TUE July 10, 2018 TUE July 10, 2018
3:30 pm 3:30 pm
Salle Mont-Royal Salle Mont-Royal

Rosa Rosnati

Professor, Department of Psychology, Catholic University of the Sacred heart of Milan

Elena Canzi

Postdoctoral fellow, Family Studies and Research University Centre, Catholic University of the Sacred heart of Milan, Italy

Laura Ferrari

Postdoctoral fellow, Family Studies and Research University Centre, Catholic University of Milan

Francesca Danioni

Graduate student in psychology, Catholic University of the Sacred heart of Milan, Italy

Sonia Ranieri

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Catholic University of the Sacred heart of Milan, Italy

Patricia Germain

Professor, Department of Nursing, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

Julie Despaties

Executive Director, Adopt4Life: Ontario's Adoptive Parent Association

Erin Ingard-Rau

Associate Director, Adopt4Life: Ontario's Adoptive Parent Association

Emily Cichocki

Graduate student in philosophy, University of Western Ontario

Hale Doguoglu

Graduate student in pilosophy, University of Western Ontario

Cherilyn Dance

Research Fellow, Department of Social Care and Social Work, Manchester Metropolitan University

Ruth Rogers

Reader in social justice and inclusion, Canterbury Christ Church University

Elsbeth Neil

Professor, School of Social Work, University of East Anglia

Sahana Mitra

Professor, School of Social Science, Tata Institute of Social Science

Communications orales: Parentalité adoptive / Paper session: Adoptive parenthood

How adoptive parents cope with the transition to parenthood: A dyadic perspective.

The transition to adoptive parenthood represents a particularly stressful event, but little is known about psychological adjustment among parents involved in the process. Research that has specifically analyzed stress and well-being in adoptive couples during early adoptive parenthood reported inconsistent results. Even less is known about the differences between adoptive mothers and fathers in coping with the transition, and the effect of the transition on the couple as a unit, using dyadic perspective and dyadic data analyses: according to a relational approach, however, partners within the same couple are by nature interdependent.

The current longitudinal study was aimed at: a) investigating parental well-being during the first year post-adoption and trends over time; b) identifying protective factors associated to parental well-being, and c) measuring dyadic correlations between mothers’ and fathers’ scores (a measure of couple interdependence) and evaluating if they were stable or changed over time. Participants were 45 adoptive couples (90 subjects) who filled in two self-report questionnaires: the first one within two months after child’s arrival in the family, and the second one a year later. Measures included The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, The Parenting Stress Index Short Form, and The Partnership Questionnaire.

Results showed that both for mothers and fathers mean scores were far below the clinical threshold and stable over time. The quality of couple relationship turned out to be significantly related to parental well-being, and a mutual influence between the levels of well-being within the couple emerged. Implications for post-adoption support will be discussed.

« Le nouveau bébé fait maison» : l’expérience des parents adoptants et de la fratrie adoptive à l’arrivée par naissance d’un nouvel enfant dans la famille.

Problématique : L’adoption d’un deuxième enfant dans une famille adoptive est souvent perçue de façon positive par le premier enfant adopté. C’est un moment pour parler de sa propre histoire (Germain, 2009). Par contre, la situation est tout autre lors de l’arrivée par naissance du nouvel enfant dans la famille. La présente étude s’est intéressée aux réactions des enfants adoptés et de leurs parents lors de la naissance d’un enfant dans la famille. L’expérience des enfants adoptés ainsi que les dynamiques relationnelles entre les membres de la fratrie n’avaient pas été étudiées dans ce contexte.

Objectifs : Décrire les expériences des parents et des enfants adoptés qui accueillent un enfant par naissance au sein de leur famille.

Méthodologie : L’approche phénoménologique a été privilégiée. Il y avait trois sources de données: les dessins de la famille de l’enfant adopté, une entrevue avec l’enfant adopté et une entrevue avec les parents. L’analyse des dessins a été guidée par la méthode de Rose (2001). Les guides d’entretien pour les enfants et les parents ont été construits à partir de Germain (2009). Cinq familles ont été rencontrées. Les enfants étaient âgés entre 5 et 8 ans. La méthode d’analyse phénoménologique appliquée aux données est inspirée par Giorgi (1997).

Résultats: Les familles vivent de grands défis, et ce tant au niveau individuel (parent ou enfant) qu’au niveau collectif (que ce soit dans la façon de se créer une histoire familiale ou de créer un sentiment d’appartenance à la famille). Les parents soulignent les grands défis qu’ils ont pour obtenir des services. Ils se sentent pris entre les services de la périnatalité et du secteur 0-5 ans et les services spécialisés en adoption. Les parents ont souvent l’impression d’être pris entre ces deux sphères de services, et ce, sans obtenir de réponses à leurs questions. Les dessins ont aidé les enfants à se raconter. La fratrie adoptive vit aussi beaucoup de défis au quotidien face à cette situation. Les dits, les non-dits, les silences et les malaises sont nombreux pour les membres de la famille, la famille élargie ainsi que l’entourage. Les enfants adoptés développent différentes stratégies pour faire face à ces situations. La compréhension du vécu de ces familles permettra aux professionnels tant des secteurs de la santé et des services sociaux d’avoir une plus grande sensibilité et d’offrir des soins et des services plus appropriés à la réalité de ces familles.

The Importance of Peer Support: Evaluation of A4L's Parent2Parent Support Network Program

This presentation will show the results of the evaluation of Adopt4Life’s Parent2Parent Support Network Program. Adopt4Life (A4L), Ontario’s Adoptive Parent Association, is a community of people with lived experience of adoption aiming to empower parents to achieve permanency for adopted children. A4L provides support to those at any stage of their adoption journey and is inclusive of public, private, international, moral, kin and customary care adoption.

A4L launched the Parent2Parent Support Network Program (P2P) in Sept. 2016 in London, Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo/ Kitchener, to provide a support network for awaiting and adoptive parents seeking advocacy, adoption specialists, in-person support groups, social communities, mental health support, and other resources. P2P includes five components: 1. General Information for adoptive parents via telephone, email, and online communities, 2. Parent Liaisons that provide individual support, connect families with further resources, and pair them with mentors and buddies, 3. Online Private Facebook Groups that create safe spaces to share adoption-related issues, have discussions, and build connections, 4. Mentors, who are experienced adoptive parents that provide further guidance, and 5. Buddies, adoptive parents paired with others that share similar needs for increased peer support.

The evaluation was conducted by Sarah Serbinski (PhD), under the guidance of Julie Despaties and Erin Ingard Rau at Adopt4Life. Information was collected from awaiting parents, adoptive parents, A4L staff, and A4L volunteers via semi-structured phone interviews and online surveys. A literature review was also conducted to provide a summary of evidence-informed articles about peer support programs for adoptive parents. The literature review concluded there was a significant gap in evidence-informed knowledge in this area, suggesting that the evaluation of P2P is one of the leading knowledge sources about support programs for adoptive parents in Ontario.

The findings show that there was a lack of support and services for adoptive parents and their families prior to the funding of P2P. Families reported that P2P helped to increase stability in their home, decrease feelings of isolation, kept children with serious challenges safe, and helped families move forward with adoption. The evaluation also showed that families have the need for more Parent Liaisons generally, and a more diverse group of liaisons including those knowledgeable about LGBTQ, African-Canadian/Black, First Nations Metis, and Inuit heritage related experiences. In light of the findings in the evaluation, A4L has asked the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) to consider expanding Adopt4Life’s Parent2Parent Support Network to meet the needs of the adoption community of Ontario. We believe that these findings and proposed solutions also align with MCYS’s priorities to support and strengthen families and children in need of permanency.

Wanting to adopt in England: perspectives from adopters and adoption professionals

In England, adoption from care is one of the options available to secure permanence for children in care when both Children’s social care and the courts consider it inappropriate for them to return to their birth families. In England, until recently, the number of children adopted from care has been increasing year on year – and the time frames in which this has been accomplished have been reducing. While there are many people in the UK who wish to create or expand their families by adoption, there is often a mismatch between the needs of waiting children and the attributes or wishes of families approved to adopt, meaning that not all children with a plan for adoption are matched within a reasonable time scale.

Thus, while adoption is a ‘child centred’ practice, the question of how best to match the needs of waiting children with families approved to adopt, and prepare adopters for the needs of children who have a plan for adoption is a pressing issue. Recent technological advances allowing online profiling of children direct to adopters have radically changed the ways in which links may be identified, and this is set against public policy and practice developments which have led to radical changes in the landscape of adoption practice in England. This paper draws on both adopter and practitioner perspective across three studies undertaken over the last decade to consider the preparation of adopters and the linking and matching process as it operates in England and reflects on duty of care in respect of all actors. Further, the paper addresses the views of prospective adopters in terms of what is important for them, their experiences of searching for and being linked with a child for their family, as well as the ways in which their views and expectations might change over time and why. The paper will highlight both tensions and opportunities presented by recent policy developments in England and consider how policy is impacting on practice and how practice might need to adapt.

Infertility, loss and adoption: An Indian experience

Adoption is governed by several social, emotional and historical forces that shape the psychological processes associated with adoption decision making. Studies have indicated that most adoptive parents have a relationship with infertility and show a higher motivation for ‘wanting an infant’ to complete their family. With a high prevalence of pro-birth ideology in India, greater use of assisted reproductive technologies has been reported that has affected the non-family domestic adoption rates.

This paper examines the psycho-socio processes of seven Indian adoptive parents who have undergone long years of involuntarily childlessness and were diagnosed with primary infertility. The parents’ pre-adoption journey from infertility diagnosis to infertility resolution and eventually completing their families through non-family domestic adoption has been explored. Jointly constructed couple interviews were conducted under the phenomenological methodology and the data was triangulated with interviews from adoption social workers and medical professionals.

The interpretative phenomenological analysis revealed significant themes. This included hope and grief, perception of body image, loss of intimacy, theory of ‘karma’ (fate), gender differences in grief resolution, surrogacy vs. adoption, as well as the relationship between position of a woman in the family and adoption initiation. A further analysis showed that both medical reality of childlessness and social approval determined their willingness to accept adoptive parenthood.

The study findings show the emergence of diverse discourses on infertility, adoption and family dynamics in a non-western country such as India, where secrecy, stigma and closed system of adoption still influence the adoption process. The implications of the study for the design of educational programmes for prospective adoptive parents are discussed. It is envisaged that the experiences, needs and vulnerabilities of the already adopted will help to devise intervention strategies for future adoptive parents around expectations, grief counselling, infertility resolution and adoption initiation.