A study of adoption disruptions in Manitoba, 1990-1996

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Mendell, Sandra C.
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Research indicates that older and/or special needs children are at increased risk for adoption disruption. This study examined the adoption placements of ten permanent wards of Winnipeg Child and Family Services in order to gain a better understanding of some of the issues involved in disruption. Seven social workers who had been involved in adoption disruption situations were interviewed. A qualitative research approach was used to both gather and evaluate the data for this study. The characteristics of children, adoptive parents and organizations involved in adoption disruptions were examined. The findings from this research were compared with the themes in the literature on adoption disruption. The relationship between the adoptive parents and the adopted child had a significant role in the outcome of the adoption placement. Among important variables were the child's placement history and age at the time of adoption placement, the family loss of hope, the role of the adoptive mother and the impact of thedisruption on the social workers involved in the situation. Implications for social work practice were also discussed.