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Strength And Vulnerability In Adoption

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“Engaging birth and previously adopted children during the adoption process is crucial to laying the groundwork for successful placements. When families choose to adopt children with special needs, however, the role their children will play in the adoption’s success is often overlooked. This article presents a practical model that recognizes the dynamics of strength and vulnerability in adoptive families, then applies this model in preparing and supporting the family through the changes that are inevitable in special needs adoption. The model can also be used to assist adoptive parents in identifying and developing the skills they need to manage these shifts within the family” (Johnson & Steele, 1999). Families who already have children (either …show more content…
Preparing children and families to identify and deal effectively with the changing family dynamics that accompany adoption can ease the transition for everyone concerned, and help ensure a successful outcome. “When examining the dynamics of adoptive families, two concepts stand out — strength and vulnerability” (Johnson & Steele, 1999). Vulnerability is the driving force of connection. It’s brave. It’s tender. It’s impossible to connect without it. Strength gives the need to want to be strong. Being “in control” implies strength, while being “out of control” implies vulnerability. “Parents who sense they have been sacrificed the well-being of their birth/previously adopted children in attempting to meet special needs of their adopted child may feel vulnerable, and they may communicate this feeling of insecurity and ambivalence to their youngsters” (Rosenberg 1992). “The adoption of a child with special needs may be more likely to disrupt when the parents believe that the toll the placement is taking on their birth/previously adopted children is more than they can manage” (Gilman 1992). On the other hand, parents who have inner and external resources available to them operate from a strengths base, thereby providing security and

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