal insecurity associated with their role as foster-to-adopt parents as impacting their personal well-being and their attachment to their children. Lack of support services and disorganization within social service agencies, as well as strained relationships with birth parents, were also identified as stressors for foster-to-adopt parents. Importantly, lesbian and gay participants faced additional concerns regarding the security of their placement, due to the possibility for discrimination within the various systems involved with the foster-to-adopt process. Participants as a whole also identified positive aspects of their experiences within various systems; for example, they appreciated child care subsidies, state-provided health insurance, and supportive social workers. Our findings provide insights into foster-to-adopt parents' experiences during the initial post-placement period, and have implications for adoption services aimed to improve placement stability and enhance family functioning in foster-to-adopt families.

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@article{Goldberg2012WhenYS, title={"When You're Sitting on the Fence, Hope's the Hardest Part": Challenges and Experiences of Heterosexual and Same-Sex Couples Adopting Through the Child Welfare System.}, author={Abbie E. Goldberg and April M. Moyer and Lori A. Kinkler and Hannah B. Richardson}, journal={Adoption quarterly}, year={2012}, volume={15 4}, pages={288-315} }