WED July 11, 2018 WED July 11, 2018
5:00 pm 5:00 pm
Foyer Mont-Royal Foyer Mont-Royal

Amy Lynch

Assistant Professor, College of Public Health, Temple University

Amanda G. Howard

Assistant Professor, Department of psychology, Samford University

Casey Call

Assistant Director, Karyn Purnis Institute for Child Development, Texas Christian University

David Cross

Director, Karyn Purvis Institute for Child Development, Texas Christian University

Yolanda Sánchez-Sandoval

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Cadiz

Melania Creo

Department of psychology, Universidad de Cádiz

Natalia Jiménez

Department of Didactics, Universidad de Cádiz

Sandra Melero

Graduate student in psychology, University of Cadiz

Laura Verdugo

Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, University of Cadiz

Diana Jareño-Ruiz

Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Alicante

María José Rodríguez-Jaume

Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Alicante

Mary Mather

Retired Medical Advisor, IAC -The Centre for Adoption

Natalia Bell

Paediatric Medical Advisor, IAC -The Centre for Adoption

Jan Way

Development Manager, IAC-The Centre for Adoption

Gill Haworth

Chief Executive, IAC-The Centre for Adoption

Gill Haworth

Chief Executive, IAC-The Centre for Adoption

Jan Way

Development Manager, IAC-The Centre for Adoption

Katie Hrapczynski

Assistant Professor, Department of Family Studies and Community Development, Towson University

Leigh Leslie

Associate Professor, Department of Family Science, University of Maryland

Montserrat Fargas Malet

Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast

Dominic McSherry

Research Associate, School of Social Sicences, Education and Social Work, Queen's University Belfast

Maria Gracia Peñarrubia

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University Loyola Andalucía

Concepción Moreno-Maldonado

Graduate student in psychology, University of Seville

Jesús Palacios

Jesús Palacios

Professor, Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Sevilla

Carmen Moreno

Professor, Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Seville

Maite Román

Associate Professor, Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Seville

Yolanda Sánchez-Sandoval

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Cadiz

Sandra Melero

Graduate student in psychology, University of Cadiz

Laura Verdugo

Research Assistant, Department of Psychology, University of Cadiz

Anne Marie Shier

Professor, Social Sciences, Dublin Institute of Technology

Susan Green

Psychologist, Victorian Network for Information and Self Help Inc.

Charlotte Smith

Manager, VANISH

Gianna Mazzone

Coordinator, LifeWorks Relationship Counselling and Education Services

Helena Lapinleimu

Pediatrician, Turku University Hospital

Jouni Lapinleimu

Doctor, Department of Internal Medicine, Turku University Hospital

Anna-Riitta Heikkilä

Graduate student, Department of Pediatrics, Helsinki University

Hanna Raaska

Child psychiatrist, Helsinki University Central Hospital

Marko Elovainio

Professor of Psychology, University of Helsinki

Pedro Alexandre Costa

Research Associate, William James Center for Research, ISPA - Instituto Universitário

Fiona Tasker

Reader in psychology, Birkbeck, University of London

Isabel Leal

Professor, William James Center for Research, ISPA - Instituto Universitário

Amy Whitesel

Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, George Washington University

Jody Ganiban

Professor of psychology, George Washington University

Leslie Leve

Professor, College of Education, University of Oregon

Jenae Neiderhiser

Professor, Department of Psychology, Penn State University

David Reiss

Clinical Professor, School of medicine, Yale University

Sally Guyer

Data Analyst, Prevention Science Institute, University of Oregon

Alyssa Rayhel

Project Coordinator, Prevention Science Institute, University of Oregon

Maggie Grant

Research Fellow, Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection, University of Stirling

Karen Lury

Professor of Film and Television Studies, University of Glasgow

Thérèse Lynch

Research Associate, School of Culture and Creative Arts, University of Glasgow

Sahana Mitra

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

Valerie O'Brien

Associate professor, School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin

Jesús Palacios

Jesús Palacios

Professor, Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Sevilla

Jesús Jiménez-Morago

Associate Professor, Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, University of Seville

Carmen Paniagua

Graduate student in psychology, University of Seville

Valerie O'Brien

Associate professor, School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin

Sahana Mitra

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

Présentations par affiche / Poster session

Characteristics of Sensory Processing Behaviors of Adopted Children with Trauma

OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to investigate sensory characteristics of children between the ages of 5 and 12 who have experienced abuse and neglect.

METHOD. Parents of 408 adopted children (M=7.89, SD=2.03) with known pre-adoption history of abuse, neglect, or no abuse/neglect reported their children’s sensory processing abilities using the Short Sensory Profile (SSP; McIntosh, et al., 1999).

RESULTS: Seventy-nine percent of the sample had a degree of sensory processing dysfunction on SPP Total Score: Forty-one percent of children with a Definite Difference and thirty-eight percent with a Probable Difference. Children who experienced abuse (n=147) present with impairments in Tactile Sensitivity (84.4%) and Taste/Smell Sensitivity (47.6%). Both groups presented with significant differences in Underresponsive/Seeks Sensation and Auditory Filtering, however, children who experienced neglect (n=125) seem to be more affected in Underresponsive/Seeks sensation (neglect=83.2%; abuse=57.8%)

CONCLUSION: The findings align with prior studies, confirming sensory processing impairments in children with adverse early life histories. This study further expands upon the understanding of the sensory processing differences for children of early adversity, with indicators of characteristic differences in patterns of sensory processing amongst children of abuse vs. neglect. Children of early adversity with atypical sensory processing may present with challenging to manage behaviors. Practitioners may be able to use sensory processing principles when guiding families in the management of child internalizing and externalizing. Children of early adversity may benefit from Occupational Therapy, Social Work, and Psychology professionals to identify individual sensory processing dilemmas and to establish individual, family, and environmental interventions to mitigate the impact of the sensory processing challenges upon daily activity performance success.

Relations between adoptive parents and adoptive children as adults: Preliminary analysis in YAPA20 Research Project

The quality of the family relations is an important predictor factor of the adoptions’ success. Research about families with adopted children and adolescents show that family cohesion and adaptability, and authoritative parenting, are related with higher family satisfaction with the adoption and with the children’s adjustment. The advantages of positive family dynamics have been researched in adoptive family mainly during the childhood and adolescent period. Little is known about these relations in adulthood.

This paper analyzes family relations in a group of 140 young adults who were domestically adopted by Spanish families (mean current age = 27 years, range: 18–42 years; mean adoption age = 2 years, range: 0–15 years; 43% male). Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI; (Parker, Tupling, & Brown, 1979), and the Parent-Adult-Child Relationship Questionnaire (PACQ; Peisah, Brodaty, Luscombe, Kruk, & Anstey, 1999) were used.

Most of the participants have at least one parent alive (98%). Currently, around half of them continue to live with their parents. Participants expressed high satisfaction with the affection and requirements shown by their parents. Perceptions of parenting received in adolescence (PBI) reveal very high scores in the Care dimension of the adoptive parents (affection, emotional warmth, empathy and closeness). Participants were assigned to one of four PBI quadrants using the mean scores on each scale for each gender (father/mother): 25-27% optimal parenting, 50-52% affectionate constraint, 19-20% affection less control, and 1-3% neglectful parenting.

The assessment of the relationship of adult children with their parents (PACQ) showed high responsibility and regard toward their adoptive mothers. These current relationships do not differ between participants who live with their parents and those who do not. The women showed higher responsibility and regard toward their adoptive mothers.

The findings suggest that parenting style (affect & control), measured by the PBI, contributes to the quality of relationship between adopted adults and their parents. We assessed the relationship between perceptions of parenting received in childhood and current family relations. Their current relationships with their mothers are related to the quality of parental bonding (for example, a pattern of high regard and high responsibility is often shown by adopted adults who perceive optimal parenting received in childhood). Future statistical analysis will let to know more about other implied variables in this relations.

Building New Family Identities: Open Adoption In Spanish International Adoptive Families

Spain has more than two decades of experience in international adoptions, but despite being the second country, behind the United States, which has adopted the most adoptions (52,741 adoptions according to the INE, 2015), it is still young in this field. in social and personal experiences as in academic studies within the discipline of Family Sociology. Open adoption, the theme chosen to be analyzed in this contribution, allows contact between the three vertices of the adoptive triad: adopters, adoptees and the biological families of the adopted children.

Within the new family forms, all possessing peculiarities with respect to the ‘hegemonic family’ model, the adoptive family bases its union on choice and affections and not on consanguinity relations (Rodríguez and Jareño, 2015). But the biological component does not disappear from the families, since, as established by current legislation, minors must know their status as adoptees and have the right to have all the information about their origins. Until Act 26/2015, of July 28, on the Protection of Children and Adolescents, Spain did not recognize or regulate the practice of open adoption despite the disparity of cases and circumstances in which adoptability declarations occurred. in the different countries of origin of the adopted.

The methodology used to know the perceptions, attitudes and behaviors of Spanish adopters that have adopted internationally has focused on two primary sources of data. The first one is the Survey ‘Adoptive families and their lifestyles’ (Rodríguez and González, 2014) answered by 230 adopters; and, the second source corresponds to the fieldwork carried out in the doctoral thesis’ Families in transition. Sociological study of international adoptive families in the province of Alicante ‘which has forty life stories made to adoptive parents and mothers (Jareño, 2014).

The results and conclusions of this research show, from the statistical exploitation of the data of the survey and the analysis of the speech of the life stories, the evaluation and implementation of the open adoption as a tool for the construction of identity as adoptive families and for the management of social stigma in a context where adoptive families, according to their perception, are considered a less satisfactory way than those based solely on biological ties.

The quality of medical Information given to prospective intercountry adopters in England

Poor quality medical information adds to the risks associated with intercountry adoption. Other
receiving countries acknowledge this more readily than the UK. All have to tackle the problems
posed by inadequate reports and most insist on further assessment of the child on arrival.

This poster outlines a research project which reviewed retrospectively 120 medical reports from 23 countries written about children matched with adopters from IAC-the Centre for Adoption in England (registered as the Intercountry Adoption Centre) between April 2010 and November 2014.

The quality and quantity of medical information varied widely but was generally inadequate. Most reports consisted of an isolated, single physical examination. There was incomplete screening for important medical conditions, inadequate medical histories and virtually no assessment of development. The reports for special needs children and adolescents were particularly concerning. In almost all cases, there was a lack of the essential information needed by adopters in order to make an informed decision about the suitability of the match.

All intercountry adopted children, regardless of their country of origin, need the involvement
of an experienced medical adviser in the matching process and should have a comprehensive
paediatric health assessment after placement. This should be carried out without charge to parents, as it is in some parts of Great Britain. The number of children concerned is small but their needs
are important, particularly as they are disadvantaged compared to domestic adoptees.
The research led to the development of a more robust medical and developmental form for use with those countries where there was no consistent, or robust form in use.

England as a State of Origin: The placement of children in the Looked After Care System with connected carers overseas

Approximately 200 ‘looked after children’ each year in the care of Local Authorities in England and who have plans for permanent placements, are placed with connected carers overseas, in both Convention and non Convention countries. Children are placed under a variety of orders, including Convention Adoption, adoption, special guardianship and other permanent orders. Processes and procedures, and practice in preparing carers in overseas countries vary widely and Local Authorities in England have found it challenging making such placements.

IAC – The Centre for Adoption has a long history of assessing carers who wish to adopt related and non related children from overseas, and using this expertise as a receiving state, applied for and was awarded a government grant to offer support and guidance to Local Authorities who are making such placements to a wide variety of countries. The aim of the grant was to provide up to date and clear information about the process and procedures for placement through the provision of an Advice service and general and country factsheets, and to improve placement practice through the provision of materials to related carers overseas and to professionals working with the carers and directly with the children.

The poster outlines the services that were developed and the feedback from Local Authority service users on its value. It also highlights key areas of concern in practice, and examines the opportunities for improving practice to ensure the best outcomes for this vulnerable group of children.

Discrepancy in Transracial Adopted Adolescent and Adoptive Parent Views of the Family: Developmentally Appropriate or Problematic for Adoptee Wellbeing?

Transracial adoption creates a family in which the adoptive parent or parents are of a different race, ethnicity, or culture from their adopted child, and most often consist of White parents raising racial minority youth. Its practice in the U.S. has long been controversial with questions raised about the impact of racial difference on child development and the competency of White parents to raise well-adjusted racial minority children. Research therefore examines adoptee outcomes and components of the family environment that facilitate or hinder adoptee development, particularly as adolescents individuate and form an identity. A familial factor suggested by the child development literature is the extent to which adolescents’ views of their family differ from their parents’ views. Family life cycle theory suggests maintaining discrepant views is developmentally appropriate as adolescents individuate from families, while family systems theory suggests discrepant views are indicators of family dysfunction.

The purpose of this study is to examine the role of discrepant adolescent-parent perceptions of the family on transracially adopted adolescent wellbeing. It serves as a particularly compelling familial context in which to examine discrepant views. According to the adoptive family life cycle, normative developmental tasks are complicated for adoptees. Transracial adoptees, in particular, must navigate identity development in the context of lacking physical resemblance to and shared cultural heritage with their adoptive parents. In addition, themes of loss and abandonment may play out in the individuation process when youth strive to balance autonomy from and connection to family.

Approximately 70 parent-adolescent dyads from transracial adoptive families completed an online survey. Adoptees ranged in age from 13-18 years and identified predominately as Asian (54%) followed by African American/Black (27%) and Latino (19%). All parents identified as White. Adoptive parents and their adolescent separately reported their views of family cohesion, conflict, and expressiveness on the respective subscales of the Family Environment Scale. Adolescents reported on their wellbeing, including internalizing and externalizing behaviors on the Child Behavior Checklist and self-esteem on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Structural equation modeling will examine the fit of the model hypothesizing that Discrepancy in Parent-Adolescent Views (latent variable indicated by discrepancy scores for family cohesion, conflict, and expressiveness) influences Adoptee Wellbeing (latent variable indicated by the three wellbeing measures). Parameter estimates will aid in extrapolating if discrepant views are positively or negatively associated with adoptee wellbeing and provide guidance for theory confirmation and construction. Findings provide a deeper understanding of adoptee development and family processes in transracial adoptive families.

Physical and relational permanence in adoption and other long-term placements for young adults who entered care at a young age in Northern Ireland

Placement stability is sought for children who enter state care and need a place to call home. The research literature has very much focused on looking at placement stability (or physical permanence), and how to avoid placement moves and breakdowns. Adoption has been found to achieve stability in a greater degree than other long-term placements, such as foster care or kinship foster care. However, the notion of placement stability does not consider the subjective account of the young person and thus the quality of the placement, whereas the concept of relational permanence does. Relational permanence conveys an enduring positive relationship between a young person and a caring adult. Very little is known about what happens after children move out of long-term placements. Does relational permanence collapse when the child moves out?

The Northern Ireland Care Pathways and Outcomes Study is a longitudinal study that has been following all the children who were in care on 31st March 2000 and under 5 years old. Three waves of the study have been completed to date, and Wave 4 (2016-2019) data collection is ongoing. Stage 1 of this wave has been completed. It involved the development of a placement profile for the full study population on the basis of placement data provided by social services through to the 31st March 2016. Stage 2 involves (face-to-face) surveys and semi-structured interviews with the young people and their parents and carers. The study is looking at a range of issues across placement types (i.e. adoption, foster care, kinship care, returning to birth parents, or Residence Order). In this poster, we are going to focus on the issues of placement stability and emotional/relational permanence. This will involve examining placement stability for the 354 young people across the different types of placements; but also the circumstances of some breakdowns/disruptions; some of the young people’s sense of belonging and being part of the family; and their parents’/carers’ feelings of bonding to them.

On the one hand, we found high levels of placement stability for the 354 young people in our study, although those who were adopted and placed under a Residence Order appeared more likely to remain in the same caregivers’ home than young people in foster care and kinship care did. On the other hand, interviews with over 30 of the young people revealed high levels of relational permanence, and showed that placement disruption did not necessarily mean a breakdown in the relationship. Our findings have clear implications in terms of policy and practice, which will be briefly represented in the poster.

Adult attachment representations in internationally adoptive parents

The important influence that caregivers have upon their children’s emotional wellbeing is starting to be documented. When parents are responsive and contingent to child’s needs, the children likely develop a secure attachment, showing more self-reliance, curiosity and independence. Securely attached parents also tend to raise securely attached children, confirming evidence of the intergenerational patterns of attachment. Furthermore, secure attachment is linked to better mental health and social adjustment. In the context of international adoption, adult attachment representations of security point to be a protective factor for children with experiences of early adversity. Although there is scarce literature about international adoption, children placed with foster mothers who were assessed as secure on the AAI were significantly likely to be assessed secured.

The focus of this paper is to study the adult attachment representations of adoptive families, in comparison with a group composed by biological parents. The sample included 69 Spanish families: a group of 31 adoptive parents who adopted a child in Russian Federation and another group of 38 non-adoptive families who served as a control group. The adult attachment representations were assessed using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI; George, Kaplan & Main, 1985). The AAI is an interview technique where the respondent’s audio-recorded narrative is transcribed and analysed by trained raters. At the end of a rigorous coding, each interview is assigned to one of four categories: autonomous-secure, insecure-dismissing, insecure-preoccupied and unresolved with respect to past loss and/or trauma. Furthermore, the AAI provides another important variable such as coherence of the discourse and metacognitive thinking. This study is part of a broader longitudinal research that started three years (on average) after the children’s adoption (T1) and repeated every four years (T2 & T3). AAI only was applied in T2, when children have spent an average of seven years in their adoptive families.

Descriptive results will be shown, focused on attachment representations, coherence and metacognitive thinking, comparing the adoptive and non-adoptive families. Discussion concerns the implications these findings have for clinical work with adoptive parents and children, and training of prospective adoptive parents.

Psychological Well-Being and Developmental Tasks in YAPA20 Project’s Spanish Adult Adoptees

Research on adoption has been focused on trying to identify the possible presence of more problems in adoptees than in non-adoptees. The current study attempts to transcend this aspect, identifying variables that promote well-being. Psychological well-being is considered more than the satisfaction of needs or the absence of problems. Well-being could be defined as: a positive physical, social, and mental state. It requires basic needs to be met, and individuals to have a sense of purpose, to feel capable of achieving important personal goals, and to participate in society. It is enhanced by conditions that include supportive personal relationships, strong and inclusive communities, good health, financial and personal security, rewarding employment, and a healthy and attractive environment.

Previous research on well-being in adoptees showed that there are some pre-adoptive and post-adoptive factors that might influence their well-being. However, such research has been carried out mostly with children and adolescents. Within the research context of the YAPA20 project, this study analyzes psychological well-being in adults who were adopted as children by Spanish families (n = 100). We used the Well-Being Scales developed by Ryff and Keyes (1995), which include six subscales or dimensions: purpose in life, autonomy, personal growth, environmental mastery, positive relationships, and self-acceptance.
Our findings suggest that psychological well-being does not seem to be related to current age, age at adoption, educational level, or having children. However, a positive relationship was found between having a job and a partner and psychological well-being. In addition, there are no differences between men and women in any of the dimensions of psychological well-being with the exception of environmental mastery, where women scored higher.

This work shows that adult adoptees have higher psychological well-being if they fulfil two of the main tasks involved in adulthood, which are having a job and finding a stable romantic partner.

Adoption Reunions: Explorations of the contact, reunion and post reunion experiences of Irish Intercountry Adoptees

This presentation is based on the doctoral thesis that I am currently completing. The initial findings of this study exploring Irish intercoutnry adoptees experiences of reunion and post reunion contact with birth family members will be presented. Irish Intercountry adoptees experiences of contact with birth family members has not been addressed in research or legislation to date.

Using an interpretivist approach, the aim of the research is to explore information and tracing and contact with birth family members from the perspective of internationally adopted adults. It is hoped that this research will provide a greater understanding and knowledge of the current situation in terms of search and reunion for intercountry adoptees, in particular regarding impact and experience of initial contact and post reunion contact. In depth interviews are the research method for this study. This presentation will present the initial findings from the interviews which have been conducted. This presentation will contribute to a number of the conference themes but particularly resonates with the themes ‘adopted persons as adults’ and ‘search and reunion’.

Looking though the ‘lens of adoption’ in working with loss and trauma. A two-day post adoption training program

Adoption has lifelong consequences, which have frequently been ignored or dismissed by some allied health professionals in the past. Individuals may present with a broad range of presenting difficulties, including depression and anxiety that may be related to past closed adoption experiences. Further, individuals engaged in search and contact with those separated through adoption will benefit from skilled counselling assistance in preparing for and managing this important event in their lives.

In Australia, Federal and State Governments have formally apologized for and have acknowledged the impact and significant grief and trauma experienced by mothers, fathers, individuals who were adopted and their extended families as a result of past, forced adoption practices. Following the Victorian State Apology for Past Adoption Practices in October 2012, VANISH Inc. (the Victorian Network for Information and Self Help Inc. see was funded to develop and deliver a two-day competency based training program for allied health professionals in understanding and counselling individuals who have experienced separation, and loss through past, forced adoption practices. Over the past five years, 235 counsellors working in private practice, regional health services and adoption information services have attended the training. A formal evaluation by La Trobe University, Victoria found significant change in the pre-post skills and knowledge of participants.
The learning outcomes for the training are:
1. Recognize the context and impact of past, forced adoption practices
2. Engage empathically with individuals separated by adoption
3. Identify the effects loss and possible expressions of grief and trauma
4. Use a range of theoretical perspectives to assess the complexities of adoption-related grief and trauma over the life course
5. Draw on a range of counselling and therapeutic approaches to support adaptive recovery
6. Work with three unique areas of adoption complexity. These are:
• The traumatic impact of the ‘late discovery’ of adoption status,
• The re-emergence of trauma and grief responses during search and contact, and
• The phenomenon of genetic sexual attraction
Multimodal facilitation methods are incorporated including videos of the voice of personal experience both related the impact of separation through adoption and experiences of search and contact, an overview relevant theories and research, a proposed model of case conceptualisation for assessing adoption-related factors and the use of hypothetical clinical case study scenarios.

Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service in Australia

ICAFS (Intercountry Adoption Family Support) Service at LifeWorks Relationship Counselling and Education Services.

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Convention) is the primary guide for Australia’s dealings with overseas countries about intercountry adoption. Individuals can apply to adopt a child from countries which the Australian Government has an active intercountry adoption arrangement. Currently, Australia has active arrangements with 13 countries; these are referred to as partner countries.

Since 1980 approximately 9000 children have been adopted from overseas countries particularly South Korea, China, Ethiopia, Thailand, Philippines and India.

ICAFS (Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service) was established in April 2016 with Commonwealth funding provided by the Department of Social Services in recognition of the challenges faced by families formed through intercountry adoption, as well as the ongoing support required by adult adoptees at major milestones in their lives.

This paper will outline the implementation, experiences and learning of ICAFS provided throughout Australia by LifeWorks Relationship Counselling & Education Services, in partnership with International Social Services Australia. In particular, a large part of the success of the program has been the strong focus on engagement, as this cohort is particularly sensitive to issues of confidentiality and trust in existing services.

The program delivers a ‘wrap-around’ service with three major components
1. Counselling for individuals as well as families,
2. Information and support underpinned by case management,
3. Education seminars via webinars.

Uniqueness of the service
– Fully funded by the government means services are provided free.
– Australia-wide service to a large geographical footprint with a unique model of service delivery utilising the services of Associate Counsellors in major cities.
– These Associates are contracted to LifeWorks and bring specialist expertise in the area of adoption particularly intercountry adoption, and the fields of attachment and trauma.
– A level of flexibility to appoint services in high needs areas of Australia.
– Services are provided face-to-face, telephone and via videolink (Zoom) for greater access.

Themes in adoptive families
– Grief and loss over the inability to conceive a biological child.
– Often unrealistic and high expectations on parenting capabilities causes great stress.
– Unexpected and often unprepared challenges in parenting high needs children.
– Relationship issues due to pressure placed on the couple.
– Impact of search and reunification processes with adoptee’s birth family.

Themes in adoptee children and adults
– Trauma, rejection and abandonment issues that present throughout their lives and the related impact on family and dysfunctional relationships.
– Racism and identity issues – particularly dur

The association of catch-up growth and health in internationally adopted children – preliminary results from the Finnish Adoption (FinAdo 2) –study

Background: Catch-up growth characterizes the well-being of the internationally adopted children. The earlier the child is adopted the better growth has been observed. Recovery from early height delay has been associated with a fair cognitive development. Nowadays, more special needs and less healthy children are available for adoption.

Aim: To learn how somatic health of internationally adopted children is associated with the catch-up growth.

Methods: FinAdo 2 is an on-going follow-up study of the wellbeing of internationally adopted children in Finland. This sub-study included 93 (67% boys) internationally adopted children at the arrival age from one to seven, mean 2.8 years. The mean follow-up time was 33 months. Children came from Asia (53%), Africa (34%), Eastern Europe (10%), and America (3 %). Their health status in Finland was classified as healthy (46%), structural defect (30%), developmental delay (4%), and other diseases (20%).

Statistics: The study points used to obtain measures were the first and the last measurements from the birth country and subsequent after the adoption to Finland the first and the most recent measurements. Height, weight, and head circumference were converted with WHO-charts to gender and age-specific Z-scores. These repeated measures were modelled as dependent variable in mixed models with autoregressive covariance pattern. The influence of the study points and their interference with the health status was assessed.

Results: In the first measurements of the birth country mean Z-scores of height, weight, and head circumference of all the children were -2.6, -2.0, and -1.2, respectively, and in the most recent measuring in Finland -1.0, -0.9, and 0.0 (p< 0.001 for all in the difference between study points). Catch up growth was strongest in the birth country but continued later subsequently. The health status interfered with the rate of growth between the study points in height (P=0.02), in head circumference (p=0.01) but not in weight (P=0.13). The children with structural defects grew similarly as the healthy children, but there was no catch-up growth of head circumference in children with developmental delay.

Conclusions: Catch-up growth of internationally adopted children started already after arrival in the orphanage, probably as a sign of better quality of treatment than has been shown earlier. The health status associates with catch-up growth in internationally adopted children.

Psychosocial Adjustment of Children in Adoptive LGBT+ and Heterosexual Families in the U.K.

Decades of research on parenting competences and child development in LGBT+ parented families have shown little or no differences when compared to matched groups of heterosexual parented families. On the contrary, it has been shown that it is family processes and not family configuration that influence children’s psychosocial adjustment.

The present study set out to investigate the quality of family relationships and the psychosocial development of children adopted by LGBT+ and heterosexual parents in the U.K. This study is founded upon a developmental systemic approach, which assumes that parenting characteristics, child’s pre-adoptive history, and family dynamics will determine child’s outcomes rather than family configuration or parents’ sexual/gender identity. The nationwide online survey Empowering Adoptive Families was publicized to adoptive parents through a number of adoption agencies in the UK.

Data from 39 lesbian-mother, 36 gay-father, and 71 heterosexual adoptive parents were collected with parents and children matched on demographic characteristics. Parents responded to a sociodemographic questionnaire and completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS-X) on their children’s psychosocial developmental profiles. To assess which parent and child-related variables were associated with children’s outcomes as measured by the SDQ and the PANAS-X, bivariate correlations were conducted.

None of the following adoptive family variables were significantly associated with children’s outcomes, namely parental relationship status, single/couple adoption, and number of children in the household. Among the child-related variables, child’s number of previous placements, number of risk factors (birth mother’s alcohol and/or drug abuse, and experience of physical neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional neglect before adoption), and the number of problems (health problems or physical disabilities, learning disabilities, and psychological problems) were significantly associated with children’s outcomes. To investigate the effects of family configuration on five children’s psychosocial development profiles (Externalizing, Internalizing and Prosocial Behavior, and Positive and Negative Affect), while accounting for child pre-adoptive history, a GLM model was conducted. The results showed no significant differences on any of the children’s psychosocial development profiles as a function of family configuration. The results from this study corroborate previous findings that showed that family configuration is not linked to children’s psychosocial adjustment. It also advances scientific knowledge about children brought up in adoptive families, particularly in terms of the child’s pre-adoptive history that may compromise development.

Factors Influencing Birth Parent Participation in Longitudinal Research

Factors Influencing Birth Parent Participation in Longitudinal Research

Very few studies have followed birth parents over time, and as a result little is known about their needs post placement. Retention of participants in longitudinal studies is a well-documented challenge for researchers, especially within vulnerable populations such as birth parents. Varying and creative methods for maintaining contact are often necessary. Some of these include use of incentives, newsletters, multiple methods of contact (phone, text, email) and data collection (online, mail, in person). This presentation will examine the factors that influence participant retention in an adoption design, with a focus on birth parents.

The Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS) includes a sample of 556 birth mothers and 209 birth fathers who entered the study within 0-3 months after the placement of an infant in a voluntary domestic adoption. Adoptions took place in the U.S. between 2003 and 2009. Over the course of participation, birth parents were interviewed in home, by phone, online and by mail. We sought to better understand the factors that influenced most birth parents to remain in the study and some to discontinue participation.

Birth mothers and fathers had retention rates of 86% and 74%, respectively over 10 years. We explored whether method of contact and method of data collection, demographic factors such as marital and employment status, and social factors such as feeling adequate as a provider were associated with retention rates. Preliminary analyses indicated no significant associations between these factors and birth mothers’ retention status. However, birth fathers were significantly more likely to drop from the study if they had a lower belief in inheritance of characteristics, t(188) = 3.21, p = .002, felt more adequate as a provider (supplying the means to support themselves and/or others), t(187) = -2.09, p = .038, or were employed (or more employed), t(15) = 3.42, p = .004. Retention was not associated with the data collection method.

We also used a qualitative approach to examine factors associated with retention by asking participants what they liked most about the study at the end of a follow-up interview. Both birth mothers and fathers indicated that having the opportunity to talk about the adoption and reflect upon themselves and their feelings was what they liked most, followed by the overall purpose of the study and feeling that they are contributing. Birth parents also appeared to enjoy their interactions with the study staff and the consistent contact the study tried to maintain with them. Future analyses will also examine patterns of openness in adoption over time to determine if there is a relationship between changes in openness and continued participation. Overall, this study suggests that the human connection and chance to process feelings about the adoption may be a strong factor associated with maintaining participation.

Moving Images: using video clips to help find adoptive families for children in Scotland

Children who are placed for adoption have often experienced trauma, neglect and/or maltreatment in their early lives. Extensive research has demonstrated the long-term risks this creates, but also the capacity for children to recover and thrive when they are placed with parents who understand them and can meet their needs. Finding ways to make the best possible ‘matches’ between children and prospective adopters is at the heart of adoption practice and critical to a child’s long-term future and life chances.

During the process of ‘matching’ children and prospective adopters, everyone involved needs to be able to understand what makes that child the unique person they are: the people (and pets) who are important to them, their likes and dislikes, their habits and interests, how their personal history may affect them and what makes them feel safe, secure and cared for. Children are best served by profiles that convey information about them positively, realistically and sensitively. Anecdotal evidence in Scotland suggests that the use of moving images – whether this involves professional videos, short i-phone film sequences or edited video clips – is increasingly significant in both accelerating and supporting the decisions relating to the placing of children with adoptive families.

This poster presents initial findings from the Moving Images research study, which explores the use of video clips in identifying adoptive families for children in Scotland. The research involves a mixed methods analysis of a) interviews with social workers, foster carers and adopters, b) a survey of statutory adoption services and c) a survey of adopters/prospective adopters who have used the national online family finding service. More than two-thirds of adoption agencies across Scotland have participated in the research. The project is a collaboration between the University of Glasgow, the Adoption and Fostering Alliance Scotland, and Scotland’s Adoption Register (a national family-finding service, enabling links to be made across different areas of the country).

The emerging analysis identifies adopters’ preference for moving images that are of good quality, but which are not perceived to be overly ‘professional’ or inauthentic. Video clips can be significant in informing not only the potential adoptive parents but also any soon-to-be siblings and other close family members about the child. While some agencies make and use videos effectively and regularly, for others this is an unfamiliar area of practice, in a context of limited access to technical expertise or resources. The increasing pervasiveness and accessibility of digital hand held technology (such as the i-phone and tablets) has raised new issues relating to ‘best practice’ of taking and exhibiting moving images of children. Further work is needed to explore how to empower children themselves to become more directly involved in the process of self-representation.

Perception of ‘time’ among Indian and Irish adoptive parents: A phenomenological comparative study

Couples that commit to each other, very often, form an image of the type of family they wish to build. Most couples, who have an image of having a child, hope to achieve this within a certain time frame. This intention may however be impeded by primary infertility or loss of their birth child. As a result, the childless couples may opt for assisted reproductive techniques and only after the failure in infertility treatments, pursue adoption. During this entire process from pre-to-post adoption, ‘time’ is perceived differently. The paper explores the notion of ‘time’ from pre-to-post adoption phases across Indian and Irish adoptive parents who had built their families through non-family domestic adoption. This theme of ‘time’ was one of the findings of the Irish Indian work that was undertaken to study the psycho-socio experiences of Irish adoptive parents across pre-, during- and post adoption phases and compare it with the Indian adoptive parents. The study followed a phenomenological approach and in-depth jointly constructed couple interviews were conducted with five adoptive parents each from both countries.

The interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) revealed several themes including the ‘push’ aspect of time in pre-adoption phase which resulted in adoption initiation and the ‘pull’ aspect of time in post-adoption phase which prevented adoption of a second child. While the paper discusses the within and between couples’ similarities and differences across the two contexts, it also highlights the relation of ‘time’ to the identity of the couples and their understanding towards couple vs. family time. The findings of the research are presented through the insider-outsider and reflexive positioning of the two researchers, which was central to the research study.

This comparative framework provides insights to the adoption in the Western and Asian context and aid in understanding how adoption is located within the diverse socio-cultural domains of both countries. The analysis can benefit prospective adoptive parents, social workers, and practitioners working and providing support services in the area of pre-to post adoption counseling.

Adoption breakdown before/after the teenage years

Adoption breakdown is the consequence of a combination of circumstances where adopters, adoptees and professional intervention each provide their own specific contribution. Although no single factor sufficiently explains adoption breakdown, the most studied one in adoption breakdown research has been the age at placement. A recurrent finding is that a higher age at placement is related with a higher probability of breakdown. Although studies are consistent in showing that most adoptive placements break down in the teenage years, less research attention has been devoted to this variable. The goal of this presentation is to study age when adoption breakdown occurs, comparing cases where the breakdown took place, respectively, before the teenage years (before 13 years) and afterwards.

Data were collected from children whose adoptions broke down during the decade 2003-2012 in Andalusia (Spain). 69 cases were studied; 52% girls and 48% boys. Most of them were domestic adoptions (83%). Chi-square and Phi/Cramer’s V were used to compare the different groups, as well as Student’s t and Cohen’s d to quantitative variables.

Findings revealed that 68.1% of adoption breakdowns took place after 13 years and the remaining 31.9% before that age. No significant differences between the groups were observed regarding gender (p = .200; Phi = 0.15), placement age (p = .994; d = 0.02) and origin of the child (domestic or intercountry) (p =.906, Phi = .014). However, the stage in the adoption procedures (before or after adoption legalization) was significant (p = .001, Phi = 0.38), with more breakdown cases in the teenage years occurring in cases legally completed. Regarding other risk factors, data showed statistically significant differences between both groups. Behavioral difficulties in the adoptees (p = .023; Phi = 0.273) were more frequent in adoptions ending in the teenage years. Unrealistic expectations in adopters (p = .011; Phi = 0.324), more frequent in breakdowns taking place before the teenage years. Other factors involved in the process will also be analyzed and the implications for intervention considered.

An Overview of Irish Adoption Research 1952 -2017: Using a Rapid Realist Review Method

This paper explores the evolution of Irish Adoption law, policy and practice based on an audit and synthesis of all Irish adoption research undertaken between 1952 to 2017. The audit was conducted using a Rapid Realist Review of literature. The reasons and experiences of using a Rapid Realist Review as a literature review methodology to undertake this task is discussed.
There is a particular focus in the paper on the treatment of women and children across time. This is set against a discussion of general findings and traces changes over time.

In recent years in Ireland there is much interest in both historical and current adoption practice. This is evident across cultural, social, political and academic domains. As a result, a number of major state interventions have occurred. Currently there is a statutory inquiry into mother and baby homes and the circumstances that led to the adoption of many Irish children domestically and internationally. Parallel to this historical focus, the state has enacted changes in domestic and international adoptions through the Adoption Act 2010 and the Adoption Amendment Act 2017.

Through the analysis of Irish adoption research, an overview of trends in Irish adoption is discussed against a backdrop of international literature. While there is a major emphasis on the research gaps identified through this study, the discussion also centres on wider trends in relation to the commissioning and finance of adoption research.