What’s the Level of Risk in Adoption?

Dr. Kyle N. Weir offers an interesting perspective on the risks (or perceived risks) involved in adoption.
One of our popular “Adopt and Inspire” adoption quotes from this past weekend referred to the fact that there are risks in adoption. It’s easy to wonder if many prospective adoptive parents ultimately shy away from the idea of adoption as a result of it seeming “too risky.” This brings up an important concern – do folks unwisely dismiss adoption because of its perceived level of risk as opposed to its actual level of risk?

Dr. Kyle N. Weir is associate professor of marriage and family therapy at California State University, Fresno. He’s also the director of the Whole Family Therapy project. He’s authored many articles and a few books, including his 2011 book entitled “The Choice of a Lifetime: What You Need to Know Before Adopting.” In this book, Dr. Weir tackles the idea of risk head-on:

“Couples wanting to adopt seem to have one thing in common; they want a child to become a permanent part of their family. Yet significant differences exist in how the family finds a child and formalizes the legal process to make their family relationships binding and permanent. Although the statistical odds of an adoption being disrupted are very low, the perception that adoption involves great risk remains high due to inordinate amounts of media attention given to the extremely rare cases where adoptions are disrupted or dissolved. With so many choices for selecting a child, from private adoption agencies, to public child welfare agency adoptions, to international, independent, and kinship adoptions, the best counsel I can give is for you to determine what kind of experience you are seeking and then attend orientation meetings at a variety of agencies.

Educate yourself about the kinds of adoptions available to you in your local area. Ask what kinds of adoptions the agency provides and request referrals to other types of agencies (especially if the organization seems to be providing something different than what you are after). While there’s a scarcity of credible research regarding which method of adoption is ‘least risky’ concerning adoption disruption, the method you select will have great bearing on the kind of child you receive into your home.”