Three ways to prevent disruption/ dissolution of adoption
If you have not heard of terminology called 'Disruption' and 'Dissolution' in the sphere of adoption, be aware that they are there in the latest adoption regulations - 2017. As the terminology sounds, it is to do with the interruption of adoption and termination of adoption respectively.
As an adoptive father myself, I never thought of disruption/ dissolution of adoption as necessary options because I always felt that people make the decision of adoption after considerable thought and research. So, there's no possibility for disruption/ dissolution in adoption, so I reasoned.
I was proven wrong. I was attending a short workshop a couple of months ago and there an experienced Social Worker and an adoptive mother herself narrated about instances of disruption/ dissolution of adoption lately. It was heart breaking to hear her.
Since then I had been thinking about the reasons that makes adoptive parents who have invested so much of their energy, time and resources to bring their loving child home only to have second thoughts. Why? According to a good friend of mine who is also working in the field of adoption, apparently they are happening in "dozens". Here are my
thoughts about how this can be addressed effectively:
Predominantly it appears that the common denominator for disruption/ dissolution is the age of the child at the time of adoption. Older they are, higher the probability. This could be attributed to many reasons such as trauma of growing up in an institution for a prolonged period of time and attachment etc. There could be more ways to make this to work but I could think of three and here they are:
Strong pre-adoption counselling: Sub para (4)(b) and (4)(c) of para 29 of adoption regulations 2017, mandates that specialized
adoption agencies to provide counselling to prepare the prospective adoptive parents and older children. My question to my self is this: If it is mandated, why so many disruptions then? Either they are not doing it or they are doing it ineffectively. This needs to be improved. Here are my suggestions (a) specify the number of hours that the prospective adoptive parents ought to attend the pre-adoption counselling and there needs to be an evidence to prove that. (b) conduct an annual social audit (done by a neutral entity) to know what percentage of prospective adoptive parents are being prepared by the adoption agencies through counselling and (c) outsourcing of counselling services altogether to reliable and credible people/ entities.
Pre-adoption bonding of the child: Sub para (6) and (7) of para 10 of adoption regulations 2017, states that the adoption agencies to organize a meeting between a child and the prospective adoptive parents and the entire process of handing over of the child to be completed in 20 days from the date of reserving the child. Reading the above stated para in the spirit of best interest of the child, adoption agencies must go beyond the call of their duty to allow the desiring adoptive parents to come to live in their town to bond with the child for 20 days so that the transfer of the child will be smooth and pleasant.
Strong follow-up after adoption: Sub para (1) of para 13 of adoption regulations 2017, mandates that the adoption agency that did the home study ought to follow up on a six monthly basis for two years from the date of pre-adoption foster care placement. I truly wonder how many adoptive families in India are being followed up sincerely on a six monthly basis for two years? Even if they do, do they network the families with the right resource people to resolve their difficulties? Here are my suggestions to strengthen follow ups: (a) During pre-adoption counselling itself, post adoption follow up expectations need to be explained and an undertaking of compliance ought to be obtained from the prospective adoptive parents. (b) Send out automated messages to the adoptive parents (and to the specialized adoption agency ) to remind on a six monthly basis to send reports to the specialized adoption agencies (c) Developing a local resource directory of facilities to offer child related services in need (hospitals, counselors and special educators etc) with the help of the specialized adoption agency and the district child protection office).
Adoption disruption/ dissolution can be very traumatic for the child and for the family and we must do everything possible to prevent it from happening.
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