Date of Paper

5-2012

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

msw

Department

socialwork

First Advisor

Ande Nesmith

Abstract

This study set out to determine if adoptive parents with biological children would report a lower degree of closeness with their adoptive child with special needs than adoptive parents without biological children. A review of the literature showed that multiple factors impact the rates of adoption disruption and parental satisfaction, including; stress, externalizing behaviors exhibited by the child, family structure and levels of pre and post-adoption support provided to parents and families. One hundred and twelve adoptive parents responded by completing an online survey. Levels of closeness between the adoptive parent and their adoptive child were measured using a five point Likert scale. Information on the type and frequency of externalizing behaviors, parental satisfaction with their adoption agency and types and frequency of post-adoption support was also gathered. The results showed that adoptive parents with biological children rated their degree of closeness with their adoptive child lower than adoptive parents without biological children. Given the steady increase in domestic special needs adoptions, further research that looks more deeply at the differences between adoptive parents with biological children and those without would benefit the social work community and the families that they serve.

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