While extreme cases of behavioral issues are not as common in the adoption community as some may believe, some adoptees and adoptive families are unable to adjust to one another and result in what's often called adoption disruption. Disruption is different from a dissolved adoption because it occurs before an adoption is finalized.
It's thought that the adoption of older, school-aged children are more likely to result in disrupted adoptions than infant or toddler adoptions. About a fourth of adolescent-aged adoptees result in a disrupted adoption. Reasons for this may be tied to the amount of time a child has gone without special attention to his or her behavioral needs. For example, he or she has learned response and attention come quickly after acting out rather than from acceptable behavior. These adoptees may have been abused and are unable or unwilling to conform or trust adults in their lives at the time of adoption. Adoptees who have been placed multiple times are also more likely to experience adoption disruption. Sometimes, in the case of young children as well as older adoptees, a history of neglect can lead to an attachment disorder and inability to connect. Adoption disruption results in an adopted child being removed from his or her adoptive placement and waiting to be placed with another family.
Adoption placements are always met with high hopes and can be a disappointing let down if that adoption experiences a disruption just as the family is coming close to its finalization hearing. Prospective adopters may be able to avoid disrupted adoption by adopting children at a younger age or taking adoption courses geared toward handling children with special emotional or behavioral needs. Sometimes, parents have unrealistic expectations of an adoptee or their parenting styles may be too strict too soon. Adoptive parents should want to make their home a welcoming one, although that shouldn't mean abandoning all rules and it shouldn't feel like the child isn't welcome either. Parents should be honest with themselves about their limits and parenting style. If they are strict and have high expectations of their adoptive child, they may want to adopt someone who is at less of a risk for disruption. They should also try to catch any discontent with the placement before the adoption is finalized, for everyone's sake.
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